Thor: The Dark World, in some ways, is actually a continuation of the origin story that was begun in the first film. After all, in the comics Thor was primarily an earthbound superhero/god despite his Asgardian heritage, whereas in the movies so far he has only come to Earth for limited periods and for specific reasons. The sequel finds the movie Thor coming to more closely resemble the comic book Thor.
Now, I should just get this out of the way and say that this movie isn’t nearly as good as the first one. It’s somewhere between Iron Man 2 and 3 in terms of quality and fun. In fact, I’d be satisfied if the rest of Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can also manage to just not be bad (though I admit I do have high hopes for Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Marvel Studio’s Phase One, which began with Iron Man in 2008 and culminated with The Avengers in 2012, was a remarkable achievement and a high point in superhero films for both casual comic book fans and devoted geeks alike. It’s just really, really hard to pull off something that good and I don’t expect such from Phase 2 or 3.
Having said that, The Dark World is still a good time filled with predictably good action sequences, cool effects and, best of all, that delightful Marvel sense of humor.