Thoughts on Thor: The Dark World

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!

MalekeithNow 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.

thor-2-dark-world-trailer.png-0872013-095512Why 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 1383766022000-XXX-THOR-DARK-WORLD-MOV-JY-9666-59532890Thor 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.

thor-2-the-dark-world-official-still-photo-loki-janeAnd 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.

thor-2-the-dark-world-jaimi-alexander-natalie-portmanBy 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 tumblr_mr6lem4nl01qfajn1o6_r2_250that 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 Jane_and_Friggaplot-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 duringlokirockbottom 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.

indexNow 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?

IMG_7442If 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.

Thor__The_Dark_World_49This 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.

thor-2-loki-smile-600x307ef6492be40ee23e59838a02589c5c06cAnd 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!

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Thor: The Dark World

  1. Hey, thanks for both the spoilery recap and your previous spoiler-free ones.

    I think you have solid points, and I’ll be hard-pressed to find one I disagree with.

    I guess in general I’m okay when it comes to superhero movies if the characters don’t necessarily show growth within the bounds of the movie, largely because I like my character growth (especially in comics) to kind of take their time. Watching Thor II, it really felt like I was reading an epic comic story.

    And even better, besides Thor bringing the hammer down on the bad guys, secondary characters were crucial to making things happen. I’m talking Team Science in Greenwich. The addition of the dimension spanning conjunction holes was fantastic, not only in making the battle extra interesting, but bringing in the moments of humor.

    That poor hammer. It’s trying SO HARD to get to Thor, whose bouncing between Midgard, and Svartalfheim, and Vannaheim, etc.

    So much stuff had been set up early on in the movie, with the car keys vanishing and not coming back, etc.

    I was pretty sure that the Asgardian reporting to Odin was Loki, but I wasn’t expecting him to be masquerading as Odin. I don’t know how I feel about losing Frigga and Odin in the same movie, so I’m hoping Loki has Odin stashed off somewhere, maybe in the Odin-sleep. But I’m not putting much hope on that.

    It was weird seeing Zachary Levi replace Josh Dallas as Fandral. My daughter loves Once Upon a Time, so she was looking forward to seeing Prince Charming as one of the Heroes Three, and… it was Chuck.

    I saw your reference to the statement that Thor chose the wrong woman, but I’m with you, Jane’s pretty excellent. I like Sif a lot though, but I can respect Thor’s choice in this.

    You’ve already covered the excellence of Loki. Tom H. has been so good in the past movies, and I like Loki as a villain much more than I ever did when reading the comics.

    I know you weren’t enamored with Malekith and his two dimensional portrayal as Hi There, I’m Bad! but I didn’t find him necessarily inconsistent with a comic book villain. Sometimes you get someone awesome and layered like Doctor Doom, and sometimes you get Hi There, I’m Bad! man. (Which, is sometimes Doctor Doom with a bad writer.)

    Like I said, I have blinders on when it comes to Superhero movies. If the story is entertaining, I am usually okay.

    This is way more info than you want in for a reply, but to illustrate my point, I’d like to describe the Batman movie that I really want to see.

    I’d like a Batman movie that totally rips off the first Die Hard movie, with no costumed supervillains. Just Bruce Wayne throwing a Christmas party at the Wayne foundation, and Alan Rickman and his gang of criminals invade. I want the movie to be 90% Bruce Wayne reprising the Bruce Willis action as he tries to get to his secret stash of bat-suit and bat-weapons, for the big finale. Having to beat up goons along the way, protecting his guests, protecting his identity, and figuring out the real objective.

    I don’t need character growth, I just need an engaging story, with the Batman character exhibiting Batman (as in, World’s Greatest Detective and Badass) nature.

    • Hey Pat,
      Don’t apologize for all your info in the comments, I love reading it! Regarding “myeh-myeh”, as Darcy refers to the hammer, I knew there was something I left out of my recap! Her reaction to seeing the hammer fly by during everything else that was going on was hilarious, I LOVED it! I also agree about all the “earthlings”… “Midgardians”?, and the support they brought to the plot.

      I never minded Zachary Levi replacing Josh Dallas, I’m a couple seasons behind on OUAT, but I really liked Chuck, and I also really like Zachary Levi, so I was excited to see him in this.

      I also agree that for the most part, with superhero movies it’s ok to be light on character growth, but *if* you can have it with all the action, then all the better. As much as never wanna talk about Iron Man 3 (yes because I was one of those people that was ridiculously bummed when the Mandarin… *sigh* it’s still too soon for me, I think the problem was that they built him up too much at SDCC2012.. but I guess that was the point)… where was I, yes, Tony Stark had lots of character growth, and Thor didn’t, so in retrospect while I enjoyed Thor more, I appreciate Iron Man 3 more, and by the way the trailer looks, I think (and by think I mean hope), that Captain America: The Winter Soldier will have the best of both worlds.

      Regarding Batman and Die Hard… I love Die Hard…. and while the Dark Knight Trilogy had a lot to offer there’s never been a Batman film that I loved, even before I was into comics (which is only over the last couple years) it’s like the DC characters never sucked me in… however I think that your scenario would be awesome. In my opinion I think that Batman could use a reboot… but I don’t think I’ll get it before WB/DC do the Superman/Batman film.

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