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Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in "Marvel's Thor: The Dark World."

Since last we hung out with our friend Thor, he’s been a busy guy. Fighting on behalf of Asgard, the hammer-wielding god has brought peace to the realms — much to the pleasure of dear old dad, Odin.

The king, too, has been busy, relegating his wayward adopted son, Loki, to an eternity in the lower dungeons for rebellion and numerous treasons. Plus, the aging king seems very concerned about succession to his throne and always seems ready to retire.

Ah, but all is not a peaceful as it seems.

Odin’s father won a long-fought war with the Dark Elves, the guys that have a hangup with light and a goal to suck all the light from the universe with a superpower they call the aether. Odin’s dad found that the aether could not be destroyed, so they deep-sixed it, never to be found again.

OK, this is where earthlings come in. Poor old Thor, despite his victories and glory, has been moping around Asgard pining away for Jane Foster, the lovely scientist he left behind during his last foray to Earth. Odin reminds him that mortals have a short shelf-life. Where’s the future? But, alas, it’s a matter of the heart.

Well, the fates come into play when — and I can’t go into all the details or adequately explain this, because frankly I don’t get it — Jane ends up being the host of the aether and everything resets as the realms come into alignment. The Dark Elves are back on the loose, we bounce back and forth between worlds and realms, and my head started to spin. Even good old Loki gets a new lease on life, while others do not.

Soon, I discovered that I just needed to roll with it and not overthink it. I’m sure that true comic aficionados have insights and clarity that your humble critic can only dream of.

But I will say that the film is entertaining. It’s fun to have all of the great characters back, and all do a great job, especially Tom Hiddleston as Loki. He is diabolically delightful.

And then we have the special effects, which are simply superb, though bordering on overwhelming.

Remember my formula for a successful sequel: characters we love with new developments, new characters that add to the story, and it must be able to stand on its own even if you haven’t seen the preceding movie. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. "The Dark World" falls short on standing on its own.

Basically, I was entertained by "Thor: The Dark World," and I’m giving it 3 stars. By the way, don’t leave during the credits because you’ll miss not one, but two extra scenes.