I feel bad for swooning all over Chris Hemsworth, sometimes. He is happily married and has a newborn kid, yet every time he appears somewhere my brain just shuts down. I don’t even like blondes and he drives me crazy. What. The hell. A big thumbs up to the director though. He managed to avoid fan service, to the point where the only scene when Thor is not wearing a shirt really just felt like him saying “There. You got it. Take a good look. Now let’s get on with the movie, shall we?”
Anyway. Let’s do this. Thor: The Dark World. Watch out for spoilers!
I’ve always felt like Thor was apart in The Avengers, this for one main reason: he is the only member of the team whose world belongs more to fantasy than sci-fi. There are sci-fi elements included in Thor, though, a lot of them, but the whole Norse mythology, the battle for the most important throne in the universe, the horses, the swords, the elves, etc. are all signs that Thor is definitely more oriented towards fantasy. Not that it’s a bad thing: it is actually a big part of what I like about these movies. Yes, they stay Marvel movies, with their own tropes and plots, but at least they felt a little different because the world they take place in already seemed miles away from the usual modern day set up of Marvel Movies (at least, for the parts taking place in Asgard or any realm that is not Midgard). In that, Thor 2 is particularly satisfying since most of the movie does not take place on Earth. We even see Vanaheim more than once in the movie (it’s funny because the shot of Vanaheim during the climax screamed “NO WE DID NOT FORGET ABOUT VANAHEIM. LOOK. PRETTY JAPANESE DUDE IS STILL THERE”. Yeah…)
The movie begins with Odin announcing the plot: the dark elves existed once and they were evil, so evil they wanted to destroy the universe with their ultimate weapon of evil called the Aether, while the nine worlds were in convergence. The term “convergence” should be pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re still wondering, think of Disney’s Hercules, only with a lot more pseudo-science involved. Fortunately, Odin’s father killed all the dark elves, trapped the Aether in a rock somewhere underground and put an end to the war. The dark elves and their king Malakith are therefore no longer a threat. Or at least, that’s what Odin tells us, but if you’ve seen the first Thor you know that Odin is a liar. So there, your plot: the worlds are in convergence again, the Aether is found somewhere, thus awakening the dark elves, especially Malakith who still wants to destroy the universe, because… because f*ck you he’s Doctor Who, that’s why.
Now this plot, you look at it and you wave it goodbye. No, really, don’t bother trying to remember it. It’s not bad by any means and not especially boring either, but Thor: The Dark World is a Marvel movie of The Avengers series. This means two things: one, this movie is mainly there to make us wait until The Avengers 2 come out, and two, the movie is not really about the plot: it’s about the characters and their journey. There is nothing really wrong with that, of course, especially since the characters are very compelling, but I guess I was still a little disappointed that Christopher Eccleston didn’t get a bigger part than that. I mean, c’mon Marvel, the dude barely talked during the entire movie, except to say that he wanted to destroy everything. You can do better.
So it’s all about the journey, and the main journey here is Thor’s. Thor is a prince, an awesome warrior that just put the nine realms at peace, the pretty and equally awesome lady Sif drools every time he smiles and his father wants him to be King after him. Yet he is not satisfied (I know, what a brat, right?). Thor wants more than a life of serving the nine realms and fighting. What he wants? The love of his life, which is apparent to us at the beginning but that he will only realize at the end of the movie. During most of the story though, he is still acting like a prince and a warrior, looking out for Asgard and his people, as well as said love of his life, Jane Foster.
Jane Foster, played by the amazing Natalie Portman… doesn’t really have much to do in this movie. I mean yes, she comes across the Aether and gets all “possessed” by it (with quotation marks because she’s not really possessed, it’s just inside her), but that doesn’t really do anything. I guess that is the second really weak point of the movie for me. Yes, Jane Foster is smart and an amazing woman, but she really doesn’t have anything to do until the big climax and even then, she’s never really in danger at any moment. Even having the Aether in her doesn’t change much to her helplessness: people can’t touch her, but she can’t do anything with the Aether’s powers and still spends her time being rescued by whoever is around to protect her. She helps a lot, yes, and I guess that you could argue that she is just a mortal and she does her best, but my problem here is the same problem I have with Christopher Eccleston having nothing interesting to say throughout the movie. I just thought they could have done better. This being said, I just want to thank the screenwriters of Thor: The Dark World for not playing the oh-so-irritating card of the love triangle between Sif, Jane and Thor. And yes, I saw the shot where Sif looks at Jane like she wants to gouge her eyes out. I am just happy that this love triangle didn’t play too much of a part in this particular movie.
So Jane Foster has the Aether inside her, so while Malakith tries to get to her, Thor and his friends try to protect her while searching for a solution that would rid the universe of the dark elves and the Aether once and for all. Pretty exciting, especially when after no time, you realize that the dark elves can get past Heimdall (played by Idris « today we cancel the apocalypse » Elba) without even trying. The dark elves attack Asgard and almost get to Jane. Also I don’t want to spoil to much of the movie, but you will love Frigga. You will love the shit out of her.
After they discover that the dark elves can pretty much attack them whenever they want (and also have extremely dangerous creatures that can kill people by sucking the life out of them), Thor has to turn to Loki to help him get rid of the Aether and protect Jane. Now you’re probably already aware of this just because Thor 2 comes after two whole other movies full of Loki-Thor interactions, but I won’t lie. This is the best part of the movie. It’s touching, perfectly paced, and Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston have the best chemistry of the entire flick, which is saying a lot, because Chris Hemsworth also has amazing chemistry with Natalie Portman. It’s also funny. To be fair, while I’m at it, the movie was a little too funny at times. I love myself some humour in my Marvel movies and the fact that they are way more fun and light than the dark and greedy DC movies is one of the reasons why I love them so much. However, I sometimes felt like there were too many jokes. Some of them felt forced and because of all the humour, the movie sometimes seemed like it was losing focus. Not in the Loki-Thor part, though. This part was amazing and perfect and anybody who doesn’t agree deserves to burn in that special place in Hell where party poopers and Avengers haters go.
There is also another “problem” with the Marvel movies that is quite apparent in Thor: The Dark World. The structure. To be fair, I did not have this problem with Iron man 3, but I found the structure of the movie a bit awkward. Let me explain: see the big climax? Well, because the plot revolving around the dark elves does not really matter that much (the Aether does, the elves don’t), it didn’t really feel like a big climax. It was a lot of fun to watch and it does not make the movie bad, but to me it’s the reason why the structure and pacing of the movie feel so awkward at times. The big climax for me was the ending twist. Ending twist which totally gave a real punch to the whole movie and is totally awesome, by the way. Seriously, even if you see it coming like I did, this last scene before the credits will make you go “Ooooh YES”.
Overall, a really good movie. To be honest, I was not as happy about it when I came out of the theatre yesterday, but then I took some time to think about how Marvel movies have recently become a whole new genre, with new conventions and a new way of telling their stories. And I realized that it was awesome.
So yeah, go see Thor: The Dark World. Oh and, if you feel like buying new shoes when getting out of the theatre, don’t worry. It’s normal.