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Review

Lightning, Thunderclouds, Thor 2


These are dark times. Dark and gritty times. Or so it would seem from our choices at the box office, where trends kicked up (but hardly established) by the Nolanverse Batman films continue to cloud every superhero franchise for miles around. This is a land where wonderment is traded for plot expedience, story pacing replaced by gorgeous, if rampant, CGI. Thor: The Dark World is no exception, being as dark as its title suggests. Fun to watch, but ultimately only slightly more substantial than its predecessor, T:TDW suffers from being the middle chapter of its series, if not a smaller piece in the giant puzzle that is the MCU. Its visual clout may be mighty, but its story lacks punch.

Engage at your peril, for through this ethereal portal lie SPOILERS.

Our story begins several different ways; in an expository war thousands of years ago, on Earth, on a distant world unsettled by invaders, and with a prisoner. The Dark Elves, once at war with Asgard to cover the universe in Darkness, are back and seeking out their weapon of choice, a floating mass of evil Capri Sun called the Ether. Meanwhile, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his warrior friends are kept busy by skirmishes across planets, and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is kept busy by what looks suspiciously like a pile of Legos as he languishes in prison. Also, on Earth, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is trying to date again after the disappearance of her fling from another planet, oblivious to a planetary alignment that makes all the realms as permeable as cosmic Swiss cheese. (If you feel confused by anything, especially the villains and their motivation, all is explained again later in the film.) We know little for certain at the start, but we can all bet on Jane becoming involved with the Ether, on Thor having to come to her rescue, and on Loki not staying put in the dungeons for very long.

T:TWD is a banquet of visuals, from the spectacle of Asgard to the H. R. Giger-tinged alien ships. The film borrows liberally from the cinematic library of Lord of the Rings, the Star Wars prequels, Harry Potter, and even Doctor Who. Still, it is no less appealing for its mass of references, providing tireless marvels like an illuminated tome whose pictures move to tell the story of the Dark Elves. While recycling many designs established by the first film, the sequel expands on them. On offer is a more full view of life in Asgard, with training as well as feasting areas, palatial interiors that flow into exteriors. But the pall of war hangs over the would-be utopia, a reflection of the disarray and chaos the nine realms have been thrown into, and there is little time for sightseeing when there are battles to fight.

Supporting players fare well in the Marvel movie franchise with the largest expanded cast, with a few exceptions. Primarily, Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), who for some reason is packed off to another realm fifteen minutes in and almost never appears again. Sif (Jaimie Alexander) has plenty of enemies to dispense with, but, after playing a large part in an early battle, slowly disappears from the film along with the remaining Warriors Three (much to this reviewer’s disappointment). Heimdall (played by a more famous Idris Elba than in Thor) is given more to do here, though barely, having one scene of exhilarating action to justify his presence in a plot where he cannot sense the enemy. And speaking of stars who have risen to a clear place in the sky, if there’s one lesson to be learned in Thor: The Dark World, it’s that whatever paycheck Tom Hiddleston wants to keep coming back to the franchise, Marvel should pay it.

Most memorable, however, are the scenes and fights given to Thor’s mother Frigga (Rene Russo) who proves herself not only a queen, but a true warrior of Asgard. Indeed, aside from Sif, all of the franchise’s female characters (the most in any of the three pillars of the Avengers universe) find their roles firmly asserted. Though Jane spends a third of the movie as a gamely quipping MacGuffin, in the other two thirds she is a lively scientific adventurer whose expertise allows her to participate significantly in the final battle, if not help resolve it in the first place. Darcy (Kat Dennings) is expanded from snarky intern who doesn’t know what anything does, to snarky full assistant and occasional life coach, making her first appearance with a scene that is A) effortlessly funny, and B) passes the Bechdel test.

I’m going to traipse down the rainbow bridge of unpopular opinion here, but the clouds hung too darkly over Asgard for my taste. His Avengers brothers and sister in arms might be at home in a grungy spy thriller, but a film with Thor & Co. should be suffused with wonder, not touches of realism. Instead, visually tantalizing moments are rushed through or brushed aside in favor of repetitive action.

Thor houses an inherently incredible premise, the most outlandish on a team that includes a man in a flying metal suit and a living piece of WWII propaganda who survived 70 years frozen in ice. After all, Thor is the Marvel take on Norse mythology that produced some of the strangest mainstream trappings in the Silver Age of comics, involving monsters and magic and travel to different realms. The popularity of Thor tie-in books, as well as fan love for the recently ended run of Journey Into Mystery, prove that cynicism is no replacement for the enthusiasm and earnestness of classic adventure. Perhaps The Dark World sought to capture the darker essence of Blood Brothers, the much lauded graphic novel concerning Loki and Thor’s troubled relationship. Still, a sense of adventure is exactly what is missing from Thor: The Dark World, and something it sorely could have used. Characters toss out the occasional quip, often to great effect, but it never quite felt like enough. A grander sense of delight at what we’re seeing, or at least a sense of fun, is something that the film does not seem to have space for. Sure, there are a handful of gags that elicit laughs, but they just as often felt out of place in the dark tone of the story.

Thor, perhaps more than any of his fellow Avengers, is a property informed by his surrounding material, namely, the other movies put out by Marvel in the last several years, since the climax and aftermath of The Avengers concerned a primary character and a MacGuffin derived directly from his franchise. But the weight of a larger universe serves this story ill by stunting its growth. The Thor franchise, like the other Avengers series’, must maintain the status quo, preventing the story from playing out any changes that would affect the other movies. At the end of the day, The Dark World was a fun diversion with inspired visual design, well-treated female characters, and a healthy does of action banter, but I do wish it had invested more in escapism.

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  • Anonymous

    Can I just gush about all the ladies in this film for a moment?

    It’s so refreshing to see women just existing, in different roles with different purposes. Frigga was motherly but she was also a warrior and a queen and gave her life for Jane, not because she was Thor’s love interest but to save the universe. Jane and Darcy were scientists and in charge and solving problems while also being brave, funny, silly, and caring. Jane missed Thor and his leaving hurt, but it wasn’t her whole life gone. She moved on, continued her career, and tried dating other people (she has good taste with Chris O’Dowd there). Sif wasn’t in it as much as I’d like, but I was really impressed by them NOT going to “Sif is jealous of Jane” place. There was even a moment of genuine friendship between her and Thor. And beyond all the main characters, they even had a random Asgardian nurse talking shop with Jane for a bit.

    And all of these ladies talked to each other about science and fighting and world saving and life. And occasionally they talked about Thor, who is the titular character of the movie, so that makes sense, but they had characterization and motivations beyond him, which has me feminist fangirling all over the place.

    Though I will say I hated the Thor slap, I’m not of fan of women slapping men for comedic effect.

  • jdhovland

    Third paragraph has T:TWD. Thor: The Walking Dead would be interesting if the walkers’ brains could be cooked via directional lightning from Mjolnir.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    I’m sad about Frigga but I knew it was coming the second I saw her holding a weapon in the original trailer. Sad.

  • http://technicalluddite.com/ Hannele Kormano

    I’m glad (?) I’m not the only one who had flashbacks to the Phantom Menace (weightless cgi dog fight over ethereal cgi city, giant shields going up and down, Natalie Portman in a throne room).

  • Nicole Elizabeth Currie

    I loved the movie (the Norse mythology nerd in me loved it for sure), for many reasons.
    As mentioned below, the women in this movie were awesome. More than that, they were awesome in many different ways. Frigga and Jane could have easily played into the frigded and possessed girlfriend tropes, and though the plot skirted that way, they avoided it.
    Secondly, Loki being a complete troll. I just…it took a few movies, but he finally got to play up the whole ‘God of Mischief’ thing.

  • Cellism

    I was just so glad to see Kat Dennings running around and causing her own brand of utter carnage. Darcy definitely lifted a lot from Max in 2 Broke Girls but that’s certainly not a bad direction to go in. Portman’s character definitely played a back seat throughout most of the adventure (I’m not sure whether that’s because Portman was unhappy about being in the movie in the first place or what) and so Darcy stepping up as someone who can carry the Earth side of events and be quippy and sharp and genuinely wonderful was lovely to see.

  • athenia45

    Loved Darcy!

  • Elizabeth Suess

    Ummm…has no one else noticed that “lightning” is spelled wrong in the title?

  • http://bytestemplar.com/ Fortyseven

    While I smirked a tiny bit at ‘the slap’ while in the theater, it really WAS the bottom of the barrel as far as comedy goes. They could have come up with something better than the obvious “audience fake-out nothing-personal slap followed up by real, actually personal slap” joke.

    (The double standard of it being considered acceptable for women to hit guys, aside, of course.)

  • dawnofthenerds

    I really liked this movie, though that might be because the gags were generally right up my alley. But unless Tadanobu Asano (Hogun) had some personal reason to be less involved, the only explanation I can come up with for his drastically limited role was that the people in charge of this movie couldn’t handle two prominent characters of colour. Which makes me sad and angry, because Hogun and Heimdall are both amazing, and we should not have to choose between them.

  • Marion

    I’m not so fond of the CGI in this movie. I think the northern inspired pattern are gorgeous and Asgard needs refined designs. But sometimes, there is just too much details on screen, for example when there are two or three armored characters on a rich background, and that makes the pictures unclear. (Gladly we are somehow used to visual excess, but that’s the kind of movie my grandma would not understand at all, if a may say.)

    The only moments I visualy enjoyed were the one time book wonder, and the scenes in prison, where my eyes were eased by the white backgrounds and I could enjoy the refined treatment of the prison grids (and the scenes that were shot on location in London, for obvious reasons). I thing the movie is going to age pretty badly for that reason, which is kind of a shame.

    Ok, that was the minute of geeky technical comment. Thank you.

  • Emily Neenan

    I loved loved loved this movie, but the first thing I experienced was disappointment when we got the Odin’s Plot Exposition Infodump instead of an engaging opening scene. You’re better than that, Marvel. It worked in Thor because it also served the purpose of telling baby!Thor and baby!Loki about their place in the universe. I think it was a huge missed opportunity to have it be Frigga telling the boys a story — Thor even says later that she told them of the Dark Elves, apparently in rhyme! That and more Sif (but yes, thank god they dropped the Sif vs Jane thing!) is what I wanted!

  • Jessy Southard Strohmeyer

    I liked that they actually took a minute to address why SHIELD was nowhere to be found in this movie. Darcy was too “low level” priority to have anyone answer her calls. I know that was a complaint I and many other people had about Iron Man 3. “Where the f@$k is SHIELD when all this crap is going on!?”

  • Anonymous

    Only sequence I would remove from the film: the one where every natural allies of Thor is removed from the action because the filmmakers wanted Thor to rely on Loki for the Malekith confrontation. Confrontation which, it turns out, had little impact in defeating him, actually allowing him to acquire the MacGuffin from Jane.

    By the way, I hate the damsel-in-distress cliché as much as the nest guy (maybe more so) but I might have decided to keep the Ether inside Jane for a longer period of time, assuming it doesn’t incapacitate her for the rest of the film. Having Thor trying to prevent the nine realms from collapsing… I’m pretty sure he will win. But having Thor trying to save Jane, I’m not so sure he will succeed. Although I’m pretty sure the Natalie Portman incident was blown way out of proportion, Jane is a character the franchise could decide to kill off because Thor and her don’t end up together in the comics.

  • Anonymous

    “Shh! It’s a secret!”

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed it immensely. And I was happy to see that the ending now provides a logical jumping on point for Age of Ultron where we don’t have to deal with getting Thor back to Earth or deal with Loki or any of that. They really set it up so they can just hit the ground running next time.

  • http://thescienceofobsession.tumblr.com/ R.O.U.S.

    I had a great time seeing this last night, though granted I don’t usually watch movies with a fine-tooth review comb & generally go with the thumbs up/thumbs down how-did-I-feel-right-after gauge. Thor 2: felt good.

    I loved the look of Asgard (can I live there pls? right on the water with all those gigantic waterfalls and space porn views?). Enjoyed watching Stellan run around all crazy and nekkid, enjoyed most of the laughs (slaps were, as others have said, a bit overdone), fell in love with Tom Hiddleston again.

    Not amazing, but enjoyable. Some good looking CGI made it pretty, and some drop-dead fabulous set and creature design, IMO.

  • Skye

    Uh, lightening? Is Thor the god of lamps, lanterns, torches, and other light fixtures now xD

  • Omegasama

    I loved it. I had so much fun watching this with my friends and my boyfriend. The story was fun, but I kind of think it could have had more Malekith. He was the main villain after all and, while good, he could have been better. Loki surely stole the show *happy*.

  • Anonymous

    That final scene with Not!Odin was hard to watch. The compositing on Thor was so bad, it tore me right out of the moment.

  • Jessy Southard Strohmeyer

    I think it was probably more that they needed to strip away Thor’s allies so he had to rely soley on Loki. There were only so many things for Sif, Heimdall, and the Warriors three to do to bust them out of Asgard, so they took an opportunity to unload a character early on. Idris Elba is the more famous actor (in Western cinema, anyway), so they stuck with him for the bigger role. I mean, Fandrall was hardly on screen long enough to realize they’d switched the actor playing him. It really seems like the problem was just having so many cast members to try to find something to do with all of them in a very limited (especially for this genre – 112 minutes!?) amount of screen time.

  • Bam Bunting

    If she had just slapped Loki and that had not been in a few trailers, that would have been okay, cause ya kno, you would punch Bin Laden in the face if you walked up to him.

  • Erin Treat

    I agree with you. Definitely. Although in the case of Jane and Thor people do need to remember that Thor can shrug off being punched by the Hulk so there’s no way (outside of a joke) that he would ever be hurt by her slapping him. Other than emotionally I mean. lol

  • Cellism

    Jane’s not an astrophysicist in the comics either, there’s very little of her that’s not original. Portman is definitely a brand name for the series (going into Thor 1 she was definitely bigger than Hemsworth) and that’s why Marvel is keen to keep her on board because it’ll sell tickets.

  • Anonymous

    We want a review by AMANDA!!!

  • Anonymous

    Natalie Portman’s performance as Jane was once again lacking
    something. I’m not saying Natalie is a bad actress, she can show her emotions well, but acting as a character? its something to be desired. To me if felt boring and a little hollow, and it impacted on how I feel about Jane Foster. And this movie tries really hard for me to like Jane, it really does. Her cleverness, and her inclusion in the final battle was great and I would have appreciated that, but Natalie’s preformance just did not seem genuine. You can sort of tell that Natalie did not want to be there. If marvel decides to hire a different female actress for Jane, I won’t cry any tears.

  • Camille Monae

    Evil Capri Sun lol

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    “Why are there so many shoes?”

  • Anonymous

    I understand why they would want to keep her : I love her and I think she’s probably still a bigger star than Hemsworth, or anyone else from the cast for that matter. I was just pointing out that since Foster never become Ms. Thor in the comics, they could’ve used that uncertainty to build suspense.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Did you write this? Somebody wrote an alternative opening that would have added more emotional impact to the story plus re-emphasizing that Frigga taught Loki about magics and illusion. I love this alternative and it is now my head cannon! http://doodleigh.tumblr.com/post/66478352024/ttdw-alternative-opening-sequence

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I loved the sequence where Darcy spots Thor’s hammer flying by and points, saying “Myueh-myeuh”! Her pet name for Mjolnir. I cracked up. Nobody else in the theater thought that line was quite as hilarious. Heh.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I was disappointed in the treatment of Hogun, but it’s true, you could barely see Fandrall. He had a couple of good lines though.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Can we have both?

  • Ryan Colson

    Too bad Darcy and fails the Bechdel….wasn’t her first scene all about talking about a Thor guy? Most of the convo is definitely dubious passing.
    I guess Loki is still doing Thanos’ bidding going by the midcredits, which is cool.

  • Cy

    I did too. No one else in the theater seemed to find it funny. Poor Myueh-myueh was run all over the world trying to catch up to Thor.

  • Russ Rosin

    If a movie is well received enough, it’s possible for ideas from the movie to flow back into the comics.

  • Anonymous

    I’m reasonably certain you’ve mislabeled this film. You call it “Thor 2: The Dark World” but I would swear the title was actually “Loki 3: You Weren’t Using This Scene, Were You, Brother?”

  • Anonymous

    I now have this horrible mental image of a television ad campaign.

    “I am Thor of Asgard, son of Odin. I have seen many wondrous things here in Midgard, but few to compare with the mighty craftsmen of your IKEA. They provide furnishings and light fixtures fit for my father’s palace in Asgard! And they provide them at a price so cheap, that you can always afford…” *smashes lamp* “…ANOTHER!”

  • Jessica

    I just bet they moved her priority level higher now especially with Thor living on Earth now. :)

  • Jessica

    I agree that would have been great

  • Nicole Elizabeth Currie

    While she did talk about Thor in her first scene, she also very quickly switched to talking about science in that first scene.

  • Jessica

    I liked this version of Fandrall the one in the first movie was a bit creepy I think cause of the pointy facial hair.

  • Riley

    I’ve never cared for either Jane or Darcy unfortunately. Darcy at least did something important in this movie and wasn’t only there to spew out idiotic jokes. Perhaps it’s because I don’t think Hemsworth and Portman really have any great chemistry, at least not romantically, but I wish they would use Jane as an ally and friend of Thor’s instead of the obvious romantic lead. I’m much more interested in Sif especially because she is a better match for Thor in that she knows him a lot better and is his physical equal. I can understand that Thor is interested in a woman who is different and not like him but Jane is not a very interesting character. She is just written as a plot device or an exposition machine. I’m not dismissing Jane or Darcy’s roles as women of science, because I think that’s great that the women of these Marvel movies are either upfront in the action like Sif or Black Widow or are an intelligent match to their male counterpart like Pepper is to Tony Stark. But even still when Jane gets the opportunity to be in a new environment that should make the scientist in her burst at the seams with questions she doesn’t really seem too astounded by everything she just takes it as it is. If I was brought to a world I hadn’t seen before I’d be in awe.

    It does speak volumes to me that I really couldn’t give two fucks about Jane’s relationship with Thor when the Thor/Loki relationship is infinitely more fascinating and entertaining.

  • Jessica

    I think even if Jane were replaced with a more interesting character in the end it wouldn’t even matter because no one could be more interesting than Loki/Thor. Those two are going to spend the rest of their immortal lives fighting back and forth and no woman is going to be more interesting to watch than that.

    As far as Sif I don’t like her as a love interest for Thor, I haven’t liked her since the first movie for that role. She strikes me as the kind of woman that if Thor said jump she would then ask how high. I don’t find that in any way interesting nor did it speak highly of her that she turned on Loki so quickly after Thor’s banishment what in the world made her think Loki would have any sway with Odin so soon after such an act. Yes we the audience knew Loki was behind what had happened not that he planned what Odin did as a result but Sif didn’t so why the suspicion with no evidence to back it up. That told me that when it comes to Thor she is completely blind.

    I didn’t buy Thor’s change of personality after a few days with Jane and Co. but I can’t see how Sif would help him grow in any way either.

  • Skye

    Alternately, Thor launches a ridiculously effective bleach product, and Gandalf makes a before/after cameo in his fabulously laundered wizard robes.
    “I’ve wandered to the ends of Middle Earth and back, soiling my robe with firework ash and dragon blood. When I use God of Lightening™ bleach, they call me Gandalf the White again. God of Lightening™, cause that stuff works like magic!”

  • Anonymous

    Totally! I didn’t mean to imply I didn’t want this one!
    Let me rephrase:
    We want a review by Amanda TOO!!!

  • Anonymous

    I agree with much of this, but interested as to why you called the Asgardian female a nurse and not a doctor ? She was doing the diagnosis ;)
    And Frigga was wonderful, but whywhywhy did she have to get killed ? She’s the Allmother…she taught Loki his tricks…if he can fake his death why not her? Damnit I’m writing my own movie.

  • Anonymous

    I read somewhere that he did have commitments elsewhere. Can’t remember where or i’d post a link. Reading too much stuff these days. Brain overload.

  • Marion

    Agreed ! All in all this movie is full of visuals I should have liked, but I really could not enjoy most of the asgardian sequences. I understand that building a set for the throne room would have been too expensive, and a nightmare for continuity since they almost destroy it during the movie. But maybe just for that one scene, please ?
    (Also I kept thinking they should have removed the “rainbow” part from the now infamous Bifrost.)

  • Anonymous

    One, thank you for pointing that out. I’m ashamed at my own sexism :(

    Two, thank you for pointing that out, because it made me look up what her character is credited as which is Eir which is Old Norse for “Help” or “Mercy” and is either a Goddess or Valkyrie which either way is pretty awesome.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Random Asgardian Doctor lady was Alice Krige!

  • Mars

    Total disagreement. I loved Josh Dallas as Fandral. Zachary Levi was all wrong for the role.

  • Mars

    I’m torn, because I would have loved to see more of Hogun, but what I really wanted was more Asano-as-Hogun, so I’ll hold out hope that he has a larger role in Thor 3.

  • Cellism

    Well yes but at the same time, they’re not going to do that are they? Business decisions dictate narrative decisions to some extent and so people would miss Portman in Thor 3 even though they don’t necessarily get married in comic canon? There’s been suggestions of Lady Sif vs. Jane for Thor’s affections throughout the movies but it hasn’t been played up to any extent. (For which I am grateful because the entire notion just sounds tedious.)

  • Cellism

    Relatively ignored question: Can you ever get over your boyfriend’s step brother trying to rule your planet? Is that a deal breaker? (Ooh, 30 Rock flashback.)

    I do think Jane would have relevant questions/frustration at Thor for how Loki tried to enslave the Earth and also how she was very obviously kept out of harm’s way during the whole affair by Thor’s wishes. As we saw at the end of Thor 2, she’s handy in a multi-dimensional crisis. (More help than Pepper was, at least.)

  • Kyla Gray

    While I, too, felt upset by Frigga’s death, I can also see the necessity of it. Frigga was the one thing holding the House of Odin together, fractured but still together. Frigga was the only one connecting Loki to his adopted family. Without her, the royal family crumbles and that’s something you see in the movie. Odin’s tyrant nature becomes more prominent, Thor loses his desire to remain in Asgard, and Loki, well…that ending wouldn’t have happened if Frigga was alive.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I thought Jane’s main motivation was scientific curiosity and wanting to save the world rather than wanting to be with Thor, so that was good. But I didn’t like the flying scene where she is just exhausted and practically unconscious and the only purpose for that seemed to be to shut her up so the brothers could bicker without her input.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    It passed the Bechdel in several places. Frigga talking to Jane about doing what she says to be safe. Jane talking to the doctor/medical lead about the technology they were using to examine the aether, and Jane and Darcy talking about SCIENCE! several times. Heh. There could have been more, but it wasn’t bad. Also! Sif talking to Jane briefly about coming with her (to the chamber).

  • Carmen Sandiego

    But she saved Thor’s ass a couple of times, and was the only one with the ability/technology to see where the blurred dimensions were and to create the weapon that would destroy Malekith. And though she did it accidentally, her scientific curiosity led her to the aether, which if she had not found first, would have gotten to Malekith much, much earlier. She was probably in a lot of pain and exhaustion holding that energy but she would say, “I’m okay” and just deal with it. She also threw her own body to protect Thor from the falling debris which was pretty heroic. :)

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Lol, space porn. You’re absolutely right. Beautiful.

  • Anonymous

    But I didn’t say they should have killed her off, I said they should have kept her in danger for a longer time. You keep your star AND you use her fate in the comics to your advantage. The signs that Sif might have a crush on Thor could’ve been used to sell the fake even more.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Wow, for once a review I don’t agree with.

    I thought this movie was amazing, it hit all the right character notes, it looked incredible. The only part I’m upset about is Frigga, and I even I am accepting it, because without that, how does Loki end up where he is at the end? He could never pull off that charade if she was still alive.

    In addition, I can’t believe there was not one word about THE CAMEO. You know the one. Best cameo of any Marvel film, FULL STOP. Beats Fury post Iron Man, beats Hulk post Iron Man 3, beats Thanos post Avengers hands down.

  • Anonymous

    Yes I can entirely see *why* it had to be her, because she was the only person, other than Thor, who Loki truly connected with, and as he’s such a selfish character it’d be hard to motivate him to help without a big kick up the arse(gard). However, that meant it removed a principal female character from the canon who is supposed to be the main goddess character who is able to draw more shades of emotion from the 3 dudes in the clan.

    In the comics I believe the Allmother is played as a triumvirate of goddess entities, so it still leaves wriggle-room for Marvel (*coughHINTcough*). I just wish it could be played out that way, and hope it will be if there is another episode.

  • Anonymous

    Heh, thanks for taking it in the good spirit with which it was intended. I know plenty of talented female medics & scientists with qualifications coming out of their ears, and yet they always get asked if they’re the nurse…nurses are heroic IMO, but it’s a mini-mission for me to point out the obvious. (And how did I miss that was Alice Krige?)

    And you in turn have sent me on a mythology-reading sidetrack, so thankyou :) Frigga also gives us Friday (some crossover with Freya, but certainly Frigedæg in Old English) so it’s sweet that her day comes after Thor’s.

  • Anonymous

    Totally! I didn’t mean to imply otherwise.
    Let me rephrase:
    We want a review by Amanda TOO!!!

  • Gary Keyes

    I enjoyed the film but it seemed more “subdued” than Branagh’s movie. My biggest problem wasn’t Eccleston’s dry villain Malekith or the Aether (uninspiring McGuffin–but serves a purpose late in the film). My biggest problem was Portman! She seemed so–unimpressed by what was transpiring around her. She’s this brilliant astrophysicist studying the Universe–Thor takes her to Asgard! A place structurally impossible by the physical laws she is aware of. She
    even travels there by a Wormhole what does she do when she steps out? Wow! We got to do that again! To me, she should’ve had a hard time catching her breath, trying get out words blown away by the experience of traveling beyond the Milky Way in few minutes! How does she greet a super being like Heimdall? Hi! Same thing with Odin. Once she challenges him–then finds out WHO he is–Portman’s reaction should be more OH WOW! Not–oh. There are a few more scenes like that where she and a few other characters should be more “energetic” to the situation. When Malekith’s ship lands in London you’d think a world that experience an invasion from space a year or so earlier would have a greater response than just launching two fighter jets!

  • Gary Keyes

    Was it necessary to slap him, though? Loki, yes–I get that (and loved Tom’s response); it seems silly to slap Thor. Why? Because he couldn’t stop by while preventing evil aliens and his brother from destroying the Earth? Damn, girl! He made sure you was sent to a secure location by SHIELD while he was busy SAVING THE PLANET!

  • Gary Keyes

    Borg/Asgardian!

  • Gary Keyes

    Yeah, I don’t expect Portman to be in Thor 3. They’re gonna find a way to write her out.

  • Gary Keyes

    I didn’t buy it. Any threat to planetary security should’ve gotten SHIELD’s immediate attention.

  • Gary Keyes

    Yeah, Dennings is good in the Thor films. Look, it’s myueh-myeuh! Meanwhile, poor Mjolnir is flying back and forth as Thor and Malekith are falling into different portals! Poor thing looked out breath went it finally landed in Thor’s hand!

  • Gary Keyes

    Great cameo by Cap!

  • Emily Krebs

    She does save them yes, but I have to say I found her a bit flat, too. My sister pointed out that in the first film, she didn’t actually really do anything to prove she was intelligent aside from throw out a fancy scientific term here and there. In this film, though she was more active, a lot of her actions seem haphazard and it still came off as “I’m smart because the script says so.”

    Personally, if instead of throwing herself over Thor once she realized she could not lift him, she’d run and grabbed the device that Selvig used and been the one to save both herself and Thor that way, that would have shown without a doubt that she is both heroic, but “Yes, yes she is smart,” definitively as well. If the core of her character is supposed to be that she’s really smart, then they should work harder at showing her using her brain intentionally to solve problems. As is, they seem so focused on making her “charmingly awkward and quirky” that all of her actions are just regurgitation of big words or accidental successes. It’s like they’re going for a female version of Doc Brown from Back to the Future, but they’re just not quite pulling it off (not enough focus on actual inventing, too much focus on awkward quirky).

  • Emily Krebs

    Loved the film. But personally, my big beef was that they made Odin such a colossal narrow-minded jerk. Now from what I’ve seen of mythology and the Marvel comics, that’s a more accurate depiction of him, but I personally really liked how in Kenneth Branagh’s rendition, Odin genuinely seemed like a kind and wise ruler. He had good lessons, punished his son, but not cruelly. Seemed to imply that while he did initially have a political agenda for Loki, he had discarded that as he grew to love him. He tried to save both of his sons, and seemed honestly aggrieved when he lost one. And frankly, I really liked that. It seems that so many films and stories now-a-days want to go gritty and have the corrupt government/rulers/officials etc.. And I feel like that’s gotten so rote. Furthermore, if Odin is really a good guy, then Loki’s fall is all the more tragic in that the ill-timed Odin sleep truly did prevent reconciliation.

    The Odin of Thor 2, by contrast, is the old fool Thor in the first film claimed he was. He’s disdainful, smug, short-sighted and cruel. So much so, that once Frigga dies and Thor gives the lame excuse that Odin is stupidly insisting on a course of all of Asgard’s destruction out of grief, I thought, “Yeah right. He’s such an idiot he’d have done that anyway.” It’s kind of like how the original Dumbledore in Harry Potter came off as kind, quirky, and intelligent, whereas the second seemed like a senile maniac.

    I actually find it more compelling when one of the forces of opposition is a good person rather than making them just bad for the sake of an obstacle. You have to have a more talented writer to pull it off, and maybe that’s the issue here. In any event, if they’d kept movieverse Odin a good guy whose problems stem more from his age and the stress of the issues of his children, as well as actual real-life moral quandaries, I’d have been waaaaay waaaaaaaay happier. Grumpy Cat Odin is just obvious, flattens the character, makes the core family conflict concerning Loki much shallower, and is boringly commonplace. For me, biggest letdown = Odin.

  • Emily Krebs

    Loved the film. But personally, my big beef was that they made Odin such a colossal narrow-minded jerk. Now from what I’ve seen of mythology and the Marvel comics, that’s a more accurate depiction of him, but I personally really liked how in Kenneth Branagh’s rendition, Odin genuinely seemed like a kind and wise ruler. He had good lessons, punished his son, but not cruelly. Seemed to imply that while he did initially have a political agenda for Loki, he had discarded that as he grew to love him. He tried to save both of his sons, and seemed honestly aggrieved when he lost one. And frankly, I really liked that. It seems that so many films and stories now-a-days want to go gritty and have the corrupt government/rulers/officials etc.. And I feel like that’s gotten so rote. Furthermore, if Odin is really a good guy, then Loki’s fall is all the more tragic in that the ill-timed Odin sleep truly did prevent reconciliation.

    The Odin of Thor 2, by contrast, is the old fool Thor in the first film claimed he was. He’s disdainful, smug, short-sighted and cruel. So much so, that once Frigga dies and Thor gives the lame excuse that Odin is stupidly insisting on a course of all of Asgard’s destruction out of grief, I thought, “Yeah right. He’s such an idiot he’d have done that anyway.” It’s kind of like how the original Dumbledore in Harry Potter came off as kind, quirky, and intelligent, whereas the second seemed like a senile maniac.

    I actually find it more compelling when one of the forces of opposition is a good person rather than making them just bad for the sake of an obstacle. You have to have a more talented writer to pull it off, and maybe that’s the issue here. In any event, if they’d kept movieverse Odin a good guy whose problems stem more from his age and the stress of the issues of his children, as well as actual real-life moral quandaries, I’d have been waaaaay waaaaaaaay happier. Grumpy Cat Odin is just obvious, flattens the character, makes the core family conflict concerning Loki much shallower, and is boringly commonplace. For me, biggest letdown = Odin.

  • Jessy Southard Strohmeyer

    I think once it actually became obvious it was a threat to global security, SHIELD did respond. I bet they were the ones who sent the fighter jets. At the time that Darcy was trying to get in contact with them, all anyone knew was that Jane was missing and Eric was apparently crazy.

  • Jessy Southard Strohmeyer

    I think once it actually became obvious it was a threat to global security, SHIELD did respond. I bet they were the ones who sent the fighter jets. At the time that Darcy was trying to get in contact with them, all anyone knew was that Jane was missing and Eric was apparently crazy.

  • Emily Krebs

    Agreed. Christopher Eccelston was totally under-utilized. Especially since the core conflict could have had a ton of depth to it. What if Dark Elves literally couldn’t survive in the new light of the world? Then the “us versus them” would have been waaaaay more interesting. It’d kinda like how Khan in the new Star Trek was a pretty obvious villain, but they gave him that extra bit of twist to his story concerning his people that made it so much more engaging.

  • blu girl

    That lady always freaks me out whenever I see her! Sleepwalkers messed me up as a kid.

  • Katy

    I liked that they made Odin a bit more dickish. I always found that he was the inciting incident for the whole Thor franchise. Had Odin not been a bit of a dick to his children prior to the first Thor, Loki wouldn’t have been Loki and Thor wouldn’t have been Thor.

  • Katy

    I loved this movie, but to be honest, it should have been called “Loki.” Even though Loki was a supporting character and Chris Hemsworth was excellent, Loki’s story of redemption (well kinda sorta redemption?) was far more compelling than Thor is a good man who remains a good man. Chris Evans as Loki was priceless. Plus, I loved the set up both Avengers 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Thor 3.

  • Jen Rock

    I thought Thor: TDW was pretty upbeat and hilarious compared with the first. My biggest peev was that Hopkins seemed to be soundly phoning it in and was not happy that he had to do the sequel. I laughed a lot, especially in the 2nd act, and thought it was super fun.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Odin’s plan in Thor was terrible, and would never have worked if Loki hadn’t done his own thing. It’s unfair to give Odin credit for a terrible plan, even if that plan did, against all possible odds, work.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I wonder if a lot of the Warriors scenes were cut(aside from Asano, who had scheduling conflicts) because of Jaime Alexander’s injury.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I liked Dallas’ look, but Levi’s performance. Levi’s Fandral looked like he hadn’t bathed in days, Dallas’ Fandral was more immaculate and groomed which seems more in line with Fandral’s suave character.

  • Katy

    One little thing… what was with the breast plate that only covered one breast? Both Frigga and Jane were wearing them. Breast plates are flawed to begin with, but a one breasted breast plate is weird.

  • Lady Viridis

    I felt like the movie jumped around a bit too much, and the pacing was weird. Like, to me it felt like the emotional climax of the film was very much the scene in Svartelfheim where Jane is saved and Loki “dies”, and the big fight at the end fell kind of flat. I just had a hard time feeling like anyone was legitimately in peril in this film, no matter how many (really cool-looking) space ships were flying around.

    Also, I’ve apparently been reading too much fanfic, because I kept thinking they were going to do one thing and then belatedly realizing that I was probably mixing up fanon/original myth with canon. Which is too bad, because most of the fanon I’ve read is much cooler. I mean, everything I’ve read about dark elves suggests they’re pretty dangerous opponents (and I guess in the myths they can turn into actual shadows) but in this movie they were just random mooks with weird mask faces. It was disappointing.

    Finally: while Loki was amazing in every scene, was anyone really taken in at his “death”? It strained credulity for me that Thor had Loki plan an elaborate illusion and then is taken in by another elaborate illusion only minutes later. Does he not realize by now that Loki is a trickster?

  • Emily Krebs

    I’m not sure to which plan you are referring. You mean banishing Thor? How is that a bad plan? It’s an extremely humbling experience going from immense power to no power. Thor was arrogant mainly because he was so strong and knew no one could stand up to him.

    So putting him in a situation whereby he has no great advantage is either going to get him to think, or else let him fall on his face. It’s actually a pretty good parenting approach. Odin left Thor with the opportunity to learn and re-gain what he had (the whole “if you become worthy again angle,” which he may have done in some other way than how he did. Who’s to say? The stipulations were very open ended), but doesn’t enforce that behavior. He lets his son stumble along and come to his own realizations. That’s smart parenting. Give them the tools and opportunity, but don’t dictate. You can’t force anyone to be better. That’s a choice someone has to make on their own.

    His actions were pretty much the exact equivalent of how you deal with an ungrateful teenager: You say, “Hey. I’m not buying you a car. You want that car? You can go get a job. Here’s a list of places hiring.” Then you leave it up to the kid to decide if they want to take responsibility and work hard or not.

    Odin had to do something drastic, or else Thor wouldn’t learn. He comes from a life of privilege. His actions affected an entire kingdom. So how do get him to realize the position he really has? Take it away. Let him see how the powerless individual lives. It’s like sending him to a soup kitchen to better understand homelessness and being poor.

    So no, I don’t personally see how that plan was in any way, shape, or form bad.

  • Emily Krebs

    Completely disagree with you there. Making him a jerk is extremely obvious. It’s easy to say, “Oh, well of course that son went evil when his father was horrible,” but frankly, that’s not the norm in real life.

    There are many, many instances whereby the parents are good, or genuinely trying to do good, yet their children still end up rotten. One big reason being that kids spend a lot of time at school and their estimation of their peers’ approval always supersedes their parents when they’re in early and late adolescence. Parents have little control over this. Parents can’t force other kids to like their kid, and they can’t force their kid to stop liking another kid who’s a crud just by saying so.

    Furthermore, often parents try to do right, but may or may not have actually made the correct decision. Perfect example from my own life:

    My older sister by far is the best athlete in our family. Growing up, she played on teams that my father coached. And while well-meaning, my father was not the sort of coach she would have needed to become a great (potentially professional) athlete. I discussed this once with my mother, who admitted that she knew early on my sister could have been something special in sports. So I asked her, “If you saw that, why didn’t you get her on better teams?”

    She replied that at the time, she’d also noticed that my father was struggling to establish a good relationship with my sister. Sports was one of the very few arenas in which they had common ground. Further, he really did believe he was a good coach and felt that he was really helping my sister. So if my mother had forced the issue, she definitely would have hurt him badly and may have permanently ruined my sister and father’s relationship (it was quite strained).

    So what was the right thing to do there? What was more important? Fostering that father-daughter relationship? Or allowing for the possibility of my sister being a full-time athlete? My sister loves athletics, but she’s also super, super intelligent, so it is not as though her life is greatly diminished or she’s left with nothing without that sports career. Is my mother horrible for making the choice she did? No. But could that choice have given rise to some real bitterness and anger in my sister? Yes.

    That kind of thing happens all the time. Parents are going to screw their kids up. It’s fact. And sometimes kids are going to choose to be angry and destructive, even when they have a loving home environment. Exploring those real dilemmas and the multifaceted emotions they evoke I think is way more fascinating than just “EVIL DAD! BBBBBLLLAAARRRRRGGGH!”

    Odin is a flat character. Loki’s resentment of him is now one-dimensional. But had they kept Branaugh’s vision, and looked at Odin as a depth-full character who wants to do right by his kids, but accidentally screws them up with the greatest of love and intentions, you’d get a much richer story that hits closer to home for many parents.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Do you know what a film reviewer does?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    The ONLY thing that made the plan work, was Loki’s interference. Did Odin plan that too?

  • Emily Krebs

    I just outlined why the plan easily could have worked without his interference. The plan was simply “Leave his butt there until he learns.” He either would, or wouldn’t. Loki’s interference expedited the process, but again, Thor very easily could have proven himself a couple years or decades after the fact by working to help people. His up front sacrifice sealed the deal, but NOWHERE does it state that his death was a requirement of proving worth.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Yes, so Odin sends Thor to Earth with a plan that can TAKE YEARS to play out, and at this time, he’s already been putting off the Odinsleep for years, what’s a few more right?

    It was a terrible plan, born from anger and frustration, with no forethought, which is why it left him in the position of Loki as his only heir with the Odinsleep coming upon him, which was the situation he was trying to avoid.

  • Emily Krebs

    Right, but they’re practically immortal, so banishment for even several years is no big, assuming the goal of learning some humility is met.

    And why would leaving Loki and/or Frigga in charge be a bad thing? Frigga must have taken charge many times throughout the years, seeing as the two princes can’t have been old enough/mature enough to always do it for past Odinsleeps. We see that it’s Frigga who makes the choice to appoint Loki, and it surprises him, so why/how could Odin assume she would do this? And further, why would he have any reason to distrust his wife’s decision if he did realize she would be doing that?

    Recall that Odin only found out about Loki finding out about his heritage right before he falls asleep. So prior to that point, he’d have no reason to suspect his younger son about to go insane. There’s no way he could have predicted that their conversation would go so poorly or end so abruptly. And again, even then he’d have no way of knowing Frigga would pass off the regency. She obviously didn’t anticipate Loki going nuts either, or else why give him Gungnir?

    Where’s the evidence that Odin was trying to avoid that situation? The only thing we know is that he was planning on retiring and making Thor king. That’s it. Nowhere does it indicate that he has a beef with Loki or Frigga taking charge for a bit otherwise. His only “ruined” plan was due to realizing Thor’s too much of a child to become king at that point.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Loki’s entire arc is not that of a legitimate heir whose throne was taken, but that of the son who was NEVER considered the legitimate heir. That’s the whole point of his story, that’s where his anger comes from. The fact that there was NEVER anything he could do, because of his lineage, to prove he was Asgardian enough for the throne is the complete source of his angst, to attempt to cram a belief that Odin would have accepted Loki as his heir really takes away Loki’s legitimate beefs with Odin. I can’t read the story any other way, to do so is a disservice to Loki’s arc.

  • Emily Krebs

    Gotta disagree there. I think the whole tragedy of his arc is much more reliant on being of a race that was vilified his entire life. He’s always been different and under appreciated by Thor (which we see evidence of). So finding himself truly different is where the angst comes.

    The most human part about it all is that even if Odin does love and accept him (which given how he acts in the first film, I’d argue he does), Loki has always carried such doubt and insecurity that he can’t see it. That’s why it’s tragic. I actually think it makes it more so if his parents do love him, because then it brings in the aspect I hedged at before whereby parents know their kids are suffering but being only human, don’t always know how to help. That’s way more tragic to me than “there’s no chance for you because he’s evil.”

    I relate to that, as I think most youngest siblings do. For a good part of my life, I honestly believed that my two older sisters got all these awesome talents and traits, but I was just the leftover genetic trash. My parents never made me feel inadequate and are wonderful people. But when you’re quiet, much younger, and introverted, you can get it in your head that you don’t stack up to your more outgoing older siblings. So no. I don’t think Odin has to be evil and diehard to make Loki’s story meaningful or moving.

    Further, his actions were morally ambiguous. Genocide is evil. But given that what he did prevent an oncoming war without any bloodshed of his charges, you can understand the opposite argument in favor of it. It parallels real-life behaviors seen in countries torn apart by civil war (like many in Africa are). So I see Odin’s “No, Loki,” as a sadness on a parent’s part to see their child make the wrong decision and an entreaty to get him to see the error, not as a cold dismissal of him as a person (as most fans seem to like to argue). The ambiguity and anguish of a parent seeing the horrible extremes to which their child went bolsters the tragedy, not diminishes it.

    In any event, whether Odin would have given him a chance or not, his plan for Thor was still valid, did not rely on Loki, and makes sense, given that he had no way of foreseeing Loki’s discovery (so could safely assume Loki would remain submissive and loyal as he always had been prior to that point) or knowing Frigga would have put him in charge.

  • Emily Krebs

    I guess that was their weird way to pay homage to the old Amazonian myth whereby it claims they chopped off one breast to be better able to shoot arrows from bows. It’s a bit of a symbol of female warriors. So in lieu of having said females actually hack off a breast, I suppose they gave ‘em the single breast plate to still get the symbolism across without maiming anyone. That’s pure conjecture on my part, though.

  • Katy

    I kind of thought that too, but still, very impractical for battle.

  • Emily Krebs

    No disagreement there! XD