The latest Marvel movie opened this weekend. The title refers to a Dark World, but no one should be surprised it serves us (for the most part) light popcorn.

Title: Thor: The Dark World

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Directed by Alan Taylor Written by Christopher Yost, Christoper Markus, Stephen McFeeley, Don Payne, and Robert Rodat.

Cast
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Natalie Portman as Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Christopher Eccleston as Malekith
Anthony Hopkins as Odin
Jaimie Alexander as Sif
Idris Elba and Heimdall
Rene Russo as Frigga
Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Algrim/Kurse
Zachary Levi as Fandral
Ray Stevenson as Volstagg
Jonathan Howard as Ian Boothby
stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig
Tadanobu Asano as Hogun
Alice Krige as Eir
Clive Russell as Tyr
Chris O’Dowd as Richard

Cameos: Stan Lee as Patient
Benicio Del Toro as The Collector (Tanaleer Tivan)
Chris Evans as Captain America

Full Cast and Crew information is available at the imdb.

Premise:

An alignment softens the boundaries between various realms, causing Jane Foster to discover an ancient weapon, ancient evil to threaten the universe, and Thor to swing into battle. Our hero must rely on a number of allies to help him—-including his untrustworthy brother, Loki.

High Points:

I like the fact that each of Thor’s allies, however humble or human, gets at least one heroic moment and, however noble and godlike, at least one laugh.

Some get more than their share. Kat Denning’s Darcy continues to crack me up.

Low Points:

Anyone over nine will predict the twists, and some may grow tired of a world rooted in comic conventions—where every alien looks like a person in a weird costume, and technologically-advanced demigods do battle with brandished steel.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 The film has a good deal of fun with tropes and conventions we’ve seen many times before.

Effects: 5/6 Given the spectacular nature and prodigious number of effects, I could give this a five. However, some of the CGI still looks like CGI, and several scenes have that cluttered, aesthetically awkward look of the Star Wars prequels.

Yes, I know. Picky. Asgard, in all fairness, looks spectacular.

Production: 6/6

Acting: 5/6 The actors do an excellent job with, for the most part, two-dimensional characters. The principals—Loki, most notably—have some depth.

Story: 4/6 The story carries along the action, but amounts to very little, and you should spot the two major twists immediately.

Emotional Response: 4/6 Is anyone else starting to experience Marvel Fatigue? I enjoyed this film, but I await Captain America: the Winter Soldier. As Empire to Star Wars, it looks to be adding some depth to a fun but somewhat shallow series (Of course, I wouldn’t want too much gravitas. Superhero films have to strike a precarious balance to work).

Overall: 5/6 If you go to this film expecting a comic-book movie, you won’t be disappointed.

In total, Thor: The Dark World receives 31/42.

Lingering Questions

1. What’s up with those D-bag D-box seats? People pay eight bucks extra (not counting the 3-D surcharge) to arrive late and sit in prime seats wired to heighten your experience. We didn’t pay extra, but we snagged a couple D-spots during the two credit sequence Easter Eggs, since the D-boxers had departed. Really? For eight bucks extra, you get seats that shake a bit and vibrate? I kept wanting to answer my cell phone. If you enjoy this gimmick, please explain it to me. I genuinely don’t understand.

2. I had the same reaction to the Easter Eggs during The Avengers, so perhaps this is just me, too. The first Easter Egg foreshadows another movie; the second provides an amusing epilogue to the current one. Shouldn’t their order be switched?