Bland but kind of entertaining.
Thor: The Dark World is a sequel that’s technically competent, reasonably well-acted, and filled with fun action. There’s also oodles of Marvel comics fanservice that makes me smile. It’s a movie which might have been made with a random plot element generator.
The original Thor movie was a surprise because Kenneth Branagh managed to turn what everyone expected to be a big dumb action movie into a surprisingly nuanced family drama. Thor: The Dark World, instead, uses the nuanced family drama to pad out a big dumb action movie.
The premise of Thor 2 is an ancient relic of the Dark Elves has been found by Jane Foster and they want it back to kill everyone in the universe. That’s it. Already, this shows repetition as the first movie was all about a Doomsday Device and both the Avengers as well as Captain America: The First Avenger dealt with a different one.
The original Thor managed to subvert audience expectations by making it clear the Frost Giants weren’t pure evil monsters but this movie makes it abundantly clear the Dark Elves are. As a result, it not only is a boring depiction of alien life but makes the original movie less entertaining. The actors are all good but they have nothing really to work with as even the brothers’ tumultuous relationship is brought together by the laziest of all plot devices, the death of a semi-important female character.
In conclusion, Thor: The Dark World is a okay. Do I think they could have done better? Yes, by Odin, they could have. However, there’s something to be said for not doing worse and they did very well in not doing worse. Let’s just hope the next volume in Thor’s story isn’t quite so unambitious.
My recommendation? The Enchantress.