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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.


  1. Wow, wasn't it just beautiful? Asgard and...the music and the costumes and the characters' intensity. Lovely review. And those pictures are *ahem* AWESOME.

  2. Your review: epic. This film: epic. Hiddles: epic. Now I'm (wrongly) overusing the word epic. BUT SERIOUSLY HOW CAN YOU NOT WHEN IT REALLY IS EPIC?! 'Kay, done with my speech. :)

    Regarding the first end credits scene, it has something to do with Guardians of the Galaxy -- one of the next films Marvel will be producing.

  3. *is Finnish*
    I loved this movie so much I actually can't

    ALSO SO I GUESS IF I AM FINNISH THEN THE DARK ELVES ARE LIKE MY PEOPLE. YOOOO. Well I mean Tolkien based his dialects of Elvish off of Finnish too so that's kind of awesome.

    AND YES ABOUT THE DIALOGUE. But the script was still pretty okay. Especially for Loki. But Tom can make anything sound spectacular.