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December 31, 2013

wherein I turn into a medium-sized pinkish rage monster

Or, I Have Been Made Angry and Know Not Why, or, I Have Been Stabbed in the Back and It May as Well Have Been Literally, or, I Can No Longer Trust Anyone to Do Anything Right, or, I Can Hear His  Beloved Bones Moaning In His the Depths of His Dark Grave, or, I Present a Brutally Honest Opinion That No One Hates As Much As I (just remember that in the dark times to come, okay?), or my personal favourite, The Sun Has Risen Black on the Horizon and I Am Confused and Troubled and I Don't Know What to Do About It Or Anything Because Holy Oliphaunts I am Angry.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug poster
So.  I've seen The Desolation of Smaug (a couple weeks by now.  This took a while.).  That great and grand spectacle we've been eagerly and impatiently awaiting since An Unexpected Journey graced us with it's glorious presence a year ago.  The movie that would smite me through the heart with it's undoubtedly inevitable magnificence.  Allegedly Peter Jackson's favourite of 5 Middle-earth films.  And all I can think is, "This must be what Edmund felt like when the White Witch promised him a throne and a lifetime supply of Turkish Delight and instead he just a hunk of stale bread, a mug of ice, and an all-inclusive stay in a bloody deep-freeze on a dungeon, only he must have had some inkling that things might not go well, and I actually didn't see this coming at all."

No one wanted to love this movie more than I did, okay?  Let me just get that out there.  Weeell, I can't say no one.  The people camping out in full hand-sewn costume on opening night were, I'm going to assume, a bit more stoked than I was.  But that's not the point.

I'm not going to say it sucked and I hated it, because it neither sucked nor did I hate it.  I didn't sit through the whole thing fiddling with my 3D glasses (the 3D, by the way, was the best I'd ever seen.  But trying to get 3D glasses to sit straight over top of regular glasses + Tauriel hair = really dumb) wishing it would be over so I could hurry up and track PJ down and give him a hulking chunk of my outraged mind.  
No, no.  The reoccurring thought going through my head the whole time was, "Hmm.  That bit could've should've been better, but no doubt the next scene will be brilliant, and it will certainly be amazing before the end.  How could it not be?  This is Peter Jackson, maker of the greatest films of all time."

Turns ol' PJ here is not a genius as one would like to believe.

It started out on a good note.  Gandalf and Thorin meeting in Bree.  That was a good scene.  

Then Bilbo doing his nose-twitch thing while expertly spying on some orcs.  

Then it was all just, "Ermergersh, a bear!  Oh look! a little barn we can chill in while we hide from this nasty bear who's trying to brutally slaughter us!  Wait, the barn belong's to the bear?  And the bear is actually a menacingly boring old porcupine man with a fetish for the '80s look?  Well, at least he has magical identical ponies he'll maybe let us ride." 
The Beorn scene, which I was so so so looking forward to, was butchered.  And as if it was ashamed of its own disgraceful appearance, it was rushed over.  Where was that classic introduction scene?  Why did Beorn live in a barn?  Where was the dwarves' song that should've been in there (I was so excited for that)?  And why in bloody heck did Beorn look like a mulleted porcupine made of boring?  I'm a bit lot upset about that.

And then Mirkwood.  Also rushed.  And done pretty wrong.  No Bombur in the river?  Bah.  

The spider scene was pretty okay.  Especially when you see Bilbo's growing obsession with the Ring, and then him realizing the hold it has over him.  That was brilliant.  But that's really supposed to be his scene, in which the dwarves really gain respect for him, but it was kind of stolen from him by the Elves.  (Actually, that's basically how the rest of the movie goes, as well.)  

Which brings me to the Elves. *sarcasm warning in effect as of now*

Thranduil was very cool.  Very cool indeed.
Hmmm...looks like another good day for LEE!!!!! :D

Legolas should, of course, be in it.  It's only logical that the Prince of Mirkwood be in Mirkwood.  His makeup is truly terrible, though.  But I guess Orlando is getting on in years.  He's obviously getting arthritis.  Why else would his fight sequences look so stiff?  

And then Tauriel.  Unlike some of you, I was always fully prepared to like her.  A lot.  Sure, she was a bit over publicized.  But that's no reason to hate a girl, is it?  Anyway, I thought she made an excellent replacement for Bilbo as the main character!  Who needs Bilbo?  Bilbo's boring.  It's a shame the movie had to be called The Hobbit and not The She-Elf, don't you think?  And if you make a female character who can kill that many orcs per second, you don't even need to give her any depth or development!  

*laughs maniacally and slams head into wall*

In all seriousness though, I do like Tauriel.  But I really, really, really wanted to like her more.  I thought that I would.  I was excited to have a new female character in these movies.  But I just didn't see any depth of character in her and development was nil.  

Her relationship with Kili (or "Kiliel", as it has been so dubbed) was another thing I was actually optimistic about beforehand.  I don't really have too much trouble with it.  Except it was a bit cheesey at times, and, thinking about it, it kind of draws a bit of the significance away from Gimli and Legolas's friendship, as well as Gimli and Galadriel's.  But I did really like that scene with the rune stone (and he talks about his mother making him promise to come back to her and I just about curled up on that gross, popcorn-covered theatre floor and died) where she's talking about the stars and it was just really pretty, okay?  And I did like her passion and care for all of Middle-earth, and not just for Mirkwood, as the rest of the Mirkwood Elves seem to.  

The, shall we call it, Glowing Athelas scene at first struck me as a stupid attempt to recreate the scene in FOTR in which Arwen starts glowing.  But maybe it's just an Elf-healing thing?  I don't know.  I, personally, have never been healed from deadly illness by an Elf armed with Athelas.  But I will let you know if it ever happens and whether or not the Elf glows. 

The barrel escape scene was kind of lacklustre.  Legolas jumping on the dwarves heads and Bombur's ninja helicopter thing felt like they were trying force some sort of cheap humour on me.  Well.  I guess everyone else in that rather-full theatre was laughing.  I was just kinda like, "Wait, was that funny?  Should I be laughing?  I don't feel like laughing."

Bard though.  One of the very few things about DOS that actually exceeded my expectations.  

Instead of being just that random grim dude of the line of Girion who jumps up out of the blue and kills the dragon, we actually get to see his layers and depth and story.  He (and his family) are splendidly well done.  Definitely one of the highlights of this movie.  

Smaug was brilliant.  He looked brilliant.  He sounded brilliant (well...duh).  His scene with Bilbo was brilliant.  Until it wasn't.  All of a sudden Smaug had everything figured out (wait a second... Sherlock?  Is that you?) and Bilbo took off the Ring and then there was a lot of noise and somehow a lot of gold?  What the...?  But I ain't gonna lie bro, him shaking off that metric ton of molten gold against the night sky looked pretty magnificent. 

In conclusion, it's okay as a movie in it's own right, aside from the choppiness of it and it's lack of natural flow (it felt like it had been chopped into chunks and then sloppily stuck together with a dried-out bottle of craft glue).  

But as an adaptation of The Hobbit?  I'm not sure which gif is more applicable here.  Is it sad Batman?

Exasperated Ichabod?

Or judgmental Aragorn?

Let's go with all three.

Heaven knows AUJ wasn't perfect.  But it had so many good from-the-book moments that made it sparkle.  This one seemed to think it could get away without any of those.  All the good bits from the book were either cut or rushed to make room for Peter Jackson's own ideas.  It became a chaotic, noisy, sloppy shmozzle of orc-slashing and CGI (it often looked like a video game).  

Martin Freeman's flawless (as we saw in AUJ) performance as Bilbo could've carried much of the weight of it, but he was barely in it!  Did they forget who the main character is? 

It showed a complete disregard and disrespect for Tolkien and his beloved story; the sort of story that could've been told by a weather-beaten bard with an old harp in the halls of an Anglo Saxon lord 1200 years ago.  Where was the wit?  The classic humour?  The intelligence?  The charm and homeyness of it?  

I'm not such a fanatical purist that a movie has to be exactly like the book is based on.  I'm all for the director's artistic license.  Take The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, for instance.  It's possibly my favourite of the Chronicles of Narnia, and certainly one of my favourite books ever, but the movie, despite being so far from the book, still manages to be my favourite of those movies (well... LWW is maybe tied with it).  Things often need to be added to or taken away to make the story work as a movie.  A movie is different from a book, remember.  Making the barrel scene a little more intense (I said intense, not dumb) might be a better movie-thing than closing the dwarves in barrels for a couple days.  But that's all the excuse I'm making for that.  

Oh, and the effects in the Sauron vs Gandalf scene were really cool.  And Bard was brilliant.  

Now I'm done making excuses for it.

It's like the path through Mirkwood, you know?  Don't leave it.  Be creative, but don't leave the path!  Well, he left the path.  And the bloody fool went and got himself lost.  

So.  What did you think of it?  You probably loved it.  Well.  I'm very happy for you.  Please enjoy the happiness that should have been mine.  

On the upside though, There and Back Again can hardly be much worse.  More painful, perhaps.  But not worse.  Hopefully this was just a rebellious teenaged middle child or something.  

I'm going to go Hulk-smash something now.  Goodbye.  Happy New Year.  Not that I'll get much happiness out of it.  I've had my movie hijacked by idiots.  And then there was something about a falling bowtie and Amy Pond. 

December 11, 2013

to boldly humbug where no bug has hummed before

{currently listening to this piece of loveliness}

One does try one's hardest not to let winter get under skin (especially not in a literal sense, as that really hurts)    after all, what are immobile and burning extremities, eyelids frozen shut, and heated pet water dishes that must have been made in California to the rest of the world's collection of ill-begotten woes?  But I really can't help but feel that a couple days of glorious -10 dropping to -40 overnight (literally) is just a bit over the top.

But we're moving this week.  Finally.  And foresee a tumultuous lack of internet hovering over it like a rain cloud of despair and desperation.  Fortunately though, the new house is only 20 feet away, so I can just lug my stuff over, one by one, with great convenience and only have to be out in the cold for 30 seconds for at a time.  Oh joys.

I also need my wisdom teeth out.  They'll just have to wait, though.  'Till my January cold, with any luck.  Ugh.  Who was it who said "You forget what a boone it is to breathe through one's nose untill you have a head cold"?  I have a notion it was in an Agatha Christie (perhaps Partner's in Crime) but I couldn't be bothered to find it right now, and it's not relevant anyway.  I just had the thought of my gums being sliced open and my silly teeth being pulled from my poor, abused jaw, leaving gaping chasms of blood and death behind, while being unable to breathe, sleep, or function correctly.  I'll also probably be suffering from epilepsy or some other nervous disorder by then, as the lights in my new room have this ghastly sort of strobe-effect.  Gorlog's beard.  

Here's a fun fact: Horse dewormer is poisonous to all dogs (which we all know), but some breeds of collie have a genetic mutation which makes them 200% more susceptible to ivermectin (a type of horse dewormer).  So you could leave a drop, just a drop, on the ground, and cover it up with plenty of snow, and if a dog with that specific mutation were to lick that particular spot, the dog may display symptoms such as apparent blindness, disorientation, tremors, etc, which could lead to comatose and seizures and eventually death.  But what are the chances of that happening, right?  
Sooo, apparently Charlie has that mutation, plus his is extra special on top of that.  Oh, for the love of monkeys.  But he's okay now.  48 hours of  IV and having charcoal stuffed down his thorat and he's just dandy.  The little idiot.

On a cheerier note, I haven't seen a mosquito in a while.  And there is something just ridiculously satisfying about trudging through the snow while singing wailing Let It Go (from Frozen) at the very top of your burning lungs.  I AM ELSA, QUEEN OF THIS ICEY SNOW PILE.  HEAR ME ROAR.  Yeah.  That's fun.  You can never scare the neighbours too much, I always say.  

And this one is like my theme song.  Because sometimes I forget I'm not a snowman.  Then again, this song could also be my theme song.  Because of reasons.

Speaking of Frozen, I simply must insist you go see it immediately, if you haven't already.  It's even better than Tangled.  And I love Tangled.

And if you happen to have any more of that fair and elusive thing called money, The Book Thief is beautiful and painful and magnificent and perfectly cast and the score is gorgeous and and it's not perfect but I'm please with it especially the cast it's my Rudy and my Max and my Hans and my Rosa and my Liesel but especially Rudy and Max and Hans and Rosa and Liesel they are so beautiful and real like they always were but now I can really see them and what is my heart doing ow stop feels *rant fades out into quiet sobbing*  

Why does it feel like everything in this silly old world is moving faster than me?  (Except for the internet.  The internet is slow.  The internet is dumb.)  No, no.  What's bad is how I let it get so far ahead of me.   
This is hilariously true because I drew this while procrastinating on all my homework. ;__;

Also, why is math a thing.  I'm tired of math.  Math is probably even tired of me.


I'd almost forgotten about it in my mess of boxes and math and snow shoveling and hammering ice out of hooves and scraping it off fluffy coats and asking God not to let my puppy die.  But now I'm remembering and KINDA GOING CRAZY.

I don't even know what's under my bed, but it looks scary.

Math is dumb.

Tumblr is dumb.

Rereading The Hobbit is awesome.

The Catching Fire soundtrack is really good.

Bastille is really good.

I assembled my new bed in my new room in my new house today and I cut myself on it and I think it's infected.  

Why is it almost Christmas.  What have I done with the Advent wreath.  Why do I have no money.

$100 Canadian bills are actually maple syrup scented.  Not that I would know.  I don't have any.  Or a job.  Or a license.  What have I done.

Mother of Mine's birthday is tomorrow.  Guess who doesn't even have a card for her.

“Bah," said Scrooge, "Humbug.” 

November 30, 2013

middle-earth challenge - here, at the end of all things

Well.  Not all things.  Just this thing.  Finally.

Day 24, being best one does simply meme thingermajigum.

And my personal favourite:

Day 25, being my favourite actor's quote.  

Best LOTR Commentary: Part 5

Day 26, being the character I pity the most.  Gollum, for the reasons I mentioned here.  I'm too lazy and done with this whole thing to write them again.

Day 27, being coolest visual effects.  How about how the fact that those hobbits aren't actually 3 feet tall, but for all 20,000 hours of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, you can very well believe they are.  

Day 28, being most inspiring scene.  

Day 29, my LOTR collection.  Feast your eyes, precious.  

Plus, there's a 500 pc puzzle floating around somewhere.  And 4 bookmarks which I forgot to add to the picture.  Plus my ROTK character poster.  Not to mention Tales from the Perilous Realm, which I didn't put in because it's not, strictly speaking, Middle-earth.  As well as the extended editions in blu-ray.  And then my sister has The Hobbit Movie Guide.  My new collection of exceptionally awesome LOTR jewellery courtesy of this exceedingly fabjous queen of exceeding frabjousness.

Day 30, being best LOTR picture ever.  One does not simply pick a favourite picture, okay?  I'll just direct you to my pinterest board and my Tolkien tumblr tag.  Have fun with that, kids.


Whoa.  I'm done.

Yes, I did.

November 28, 2013

the lengthy adventures of a tired and mostly-appeased whovian

In case you happened to not notice, November 23 was the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who gracing the universe with it's existence.  And that's a pretty big deal, don't you know.  They even had a little shindig at Buckingham.  
And the special episode (The Day of the Doctor)!  Holy fudge monkeys.  

 I managed to talk my dad into taking my sister and I to one of the showings (it was playing in theatres, people.  In 3D.  I mean, it's not 12D.  There was a budget cut or something.  But the 100th anniversary episode is going to be in 12D.  All 57 Doctors.  Yowza.).  We were planning on going to the second last one on the 25th, but we didn't buy our tickets ahead of time (incredibly stupid, I must say.  But I didn't exactly know I was going much in advance, now did I?  Then again, I did somewhat underestimate the Whovian population of my area.), and if one wants to gets into a sold-out theatre (huh, never been in a sold-out theatre before), one had jolly well better be one of the people who sold it out.  So we had to go to the later (and last) one, which was nearly sold-out by then, as well.  

We then spent the next 2 and a half hours sorting/feeling/sniffing/stroking/making friends with books and frightening the staff at the nearby Chapters.  I'm pretty sure every employee in there asked us at at least twice if we were looking for something in particular    like a psychiatrist, maybe?  What?  People don't normally wear wilted celery to bookstores?  Tough luck, sweetie.  

I bought a copy of Journey to the Center of the Earth, in case anybody cares.

We did give a spiffing good go at costumes.  I had my red bow-tie necklace, Journey-to-the-Center-of-the-TARDS-Clara hair (weeeell...ish), TARDS blue nails ('twas a valiant attempt), and Martha Jones (eh...close enough) jacket (more or less).  
Sister of Mine opted for a TARDIS-blue shirt and a stalk of celery pinned to her jacket (a nice touch, didn't see much celery around...plenty of bow-ties, suspenders, and trench coats, with the occasional scarf.  Can't help regretting we picked such a small piece, though.  It shriveled itself down to a pitiful size before too long.).  

Finally, we got to line up to get in.  Only 45 more minutes to go.  A good oportunity to observe the cosplayers who really bothered to bother (my bow-tie and her celery...pathetic).  A couple of decent Nines.  A few cool Fours.  One or two Sevens.  Tens and Elevens without number.  One really nice Five.  Sadly, not many Rivers.  Or Sixes?  Ones?  Twos?  Threes?  Tsk.  The Whovians in my city are apparently slightly disappointing.  

I've never been in a theatre so full.  All the good seats were full within a minute of the doors being opened.  At least the front row seats were really comfy.  Big, padded armrests and everything.  If I'm going to break my neck, I want to do it in style and comfort, people.  

Also, wearing 3D glasses over top of your regular glasses is tricky at best.  Maybe they'll be improved by 6D.  Maybe you won't even need them at all by 9D.  

Strax gave us all a briefing on theatre rules and the methods of punishment that will be used on us if we break them.

Then Matt comes on, in typical Matt style, flapping his hands ("Do you think you could talk without flapping your hands around?" "Yes.  No.") and complaining about the lameness of 3D and telling us that there are Zygons about (an old shape-shifting, flesh-eating Who monster that's been out commission for 38 years - the 50th anniversary episode is full of them, FYI), but we're perfectly safe, because our glasses our equipped with a Zygon detection unit    just close one eye, look to person next to you, and if one of their eyes is dark, they're a Zygon (if you happen to have a pair of RealD glasses, go close one eye in the mirror).  "The important thing is not to panic!"  

And then David comes on, giving us a friendly warning to duck, as Matt's chin is a health hazard.  Nice one.

And then it started. 

>>--------> By the way, this is where it gets spoilery-woilery (no idea where I get this stuff from).  If thee hast yet to see it, I entreat thee to stop thineself ere ye spoil it for thee. <--------<<

Oh guys.  I'm pleased.  Quite pleased.  I wasn't sure if I was going to be.  I wasn't at all optimistic about there being a Secret Doctor.  Although, that may have been mostly because it messed up the numbers, so Nine was Ten, Ten was Nine, &c.  That upset my OCD tendencies immensely.  
But it works.  Really well.  The space between Eight and Nine created a perfect opportunity for Moffat to do something crazy like that.  He took it.  And he did it well.   

I liked the Warrior Doctor.  And him with Ten and Eleven (those two together...classic) was hilarious. 
 And Rose.  Or Bad Wolf girl.  I'm not sure if I should call her Rose, because she wasn't really Rose, was she?  Certainly not what I was expecting.  I don't think anybody was expecting that, right?  But she was pretty cool.  {I love a weapon of mass destruction with a conscience and sense of humour, don't you?}  
I really loved this episode and I thought it was really well done on the whole.  Very unexpected.  I wasn't at all sure how it was going to end, to be honest.  {I was like "Nah. That couldn't possibly happen, because that would change the show in a drastic sort of way."  And then then it happened and it was really awesome and whoa and I'm pretty sure Doctor Who is not going to be quite the same ever again.  I don't quite know what to think about that, but I'm thinking it's a happy thing.  I mean, whoa.  I just...wasn't really....expecting that.}  
I love the ending.  Happy.  What is this happy?  I don't know "happy".  

And it was nice to finally get our Elizabeth I questions addressed.  Lol.
Yeah, Doctor.  Just leaving like that after you married her would do it.  Wait, does that make you King of England?   And since Amy married Henry VIII that makes her your mother-in-law not once but twice.  Wow.  This show.  

I was bit confused at the beginning, though.  Considering how The Name of the Doctor ended, with Clara and the Doctor stuck in his timeline with a big old looming "TO BE CONTINUED", I didn't expect it to start with them both going about their normal business (as normal as normal business can be on this show).  It's obviously somehow after that, but...  Huh.  Whatever. 

I do have a complaint.  A couple, actually.  First off, Christopher Eccleston refusing to be in it.  Chris, you selfish goon.  Go sit in that corner and think about what you've done.
And second, I can't help but think that Moffat made it more of a celebration of him and his own work on Who instead of 50 years of the whole thing.  Ten, Eleven, and the Warrior Doctor are what it revolved around when there should have been more of the classic stuff.  The fact that Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy didn't even make a small appearance in it (apart from those clips in that one momentous scene), strikes me as stupid.  And what about Sean Pertwee (Jon Pertwee's son)?  He should've had a cameo, no?  
The story, he got.  But the other things that would've really made it The 50th Anniversary celebration of the one the greatest shows on TV ever were left out.  *shakes fist*  MOFFAAAAAT!  

Besides that though, it worked.  It worked very well indeed.  I am happy.  The beast has been appeased.  Weeeeeell.  Mostly.

Links of interest: - The mini-prequel to The Day of the Doctor.  Watch it, people.  Gosh, I love Eight.  "Bring me knitting!" - This is hilarious.  And Peter Jackson and Ian McKellen make an appearance, as well.  Good stuff. - Things you may have missed.  Like, River's pumps being a weapon of mass destruction.

Also, here's some Grumpy Ten to make your day extra bright.

November 25, 2013

you'll kill me? evidently there will be a line.

Wherein Nessie tries her very hardest to review Thor: The Dark World in a sensible and coherent manner.  
Spoilers in these thingermajigums {Spoilers, Sweetie!}.  Highlight at your peril.

The first Thor movie, though I liked it quite a lot, didn't really blow me away.  It's been a while since I've seen it, and I definitely need to see it again, but as far as I can remember, it doesn't rank among my all-time favourites.  
Thor: The Dark World, however, is another story.  Though it's at least 12 quid in a taxi away from perfect, wow.  Wow.

Of course, I'd been all psyched up for this movie since I heard it was coming out, and that Christopher Eccleston was going to play the villain.  Yeah.  I was excited.

After 15 minutes of previews (among them were Catching Fire, The Winter Soldier, and The Hobbit, so me and my sister just elbowed each other violently, as we do, and tried not to squeal like piglets lost in the woods) and what not, the comforting sound and flashing colours of flapping comic book pages, followed by darkness, and then Odin's voice briefing us on the beginning of the universe.  How unusually thoughtful of him.  We're then tossed smack into the middle of a battle between the dark elves (though one could mistake them for cybermen with nice hair) and Asgard.  Asgard won of course, and the last of the dark elves hid and had a really long nap.  Their weapon, the Aether (pronounced EETHER
, in case you care), which is like the tesseract, but red, floaty, a bit grabby, and apparently more powerful, is hidden deep, deep down in the...somewhere.  It's hidden, okay?  And safe, until Thor's Earth dwelling girlfriend, Jane Foster, gets sucked through a portal caused by the Nine Realms lining up, which is called the Convergence, which happens every 500 hundred years, explains Thor.  

Anyway, what are the chances of her ending up in exactly the same place that the Aether is hidden, and then absorbing some of it into her system, thus waking Malekith up from his beauty sleep and making her the universes most dangerous object?  The plot necessitates they be fairly high.
Well, stranger things have happened, I'm sure.  

Aside from the fact the plot sounds less than clever when you write it down (and that you probably won't get much out of it if you haven't seen both Thor and The Avengers), it wasn't too bad.  Certainly not the greatest Marvel has to offer     the plot was loosely bound where it could've/should've been a tight, sprawled slightly, and the pacing was almost choppy at times     but what can you do?

It's quite a bit different from the first one, tonally.  It's a lot more fun, to begin with.  More humour (there's a cameo during which I nearly died of popcorn-induced asphyxiation, and the way Loki sat there reading a book like there wasn't a battle raging two feet away from him was applause-worthy) and more memorable lines.

Where Kenneth Branagh did Thor with an elegant, almost Shakespearean style, Alan Taylor (of Game of Thrones fame) opts for a bigger, more fantasy-feel, on a technologically-grand scale and a massive scope bigger, I think, than any Marvel movie before it.

Another difference between this and the first one is
 how we see the Asgardians.  In Thor, they're gods, immortal and mighty.  Here, we get a more personal look at them.  We see them more as people, mortality and all.  I thought that was excellent.  {Until all of a sudden there was too much mortality, and a really fantastic character died and it broke my heart to an unexpected degree and the funeral made me want to leap off the Bifrost wailing out a dirge and I'm still upset and it just really hurts, okay?}

As for the characters...

Thor has improved quite a bit from Thor, and even The Avengers.  Except now, where he had faults before, he's almost, but not quite, too perfect.  He's no less likable than he ever was, but he seems almost without flaw.   And we never really get to see inside him like I hoped we would (and like we do with Loki).  But I still love him.  I really do.

I never really did like Jane a whole lot.  Maybe I just don't really like Natalie Portman a whole lot.  Either way, she's also improved a bit.  She's a much more central figure in the plot and actually has a reason for being in it, beyond merely for the sake of having a love interest.  
Still, there's something about her that prevents me from relishing her presence.

As expected, Darcy was hilarious, and even has her own unpaid intern whom she abuses shamelessly (at least until he tosses a car at some attacking dark elves).  Selvig's there, too.

We see more of Sif and the rest of Thor's battle buddies, so that's nice.  Sif is always cool, and the always-awesome Zach Levy (dearest Eugene Fitzherbert, and the nice guy who brought cushions to everyone at Comic Con) is recast as Fandral and definitely brings a little extra something-something to the character that Josh Dallas didn't.  

I had high hopes for Malekith, it being Christopher Eccleston and all.  He could've been quite excellent.  But...he wasn't.  He certainly glowers well.  He pulls off the dark side quite with skill.  He even speaks another language (which is, for any of you linguistics geeks, is supposedly based on Finnish).  But he wasn't memorable.  It was like he was really only in it to serve as a plot point.  Which is a shame.  He had potential.  Also, what did he want the world all dark for, anyway?  No one ever bothered to really explain that.  Like, was he just gonna sit there, or kill everybody, or what?  I don't really like the sun in my eyes either, but that's hardly a reason to go kill people.  Not on most days, anyway.

And then Odin, even on top of being Odin, fell a bit flat. 

But Frigga.  Wow.  I loved her.  She was magnificent, and her relationship with Loki was magnificent and her costumes were magnificent and her fight scene was magnificent {Weeeell, you know, apart from the fact that she died, and I died a little bit with her.}, and she was just magnificent.   

Which brings me to Loki.  

Okay.  Loki.  Wow.  He was fantastic in Thor.  He was brilliant in The Avengers.  But in Thor: The Dark World?  O Loki, thou hast far exceeded thyself.  
I was never the head of his raging army of fans, okay?  I didn't root for him, even when I fully recognized that he was one of the best villains characters ever created.  

But in this movie?  I just...I don'  Tom, if it were possible, has taken this character to a whole new level of excellence.  He has achieved something very close to perfection.  Everything from the slightest gesture and facial expression, to his relationship with Frigga was so perfect, it's just adtytg\';shadsdf.  I love how they understood each other.  

"He's not my father!"
"Then I am not your mother?"

And did anyone notice how their fighting styles were much the same?  You can just imagine Frigga teaching  young Loki to create illusions and beat up enemies, can't you?  I can.  {Holy Jotunheim, it hurts my heart!  A lot.  It hurts a lot, okay?  His reaction to her death.  Ugh.  My heart.  The broken furniture.  MY HEART.  And when Thor sees him like that.  Someone take these feelings away from me.  I don't need them.  I just don't.  *whimpers and collapses on floor in fearsome agony*

And his scenes with Thor.  Gosh.  The chemistry Chris and Tom have is amazing.  The dialogue in those scenes could've been a bit better, on Thor's side mostly, but they really do work so well off each other that it's not a huge deal.

 {And then when we all thought he betrayed Thor, but then didn't?  Oh my gosh.  My heart was bursting.  And when he died, it pretty much ripped my heart of chest again, but then he didn't?  Whoa.  By the way, where was Odin at the end?  I bet Loki put him in a cupboard.  Because that's what we do with things we don't like.  We put them in the cupboard.}

Of course, there is a downside to having someone who's not the main character stand out above everyone else, and that's is you don't want him to overpower it completely, he might not get enough screen-time.  Which he just doesn't.  Honestly, he needs his own movie.  I need his own movie.

The script, for the most part, is very good.  Although most of the really great lines are given to Loki, and Thor's seem to be almost starched and ironed and lacking something like imagination, I thought it's a pretty dashed good script.

The set design *choke* is spectacular.  Spectacular.  And when I say spectacular, I mean that they're some of the best sets I've ever seen.  Ever.  

^this is just concept art, but that's basically how it looks in the movie, I think.

The art *choke-wheeze*, the colours, *heavy breathing*, the lighting, THE ART.  THE GLORIOUS, GLORIOUS NORSENESS OF IT.  I don't think I've seen such great sets since LOTR.  

And don't even get me started on the costumes.  *gasps-wheezes-chokes*  THE COSTUMES.  Perfect.  The design and the colours and the style...just...fdawriop89ui;'lk,f.'jbv gyt...whoa.  So.  Good.  I mean, they're not LOTR or The Hobbit, but they aren't too far off.

And the soundtrack.  GUYS, THE SOUNDTRACK.  Composed by Brian Tyler, whom I've never heard of, needs a hug and a whole box of cookies for this soundtrack. Wonderful.  Just the right amounts of intense, stirring, rising, beautiful, and occasionally heartbreaking (the track Into Eternity is made of pain.).  So good.

In conclusion:  if you don't have a particular fondness for this sort of superhero/sci-fi/fantasy, action- and battle-laden, burdened-with-glorious-CG-type movie, and you watch it from a strictly objective viewpoint, you'll notice a somewhat sprawling plot that sounds almost ridiculous when you think about it too hard; some characters that could've gone deeper and some that were spot-on; a less than truly memorable villain (but hey     they can't all be Loki, can they?); a script that could've been done better, but not too bad; some humour and a couple of cameos you can't not love ("Can I have my shoe back?"); some pretty cool sets, decent costumes, and an adequate soundtrack.  

But if you do 
have a particular (and maybe slightly geeky) fondness for this sort of superhero/sci-fi/fantasy, action- and battle-laden, burdened-with-glorious-CG-type movie, more likely you'll notice that even though it's not lacking in faults, and it's not the most masterful Marvel movie to date, it's great.  Really great.  Some of the characters are just fantastic, and Loki has never been better     I don't even know how to convey to you how brilliant Loki is without keysmashes, caps lock, and keysmashed caps lock, which just wouldn't do for a character such as him.  Sets and costumes are gorgeous.  The plot was hardly award-winning, there wasn't enough Loki, and Malekith verged on dull, but the parts that are wonderful far outweigh and outnumber the parts that are less so.  By far. 

I loved it.  In a big way.  Easily on my list of favourite movies ever.  So much of it is just brilliant.  In overall quality, it's maybe 3 out of 5.  But for how much I loved it?  It's at least a 4.25.  Maybe that would change on a second viewing, but for right now, let me have my 4.25.

{On the ending:  Whoa...what?  Why did you just hand the Aether over to the creepy guyliner dude?  That wasn't smart.  And Loki.  Whoa....what?}

Heads up: this movie pulls an Avengers on us and gives not one but two post-credit scenes.  There were only about 6 other people besides me, my sister, and brother in the theatre, and half of them left before the first one, at which all three of us shook our heads and said "amateurs," and then the other people left before the last one (after 6 minutes of credits, I've never been so happy to see a bowl of soggy Shreddies), so I guess we were the only veteran Marvel movie goers there.  Brofist, anybody?  

Content-wise, s*** and h*** are used a couple of times, but it's mostly indistinct.  Also some kissing, and Selvig runs around Stonehenge naked (it's blurred).  There's violence, obviously.  And it's "emotionally intense and sad" in a couple scenes.  Pretty clean, overall.  It has a rating of PG-13.