This Friday, you might use your hard-earned money to pay to see a movie called Thor: The Dark World. As it turns out, Thor: The Dark World is a sequel to a 2011 movie titled Thor, sans a Dark World. What is this Dark World and what does it have to do with our friend and crown prince of Asgard, Thor? As a service to you, we answer 25 Questions about Thor: The Dark World.
Q: What's the magical device that everyone in the movie wants to get their hands on this time?
A: Well, yes, the Tesseract that we all got to know and love in both the first Thor movie and The Avengers has been replaced by something called the Aether.
Q: What does the Aether do that the Tesseract couldn't do?
A: Honestly, it doesn't matter.
Q: Who specifically wants the Aether? Is it Loki again?
A: Loki is in Asgard jail for the number he did on New York City during the events depicted in The Avengers. It's the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim who want the Aether.
Q: How would you describe the Asgard penal system?
A: It seems very clean. If I had to spend time in prison, I would probably pick Asgard's prison. Either that or the one Magneto spends time in because at least there's chess.
Q: What is a Dark Elf of Svartalfheim?
A: I would tell you, but when you see Thor: The Dark World, you will have to sit through a long and boring explanation of what it is that these elves do, and no human being should be subjected to that twice.
Q: Is the Dark Elves' secret power the ability to bore an audience to death with their origin story?
A: "Death" is a strong word, but their abilities are at least highly sedative.
Q: What does any of this have to do with Thor?
A: While in London, Thor's sort-of girlfriend and astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) somehow, accidentally - and rather unbelievably, even for a superhero movie - stumbles upon a portal that leads her directly to the hidden Aether.
Q: What does Jane do with the Aether?
A: Well, the Aether enters Jane's body so she becomes one with the Aether. So, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has to address that issue, as well as the Dark Elves' newfound interest in Jane Foster.
Q: Is this Thor: The Dark World as dumb as it sounds?
A: For the first 45 minutes, yes. I would go as far to say that the first 45 minutes of Thor: The Dark World is a bad movie, probably the worst 45-minute stretch that Marvel Studios has produced.
Q: Wait, Are you sure? Have you seen Iron Man 2?
A: Yes, and yes.
Q: What happens after the first 45 minutes?
A: Well, for one, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) becomes a bigger part of the story, which is always fun. And for whatever reason, someone decided to pull the switch that changed the movie from "heavy exposition and absurd coincidences" mode to "really fun superhero movie" mode.
Q: What was the most surprising thing about Thor: The Dark World?
A: That Chris O'Dowd is in this movie.
Q: If you're going to be blurbed in this weekend's commercials for Thor: The Dark World, what quote do you hope is used?
A: "Chris O'Dowd is in this movie." Mike Ryan - The Huffington Post
Q: Does Thor: The Dark World take place on Earth or Asgard?
A: In Thor: The Dark World, most of the early scenes take place on Earth. But after Jane's incident with the Aether, Thor takes her to Asgard where much of the film takes place.
Q: So with the locations of the movies in opposite order from the first movie, is Thor: The Dark World comparable to Crocodile Dundee II?
A: That's a ridiculous comparison that I'm having a hard time arguing with. (Though, we do see Earth again later in the movie.)
Q: Who's more charming, Mick Dundee or Thor?
A: This is a tougher question than it would appear on the outset. Both are huntsmen of sorts and both are excessively skilled with hand-to-hand weapons. (Though, I do feel that Thor's hammer being supernatural does give Thor an advantage over Mick Dundee's knife, no matter how big of a knife it is.) But as far as charming, this is a very difficult question and I feel this deserves greater thought.
Q: You're seriously contemplating a complete Crocodile Dundee-Thor breakdown piece, aren't you?
Q: When is Thor at his best?
A: Well, see, that's the thing: Thor is at his best when he's a fish out of water on Earth. What looks like a cool costume looks quite ridiculous when he's hanging out inside a London flat with Jane, Darcy (Kat Dennings) and Dr. Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) - which is played to great effect in the movie.
Q: What's the best thing about Thor: The Dark World?
A: Tom Hiddleston as Loki, which is always the greatest thing about any Thor movie. Honestly, Hiddleston could teach classes at The Learning Annex titled "How to Play a Supervillain and Get Paid!"
Q: Do you have another example that only people who live in New York City will understand?
A: Hiddleston could leave flyers around town promoting "Tom Hiddleston Will Teach You How To Play a Supervillain." (I'd even sign up if it really were "Tom Hiddleston Will Teach You Guitar." I am less enthusiastic about "Dan Smith Will Teach You How to Play a Supervillain.")
Q: Are there any fun cameos in Thor: The Dark World?
A: Sort of.
Q: What's the worst thing about Thor: The Dark World?
A: As mentioned, it's without question the cumbersome plot about the Nine Realms aligning (which is creating all these very convenient portals) and this whole Aether nonsense that takes forever to get going and really makes little sense in the first place.
Q: Do the Dark Elves make a good villain?
A: No. And poor Christopher Eccleston gets completely lost as their leader, Malekith. It's a shame an actor so good is wasted on this nothing role. The movie might have been better off just calling Malekith "Bad Guy" and sparing us all the setup.
A: Yet, based on the charms of Hemsworth, Hiddleston and Portman (and a pretty nifty final act), Thor: The Dark World saves itself after the opening missteps and the lackluster Dark Elves villains and somehow transforms itself into a very enjoyable movie. It's actually quite remarkable how good Thor: The Dark World is, considering how putrid of a first act it has.
Q: Should Chris O'Dowd get his own Marvel movie?
Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.