Monday, November 18, 2013

Movie Monday: Thor: The Dark World

Last week, on a freezing cold and very rainy afternoon, I took myself off to the movies to see Thor: TDW. Obviously, it was bound to turn up on Movie Monday at the first possible opportunity.

Due to the fact that this one's still out at the movies and people may not have seen it yet, my thoughts are under a jump cut. No one wants to be the asshat who delivers spoilers all over the place...

So. Let's talk about Thor: TDW. It definitely wasn't my favourite Marvel movie ever. Hell, it wasn't even my favourite Marvel movie from this year - that honour very definitely falls to Iron Man 3. But I still loved it, and it was still fabulous.

Let's start with the obvious (at least from my perspective): Tom Hiddleston. He was completely and utterly fantastic (stupid hair aside), and frequently stole the show whenever he was on screen. I - and, it would seem, many others - would go so far as to retitle the movie "Loki, you little shit". Every time you thought you had Loki's plans figured out, something else would pop up and away he'd go again. In addition to nefarious plans, Loki proved instrumental in Thor's fight against Malekith (at least when not on Earth), and frequently provided much needed humour. Plus, his grief over Frigga's death is pretty fabulous. There was even a return at times to the brotherly relationship that we saw in Thor, particularly in this magical scene:

Moving away from my future husband, let's talk about the female characters. I wasn't a huge fan of Jane Foster the first time around. But here, she's pretty spectacular. She plays a much more active role in the story, rather than just being the scientist who accidentally hit Thor with her car and then fell for him. Here, she's travelling to other worlds, fighting for her life, trying to keep SHIELD out of the equation, working out how to get back to Earth again, and using science to stop an alien invasion.

Then there's Darcy. Oh my God, I adore Darcy. She was truly magical from start to finish, and I kiiiiiiiiind of want a movie that's just Darcy and Loki having a sass-off. Because it would be phenomenal. Again, much like Loki, Darcy provides much needed comic relief, while also allowing the scientific side of things to be explained in layman terms. But when her boss heads off to Asgard, she doesn't just sit around waiting for Jane to get back. She sets out to work out what she should do next. Plus, the scene where she dips Ian was hilarious.

What can I say about Frigga other than that she's a total BAMF? We didn't get to see a whole lot of her in the first Thor movie other than as Odin's doting wife. But here, she gets a lot of character expansion. We see her interacting with Loki, despite his assertions that no one cares for him. We see her creating illusions. We see her being proud of Thor and getting to know the woman he loves. And we see her going down in a BAMF-tacular blaze of glory. Not gonna lie, I cried during her funeral.

And finally, Sif. We didn't get to see nearly as much of Sif as the trailer implied, but what we did see was great. She's a warrior in every sense of the world. And even though she doesn't agree with some of Thor's decisions in the course of the movie, she still helps him through to the end because she knows that they're HIS decisions.

Onto other things. Christopher Eccleston as Malekith was a pretty straightforward villain. He didn't really have to do a whole lot besides look nefarious and talk about how he wanted to destroy the universe. But he looked pretty damned menacing doing it, so I guess it's a successful casting job? The expansion of Heimdell's character was fantastic, and I would probably watch an entire movie just about him because Idris Elba is magical. Chris O'Dowd was a very unexpected but not unwelcome addition to things, and again provided much welcome comic relief after some incredibly serious scenes. And, as always, Stellan Skarsgard was magnificent, especially with a dose of the "not coping well after the Battle of New York" issues that we got to see so much of from Tony Stark in Iron Man 3. Chris Hemsworth, as always, put in a solid performance as Thor.

Add in that Captain America cameo (I LAUGHED SO HARD), Odin hanging out with his ravens (a nice touch, given that his ravens turn up in The Avengers), using science to defeat the mystical (which I think they balanced perfectly), and getting to see so much more of Asgard, and I came out of the movie unable to stop grinning. Especially after that scene on the train. Girlfriend, that is the best "sorry not sorry" I have ever seen. A+.

Plus, I got to play "Spot the person who doesn't know how Marvel works and walked out during the credits", and that's ALWAYS fun.

What did you guys think?

K xx


  1. The internet is the closest thing to time travel we've yet discovered - here am I on Sunday night, commenting on a post you wrote on Monday morning the other side of the world! :D Fantastic review of a fantastic film. I loved it! Loki was definitely the star, as will surprise no one, and I enjoyed the bits with Jane's science gang in London, too. In fact, I found it refreshing in a strange way seeing familiar places get smashed up rather than the usual New York - made me appreciate the efforts of the CGI team more.

  2. FYI we're totes seeing it again next week because of all the reasons (but mostly that Steve cameo - come on this is me talking here)

  3. You basically said all the things I think about this movie. I loved it. I laughed super hard at least ten different times, including Captain America. And one of the Loki twists? I genuinely did not see it coming. (Not the very last one, because everyone in our theater did an out-loud-gasping OH! when they realized what he did there... but one of the other ones.)

  4. I liked it. I liked it a lot.

    As far as I'm concerned, it was a huge improvement on the first one, which was a little too breathless in its storytelling, the "we have to get to the big climactic face-off quickly" effect a lot of superhero movies fall victims to, setting character development to the side. This felt bigger, grander, funnier (this is a big one: the humor in this movie, especially the visual gags, were absolutely on point-- the absurdity of Thor putting mjolnir on a coat rack was absolutely brilliant). In that first movie, the Jane/Thor romance never really felt convincing to me from a dramatic standpoint. Why does she love him? Is it because he's a big hunky dreamboat from space? Where's that deeper connection? The kind that keeps one up at night waiting for the other party to show some sign of life? The kind that would keep me from developing any kind of love life, just for the off chance that this person will pop up in my life again? The kind that makes it a genuine tragedy that an inter-dimensional rainbow bridge was shattered to pieces, severing the connection between our worlds? I didn't see any of that. It was three or four tiny scenes of dialogue, some smiling, and a big kiss. This movie, to me, portrayed that relationship a lot more effectively. There is a weird kind of animal magnetism between these two, a primal attraction beyond any kind of cerebral bond that they tried to sell us in that first movie.

    Loki, similarly, was a lot more effective here. In the first movie, he was kind of an effete pain in the ass. More of a nuisance than anything else. His supposed malevolence didn't feel earned. More like a giant tantrum. Perhaps this is due to the writers taking a harder look at the source material and developing the character further through The Avengers, but Loki was absolutely on-point. He had the best one-liners in the film, even if his motivation seemed a bit muddled and unclear halfway through.

    That said, there are some problems. Here's the nitpicky part of my comment. If you're annoyed by nitpicky stuff, stop reading now:

    1. (breaking the comment up because your page yelled at me for making it too long)

      Both movies have horrific costume designs. Like, TV-grade, Buffy-the-vampire-Slayer-level awful. So many times the action scenes looked like they were copy-pasted from some old episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. There was the one guy who looked like Super Shredder. And the other guys who looked like evil mutant Teletubbies. It looked silly. But I guess I have to remember this is a superhero movie about a fucking Norse God.

      Along those lines, the fight scenes... what the fuck? They hire actual professionals to shoot and edit these. Like, actual real educated professionals. Why were they so awfully done? In conversation shots, they'll have three camera angles to bounce between, and in each one the characters will be facing a slightly (but really, really noticeable) different direction. It happened multiple times in the movie, but most noticeably for me was when the one Supershredder looking dude was holding Momma Thor by the neck. Incredibly jarring. At one point, they're in a skiff being chased by another skiff. It's right behind them. It's SHOOTING AT THEM. So one of the heroes grabs a rope and swings.....straight downward....somehow ending up on the skiff that's right behind them. And then, just to drive it home, he disposes of the baddies in .05 seconds and then turns to give the thumbs someone straight in front of him. I don't understand. Just before that, there was this super planning scene where she says "Oh, there's a legion of troops there, and they'll be looking for you," and he's like "That's why YOU'LL sneak in." And then it cuts to just, like, her punching four guys and then they can just walk through what was the plan anyway?

      Also: Goddamn space magic. This movie filled all its possible plot holes and complications with the most hilarious answer known to man: "I dunno, magic." And in that way, it (like the first Thor) gave itself over to a sort of glorious "who cares" attitude that let it get away with things other movies only dream of not getting made fun of for. What is the villain after? Space magic. How was it made? Probably space magic. What does it do? Whatever the plot currently needs it to do. How will he find it? More space magic or maybe the same I'm not actually clear on that. Is the universe in danger? Yeah, dude. It's space magic. And in the meantime? It bangs Natalie Portman FROM INSIDE HER VEINS and makes Space Elf kinda good at punching. What? It just does shut up. Can it be destroyed? WTF NO, it's fucking space magic. What if we drop a spaceship on it? Well yeah, obviously if you do that. But you just said...I said fucking space magic.

      Yeah. The plot is threadbare, but you know what? That's fine. Avengers had too much plot. I would've liked an even smaller story: it feels like every one of these movies, except for the amazing Iron Man 3, has stakes that are way too big. It's always THE FATE OF THE UNIVERSE that's at play. You know? Every once in a while it'd be good to have a one-off superhero movie where the hero just comes to terms with himself, where the struggle is as internalized as it is a good guy vs. bad guy battle, and that it doesn't feel like more excuses for destruction porn. The wretched Man of Steel had enough of that going on.

      All in all, it was great! I loved it. And Guardians of the Galaxy looks incredibly dumb. But hey, what the hell do I know?


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