The first Thor was dark, brooding, humorless and not up to the Marvel standard set by Iron Man, The Avengers and Captain America. Consider all those problems fixed. THOR: THE DARK WORLD is thrilling, captivating and most surprising, filled with laughs. It’s tough to combine that with Universal apocalypse, but Alan Taylor makes it work. Taylor is the perfect choice for a Thor movie. He’s directed some of the best episodes of GAME OF THRONES, and in tone Thor is closer to that HBO series than the rest of the Marvel universe. Chris Hemsworth seems more comfortable in his Asgardian skin this time (and he shows it off for the ladies). Hemsworth isn’t just hunky, he’s a very fine actor (see my review of RUSH). Tom Hiddleston returns as his brother Loki, someone not to be trusted. But Thor must rely on him to save the 9 worlds. Hiddleston is fantastic. He bring the perfect tone to the sneering, malevolent personality that is Loki. He doesn’t completely redeem himself for nearly destroying New York in The Avengers, but he comes close. What also makes this work is that it is focused more on Thor and less on Natalie Portman’s Jane. Sure, she is a vehicle in the story. But this is more about Thor finding out who he really is and what his place is in the Universe. I really loved this movie, to the point of saying out loud to myself several times, “Wow, this is great”. It’s not as good as the first Iron Man or The Avengers, but it’s very close to Captain America in tone and execution. Thor swings his mighty hammer and nails another winner for Marvel. — Alan Yudman

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