Thor 2: The Dark World's appears to be Marvel's latest success, though it's not Chris Hemsworth who steals the show.
Marvel fans in Britain have a chance to see Thor 2: The Dark World next weekend, a whole week before their American friends across the Atlantic. The question is: will they be taunting the yanks over seeing one of the better Marvel movies in recent years or warning them to save the $20 and wait for the DVD?
Chris Hemsworth [L] and Anthony Hopkins [R] in 'Thor 2: The Dark World.'
The sequel to Kenneth Branagh's well-received movie continues the story of the Mighty Avenger as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from the shadow enemy that predates the universal itself. In the aftermath of Thor - and The Avengers for that matter - the main man (Chris Hemsworth) fights to restore order across the cosmos though his task is made a tad more difficult with the arrival of the vengeful Malekith (Christopher Ecclestone) who returns to the plunge the universe into darkness.
Thor must reunite with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and join forces with his villainous and now imprisoned brother Loki to set out on a dangerous journey that will force him to make the ultimate sacrifice.
From the reviews of the movie, it's not difficult to figure out that Hiddleston is the star attraction here. The British actor has somewhat accidentally become the face of Marvel in recent years and his turn as Loki appears to take The Dark World to a level in may not have reached without him.
Natalie Portman [L] and Chris Hemsworth [R] in 'Thor 2: The Dark World.'
"Thanks to Hiddleston and Hemsworth's impressive collective charisma, Thor: The Dark World is far from a franchise killer," wrote Ben Child of The Guardian.
"This robust, impersonal visual-effects showpiece proves buoyant and unpretentious enough to offset its stew of otherwise derivative fantasy/action elements," mused Justin Chang of Variety.
"Of all of the Marvel franchises Thor always felt the most difficult to pull off (he is a virtually indestructible God after all) but here it all ties together rather well," wrote Mark Adams of Screen International.
It all makes for a rather appealing 83% on review aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes, though it's worth remembering that most of the big hitting American critics are yet to offer their two cents. We image this will settle on something like 75%. Still, it's encouraging for Marvel, who will almost certainly green-light a third movie should the sequel perform to expectations at the box-office.
Tom Hiddleston Steals The Show as Loki in 'Thor 2: The Dark World.'
In terms of its ranking amongst the studio's previous offerings in recent years, it actually bests the original movie, which holds a score of 77%, though as mentioned, The Dark World will likely settle lower than that.
Joss Whedon's all-conquering Avengers movie is way ahead on 92% after holding a perfect 100% for a short period, while Captain America: The First Avenger holds an impressive 79% from 200 reviews.
Elsewhere, The Dark World is ahead of The Amazing Spider-Man and the Iron Man sequels (73% and 79% ) though behind the original which is even ahead of The Avengers, on 93%.
Thor: The Dark World hits theaters in the UK from October 30, 2013.