5. Kat Dennings and Chris O'Dowd are very, very funny. You remember Dennings being funny in the first Thor as Darcy, and with an expanded role she definitely doesn't overstay her welcome here. And O'Dowd has been wonderful in Bridesmaids and The IT Crowd, so his credentials are well-established. You don't even have to listen to me though-- check out this scene:

6. The women are stepping up to the plate this time. And not just Natalie Portman's Jane Foster, who we've seen slapping Chris Hemsworth around in clips. Jaimie Alexander's Sif figures majorly into the film's first big battle scene, bailing Thor out as much as he helps her, and there's an expanded role for Rene Russo as Frigga, the mother of Thor and Loki who is up to the challenge of defending Asgard when it comes under attack from The Dark Elves, led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston).

7. The Dark Elves… they sure are dark. And a little anonymous. I'll let the jury remain out on Eccleston and his band of menacing space-elves, since like I said, this isn't a review. But if you're looking an iconic villain performance to rival Ben Kingsley or Guy Pearce from Iron Man 3 earlier this year, you may be disappointed.

8. The action is bigger, and very successful. Taylor's experience on Game of Thrones made scenes like the early Lord of the Rings-esque battle inevitable, but he does well with a later attack on Asgard, as well as the grand finale set in downtown London, which includes some incredibly inventive ideas I wouldn't dare spoil here. If your major problem with the original Thor was the small-stakes and spare sets of the final battle scene, you'll appreciate the major upgrade here.

9. The 3D is totally skippable. But you probably knew that based on all of the other Marvel films, which feature adequate but never especially impressive 3D effects. We'll have more on that for you in our To 3D Or Not To 3D review closer to release.

10. Stay all the way through the end credits. This is another trick that every Marvel fan knows by now, but if you were disappointed by the throwaway scene at the very end of Iron Man 3, you ought to be happy here-- the first mid-credit scene is the best one since Nick Fury showed up at the end of Iron Man, and the second is worth the wait too.

Let us know when you plan to see Thor: The Dark World in the comments, and check back later for our full review!

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