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Thor: The Dark World/Rated PG-13 For Violence, Confusion Over Who Is Who, Since People Keep Turning Into Other People And Kissing, Although You Are Not Sure Who Is Kissing Whom.

Marvel Comics’ Thor is back and brawnier than ever. More and more ladies are showing up as if Jack/Leonardo DiCaprio from Titanic had been reincarnated as Thor. Thirty year-old Aussie, Chris Hemsworth, plays Thor again. He is big, tough, and has a big hammer. It flies around and always returns to him like an Australian Boomerang.

As always, diabolical doings are in the works. The first clue we get to them is the appearance of powerful icky red weapon called the Aether. This ancient weapon, sent into universe eons ago, possesses Thor’s girlfriend, causing her to faint a lot. We learn that Thor’s girlfriend stuck her hand to a big, square rock that the Aether was trapped in. This led to her problems. The bad guys, Dark Elves with pointy Vulcan-like ears (although that’s where the resemblance to Star Trek’s Spock ends), created the Aether weapon. Thor must fight them and their leader Malekith to save his girlfriend from fainting.

All of this has to be done quickly because the nine worlds of Asgard (from Norse mythology) are about to align, which will make the Aether all-powerful in its mission of plunging the universe into utter darkness. Once again, big film stars Anthony Hopkins (Odin) and Natalie Portman reprise their parts – even though in some cases they got killed before making their reappearances. Thor’s nemesis, his brother Loki, is now locked up in a jail cell with see-through bars. Thor lets him out so they can fight the Aether together.

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Giant and stupendous special effects make up what’s on screen. Every so often the characters pause to discuss things; but never more than a few minutes go by before there’s more fighting and explosions as we watch ugly elves beaten by Thor or Odin. Brian Tyler composed an effective score, but like the actors, the music is constantly overwhelmed by the massive special effects.

Watch for Marvel Comics Stan Lee, who turns 91 Dec. 28, to appear and utter a line of dialogue in the old-folks-home scene. After the credits roll, stay seated. A new character played by Benecio Del Toro makes his first evil appearance in a short scene – no doubt designed to line up the audience for next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy where he plays the Collector.

But don’t leave yet. Dark World also has a five-minute preview for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, opening in April 2014. The Captain also makes another surprise appearance somewhere in the story, but I won’t say where. His appearance heralds the fact that, despite all the ominous events, this movie keeps its sense of humor, as did the first Thor film.

Thor will return, apparently in another feature, and will make an appearance in the next Avengers film, currently titled The Avengers: Age of Ultron due out sometime in 2015. All fine by me. I like Thor. Long may he flex.

Rated 3.5 out of 4.0 reasons Chris will make the ladies forget all about Jack.

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