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Thor: The Dark World | 3.5/5

SINGAPORE — After Iron Man’s successful third outing, fellow Avengers member Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is back in his own movie in Thor: The Dark World. Tom Hiddleston’s star turn as the villainous Loki in last year’s The Avengers has fans clamouring for his return, but will Loki and Thor’s return to the big screen retain the same magic?

SINGAPORE — After Iron Man’s successful third outing, fellow Avengers member Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is back in his own movie in Thor: The Dark World. Tom Hiddleston’s star turn as the villainous Loki in last year’s The Avengers has fans clamouring for his return, but will Loki and Thor’s return to the big screen retain the same magic?

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has returned to Asgard after the events in last year’s The Avengers, an imprisoned Loki in tow, and now faces a new threat — Dark Elf Malekith (a very unrecognisable Christopher Eccleston) is seeking to destroy the Asgardian Nine Realms, Earth (Midgard) included, and the old gang from the first Thor movie is back to stand in his way.

Still, for all the fun and high adventure the show promises, all this screeches to a halt early when the show strains at the effort to explain the presence of Malekith and what exactly he aims to do. While the information overload is punctuated with humour, the sluggish pace means that even the beautiful sights of Thor’s homeworld Asgard might not be enough to keep you involved.

The threat also never feels well defined: Malekith’s power source, aptly named as the Aether, is amorphous in its powers. The amount of information thrown doesn’t entirely help you grasp why the world is being threatened, and while our world (and The Nine Realms) is at stake, it never really feels so.

But all that changes quickly once the threat materialises and Thor has to team up with his malevolent half-brother Loki. Hiddleston shows again why he’s such a fan favourite, tackling the role of Loki with such obvious relish that he instantly manages to liven up each scene he’s in — the moments following the time after he’s released from jail being a particular highlight for the show. If you’ve watched the other Marvel movies, you’ll enjoy the movie even more: Revisiting the brother’s relationship is still a joy.

The show’s true focus, after all, is on the threat of actual relationships being broken, between Thor and his father, Thor and his brother, and Thor and the one he loves. Kudos, then, to Chris Hemsworth for starting to bring some noble bearing and really make the role his own, something you never really felt in Thor or The Avengers.

This is, after all, the Thor and Loki show, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Add to that a gratuitous topless-Thor scene (you’re welcome, ladies), two ending credit scenes (stay to the end, folks) and some laugh-out-loud funny moments, Thor: The Dark World is a magical adventure indeed — once you get past the first hour.

(PG13, 112 min)

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