** out of ****Gone, is the rich visual splendor of Kenneth Branaugh's surprisingly entertaining first entry for this Marvel Avenger. Most of this movie's stylization is driven by post-production, which makes everything feel less real. As much fun as this new movie attempts to have, it lacks the hammed-up melodrama that made me feel like a kid on the first outing. This one has more action, more jokes and yet, it's so damn bland.
There was no element of hope in my system after the first fifteen minutes. This wasn't the same experience as watching Iron Man 2 where the movie started off on a pretty good roll, only to go way off course by the middle. With Thor: The Dark Stool, I was simply glad that the movie didn't get any worse.
Natalie Portman's Jane Foster character, who was the least interesting in the first film, as an audience surrogate/forced love interest, is mistakenly given just as much if not more presence in the new movie. This is one of those "get'em all back together" sequels where the producers have no interest in what made the previous one work or what could be improved. Granted, it's a very different animal of a movie -but it feels so much cheaper.
The plot involves a group of dark elves with plans to take over the universe (boring), hidden portals between worlds (which remind me of the haunted warehouse short in The Animatrix) and the recruiting of Loki for entertainment convenience. While Tom Hiddleston makes him fun, it feels like an abuse of a good character to be in such dull circumstances.
Maybe I'll elaborate more later. At the moment, all I remember was a big digital turd with a laugh track built in.