Thor: The Dark World

thor the dark world posterI have literally just returned watching Thor: The Dark World at the local theater and let me tell you something: all the reviews I read that said it was mediocre at best were wrong.

That’s right.  I said it.  Wrong. Because it was one of the most awesome superhero movies I’ve seen.  Also, the last one I watched was Man of Steel which, let’s be honest, was a total waste of 2.5 hours.  But I’m not here to whine about Superman.  I’m here to tell you that you need to see this movie.  Now, where to begin?

The film starts with an explanation of just who the Dark Elves are and of the existence of the Aether.  For those of you who read The Bone Season (or my confused response to it), that Aether, which is somehow related to the existence of the Reph things, is not like Thor’s Aether.  This Aether is a weapon which grants huge amounts of power to the host in whom it resides.  In this case, the Dark Elves want it, but then Thor’s grandfather decimates them in battle and the Aether is buried/put aside because it can’t be destroyed but the Dark Elves are all dead.  Except, of course, that they’re not.

Dark Elves.  Creepy as hell.

Dark Elves. Creepy as hell.

We also get a nice return of Jane Foster, Darcy, and the intern (a.k.a. Ian).  As usual, they’re funny and searching for science-y stuff and since Thor hasn’t returned to contact Jane since Thor (to be fair, he was a little caught up during the whole Avengers New York situation and lately he’s been working on other issues in the 9 Realms) she’s all mopey and trying to see other people but is incapable of doing so successfully.  Some priceless scenes follow but then – GASP! – Jane is somehow sucked through a portal thing and gets the Aether all up in her veins and it’s not looking like a good situation.

When she’s in Aether-land, Heimdall (Mr. Guardian of the Universes) notices that he can’t see her, so by the time he tells Thor and our favorite Norse god gets to Earth, she’s returned through the portal but the Aether is still in her.  Oops.  This is going to be a pretty big problem, isn’t it?

The whole storyline of trying to get the Aether out of Jane/out of the hands of Dark Elves is essentially a big excuse for giant fight sequences, lots of destruction of major cities, and some pretty emotional moments.  Translation: super cool series of intense battles.

thor-the-dark-world-loki-and-jane-fosterOh, and did I mention that Loki makes a big, beautiful return?  Because he does.

Remember, this is the first time we’ve seen Loki in action since he wreaked havoc on NYC in Avengers, so our re-introduction to the god of mischief is while he’s in shackles and answering to Odin about his crimes.  Basically, he’s going to be imprisoned for life and Thor is going to become king and there’s nothing anyone can do to change Odin’s mind.  Even Frigga (Momma Bear of Thor and Loki – even though he’s not biologically hers) can’t change her husband’s mind completely, but at least Loki is alive.

After the first intense battle for the Aether, something really awful happens (for the sake of keeping this as major spoiler free as possible, I’ll just say it’s pretty brutal for so early in the movie) and Thor realizes that he needs Loki to help him get Jane away from Asgard so that they can fight the Dark Elves and save the universe.

All in a day’s work, right?

Here’s where I’m going to fangirl a tiny bit (read: lots and lots and lots).  I love Thor and Jane and Darcy and Intern and Erik – they’re fantastic characters and they keep the movie light, meaningful, action-packed, and wonderful.  I mean, there’s a scene where Thor, having fallen through some crazy portals, winds up in the London Underground and has to ask how to get to Greenwich, at which point the girl who’s clearly starstruck tells him to get on the train for three stops.  It’s hysterical.  And the ending is, of course, poetic and beautiful and meaningful, too.

But Loki.  My God, Tom Hiddleston can act.  I’m sure this is one of my less coherent reviews simply because I’m in awe of his performance.  There’s a brilliant moment of dialogue between Odin and Loki at the very beginning of the film that made me worry about every character for the next 2 hours.

Odin: We are not gods.  We’re born.  We live.  We die.  Just like humans do.

Loki: Give or take 5,000 years.

It’s so simple, so elegant, and yet so packed with potential tragedies.  And Loki takes it all in stride.  He wants so desperately to rule, but he can’t.  Meanwhile, his brawny (not brainy) brother is going to inherit the throne even though all he wants is to get back to Jane.  It’s tough on a guy.

loki-thor-the-dark-world

Loki reveals himself to Thor – but is this just another illusion?

After the Really Awful Thing happens, we keep getting images of Loki as composed and cool in his cell, but when Thor says he doesn’t want any more illusions, Loki reveals himself.  He’s in turmoil, the cell is overturned, and he looks like a broken man.  And his illusions play a huge role throughout the film – do we ever really know Loki?

There are really deep moments between the brothers, but there are also some absolutely Oscar-worthy scenes of outright humor.  The scene where Thor tries to pilot the giant Dark Elves spaceship thing and Loki is the most obnoxious backseat driver ever is perfection (I want a Loki GPS for my car right now), as is the escape scene in which Loki creates more illusions, including himself as another Avenger (and let me tell you, I laughed so hard popcorn almost came out of my nose).

And here’s how I can describe my experience watching just Loki’s scenes: laugh, laugh, cry, laugh, snort popcorn out my nose, laugh, scream, gasp, sob hysterically, and eventually punch the air with joy and wonder at how they managed to wrap everything up.

If you watch the movie, you can’t tell me you don’t have a significant emotional response of some kind to Loki.  In fact, I’m thinking of starting some sort of social media campaign for Tom Hiddleston to get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.  I wouldn’t expect him to win (the Academy seems to choose those “profound” movies with lots of serious content over superheroes) but I think he deserves to be recognized for the breadth and depth he brings to the character.

Thor-The-Dark-World-Movie-2013-Review-Official-Trailer-Release-Date-1Of course, I’d love for this movie to be nominated for loads of Oscars, so I hope that actually happens.

Ultimately, I give this movie two thumbs way, way up because it’s just awesome.  Of the Avengers’ movies, I think this may have just dethroned Captain America as my favorite.  What a movie, what a cast, what a beautiful experience.

Also, as in all Marvel movies, be sure to stay after the credits.  Not just the one scene in the middle of the credits.  There’s also one at the end which, while not absolutely necessary to any plot, is totally worth it.

Be sure to check out Thor: The Dark World at your local theater!

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