Thor: the Dark World had some big shoes to fill.

Directly following the events of the Avengers, Loki (Tom Hiddleston)  is being tried for his crimes against earth. (Remember he led that alien invasion that ravished New York?)

But as soon as he is locked away, (In a cell that is far too comfy for any prisoner… seriously, it looks like a 5-star hotel room) trouble arises when Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) accidentally absorbs an ancient sealed mega-weapon known as the aether.  The ever-dashing Thor (Chris Hemsworth) then decides he finally has time to return to Earth and vows to save his human love.

Meanwhile Malekith, an ancient enemy of the 9 realms, is resurrected and seeks the aether inside Jane so he may finally purge the world of all living things.

This plot isn’t gonna win any Oscars; and yes, while Malekith is cool, he’s also cliché. Though, I’ll admit it does have some neat twists in store, as one should expect in a movie starring Loki, the god of mischief.

However, the plot really captivates audiences in an area where there original Thor struggled—the setting.

The majority of the first Thor was set on earth in a boring, small New Mexico town while Dark World is primarily set on Thor’s home of Asgard and also explores a few other cosmic venues.  This helps distinguish Dark World as not just another great superhero movie, but an excellent Sci-fi movie.

There is also a ridiculous amount of eye-candy, as over and over again you will be floored by the arguably the most beautifully animated CG action sequences since Avatar.

Watching Malekith’s army of dark elves, (Which look something like Drell from the video-game series Mass Effect) invade Asgard is stunning.

Think part Star Wars/Star Trek/Avengers with a healthy amount of J.J. Abram’s lens flares thrown in.  The finale even has cross-dimensional fun with portals, what more could you ask for? Even when there is a lack of CG, every room, weapon, and costume is designed elegantly.

While it may be the setting that sucks you in, it’s the performance by the cast that keeps you engaged throughout the film.  Almost the entire cast from the original movie returns in this sequel, with the exception of the role of Fandral who’s spot is now filled by Zachary Levi.

There is also less eye-rolling this time around with Thor and Jane’s relationship- it feels less forced.  However, it is Loki who steals the show. I would be very surprised if Hiddleston doesn’t receive a nomination for the, “Best supporting actor.”

In conclusion I definitely think Thor: Dark World is one of best superhero movies made, and the top sci-fi film of the year (Which is quite a feat considering how great Star Trek: Into Darkness was).  Every movie-goer should see this film as it is an essential movie in the Marvel cinematic universe that does not disappoint. From start to post-post credit scene, (Yes, there are two of them) Thor: Dark World is an absolute delight.