As a fan of the first Iron Man movie and the Avengers, I have to admit that the first Thor movie while not terrible was also not great. It felt exactly like what it was; filler material to prepare and familiarize the potential Avengers audience. Does this freshly minted sequel overcome the filler status of the original?
To summarize: No, it does not. So please, let me elaborate further.
As usual Tom Hiddleston absolutely steals the show as Loki, Thors adopted half brother who just happens to also be the Norse God of Mischief. His portrayal of the character is flawless and believable in a movie filled with all sorts of mythical creatures and over the top special effects. I won't ruin or spoil any plot developments with him here but needless to say, if you are a Loki fan then you will be pleased.
Chris Hemsworth seems more comfortable in his role as Thor and is more believable than he was in the first film. He also shows that he can make a decent action star. The character himself unfortunately needs to be developed further. He's been in 3 movies at this point and yet still feels two dimensional. His romance with Natalie Portmans character (Jane Foster) feels forced and thrown in just to give Thor a love interest. In addition Kat Dennings (as Darcy Lewis aka Jane Fosters intern) who was supposed to be comic relief just came off as awkward and detracted from the story.
Idris Elba as Heimdall got a little more screen time on this one and was excellent. Likewise with Anthony Hopkins as Odin. Sadly, for an "all father" and king of the gods, Odin does not come across as very wise being. I suppose that if he was then the movie would last about 30 minutes. With that said, there is a problem when it seems that just about everyone is either smarter or a better tactician than the ruler of Asgard.
As far as plots go it is the usual Marvel fare. Item of incredible power is chased for by villain (Malekith who is played by Christopher Eccleston) for purpose of reinventing the universe as they see fit. Sadly, the said item for all its hype did not come close to delivering the expected payoff once acquired. While the final battle was entertaining there was far more destruction, challenge, and suspense from the battles in movies like last summers "Pacific Rim" and "Man of Steel" which didn't have all powerful items in their respective villains possession.
The special effects range from great to cartoony and the 3D is definitely an afterthought that is not necessary. You'll be just fine watching it in 2D.
Overall, this movie tries much harder to come across as "Epic" in comparison to the original. While it does not quite reach that level, it is a decent popcorn flick (again, thanks to Tom Hiddleston) and far superior to the lackluster Iron Man 3 that came before it in the Marvelverse.
Protip: There are 2 bonus scenes after the movie ends. One after the main credits and another after the full credits. Both are fairly enjoyable and hint not so subtly as to where the series is headed.
Linky to the movie showtimes