2013, Alan Taylor (TV including Mad Men, Game of Thrones and The Sopranos) -- cinema
Unlike Graig, my rewatching of the first movie has not generated any fondness for the movie in my mind. But it has tempered my dislike for it. I jumped on the Loki bandwagon and would line up to see his solo movie. While Marmy rewatches for shirtless Thor shots, I rewatch for the tortured Loki scenes -- he really is a bad guy in his blood, but he was raised as a good guy by a loving family and that conflict is done so well. This movie finally gives him some redemption, some, but not much and not much more than he deserves. It also re-establishes the balance between romance and super heroics but this time, dives headlong into the battle scenes. The first may have had to cop out on such to run through the back story, this one needs no such padding and the battle in London is breath taking.
Thor has been away for a few years, dealing with the rebuilding of the Bifrost and the uprisings on the other planets/dimensions/worlds that make up the Nine Realms. I was never sure if these were supposed to be separate planets or other universes or what. Its clear Asgard is not a planet in the traditional sense but Earth cannot be the only one in Midgard or we wouldn't have the aliens from The Avengers movie. Anywayz, that is where Thor has been. But Dr. Jane think he dumped her. So, of course, the Gods of Dramatic Effect (10th realm?) have to drag her into something that requires his return to Midgard, a plot for the Elves of Svartalfheim (excuse you) to doom all the Realms to the Darkness from which they were born. These are not LotR elves, but scary powerful Norse elves. In D&D terms, these would be Dark Elves. But really, in this pseudo-myth world they are just another type of alien. They were thought to be defeated eons ago but have hidden away until the time was opportune. An alignment of the Realms is making it thus.
The battle in London made this movie for me. Thor going up against a being of equal or greater power is astounding. Being knocked about, flying through structures, popping into other Realms as reality breaks down really plays up the fact these guys are Super Beings. The UK military joins in the battle but I don't think any excuse as to why the Avengers don't show up would make any sense to me. The two jets blundering through a portal into Vanaheim, accidentally strafing the idyllic countryside, hit the mark for me. There was weight and impact in this battle, consequences that were later mentioned in the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series. I rather enjoyed this movie, but no, it doesn't redeem the silly nature of the first movie for me. But at least she doesn't hit him with a car again.