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There are a few glimmers of light in this installment of the Thor franchise, but The Dark World ultimately lacks in personality and polish.

Hello again moviegoers! Chris Hemsworth returns as the title character in ‘Thor: The Dark World’. This time director Alan Taylor has Asgard come under attack by the evil Malekith, played by Christopher Eccleston of Dr. Who fame.

Malekith is leader of the Dark Elves race and he is bent on regaining possession of the ether – which here is spelled A-e-t-h-e-r – and releasing its full power on the nine realms or worlds if you like. It’s a little technical just how that will happen but Erik Selvig – Stellan Skarsgard – will explain it, in his underwear if he has to.

‘Thor: The Dark World’ (two sweet potatoes out of four) Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Christopher Eccleston; Director: Alan Taylor; Genre: Action, Fantasy; Rated PG-13; Runtime: 112 minutes; opens Friday, November 8th.

Back on Earth, England to be exact, Jane Foster – Natalie Portman – is on a date. It has been two years since her first go round with Thor, but she isn’t quite ready to get back into the dating scene as is evident by her difficulty ordering from a very limited menu.

She is interrupted by her chatty intern Darcy Lewis – Kat Dennings – who ferries her to an abandon warehouse where some kids have stumble upon a scientific anomaly. Jane’s investigation of the anomaly which turns out to be a portal to the other realms transports her to the holding place of the Aether. The Aether then uses Jane as a vessel to free its self and reanimate Malekith.

With the Aether’s presence coursing through her veins, Jane and Thor are finally reunited as her situation requires that he take her to Asgard for medical attention. Odin – Anthony Hopkins – doesn’t care much for the earthling, and thinks Thor should focus on who is in front of him. That would be Sif – Jaimie Alexander – one of Thor’s loyal comrades who also harbors unrequited feelings for Thor.

Jane’s presence on Asgard summons the wrath of the Dark Elves who appear pale and shell-faced, not unlike the Stormtroopers of ‘Star Wars’. This leads to a clash between Malekith and Frigga – Russo Russo – which was the most intense and spirited part of the film.

Defenseless and running out of options, Thor turns to his disgraced brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, for assistance.

Against the demands of Odin who has essentially quarantined Jane, Thor and Loki with the help of his comrades are deceptive in getting Jane off of Asgard as part of Thor’s plan to bring the threat of Malekith and the Aether to an end. The movie would grow derivative from this point on falling back on formula.

Besides ‘Iron Man’, ‘Thor’ seems to be just another promotional vehicle in ‘The Avengers’ universe – which isn’t a bad gig if you can get it. And as is tradition in the Marvel-centric world you and I exist in stick around to the very end of this one as well.

The movie does offer some visually appealing aspects like the spike-shaped craft of the Dark Elves and the defense apparatus of Asgard, but overall the movie is scattershot at times and too hokey at other times. I give ‘Thor: The Dark World’ two sweet potatoes out of four.

This has been your resident moviegoer and I will see you after the movies at moviegoersview.com.