When I was younger, I was never really into comics, but now with each Marvel and DC movie, I find my inner nerd coming out. While there are many types of superheroes and superhero movies, the genius behind Marvel movies is that with each passing movie it leaves you a series of clues and “easter eggs” that send you on endless Google and Wikipedia searches. Nerd Alert, indeed.
Thor: The Dark World
Directed By: Alan Taylor
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Renee Russo, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Eccleston, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano
Premise: Centuries ago, Odin and other warriors of Asgard battled with Malekith the leader of the Dark Elves over control of the Aether, a weapon that could destroy the universe. Upon Malekith’s defeat Odin has his people hide the Aether so no one could find it. Cut to present day on the cusp of the alignment of the Nine Realms, Jane Foster stumbles upon the Aether and becomes infected by it. The release of the Aether alerts Asgard, enlisting Thor to bring her home and to find out how to get the dark energy out of her before it kills her. At the same time, it also awakens Malekith and his people who set course to obtain the Aether and exact vengeance on Asgard.
I’d admit, Thor: The Dark World definitely has its problems, but for me the pros outweigh the cons and Thor’s problems are easily fixable. Though waters may not run completely deep and Tom Hiddelston’s Loki does a lot of the heavy lifting, the movie is exciting, fun, and miles above its predecessor.
**Minor Spoilers below, if you haven’t seen the movie, tread carefully!**
Top Things I Loved About Thor
It doesn’t take itself too seriously:
Many movies take themselves too seriously, the dark Batman franchise, the excruciating, bleak Man of Steel, even the new X-Men is on the verge of becoming way too aware of itself. That’s where – pardon my use of nerd term – the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) comes in. [Note: I know X-Men is technically Marvel, but we’ll cross that nerdy bridge in another rant.] The MCU movies built around the Avengers stay true to the comic book aspect of the franchise. The movies are campy, over the top, action packed, funny, with crazy characters that don’t take themselves too seriously. From putting its characters in comical situations, to giving you one of those romantic movies you can get swept up in even though it’s slightly cheesy, these movies deliver and Thor: The Dark World was all of the above and more.
What also helped was the fact that we were able to learn more about the characters. The first movie set them up a bit, but aside from Thor good, Loki bad, we didn’t get to know too much about the human world, which let’s face it is the more interesting world seeing as how it’s easy to relate to. This movie we were allowed to spend more time on Earth with Jane Foster and her scientific crew. Jane actually became a character and we were able to see why Thor loves her so much. Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth actually had some chemistry this time around.
The one thing Marvel does well is seamlessly add humor into their movies. And with Kat Dennings, you just know every word out of her mouth is going to be gold. Say what you want about 2 Broke Girls, but Kat Dennings sure knows how to deliver a one liner. Stellan Skarsgaard was also in his comedic element this movie. His change in character from The Avengers, was a nice change of pace and a little…unsettling.
Tom Hiddleston has been a great asset to the Marvel Franchise. Loki is a happy, charismatic villain, basking in everyone’s misery. He is malevolent but he’s not sadistic. He’s deliciously evil and as crazy as it seems that is what makes him so likeable. In fact, he became such a fan favorite they filmed additional sequences with him before the film’s release. I love being able to see two sides to a villain, it creates a back and forth with your emotions that is rare in a lot of “popcorn” movies. All of these things make Loki interesting. He is a great yang to Thor’s yin (Or is Loki the yin? I don’t know, I’m Asian, I should probably know these things.) The brothers play off of each other well, their eternal sibling rivalry at the heart of their love and detest for each other
Things That Can Be Improved
Where the heck was Thor?
While this movie delved deeper into Loki’s psyche, isn’t this movie called Thor: The Dark World? Not Loki: The Bad Seed. The problem is, without Loki and without Jane Foster, Thor had nothing to do. In this movie we learned, yes, Loki does have a conscious, but what did we learn about Thor we didn’t already know? He loves Jane. Great…also…boooorrrrriiinnnggggg. Thor is supposed to be the hero of the story but it’s as if no one knew what to do with him. They should have put Thor on Earth. I would have LOVED to see him interact more with Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings. What if when Portman absorbed the Aether, Loki kidnapped her and Thor was forced to work with Darcy? I totally would have watch that.
More Dramatic Character Moments
This problem also existed in the first Thor movie, where the moments to get to know the characters are few and far between. Thor and Loki have a wonderful moment in the middle of this movie where we get to see a rare moment of vulnerability. Unfortunately, it’s for Loki not Thor. Thor needs his own vulnerable moments (maybe a crisis of faith?). How about a sit down with Jane where they actually get to know each other and talk about something real instead of the Nine Realms or the Cosmos, or what not? How about Thor confiding with his Warriors Three? He had a brief moment with Sif and in the Comics they eventually get together. How about a moment where Sif tries to kiss him or touches him arm? I know that they are “gods” but I wanted more human moments in the movie. (Kudos, though, on giving Frigga more to do, more things like this, please.)
I have always been a fan of Marvel movies and will continue to watch them and Thor: The Dark World has vastly improved from the first. I just hope with the next inevitable movie they will find a way to bring Thor back into it. Chris Hemsworth is so pretty. And he’s a great actor too. (See: RUSH, no seriously see it. ) Give him more to do, TPTB. Also, find a villain that’s as formidable as Loki. Thanks.
Rating: 3 ½ Stars
UPDATE: [11:27am, 11/20/2013] I don’t know how I forgot about talking about THAT ENDING. *SPOILER ALERT!* If you continue reading and read something you didn’t want to read, it’s your own fault! ** That scene that set up the Guardians of the Galaxy was a definitely WTF moment for me, in a good way. That is another thing about Marvel movies, they always leave me going WTF. And Benicio Del Toro dressed up like a goth clown mated with David Bowie definitely made me wonder what was going on. He is called The Collector by Volstagg and Sif and he plays him like a psycotic version of Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow mixed with one of those guys who probably eats his own finger nails. After watching this so crazy it’s so good scene, I immediately went home and spent more hours than I’d like to admit googling and wikipedia-ing everything I could about this dude and his island of colorful misfit toys. I also just love that all Marvel movies make you sit through the very end of the credits. There’s something cool about a movie theater filled with people who stay until the very end.
Read more about that ending here: http://popwatch.ew.com/2013/11/09/thor-dark-world-ending-post-credits/ A fantastic article written about it.