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Thor: The Dark World

Just saw this, and bottom line?

[I loved it. (SPOILERS!)]I loved it.


My few annoyances, just to get them out of the way:

I still don't quite feel the Portman love, but that's likely my bias showing. And this movie was loads better than the first in that regard. Portman seems to have settled into the role of Jane, and things just gelled better. That said, I still feel like the relationship between Jane and Thor on screen is a little...forced.* Again, though, much better, and with so many other wonderful things going on, I barely noticed this.

And the one scene of blatant female fanservice? Meh. The movie didn't need it, and it didn't do anything for me, because I just don't need that in my Thor movies, but it was pretty, I suppose, and fair's fair - maybe? I guess it was meant to be all "look at me, I'm brooding, heartsick Thor?" *shrug* Whatever. I suppose that was needed - sort of? Anyway. I vastly prefer "look at me, I'm ass-kicking, cape-flying Thor," but that's just me. *grin*

My loves:

The plot? From start to finish, I just flat liked it. That's pretty much all there is to say, but I'll try to be more coherent. The brotherly love/hate angle was well-played, and the motivation behind the Asgard boys working together was brilliant. Thor's desperation to save the woman he loves and his need to avenge (ha! avenge!) his mother's death driving him to Loki is wonderful, but more than that, Loki's response is absolutely pitch perfect. Hiddleston once again astounds as Loki, and when he uttered "Trust my rage" to his brother, I nearly swooned. When that is added to his obviously real pain in captivity, both in general and over his mother's death, hidden only by his illusions - oh, the ANGST. Hiddleston brought me into Loki's torment, and Hemsworth truly sold me on Thor's grief not once, but twice. And that second time? Be still my heart. I knew there was no way Loki wasn't tricking us, but DAMN. I still nearly cried for Thor, who is "never not going to fall for that." Odin's pain wasn't too shabbily portrayed, either, but that's no surprise coming from Hopkins. I'm a big Heimdall fan, too, so seeing him all morally-ambiguous was refreshing.

So, yeah, this movie hit me in the gut when it needed to.

But it was funny, too.

Once again, Darcy provides the absolutely stellar comic relief (Mew-mew!) and Stellan Skarsgard shines as a more-than-eccentric Dr. Selvig. The new guy, Ian, is also pretty fun, if a bit of overkill. Jane's date, Richard, was a nice touch, too. Having Thor ride the tube in London cracked me up (in a cape like that, mind the gap indeed!), and him hanging Mjolnir on a hook?** Classic.

The Warriors Three performed a similar job to Darcy in Asgard, while still being badass. Excellent use of the trio. I found myself laughing more in this movie than I have a while, and it was all witty dialogue that did it. It felt like a comic book, complete with bright colors, outlandish villains, and snarky banter.***

Finally, the battles. Someone else said that when the battles rage, they RAGE. I wholeheartedly agree. They were not overdone (perhaps one of my only gripes with Avengers is that the end battle is quite the marathon, but then again, Iron Man 2's is way too short, so...it's a wash), but seemed just right. And the fact that RAGE is the correct word in every sense of the word (oh, but Thor is hurting - and he's MAD) - again, be still my heart.

This movie had humor, sadness, epic battles, and snappy dialogue.

And that, my friends, is what I want in a superhero movie.

Well played, Marvel. Well played.

For a little while, I thought they were going to just wrap this movie up, much like they did with Iron Man 3, but alas, no. And I'm glad for the open ending, because it leaves us with all sorts of fun questions, like:

What happened to Odin? (I have my theories, but I'll keep them to myself for now.) Is Thor going to adopt his Donald Blake persona now? (Oh, but I hope so!) What is Loki really up to? (Does anyone ever know?) Is Frigga going to stay dead? (This is open to debate, though I believe she is truly dead.)

Oh! And!

That mid-credits scene: Oh, is that my heart speeding up again? More Infinity Gauntlet fun! When is the next movie coming out, already?

I do have one question regarding said scene, though. It's a minor nitpick, and it did nothing to detract from my pleasure in watching the film, but I am curious about it. Click the second spoiler cut below if you want to know more.

[One Minor Confusing Point for Me (spoilers for movies and comics)...]
One thing I'm confused about, though. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, it is established in Thor that the Infinity Gauntlet is in Odin's treasure hall. In the first extra credits scene, when Sif and Valstagg take the ether to The Collector, they imply it is an Infinity Gem. They also tell us that in the MCU, the Tessaract is an Infinity Gem. The collector then states the obvious when he says he has one gem, with five to go. Yes, we comics fans already know there are six Infinity Gems and the holder of all six becomes an omnipotent being. (And we can't wait to see that, by the way - especially after that extra scene in The Avengers, which...well, never mind. Spoilers and all.) But in Thor, is not the Infinity Gauntlet clearly, um, full? All six gems appear to be there. In looking at stills now, at least five are clearly present. So...what? I'm confused. I can buy changing the gems from actual gems to other things in the MCU. Fine. But...they're all there in the gauntlet already, so what gives?

Yes, I realize it's likely an error, but since we all know there are no errors in the Marvel Universe, here's my rather quickly cobbled together theory to explain this. The gems in the gauntlet are placeholders. Fakes designed by Odin to throw off would-be collectors (not The Collector, obviously) from seeking them elsewhere. If no one is looking for them, no one can find them, and the universe is safe. Well, safer, anyway.


So, do I get a No-Prize?


*Besides, I think I've always been a bit of a Sif fan. I mean...Sif! Enough said, right?

**Yes, a common coat rack can support Mjolnir. Why? Because it stays where Thor puts it. Period. It's enchanted, not heavy. Seriously, people.


***Oh, and Thor? You can't fly. Mjolnir flies. You hold on to Mjolnir. Just saying. *grin*

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
phyrelight
Nov. 17th, 2013 02:34 pm (UTC)
I didn't read the spoilers, but I'm going to try to see the movie this week! I really wanna see this movie 'cause... well... Thor has abs, Loki has a wicked sense of humor, and I'm not dead yet. ;-)
jackwabbit
Nov. 18th, 2013 10:47 am (UTC)
Agreed. It was wonderful!
lolmac
Nov. 17th, 2013 02:57 pm (UTC)
release the squee!
*g* We actually saw Thor 2 on its first weekend. (We NEVER see movies on their first weekend! Well, we did.) I loved it too!

I not only watch trailers, I also read reviews. The local critic really sneered at this movie -- but in the way critics do that makes you think "You really need to fix that attitude, boyo." For Missy and me, it added an extra bit of glee when we "unwrapped" the movie and found it was so shiny.

I giggled at the fanservice, but I was actually glad it was there. Why? Because it's fanservice for the female audience. That female audience that buys more than half the tickets, but is usually regarded as nonexistent. Any sign that moviemakers are finally reading this century's demographics is a REALLY good sign to me.

Another good sign: this is a comic book movie with an eponymous male protagonist, a male antagonist, and a third male who's in both roles. And . . . it passed its Bechdel test. Over and over. Also the recently-minted "Mako Mori" test.

It did kill a major female character, but she wasn't fridged. She went down kicking ass, her battle itself was a plot point, and her death was an essential component of the central plot structure.

In fact, every female in the movie kicked ass. Including Jane, which was a relief; the character could have simpered and just been helpless and rescued, and she was the opposite. I especially loved her smacking both Thor and Loki! I guess I'm okay with their relationship feeling muddled, since they really haven't had a chance for anything except hormones and crisis survival.

I can't gush enough about Loki, of course. Daaamn.

But the bigger surprise? I think they must have originally cast Chris Hemsworth for his muscles; but he's grown phenomenally as an actor. And they're writing more challenging material for him, which is wonderful.

I loved the balance of dark themes and snappy humour. And I was surprised at the compactness of the battle scenes! I've gotten used to fight scenes in movies being drawn out, often far past the point of tedium. I didn't mind it in the Avengers movie, because that was a whole damned war, and it was structured really well. (Whedon said he wrote it with its own five-act structure, and man, it was good.) With this one, the fighting was intense but never drawn out. Damn, what a treat!!

Other bits:

I really wished they'd used the Warriors more. Seriously, the grand plan for escaping Asgard involves leaving all your buddies behind to face charges of treason? That's the best you can do? I especially scowled at their dumping the non-Caucasian off at the beginning of the movie, and never getting him back.

LOVED Heimdall YES YES YES!!

I smirked a little at Thor's claim to fly, but chose to accept that "flying" can also mean "flying with the assistance of an object". It was a great line.

My Ultimate Squee line, I think, was "You just decapitated Grandfather." ZOMG THEY ACTUALLY READ THE ACTUAL MYTHS NOT JUST THE COMICS.

Re the "Infinity Gauntlet": as a viewer whose exposure to the comics was patchy, I have no idea WTF you're talking about. For those of my ilk, the line about "five to go" was the opposite of obvious: it's completely new information. Our reaction is "aha, third movie", especially since Odin's fate is unresolved. (As a passionate lover of well-crafted movies and the use of Chekhov's Gun, I squee at the idea that the first movie contained a detail like that!)


I confess to some smugness on the double Easter egg. I've been a diehard credits-watcher since my teens, so I always stay to the end regardless. We not only watched 3/4 of the audience leave after the first egg, we had to stop the friend who was with us from leaving! (For a change, instead of telling her "[Beth] always watches the credits to the end", we could say "There are two Easter eggs!")

It's a lovely move, worthy of Loki -- audiences now know there will be an Easter egg scene in every Marvel movie. So, how to make the egg a surprise again? Double down!
jackwabbit
Nov. 18th, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC)
Re: release the squee!
And as per usual, you say all the things I forgot.

Bottom line? Agreed.

But let's see if I can address things better:

1-I like opening weekends. They're fun.

2-no trailers, no reviews for me. But seriously, what a douche your local critic was. This movie was SUPER shiny.

3-as for the fanservice, yes. Agreed. However, I have to be a little annoyed on principle because I wrote this: http://www.sfx.co.uk/2013/05/29/blog-fanservice-faux-pas/

Bechdel test, etc: YES!

Frigga's death: HELL! YES! She not only saved Jane, she did it with her own badassery magic AND fought with a sword AND drove the two leads together AND...just yes.

Jane: true, true. Far better than in the first movie for sure! ("That was for New York!" "I like her!" OMFGAWESOME!"

Loki: always has been, always will be, the heart of the Thor universe.

Hemsworth: exactly. That's why I gushed about him grieving above. Because who knew?

Battles, etc: yup. They were just ace.

Warriors Three: more of these three is always better. ;) And I didn't realize the non-white issue, but yes. Flaw.

Heimdall: always my love, that Heimdall. I was sooo upset in the first movie when they hurt him. So not cool.

Thor flying: me, too. I loved it, but I do have to tease the boy.

Your squee line: I laughed at that, but was not surprised. Everything I know about Norse mythology I know from reading the Thor comic in late junior high/early high school. It's, um, pretty comprehensive.

Infinity Gauntlet: one of the few comics I was handed (by my then boyfriend) and told "you must read this." It is a seminal story, and Joss Whedon said that is "defined why [he loves] the Avengers more than anything." Because yes. Only two comics have ever moved me to tears. This was one. It's HUGE to try to do this as a film, but Joss loves it like a child, so I'm hopeful he can do it justice. I loved the first end credits scene because it teased the fanboys/girls, but also made the non-comics fan raise an eyebrow in curiosity, which is the whole point, right? As for the line about five gems...yeah, I said it with him. ;)

Re: Chekov's Gun: yup. Glad you appreciate the continuity. ;) The Infinity Gauntlet is clearly visible in Thor. Here's a nice vid that pauses it at the right moment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpDkxJZSwBc I noticed it on my first viewing, somehow, and then googled it, as I wasn't sure, but yeah...oh, the Infinity Gauntlet. Sigh...

Credits: I have also stayed for the credits since long before it was the cool thing to do to add little easter eggs, and it's nice to finally be rewarded for that. ;) And yes, Marvel has outdone themselves with their recent trend. As much as I love X-Men First Class, no end credits scene feels...wrong. I knew there were two going in, but I wouldn't have left regardless. Many in our theater left before the first! WHUT.
faith_king
Nov. 18th, 2013 02:11 pm (UTC)
I've seen it twice now and my love is growing every day. On top of loving the Thor world and characters a lot already, this movie had the addition of Zac-as-Fandral, which, of course, just made it all the more fun for me personally. (His hair! It's so terrible and adorkable!! hee!!)

I loved this, though random tumblr person said it funnier than I could: http://ohsodashingme.tumblr.com/post/66791684881/thor-2-a-summary

There was ONE frame of Chris, Tom, AND Zac all together on the skiff thingy, which was #1 on my superficial wishlist for this movie and I GOT IT!!! (so excited)

(I did love EVERYTHING I'm just ranting mostly about Zac because I have a very specific chronic fetish that I will always flail about to anyone who stands still long enough to put up with me. ;-))

It's always kinda fun/weird/interesting/probably-hilarious-to-the-well-versed for me watching these movies with NO IDEA about what goes on in the comics. Case in point, the Collector tag. This is me: *blink blink* Who the hell is this guy? He is SUPER CREEPY! OMG DON'T GIVE HIM SOMETHING! ARE YOU CRAZY??!!!


(Also, Sif's armor is my big daunting-but-gonna-do-it costume ambition for next year's D*C. :-))
jackwabbit
Nov. 18th, 2013 03:21 pm (UTC)
It's super good! Way better than the first!

I don't know this Zac you speak of...

And you don't have to know jack about the comics to enjoy these movies. That's the whole point. I actually know very little of Thor comics, but I know the Infinity Gauntlet specifically, so...yeah.

And do it! Do Sif! I wanna see!
faith_king
Nov. 18th, 2013 04:08 pm (UTC)
Zac is Zachary Levi (from Chuck, Tangled) who played Fandral in this movie. Rumor has it he was the first choice for the role in the original movie, but Chuck got picked up for six additional eps that year and he wasn't able to commit to it. They cast Josh Dallas, who then couldn't reprise the role because his show was doing well this time (Once Upon a Time).

I've had an incurable fangirl crush on Zac for almost six years now.

I harbor zero conflict at being a fan of the movies but not the comics. I thoroughly respect comics as a medium/art form, I've just never been able to connect with them. So I'm glad the movies are providing such a wonderful window these worlds/characters that I otherwise probably would never have known beyond the merest passing.

Sif is def going to happen, though it will probably take all year since I have a whole new side of costuming to learn. So excited, though. The costume (and Sif) are both kick-ass and feminine, and that's a combo I love.

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