I don't know how I get off on these things. Okay, that's not true, but... Look, quit interrupting and let me get on with the review, okay?
But it's more like that was just the opening they used to create the Marvel Movie Universe, which is not quite the same as the Marvel Universe of the comics. So, in Iron Man 3, we get a Mandarin who is the front man for a terrorist group rather than a super villain, and, in Thor: The Dark World, we get Malekith after the Aether rather than the Casket of Ancient Winters. And, after some amount of consideration, that's okay. More than okay, actually.
It's more than okay, because Marvel is re-creating what they did to create The Avengers, right now, with their Infinity Stones sub-plot. It's just introducing a piece at a time as they build up to something bigger. In The Avengers, we got our first view of Thanos and his attempt to take control of the Tesseract, which, in The Dark World, is revealed to be one of the six Infinity Stones, artifacts predating the origins of the universe. And, also on The Dark World, Malekith is after the Aether which is another of these "stones" although it actually takes on a fluid form.
This all sounds like it's leading up to an Infinity Gauntlet kind of scenario,
Of course, none of that actually relates to whether Thor: The Dark World is any good in and of itself.
Actually, Thor 2 is better than Thor. This one just seemed more "Thor" than the first one, although I don't have a good reason for feeling that way because there was an awful lot of Thor-ness about the first one, too. Maybe, it was just that this one flowed more smoothly whereas the first one definitely seemed to have its "Earth" parts and its "Asgard" parts as separate things. If you're doing Thor as Thor (not Thor trapped in the body of a mortal), he definitely needs to have the full range of being Thor.
And there were a lot of cool moves with Mjolnir in this one, things like Thor leaping off of balconies as the hammer came whizzing over the building and into his hand. They definitely did their best to show the connection between Thor and the hammer.
The acting was great, even Christopher Eccleston, whom I'm not particularly fond of as an actor (Doctor or not). His range seems to be quite small, but his role as Malekith was a good fit as it didn't require a lot of emotion and even less facial expression. Zachary Levi also did a pretty good job as Fandral, although, as partial as I am to Chuck, I think he didn't quite fill out Josh Dallas' shoes. There was just some ineffable quality about Dallas that made him more Fandral. Portman, also, seemed to wear the role of Jane Foster much more easily in this one, so that was nice.
The thing that really made the movie work, though, was the chemistry between Hemsworth and Hiddleston. Even when not onscreen together, they pulled off the roles of warring brothers perfectly. The sibling rivalry was perfect. There's this one moment where Thor is about to hit Loki (hey, it's not really a spoiler, okay (well, kind of, but, well, deal with it)) and Thor pulls away saying, "Mother wouldn't want us to fight," and Loki smiles and says, "But she wouldn't be shocked." The relationship is perfect.
The movie also has a bit more humor in it than the last Thor, and it's not all at the expense of Darcy this time, though she does have her moments. The only real negative I'd say the movie has is that the humor breaks the tension a little too much every so often. But those are only minor bumps on the road and barely memorable once past them. It does pull you right back in.
Overall, the movie has an epic feel to it that seems appropriate to a story about gods, and it does it while keeping the movie personal. That all by itself is quite an accomplishment. So, yeah, I think Thor 2 is a step above the first one, something that's not all that common with a sequel. It doesn't make it up to the level of the first Iron Man or Captain America movies, but it does surpass both of the Iron Man sequels. If you've been following the Marvel movies at all, you certainly don't want to miss this one.