'Thor: The Dark World' has lost the spark of the original

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Thor: The Dark World' stars Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman.

Jay Maidment/Walt Disney Studios/AP
'Thor: The Dark World' stars Chris Hemsworth (l.) and Anthony Hopkins (r.).

Like so many comic book epics these days, Alan Taylor’s 3-D “Thor: The Dark World” is both monumental and generic. Since I’m not a fanboy of the franchise, I’m at a disadvantage here. It matters little to me whether Thor (Chris Hemsworth) rescues Earth and all nine – count 'em – realms. Frankly, I was kind of rooting for his scurvy brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to carry the day.

As their brooding patriarch Odin, Anthony Hopkins is still trying, as he did in “Thor,” to lend Shakespearean gravity to kiddie kitsch. At least that first film in the series, directed by Kenneth Branagh, had some gusto and, in the New York scenes, a comic edge. The earthbound scenes here, in which Thor once again literally sweeps Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster off her feet, are less original.

My favorite moment in the movie: Astrophysicist Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) insisting on wearing only his underwear because he says he thinks better that way. Hey, whatever works. Grade: C+ (Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content.)

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