I’ve already completed my Spoiler-FREE review of Thor: The Dark World and I recommending reading no further if you haven’t seen it yet, consider the trailer your SPOILER Warning!
Now then, on to the review. I mentioned in my spoiler free review of Thor: The Dark World that I was disappointed in the simplicity of Malekith. Though at no point in Thor 2 was as disappointed in the villain as I was with Iron Man 3’s The Mandarin, however (and I’ll address this a bit further down) by comparison I’m liking Iron Man 3 more and more. That’s not to say that Thor 2 wasn’t a good movie, I’m looking forward to seeing it again, and certain surprising elements like the antimatter grenades that the Dark Elves used were amazing to watch on screen, however the more I think about it, the less impressed I am.
Why is that? Well at the beginning of the film there’s not much to differentiate (aside from the flowing locks and red cape) Thor from some big rock monster that he has to obliterate. He’s a happy hero doing what happy heroes do. Between Avengers and where Thor: The Dark World picks up he’s spent his time pining after Jane and saving the nine realms… and that’s about it. There was a touch of his arrogance towards the end of Avengers, and while no one can ever exactly call Thor humble, the little nod to the first film when at the victory feast he gently sets a mug down instead of smashing it like his comrades, shows that he’s already more mature and there’s really not much room in this movie for character growth… at all. If anything, by the end of the film having to sneak around an escape just shows that he’s learned a few tricks from Loki, but that’s about it.
And if you’re looking for character growth, Loki, in addition to having the best lines, and that hilarious ability to shape shift (I won’t lie one of the reasons I want to rewatch this is just for the scene with Loki hitting on “Sif”, and Chris Evans’ cameo) was actually able to change. The Loki we knew from THOR was ready to hurt Jane just to hurt his brother, and in Thor 2 he’s protecting her alongside his brother for the greater good. And some viewers may have a different view of him, having seen his relationships with others (especially Frigga) and that while he’s still opportunistic he’s gained patience, if no other virtues.
By the way regarding Frigga, and the other women of the film, maybe part of it was having Alan Taylor directing, and his experience with Game of Thrones, because love GoT or hate it, the women in it feel like full characters not plot devices, and that’s how they were treated in Thor 2. Natalie Portman’s Jane may be about as interesting as Iron Man’s Pepper Potts (no offense, but Pepper Potts just isn’t that interesting), and there were entire articles stating that Thor chose the wrong woman, because let’s face it, Sif is awesome, but Jane felt like a real person. And Sif, she’s like a classy version of Xena, and if I had darker hair her character would be on my ever growing cosplay list. Even though Jaime Alexander doesn’t have a lot of lines, she delivers them all so that viewers can read between the lines to Thor, and the bitch-stares to Jane, and everyone knows where her heart is. Out of the three main women in Asgard Frigga felt just a wee bit plot-devicey (though Rene Russo’s acting, either as caring mother or fierce protector was wonderful) as her death was the catalyst for Thor being able to trust Loki’s “rage”, and go after Malekith. However that being said, watching her compassion for her rebellious son was beautiful, and her tricks illuminated more of Loki’s background (it just keeps coming back to Loki, doesn’t it…) and abilities, which was nice because during the first time I watched Thor I remember thinking “are they going to explain Loki’s powers?!?!”. Also, without those scenes with her and Loki, and seeing Loki hit rock bottom, I wouldn’t have trusted Loki’s “rage” either. And I like that the film lured me into trusting Loki, so that I could be happily surprised when his death was just one more illusion.
Now before I skip to the end and ask the big question, I’ll add that part of what also made this movie wonderful was the scenes with Darcy, her “intern” Ian, and Selvig… even in his awkward pantless scenes. After all regardless of how dark Thor: The Dark World got; the down to earth bits (see what I did there) were nice, and never felt out of place.
Where was I? Ah yes, the end of the film, with Loki masquerading as Odin, and sitting rather comfortably on the throne of Asgard, with Thor happily abdicating it to be that happy hero. I have no intention of coming off as a know-it-all, but thanks to seeing Loki come back to Odin as that soldier, and then seeing “Odin” sit on that throne as comfortably as he did I recall holding my breath in that scene excitedly thinking, “That’s NOT Odin!!!!!!”, the only question now is when will Thor find out, and what will he do about it?
If I had to guess… actually I don’t want to guess. I did an entire blog after Comic-Con on how I wasn’t sure if Loki would survive, which (if I can brag) it turns out I was right in my initial assumptions that he wouldn’t make it out of The Dark World alive, thanks to this interview with Kevin Feige, where he admits that initially Loki was going to die. I’m pretty sure Marvel changed their minds in part to Hiddleston’s acting and in part to his EPIC Hall H appearance at Comic-Con (I was there, it was SO epic). And while I’m happy that they kept him around, all of the other Marvel villains (and even heroes… like Thor) pale in comparison to his complexity and depth.
This is why, by the way, that despite my disappointment in Iron Man 3, when I left Iron Man 3 and blogged about it, I may have griped about The Mandarin, but my whole blog was on Tony Stark, his challenges, growth and self victory. With Thor, there’s none of that, and so in more ways then one Loki saved the day, but they can’t just put Tom Hiddleston into every movie to make it awesome. Loki makes sense in Thor: The Dark World, he wouldn’t make sense in Age of Ultron, and while I’m excited to hear James Spader voice Ultron, I’m hoping that Joss Whedon is making Ultron as awesome a villain as Loki turned out to be. For that matter, the Marvel writers now have all the more pressure to give viewers well developed villains, otherwise, for better or for worse the franchise will peak with Loki.
And let’s face it, Loki is the only character who can commit patricide… twice (unless they bring Odin back) and still have fangirls swooning at his every grin! And that may be the best thing out of this for Marvel, a franchise built on devotion from fanboys, to start giving fangirls an incentive to march into movie theaters.
Remember how this was supposed to be a blog about Thor… I’ve had a lot of fun making my point as to why the movie and character were awesome, without having to be awesome, and why I’ll see it at least twice in the theaters.
What were your thoughts? Thanks for reading and happy watching!