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Thor: The Dark World

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.

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2 Responses

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  1. Jonathan Soweidy said

    So I watch these movies with a different schema than you because I am not watching them stand on their own as independent films but compare them to 50 years of canon and continuity.

    That being said I totally agree about how terrible Thor The Dark World was. They completely ruined how brillant and evil Malekith was in the comics and they weird SCIENCE stuff at the end was annoying.

    My disagreement with your review though was the Loki reversal. Part of Loki’s charm is that even when he tries to do the right thing, he still can’t fully commit himself to it. Loki in the end wants the appearance and adoration of being a hero but does not want to give up his selfish ambitions. He loves his brother but if he can take advantage of a situation he will do it.
    Also Odin in the comic bok is an ass. He tries to come across as wise and noble but he is stubborn, and constantly puts Thor is a position where he has to choose between Asgard and Midgard. So as soon Odin started blessing Thor I knew it was Loki. Loki would be the one who would say the words that Thor always longed to hear. Odin would have half assed that speech.
    If Loki died, I think the franchise would be over. There has only been 3-5 Thor tales in last 52 years that have been any good without Loki.
    Loki running Asgard is a movie I want to see.
    long live King Loki.

  2. As always, thanks for your input Jon – your perspective is always enlightening.

    You’re right – Loki is the best bad guy in the Marvel movies (not counting Magneto.) I guess in the long run I’m glad he’ll still be around.

    I guess my irritation was because that final scene between Odin and Thor felt like the best written scene in a badly written movie. It actually had some pathos, some emotional energy. And then it turned out to be fake.

    I would love to see a script (or movie, or comic) where Loki playing Odin delivers the Odin we (and Thor) really want, while the real Odin continues to be an arrogant, stubborn bastard. Where we’re wondering if maybe Loki isn’t a better king than Odin, as long as he’s trying to be Odin and not Loki. Ideas about self-fulfilling prophecy and people’s expectation and reputations floating around in the mileu. That would be interesting, and sounds like something Joss Whedon might write.

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