Rotten Tomatoes is a wonderful website. It exists as the ultimate collection of film reviews and critical assessments. The link to Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World" shows a film with a modest rating that is praised for its wit and mocked for its inability to contribute anything new to the film industry. In fact, many of the same criticisms of the second tour of Asgard are seen in film reviews for "Iron Man 3." It's easy to see that film critics are growing tired of superhero movies, and perhaps those individuals have a point. However, it is every bit as likely that these individuals are utilizing the wrong scope to view the film.
Try as they might, film critics have a very hard time leaving "The Avengers" out of their film reviews. It is well understood that Marvel's crown jewel helped to set the standard for comic book films--along with "The Dark Knight" from DC Comics. No disrespect to Marvel, but it is slightly absurd to compare the post-Avengers films to this high standard. The movies carry a different goal and should be judged independently of "The Avengers"--no matter how much their stories tie in.
In the post-Avengers world of Marvel, it is clear what Stan Lee's goal is: he wants to see the action-packed moments tie into moments of real emotion. Whether that emotion comes from laughter, happiness, anger, or sorrow is irrelevant when it comes to the delivery that has been seen in "Iron Man 3" and "Thor: The Dark World." One of the truly memorable parts of this film is how easily the film can draw out emotions. The transitions from laughter to anger to sorrow are swift, frequent, and sometimes very bold--while also carrying more subtle moments. One of the qualms many critics seem to have of the film is that it does go back and forth so swiftly--at times, it feels like the movie doesn't exactly know what it wants to do.
The transition between these moments is what makes this film so unique within the Marvel universe. Something "Thor: The Dark World" does better than any other Marvel film is make the audience feel as if they are reading a comic book. The film has many moments that feel as if it is jumping from frame to frame within a graphic novel, which is something that Stan Lee has hinted at wanting to accomplish.
Now, do not be fooled by the praise set forth to this point--there are several flaws in this film. While jumping from frame to frame is a unique trait that is hard to pull off, there are certainly moments where it shouldn't have happened in the film. One of the great moments in "The Avengers" occurs when The Incredible Hulk tosses Loki around as if he were a rag doll. The moment occurs within the film's major battle scene and provides a true comic-book quality moment. In "Thor: The Dark World" battle scenes are often interrupted by such moments--certainly not always for the better of the film.
There is also an issue in lack of plot. Over the arc of the story, audiences learn about the tale of the Dark Elves. From that point, the plot proceeds very slowly. Ultimately the plot follows the same kind of frame as that of the original Thor--minus the fact that this time around Jane Foster spends much more of her time in Asgard as opposed to Earth. In fact, that trailer for the film is rather misleading. While Earth is certainly in danger at points, there is no kind of widespread panic that audiences are exposed to--despite a huge alien ship landing just outside of London, England.
"Thor: The Dark World" should be celebrated for what it has accomplished. It may not be the greatest of films, but it certainly sets itself apart in that it truly feels as if the audience has been thrown into one of Stan Lee's classic Marvel comic books. On a scale of "Iron Man 2" to "The Avengers", this film scores much like Marvel's most recent release: "Iron Man 3." In the end, the film lacks the classic moments to make it a great movie, but it is certainly an entertaining flick that audiences should flock to.