Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ten Things: Thor: The Dark World

I'm just going to put this out there: Thor is probably my favorite Marvel superhero.  Thor and his supporting cast bring so much of what I love in good superhero stories: high adventure, whimsey, conflicted villains and high-stakes conflicts with a healthy dose of high fantasy strangeness.  Basically, everyone is larger than life and they are constantly dealing with weird and crazy shit.  And it all works, because we're dealing with Norse gods and nothing that modern writers can come up with will ever be as strange as the actual myths.

This love of Thor (and Tom Hiddleston's Loki) is probably why I thoroughly enjoyed the original Thor film, even though it is objectively in the lower-tier of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The sequel, Thor: The Dark World, thankfully requires no qualifiers or justifications to explain my enjoyment.  This movie is fun, joyful, and above all funny in a way that hasn't been seen since Captain America and the first Iron Man.  While it takes a while to get going, the second and third acts more than make up for a slow start.  If you get the chance, you should definitely check this movie out.

Now here are ten things that I didn't like.
1.  The "magic and technology are one in the same" thing hinted at in the first Thor is back in full force here.  I know that it's so Thor's world feels less out of place within the more sci-fi tilt of the other Marvel films, but I prefer Thor to have a more fantasy feel.

2.  The movie goes out of its way to say that Thor and company are not actually gods while still playing up the fact that they might as well be, all things considered.  It strikes me as trying to have their cake and eat it too.

3.  Anthony Hopkins was kind of phoning in his performance, which is a shame.

4.  Unlike the last movie, Odin is awake throughout the movie.  This is a problem mostly because the writers seem to have forgotten that Odin is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe.  Dude went toe-to-toe with Galactus and held his own; I think he could handle some Dark Elves.

5.  Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman still have no real chemistry together.  It's not exactly Anakin/Amidala bad, but it's not good either.

6.  Darcy is back.  While I never minded the character, I know that some people are going to be upset when she calls Mjolnir "Mew new" again.

7.  Tom Hiddleston continues to be so good at playing Loki that my dream of seeing an adaptation of the Kid Loki saga from Kieron Gillen's run on Journey Into Mystery will never happen.

8.  The Dark Elves as a whole never seem like a real threat, outside their advanced technology.

9.  Stellan Skarsgard spends much of his screen time nude.

10.  Of the two after-credit sequences, only one feels like it is part of the same movie.  The other is clearly an awkward prelude to Guardians of the Galaxy that feels completely out of place.

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