Ah, mighty Thor. It’s been a while since we’ve seen your muscly goodness and Thoreal tresses (Yeah, I’ve got a million hair jokes for this movie). Thor came out in 2011 and was immediately followed by The Avengers in 2012. Many people said that Thor was the weakest film of Marvel’s Phase 1. I’m more inclined to think that trophy should go to Captain America, but that’s just me.
That’s why I found it interesting that Marvel strategically placed Thor: The Dark World in between Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Not to mention, they also released it in November, which is usually about the time that the major family-friendly, fantasy movies (like Harry Potter, The Hobbit, etc.) come out. Coincidence? I don’t think so. But enough about movie production. You came here to hear about Thor (or maybe you’re like me and care more about our beloved Loki).
Here’s how Disney describes the plot: “Thor: The Dark World continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Thor and The Avengers, Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos…but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.”
I’m not sure what to think of Thor: The Ombre World (I warned you). I, personally, like the Norse mythology set in space, so I dig Thor’s story. And I didn’t think the first Thor was that bad. Did it need work? Sure. But all of the movies leading up to The Avengers did. Thor really just set up what we needed for The Avengers—its villain and the Tesseract. With this movie, however, it was like we were finally getting more of Thor’s story. But honestly, Thor is one of those characters (or maybe it’s just Chris Hemsworth, I’m not sure) that is boring on his own. With his warrior friends, he’s interesting. With Loki, he’s very interesting. With Jane Foster, please kill me. Unfortunately, the movie focused too much on Thor’s relationship with Jane and less on his battles with his friends across the nine realms (which, hello, didn’t you learn anything from Star Wars? Anakin and Obi-Wan in the Clone Wars would’ve been way cooler than listening to Anakin whine about Padme).
While I did feel this movie felt somewhat rushed and that its villain, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), was kind of “meh” threat-wise, there were good elements to the film. Thor’s mother, Frigga (Rene Russo), died almost immediately, but the funeral scene that followed was absolutely stunning. Then, there was Captain America’s cameo. But it’s not what you think! Loki was just screwing around with disguises and suddenly…Chris Evans. Also, watching Stellan Skarsgard, who plays Eric Selvig (a.k.a. Loki’s mind-slave for most of The Avengers), run naked around Stonehenge was probably the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. And Darcy (Kat Dennings) is always a welcome addition. She manages to add humor in the most random moments, which keeps the film from taking itself too seriously. As does Loki, who I would bone day and night.
So we need to talk about Jane Foster. She’s a smart scientist, yes, but she is nothing more than a prop in Thor: Legends of the Hidden Weave. I mean, when we first see Jane, she’s mopey because Thor hasn’t come back for her (Poor Jane. It’s not like she has important science stuff to do or anything). Then, after she becomes the host for the parasitic Aether (the Dark Elves’ weapon), Thor poofs down to Earth and is like, “Yo, baby,” and she whines, “Why didn’t you space-text me, Thor?!” (Okay, it wasn’t exactly like that, but you get the point).
While the Aether seeps further into her, killing her each day, she kind of just blindly follows Thor and Loki on their excellent adventure. And then when the Aether is gone, Jane stumbles aimlessly through scenes doing science stuff because Thor is off fighting Malekith and not coddling her. That is, until we return to the original issue, which is Thor leaving her behind again and her being mopey again. I wonder how Academy Award-winner Natalie Portman feels about playing “superhero’s whiny girlfriend.” At least she makes millions doing so, right?
Of course, what everyone will be talking about the most with this movie is that twist ending with Loki’s death. Oh, what? Loki dies? PSH, WHAT ARE YOU NEW? Loki is the best, and he will never die. That’s right. The cunning god of chaos and emo hair played yet another trick on his Pantene spokesbrother and technically inherited the Asgardian throne when Thor turned it down in a conversation with whom he thought was Odin (but was actually Loki in disguise). We can ask all the questions we want about how he pulled this fast one, but I think the real question we should be asking is, uh, what the hell happened to Odin? And speaking of Loki’s survival…
Did you know this was actually the re-shot and re-edited version of this movie? Yeah, the original version killed off Loki for that whole “brotherly love” theme they were going with this time around. But here’s the thing—after Tom Hiddleston showed up as Loki at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel was like, “Guys, we can’t kill him.” Because fans LOVE Loki. Marvel knows that the surest way to keep butts in the seats with Thor (who is kind of bland on his own) is to give them more Loki. Besides, Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki, is pretty much the ultimate Marvel pimp. Seriously, go back and look at photos of the Thor: The Flatiron Strikes Back promotional tour and tell me who you see. Chris Hemsworth, who plays the titular character? Nope. Hiddleston. Everywhere. That man loves playing Loki, and Marvel knows he’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep fans happy. So, you see, they couldn’t kill him. That, my friends, is how you maintain job security in Hollywood.
Now, since Marvel has become the queen bitch of teasing, you can probably guess what I’m about to tell you. Yep. Post-credit scenes. That’s right. Scenes. LOOK AWAY NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT THEM SPOILED. The first comes after the immediate title cards. We see Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) taking the Aether to The Collector (Benicio Del Toro), who is one of the major characters in the Guardians of the Galaxy film coming out in 2014. And because Marvel wants you to scream “WHAT?!” with every movie teaser, they make sure The Collector delivers a creepy and somewhat villainous “One down, four to go” line about the Infinity Gems (or Stones, whatever). Basically, if you know nothing about the Gems (or Stones), just know that the Tesseract is one of them. Oh, shit, right? The other scene is less impressive and appears at the very end of the credits. It’s just Thor reappearing on Earth to be with Jane in all of their hair-waving love. Yawn.
Overall, Thor: The Dark World is on par with the first Thor film (with slightly more wind machines for all of that hair). It’s beautifully designed and humorous, yet it’s majestic enough to still feel like we’re watching a superhero movie. In my opinion, the only major hiccup here is Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, who is useless beyond playing Thor’s love interest. Rather than showing more of Thor and his warrior pals gallivanting around the nine realms to kick some alien ass and restore peace (which would be more interesting to watch), we’re treated to Thor and Jane’s totally lackluster romance and the events that happen around it. Did Tony Stark have to constantly hold Pepper Potts’ face and promise to come back to her? No way! He was off fighting bad dudes, and eventually, Pepper joined in. Jane, you need a tune-up, girl, or else I’m going to start shipping Thor and Sif.
Also, if Marvel could just give us a Loki movie, that would be great.
Thor: The Dark World: B
For my radio review of Thor: The Dark World on “Pat & JT in the Morning,” visit this link (starts around the 19:10 mark).