‘Thor’ promises much but fails to deliver

Undated Film Still Handout from Thor: The Dark World. Pictured: NATALIE PORTMAN as Jane Foster and CHRIS HEMSWORTH as Thor. See PA Feature DVD DVD Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature DVD DVD Reviews.
Undated Film Still Handout from Thor: The Dark World. Pictured: NATALIE PORTMAN as Jane Foster and CHRIS HEMSWORTH as Thor. See PA Feature DVD DVD Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature DVD DVD Reviews.

The latest addition to Marvel’s film universe is out now, and is disappointing despite promising much although it also had much to live up to after 2012’s ‘The Avengers’.

The Dark Elves of Svartalfheim led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and second-in-command Algrim (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) intend to unleash a fluid called the Aether, which will plunge the Nine Realms into eternal darkness.

Throwing a spanner in the works, astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has been exposed to the swirling gelatinous goo, which now courses through her veins. Thus, Malekith and his hench-elves launch an assault on Asgard, where Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has concealed Jane in the hope that his father Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) can extract the Aether from his sweetheart.

When that glimmer of hope is snuffed out, the crown prince of Asgard turns to his nefarious adoptive brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), for help. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Jane’s mentor Dr Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), colleague Darcy (Kat Dennings) and intern Ian (Jonathan Howard) prepare for Armageddon as realms collide with cataclysmic consequences.

‘Thor: The Dark World’ is a sequel-by-numbers that is as big and muscular as its titular hammer-swinging hunk, and equally short on sparkling repartee, ricocheting noisily between action, comedy and romance.

A couple of plot twists, including the miraculous resurrection of one key character, cause almost as much head-scratching as the use of wormholes to travel between the Nine Realms.

Screenwriters Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely bamboozle us with their cod-science while Hemsworth swings his hammer with gusto. Alas, there’s no obvious sexual chemistry with Portman and Eccleston’s chief villain doesn’t have sufficient screen time to become more than a minor irritation.

A two-disc set comprising ‘Thor’ and the sequel is also available.

‘Thor: The Dark World’ (Cert 12, 112 mins, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Romance/Comedy, also available to buy DVD £19.99/2-Movie Collection DVD £20.99/Blu-ray £21.99/3D Blu-ray £25.99/Limited Edition Steelbook 3D Blu-ray £29.99/2-Movie Collection Blu-ray £28.99)