From my review at the Fan Review Thread
Thor and Loki
- As with the first film, the success of this movie hinges on the performance of it's hero and his villainous brother, and once again they deliver. Chris Hemsworth still rocks as The God of Thunder, albeit a more mature and quiet one this time around, in sharp contrast to the loud and boisterous jerkass that he was (before being humbled) in the first film. And Tom Hiddleston once again threatens to steal every scene he's in with his dark and sardonic take on Loki. For me though, the film really shines when both Thor and Loki appear onscreen together. Their scenes are some of the best in the film, and provide some dramatic heft in a film that is somewhat lacking in it. How they go from here will be interesting to see, as the film ends on an ominous note where one of them gets the upper hand on the other
- I never got the hate for Jane Foster in the first film. Sure she was a somewhat flat love interest, but other than that I thought she was okay. This time however, she gets to do more than just stand around like some witless bystander. Here her knowledge of astrophysics actively helps in saving the day.
Natalie Portman has never looked hotter than she has here, and her onscreen chemistry with Chris Hemsworth is even better this time around.
- Many of us feel that Rene Russo as Frigga was kind of wasted in the first film. She's a fine actress in her own right, but didn't get to do much. This time however, she gets some good screentime and shows us why she's the Queen of Asgard. It's so good to see her step up as a character, that it comes as a complete shock when Malekith kills her.
- Wow. The filmmakers went out of their way to make an adversary who can kick Thor's ass
. Great screen realization of one of Thor's most powerful foes.
- Many of us were surprised by how funny the first film was, and the practice certainly continues in The Dark World. But someone must have been taking notes because the gags here are much more numerous here. Most of the laughs come courtesy of Kat Dennings returning as Darcy, with her patented wisecracks, and Stellan Skarsgard as Eric Selvig, by being bat**** insane. But even Loki gets in on the fun with a hilarious moment that lampshades the MCU as a whole. And you have to admire the balls on director Alan Taylor for adding some genuine chuckle worthy scenes in Thor's final confrontation with Malekith.
- Early press releases on the film promised a grittier look to Asgard, and what we get in onscreen certainly doesn't disappoint. While the designs of the buildings have stayed the same, they rid it of any pristine and shininess. Settling on a brown and somber color scheme, Asgard isn't just a city in the stars this time, it looks like a city where people actually live.
Ze Collector - Benicio Del Toro! He looks like a camp galactic salesman, which speaks of the tone of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film he'll appear in next year. And when the Asgardians entrust him with a sacred gem for safekeeping, he hints at a five others. What could that mean I wonder?