RATING: 2 stars (out of 4)
Such is the sexual prowess of Thor that women he hammers can’t even stand to be on innocent lunch dates with other dudes without their minds drifting off to his golden locks framing his slacker beard and flowing down to his armor.
Once you go Thor, everyone else is a bore. That’s the message stuck on the face of Jane (Natalie Portman), the genius scientist with three degrees and a hole in her heart the shape of Mjolnir. She pines for her Scandy Candy like Lois Lane does for Superman, and almost as much as Robin does for Batman.
As an audience member, you can identify with Jane’s unfulfilled longing. You crave the rush from the Nordic god-hero’s last two appearances on screen, and become ever more doubtful that it will return. Even when Thor comes back, he’s not really back. This is a sequel that, compared to the original, is unequal, with pointless, dull CGI battles in Thor’s pointless, dull outer realms rather than anything of much consequence happening on earth to “real” people.
The plot pits Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, who may very well actually be Thor in real life, against dark elves, their secret, hidden weapon called “aether” and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s evil brother whom Thor is hoping that, just once, won’t break his trust and try to destroy him, as well as the entire universe. Jane is along for the ride in Thor’s home universe, which is at the corner of Mario Kart‘s Rainbow Road and Deep Space Nine. She gets to come along because she slaps him with a guilt trip for stopping Loki from obliterating the planet in The Avengers and not even bothering to return her texts afterward.
Those are the broad outlines, anyway. What’s actually happening is Thor is scampering around, smashing pixel-formed animations with his hammer, eyeing Jane to see if she’s turned on by the flipping of his cape. (Spoiler alert: She is.) Some of it might actually be halfway interesting if Thor was ever in any danger, or if the faceless baddies he was destroying so easily had even a hint of personality. But Thor can’t get hurt, Loki isn’t turning nice and poor Jane isn’t getting any. Since almost none of the movie takes place on earth, there are aren’t any citizens or buildings in danger of toppling.
Even drabber than the otherworldly battles are the earth-set scenes, featuring Jane’s pal Darcy (Kat Dennings) hanging out with mad scientist Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) doing next to nothing. Dennings does her usual Two Broke Girls routine, snarling PG-13-friendly single-line sarcasm at the weirdness in which she finds herself. She’s inherently funny and energetic enough, but there’s too little for her to play off of, so she looks like the drunk girl from the office who unwisely tried her hand at open mic night and confirmed her suitability for her day job.
Hemsworth doesn’t get to act in the role of Thor. He just scowls, glowers and swings. Usually he connects, but this time he misses, because there’s nothing much to hit. Like Jane, we’ll have to put our hopes for the hero on hold until the next time he cruises by.
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard and Idris Elba. Written by Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, based on a story by Don Payne, Kat Dennings and Robert Rodat. Directed by Alan Taylor. 112 minutes. Rated PG-13.