The following review, which is really more a rant, contains spoilers. You’ve been warned.
OK, let’s talk about everything that is wrong with “Thor: The Dark World,” one of the most headachingly bad movies I’ve seen in a long time.
—The movie centers around a MacGuffin – an object that the bad guys really want and the good guys really want to keep the bad guys from getting. It doesn’t really matter what the MacGuffin is, which is good, because we know next to nothing about it in TDW – it’s called Aether, it’s black and liquid-y and apparently really, really powerful. There have been some good movies that feature MacGuffins (the Maltese Falcon is a MacGuffin) but it’s almost always a lazy screenwriting device.
—The MacGuffin is supposed to hidden so well that no one will ever find it. But Natalie Portman just stumbles upon it. Seriously, she’s not even looking for it. It’s like discovering the Hope diamond in your sock drawer. She just gets really, really, lucky— or unlucky, I guess. And you know what luck in the movies is? A lazy screenwriting device.
—The bad guys look cool, but who are these guys? They have as much personality and motivation as the blow-up clown punching bag in my son’s room.
—The secondary characters are really annoying. Kat Denning’s wisecracks in the first Thor were charming. This time around, she’s just that friend at the party that you wish would just SHUT UP. And Stellan Skarsgard is reduced to running around without his pants on. For no reason.
—Also, they do exactly zero to advance the plot. There is no reason for them to be in this movie at all.
—Thor breaks Loki out of prison to help him defeat the bad guys. And then when the bad guys show up, Loki appears to betray Thor and hand him over to the bad guys. Except it’s just a ruse, in order to… actually, I don’t know what it’s supposed to do, except trick the audience. The bad guys didn’t see “The Avengers.” They don’t know Loki from a Lexus. At one point, one of them turns to the other and says something like, “um… I think I saw this guy in prison. He must be a bad guy.”
—And then Loki dies, honorably, and this was my favorite moment in the movie. But.. we’ll get to that later.
—Thor and Natalie Portman get ready to fight the bad guys. Thor will use his Mighty Hammer, and Portman will use… science? Seriously, what the heck is happening in the climactic action scene? What is that gadget in her hand, and what is she doing with it? Why do people keep disappearing and reappearing in Iowa? The movie has no interest in making any of it makes sense; it just waves its hands and yells, “SCIENCE!” and we’re supposed to go along with it.
—Then, when it’s all over, Thor has a heartfelt moment with Odin, his father, explaining that he’d rather be a good man than a great king. And Odin lets him know that while he can’t give him his blessing, he is proud of the man his son has become. Except it’s not Odin. It’s Loki, pretending to be Odin. So the whole scene, which was one of the best written ones in the film, turns out to be all bullshit.
—…and Loki’s noble death, my other favorite moment in the movie? Yeah, that was fake, too.