[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*
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.)
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*