Yes, that's a terrible pun/wordplay. Get over it.
This last Friday, I went to see Thor: The Dark World. I'm a bit of a Marvel fan (as may have come across in my previous Marvel movie reviews), so I was slightly biased. I was also wondering how they would have it continue on from both Thor and The Avengers.
The result was quite refreshing, because they didn't focus unduly on events from The Avengers. They weren't ignored, and there were a couple of quick nods to it here and there (with a humourous - it might even be called a cameo, not sure - appearance from Capitan America [intentional misspell, reference to another movie, bonus points if you know which]), but the main force of the movie was very much on Thor and that backstory and history.
The story is quite different from the original Thor; this time, instead of him being a stranger in Earth, his girl (Jane Foster) is a stranger in his home. And all this is in relation to the Ether, a sort of energy from near the beginning of time relating to an almost mystical-type race called the Dark Elves. And now, the Ether has turned up, inhabiting Jane Foster's body.
Of course, then they discover that the Dark Elves are all too real, and their leader - who was the same one from eons back, now awoken from stasis - plans to use the Ether again to destroy the universe.
It's a very nice shift of focus from Earth to Asgard, and Asgardian history, as well as a look at the Nine Realms and how they interact. The Dark Elves are also a good new introduction, as is the Ether.
Parts of the film - to me at least - seem very reminiscent of Star Wars. I don't know whether it was Natalie Portman, or the phaser-like guns shooting red lasers, or the lightning swords seeming to remind me of lightsabers, or the sound effects from the guns and Dark Elves' ships that sounded very familiar to the corresponding Star Wars SFX. Or maybe it was just the long, flowy robes that the Asgardians seem to like wearing, and their large, columned buildings. Anyone else?
I must make a mention in this one also of a couple of other things that I found interesting. Firstly, one of the scenes near the beginning with the "gravitational anomaly" and the kids throwing things down the stair shaft to reappear at the top, then keep going through, getting a little faster each time - quite reminiscent of Portal.
Secondly, Loki was pretty awesome. May just be saying that because I appreciate a good, smart, somewhat humourous villain, but it was quite good seeing a bit of a change in that dynamic. Seeing him break down a little - or is it just another of his illusions? We see those develop a bit as well, which is also nice to see.
The visuals were also very good. I particularly appreciated the very clever design of the Dark Elves ships, and the physics of the portals was quite interesting.
Overall, I think this was a very good film. To be fair, I did see a couple of the twists coming; and if you've got a decent head on your shoulders, you probably will too. But it's forgivable for the general great story elements and visuals presented by this piece.
As a last note; if you do see the movie, don't forget to stay until after the first credits for the extra bit. I wonder which one this will be leading up to...