As big and muscular as its titular hammer-swinging hunk, and equally short on sparkling repartee, Thor: The Dark World is a sequel-by-numbers that slots neatly into the ever expanding Marvel Comics universe.
There are verbal references to yesteryear’s The Avengers, a cameo by one of Thor’s fellow superheroes and a teaser during the end credits that introduces The Collector (Benicio Del Toro), who figures prominently in next summer’s Guardians Of The Galaxy.
If nothing else - and there isn’t much else - Alan Taylor’s film is a master-class in brand recognition.
The Dark World squanders the strongest actors, including Tom Hiddleston as arch-villain Loki, in order to focus on the miasma of slick digital effects.
Screenwriters Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley bamboozle us with their cod-science, spinning a fantastical yarn about an alignment of worlds every 5000 years which allows “an ancient darkness to strike”.