When Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is infected by an ancient weapon known as the Aether and awakens the Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), the fate of all Nine Realms hangs in  the balance. The only person who can help Thor (Chris Hemsworth) save the universe is his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) – but could he be an even bigger threat to Asgard than Malekith's army?

Bigger and better than Thor's first solo film, this superior sequel significantly ramps up both the spectacle and humour (it's easily the funniest Marvel Studios film to date) while building on the character work laid out previously. In other words, it's great fun and shows a studio at the top of its game.

Picture: As with almost all of Marvel's 3D conversions to date, Thor: The Dark World isn't likely to wow you with its stereoscopic spectacle. Brightly-lit scenes (mainly those in Asgard) hold up reasonably well, but much of the film is so dark that it just ends up looking rather flat and making the imagery that much duller.

Much better is the film's essentially flawless 2D AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode. Packed full of intricate details and excellent delineation, it immerses you in director Alan Taylor's dark imagery in a way that the 3D version can't compete with.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: Like its predecessor, Thor: The Dark World sports a thunderous DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix, packed with explosions, laser fire, screams…  pretty much everything, basically.

In other words, it's a ridiculously forceful and dynamic affair that will fill your cinema room with expertly positioned directional effects and dollops of subwoofer-bothering  bass. Which is just what we want from an action-packed blockbuster.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: There's a nice selection of extras here, the best being an informative chat-track, where director Alan Taylor and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau explore the production in detail, while producer/Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and actor Tom Hiddleston liven things up with anecdotes.

The 32-minute A Brother's Journey: Thor & Loki looks at the casting of Hemsworth and Hiddleston (including footage of the latter auditioning for the role of Thor). It also traces the character arcs for the two Asgardian brothers and provides a bit more insight into the making of the sequel. This is joined by a five-minute featurette about composer Brian Taylor's work on the movie.

All Hail the King is the latest – and funniest – Marvel One-Shot short film, which answers a few questions (and poses a few more) about Ben Kingsley's Mandarin from Iron Man 3. Rounding things out are six deleted scenes with optional commentary, a gag reel and a preview for Captain America 2.
Extras rating: 2.5/5

We say: The 3D conversion may be pointless, but otherwise this sequel is a divine experience on Blu-ray

Thor: The Dark World 3D, Walt Disney Home Entertainment, All-region BD, £28 Approx
HCC VERDICT: 4/5