When Thor was released in 2011 I was left satisfied yet still somewhat disappointed with the final results. Sadly Thor: The Dark Wolrd follows the first film to a fault. It is similar in numerous ways with many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the first film. But The: The Dark World ultimately falls flat and is a step back for the series with the action being less imaginative and the humour not as entertaining.
One of the primary issues I imagined Marvel Studio films would have post Avengers is that everything would fell smaller and more confined then the individual stories otherwise would. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but when a story requires a larger scale and then fails to deliver, things can start feeling rather tepid. Thor: The Dark World falls into this trap and as big as the stakes are told to be, we never truly understand why or are giving any reason to care about what is occurring on screen. The fundamental issue seems to be the villain who's motivations are so simplistic and undeveloped we might as well have no idea why he is striving towards his final goal. The result is there is little weight behind what occurs and the film fells oddly small given the at times larger then life imagery. It doesn't help that the action itself whilst reasonably well staged is only momentarily exciting and lacks the punch that one would expect from an end of world story featuring Thor.
With that being said my primary issue with the first Thor film is once again the primary issue I have with Thor: The Dark World. That issue is love story between Thor and Jane which in Thor: The Dark World is once again forced and unnecessary. This is most impressive as they even turn Jane into the Macguffin of the story, apparently in a vain attempt to make the character relevant. A good idea in theory but one that ultimately fells contrived and a rather desperate attempt to keep a character present who should simply have been dropped from the series. Thankfully Chris Hemsworth is once again excellent as Thor despite the lack of forward direction for the character and Natalie Portman simply seems bored as Jane which result in even less chemistry between the two, something I wouldn't have believed possible prior to release.
Conversely two of the greatest strengths of the first Thor film was its humour and the character of Loki. Loki is once again a joy to watch and whilst his screen time isn't notably increased when compared to the first film he thankfully doesn't fell underutilised this time around. Unfortunately the humour which was notably catapulted forward in the first film by the fish out of the water aspects (by having a god essentially become human) and by juxtaposing the surreal with the mundane, is not as successful here as it was in the first film. The same style of humour is present, but more frequently fells forced and present only to try and bring life to an otherwise tired scenes. As a result Thor: The Dark world is rarely amusing and often fells more like a poor imitation that was simply ticking of a list of what to include in a sequel to the first Thor film.
One could easily describe Thor: The Dark World as more of the same, but mostly not as good as in the first Thor film. The action is less exciting, the humour less amusing though the unnecessary and forced love story remains as uninteresting, unnecessary and forced as it was in the first film. Thor: The Dark World is not a bad film, it however is a very average film and as a result does not come recommended as anything more then a potential rental.