Thor is Marvel's most unidentifiable character, but his first solo cinematic outing worked because of how hilariously batshit it was. 2011's Thor
was part goofball sci-fi epic, part fish-out-of-water comedy set in small-town New Mexico, anchored by Chris Hemsworth's charmingly boyish performance. Thor: The Dark World
is the God of Thunder's first post-Avengers
romp, and it reverses the formula, transporting Thor's scientist girlfriend (Natalie Portman) to his psychedelic space kingdom. It shows us a world of rainbow roads, elves with bazookas and giant rock monsters…only to make us long to be back in New Mexico. There's some nonsense about dark elves and a forced teaming up with Thor's a-hole brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston, great as always), but director Alan Taylor sucks all the fun out of the picture, creating a cornball drama that plays a lot like one of his episodes of Game of Thrones
, minus the incest but with spaceships. The film finds some footing in its gonzo finale, in which London is laid to waste, Thor takes the subway and the comedic elements are suddenly resurrected. But even destroying a city can't make up for the self-serious dullness that came before. It's as if the film is at once trying too hard and
holding back. It's about as interesting as, well, a bag of hammers. And not the cosmic kind.