Thor: The Dark World, review - Tom Hiddleston shines in latest Marvel epic

Directed by Alan Taylor, with Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth (3D; 12A; 112mins)

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The Independent Culture

The latest Marvel superhero drama lurches from Wagnerian sturm und drang to flippant self-parody in a sometimes disconcerting style.

Thor is busy saving the Nine Realms from the evil Malekith one moment and then driving around with astrophysicist Jane Foster (Portman) in an estate car the next. (At least, when he goes into somebody's house, he's always polite enough to hang up his hammer.)

Alan Taylor, who has directed countless episodes of the best US TV dramas – Mad Men, The Sopranos and Game of Thrones – makes a valiant attempt to balance the action set pieces with humour and depth of characterisation.

He is helped by Tom Hiddleston's sleekly malevolent performance as Thor's untrustworthy brother Loki, a more engaging and complex figure than Chris Hemsworth's monosyllabic Thor.

The film makes witty use of its London locations, but not all of the comic gambits work. There is, for instance, far too much of Stellan Skarsgard in his underwear.