THE MAIN MAN
Thor didn't charm me the way he did in the original film, which was frankly no real surprise since his character didn't have a lot to offer in the Avengers either. It was not difficult for Tom Hiddleston to outshine Thor as the clever, if predictable, Loki, but it seems that Chris Hemsworth went from leading man to virtually insignificant afterthought in his own titular role. Jane Foster, Queen Frigga, Erik Selvig, even Darcy and the intern's intern, Ian, seemed to have more life and motivation than the protective, responsible, and rather boring new Thor. There weren't enough scenes that revealed more to him than being a hammer-wielding guardian.
THE LADY IS WAITING
My personal dislike of Natalie Portman, I admit, affected some of my enjoyment. Even so, her character didn't have the same drive that she did in the first film. Instead of continuing to be passionate about her job and a thirst for knowledge, she was obsessed with a guy. Much less riveting to watch and, quite frankly, an insult to her supposed intelligence. It reminds me of a meme I once saw:
Harry Potter: When the love of Hermione's life left her, she continued to search for the keys to destroying the world's most powerful dark wizard.
Twilight: When the love of Bella's life left her, she curled up in the fetal position, went numb for months, then jumped off a cliff.
Which one does Jane Foster remind you of? Living in a state of denial, she used her highly specialized skills trying to find the guy that left her. That's empowerment right there, folks.
To add insult to injury, Thor and Jane's relationship consisted almost entirely of mushy dialogue and staring longingly into each other's eyes. Then again, my perception may be a bit skewed since I was sitting next to my boyfriend in the theater. Every cheesy line and gooey-eyed stare set the two of us snickering at the thought of actually saying that to someone or looking that ridiculous in real life.
I HAZ LOGIC
The post-viewing discussion was also a little different from my normal fare, focusing mostly on the technical flaws of how exceedingly convenient the portals were (finding the keys to the car and returning to earth right where it was parked), how the fighter jets that went through the portals to the other worlds weren't affected by the different gravitational pulls of the alien planets, and how Loki could have faked his death when his illusion-bodies are non-corporeal, meaning he must have been stabbed through the chest with the sword since the monster was able to pick him up. That's what I get for going with sci-fi nerds. I love my friends.
Queen Frigga was surprisingly awesome. I didn't think much of her in the first film - pleading for her sons and hovering over her sick husband made her appear weak - but The Dark World revealed her to be not only loving but crafty, intelligent, strong, brave, and skilled in combat. I became so excited when I realized that Loki learned his tricks from her! I was actually really disappointed when she died.
I have been a huge fan of Jamie Alexander ever since I first saw her in Kyle XY, and I was sorely disappointed that I didn't get to see more of her, but I was also rather relieved not to be drowned in yet another love triangle. I almost think she deserves better than Thor. Someone who would throw away his affection on a demanding, overbearing, know-it-all doesn't really deserve someone as selfless and fiercely loyal as Sif.
THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE
I rather enjoyed the silly humor with Dr. Selvig running around Stonehenge naked, and the interns' ridiculous instantaneous attraction. Loki's teasing was also great, and I appreciated Captain America's brief cameo. I also got a tad bit excited when I recognized Zachary Levi as Josh Dallas's replacement for Fandral, and Alice Krige (the original Borg Queen) as one of the healers, and read Christopher Eccleston's name in the credits as Malekith, which did not surprise me in the least.
The film wasn't bad overall. It was entertaining - I was never bored - but there was something lacking in either the characters' motivations, or the plot complexity, or something. In some way it failed to charm me the way the first film unexpectedly did.