After months and months of waiting, we finally got to watch THOR: THE DARK WORLD yesterday.

For those who haven’t seen it yet – be aware that this is a full review, so it includes major spoilers. I give you a general impression: That’s one hell of a movie. You will laugh. And you will cry. I won’t say why, because there are many reasons to cry, whether it’s because of laughter or sorrow. In any way, bring tissues.

So you do wanna read everything? I repeat: SPOILERS AHEAD. There’ll be no further warnings!

Still there? All right. Then here we go.

I was afraid of this movie. Really, really afraid. Story-wise, it would have made absolute sense to kill Loki. So I expected it. Then I read spoilers because I simply couldn’t wait and it was confirmed – Loki dies. Suddenly I didn’t want to watch the movie again. I did anyways.

Well, thank any deity that is – preferably Loki 😀

Let’s start at the beginning. I won’t and can’t go that deep into the conflict side when it comes to Malekith and the Dark Elves (although, a word on that: the make-up department deserves an award); for that I have to watch the movie again (and again, and again…) and get more into the story. Spooky said there are big plot holes, and I guess she’s right, though I was kind of distracted by everything that was going on with the characters, rather than by some petty fights (sorry ;)) – even though the fights were well done and definitely thrilling to watch, especially the one on the other (Dark Elves?) world and the endgame in London. Character-wise, however, this was a fantastic movie. Well, actually it was mostly for Loki and Frigga.

The first thing we see in that regard is Loki’s trial. In chains he’s brought to Odin, very dramatic, very theatrically. Loki talks to Frigga shortly, which I think was a very nice touch, since she was and obviously still is the only one who is standing by Loki’s side; she sees in him her son, nothing else, and it is heartwarming and -breaking at the same time.

All right. So I was never a fan of Odin to begin with, because in my opinion Thor wasn’t all that wrong with his assessment in the first movie – he is an old man, and he’s arrogant, believing that he knows everything best. With everything that happened in this movie, my dislike for him as only become stronger. And we start right here, in the trial scene.

Loki: “I was born to be king.”
Odin: “You were born to die.”

I’m not sure these are the exact quotes, but it was something like this that was said. Basically Odin told Loki to shut up and be happy to be still alive, because he could have just let him die when he found him as a baby. And that really shocked me. Odin’s behavior towards Loki was so very cold and indifferent. But I think Odin forgets that it was also partly his fault what happened. Every decision he made regarding Loki is included here. He decided to not tell Loki who and what he really was. He decided that a Frost Giant offspring would never be on the throne of Asgard. He decided to include him in the royal family and still shut him out in every way that is and was important.

In my opinion Loki, for everything he has done, would still make the better king (than Thor; maybe even than Odin). We’ve seen him before all that began; we’ve seen how he was, even as a child, more calm and thoughtful, more considerate. We saw him make the wrong decisions, alas for the right reasons, when he tried to prevent Thor from becoming king of Asgard. I still believe that it all got out of hand; that certain things that happened had never been intended on his side, like Thor being banished. He was absolutely right when he said that Thor is an idiot and not fit to be king; he was, maybe, at the end of that movie, but never before.

What if Loki had been given the chance to learn to live with his heritage; what if he and those close to him had been informed about who and what he is? What I can see is Thor on the throne of Asgard as rightful heir, blood-wise – and Loki as his counsel, like a grand vizier (only nicer than Jafar ;)), the true sovereign of the empire. Of course it’s hard to see the two men in such a position – and getting along, with Thor listening to Loki – from today’s knowledge – but if they’d been raised to be and work like that, I think it could have been done.

Instead, Odin decided to challenge his luck, because he must have known that Loki would one day learn who he really is. He could have prevented all of it, the fights, the deaths, the loss – if only he had been truthful towards his son(s).

Loki is incarcerated then; for the rest of his life, that’s his sentence. Interesting that isn’t sentences to death (should that exist). Not that I’m complaining. On the other hand, spending the rest of your days in a magical cell, well…

Contrary to the other prison cells we got to see at least Loki’s was furnished, and cozily so. If I had to guess, I’d say he has to thank Frigga for that; we learn that it is she who brings him books (he is complaining about the prospect of spending the rest of his days reading, though – now imagine that would have been Thor in that cell :D). And she also seems to be the only one to visit him – alas as a magical appearance, a kind of holographic picture.

I really, really love that connection between Loki and Frigga. That’s why I also call her his mother. When Loki tells Frigga that Odin isn’t his father (and he’s furious when he says it), she replies that neither she is his mother. He does answer yes to that, and still you see in his eyes that it is merely the statement of a fact for him; in his heart, she is the only mother he’ll ever have and accept.

That actually made for the first sad scene – when Loki tries to take his mother’s (offered) hands while telling her through his eyes that she is his mother, no matter family and genetics, she vanishes. Which also made me wonder: was she really there or did he just imagine her? She was at his trial though, it is to assume that she truly cared and her appearance in his cell was made by her, not him.

Interestingly enough, Loki was not stripped of his powers. I don’t know if that would have been possible; it was with Thor. Well, sort of. But then I guess Loki’s powers come from within, while Thor mostly has to rely on his hammer, even if he is quite strong without it as well. On the other hand seems no one except for Loki and Frigga have real magical powers; this energy we see later with Loki, energy he can emit, whereas even Odin has to rely on his scepter.

One of the very important things we learn in this movie is exactly that whole magic thing – and that Friggas has the same skills as Loki. Or the other way around – I assume at this point that he got it from Frigga, that she taught it to him. He who was never as strong as Thor or any of the other warriors needed something to defend himself with; and so she gave him something that would require brain instead of brawn, but be no less effective. I’d even go as far to say that the whole illusion creating trick is more helpful that any strength and well thrown fist.

As I said in the beginning, there were several reasons to cry – and not always were those tears of laughter. The first time was when Frigga was killed. And for those who haven’t seen the movie yet – there’s your first huge spoiler. Yes, Frigga dies. And apparently there’s no hope of resurrection either; this one is final. Unfortunately. This has to be the only thing I really, really, disliked about the movie. It is so sad, and a waste of character. Well, almost. At least she goes down fighting – protecting Jane. And wow, that woman can fight. I loved how they gave her the opportunity to show her badass side. She definitely put Xena to shame.

The funeral ceremony – Frigga’s and following that of all the other victim’s of the Dark Elves’ attack – was truly beautiful and so, so heartbreaking. It was a wonderful idea they had there, playing it out, giving it time (it did remind me a bit of TANGLED, though… O.o). And yes, I cried. All the more when I saw how Loki was told what had happened, and despite his rather mild reaction (what we saw then – an energy impulse he emitted that messed up his cell’s furniture a bit), his pain was more than obvious.

Later, when Thor came to seek his help, we saw the true results of his grief and possibly even anger – he sat on the ground, looking not good at all, his foot (feet?) bloody, and the furniture in just as bad a condition. If one hadn’t known how important Frigga was to him, how much he loved her, here it became painfully clear.

The reason Thor needed Loki’s help was because Odin had closed the Bifrost and forbidden all travels between realms; but of course, to protect Asgard Thor has to bring Jane away from the world; and he wants to do so in hopes that it will also save her. It’s something that Odin doesn’t want to see and understand (Old man and a fool, anyone?), so Thor has to betray him. And free Loki, because he’s the only one who knows a way to travel between realms without the Bifrost.

Hello continuity. That amazed me. They made use of that – in the first movie Loki used his secret passage to get to Jotunheim, and while we knew what he had done, it was never explained how. Now they get back to that and use it, answering a question they prompted in the first movie. Genius. It’s already great to do it within one and the same movie (like a brick joke, minus the joke) – but within a movie!verse?

I mean, we had it with Iron Man 3 already – Tony having nightmares after New York, actually suffering from it. By the way, it was interesting to see that it was no different for Eric Selvig – he, too, suffers, even talks about it not having been easy to have a God in your brain. Another continuity nod, alas a more straight one.

Anyways, from then on it is Loki, Jane and Thor – fleeing with a glider (or however we want to call that) through a secret portal that looked suspiciously like some extension of the rainbow bridge – it shimmered in rainbow colors, after all – and arriving on the Dark Elves’ world (I think it was, not entirely sure though).

Two things happen – first, we have an alleged betrayal on Loki’s side when he fights Thor, cuts off his hand and practically throws Jane into Malekith’s arms. Well, evil grip. Malekith draws the Aether energy Jane had absorbed earlier (and that made all this happen to begin with) from her – and Loki and Thor end the whole scheme they’ve played, another illusion created by Loki to destroy same energy.

Not for a moment I believed that Loki was betraying Thor; I knew from the very first moment I saw the dagger that this was going to a scheme. Granted, I knew partly what was coming afterwards. But even if I hadn’t, it would have made no sense for Loki to be once again the bad guy, as it wouldn’t have made sense to cut off one of Thor’s hands.

Of course the plan doesn’t work, surprise, surprise. Malekith is now in possession of the energy and proceeds with his plan to destroy all worlds by plunging it into Darkness (I kinda liked the Darkness theme, it is a nice idea, what with darkness being a definite fear factor), while our boys are left behind to engage in a fight with Malekith’s right hand/2IC Algrim, same guy who’d led the pre-attack on Asgard before and is very powerful (that I didn’t really get, but anyways).

And there’s the second thing. Algrim manages to beat up Thor (which had me sink into my seat, because woah, that was really bad and shocking), and is about to kill him, when Loki, having fought off his part of the foot soldiers, comes by just in time to stop Algrim – ramming one of the Dark Elves’ spear/sword-like weapons through him.

Unfortunately that doesn’t really bother Algrim – he pulls Loki towards him and effectively impales him this way as well. The last thing Loki manages to do is kill Algrim with one of these Dark Elves’ bombs that suck away everything in their direct vicinity (bit like a black hole, a fracture in the fabric in reality… duh, I watch too much DOCTOR WHO).

Loki dies, repeating “I’m sorry” (go break my heart, why don’t you), in Thor’s arms – a mourning Thor who even screams in pain over his loss. And there you have the second scene that made me cry – because apart from the horrible fact that Loki had just died, it was also the scene that, you could say, had brought together the brothers again at last. I think in that moment Thor truly forgave Loki for everything he had done – because he had saved Thor, he had saved Jane before, he had helped his brother, and had proved that he is there when it really matters.

Odin’s reaction to Loki’s death was interesting. And thinking about it again, I wonder if Odin maybe knew Loki isn’t dead? And one thing’s for sure, was already in that scene: The blond guard guy was the same we saw with Thor when Loki pulled his transformation stunt (see below under fun moments). So it was pretty obvious that it is Loki. In addition to that the guard smirked way too mischievous, and we saw him on that other world, where only Thor, Loki and Jane went to. There is no doubt that it was him. Plus, we have the ending where Loki is on the throne, and that definitely was the real one. Everything else wouldn’t make sense.

If Odin didn’t know or suspect Loki’s survival, then he truly is as cold as I see him now. I even go as far as saying that Odin never loved Loki, never even gave himself, or Loki, a chance. He must have regretted his decision to take baby Loki with him all his life, and was proven true to do so when Loki turned “evil” – it’s as if he had just waited for that to happen, only to say that he was right to never consider Loki as heir.

As mentioned, at the end we have Loki on Asgard’s throne, but as Odin. And I have to say, he was pretty convincing as the Allfather. Once again: I believe that if he was given the chance and more importantly the trust and faith, he could be king. A good one, and in any way a much better one than Thor.

What he said to Thor, how he talked to him – that didn’t sound like some madman fooling his brother. Of course Loki was subtly trying to confirm Thor’s decision to not become king, but on the other hand – why would he say it like that? Part of Loki still loves his brother I think, and even if he has no other way to express it, at least he did it like that. That is my very own opinion, of course, but then he was almost too nice and gentle for Odin. He basically told Thor in Odin’s name that he loved him and was proud of him. Thor didn’t know it was Loki, and Thor wouldn’t have known it either had Loki said something else; something more… Odin-like. Odin is anything but the appreciative father, except for some very rare moments (the ending of the first THOR movie, for example). Nevertheless, Loki chose to be as nice as he was. Yes, it did have the subtle message that he wouldn’t mind Thor being with Jane; but it didn’t exactly ask him to go and live with her on Earth and never return, now, didn’t it? If Loki is as good as we can assume he is, no one will ever know the difference; not even Thor, should he stay on Asgard.

The big question, however, is: where is Odin? Is he dead? I doubt it, since I assume it would have some impact on Asgard if its (true) king was suddenly gone. Now what I can imagine is that Loki has either created an illusion in which Odin is invisible, and since he apparently hasn’t the same skills as Loki (or Frigga) when it comes to this kind of magic, he’s simply trapped. I can also imagine that Loki used his secret passageway to bring Odin to another world. Given that Odin can seemingly only travel by using the bridge – and that he is concealed from Heimdall.

And anyways, what about Heimdall? He admitted to treason, accused himself of it – is he still alive? Is he still free (but Thor used the bridge in the end, mhh…)? Because surely Heimdall would have been able to see something of what happened to Odin, or when he wasn’t there anymore. Depending on his abilities we don’t really know much about…

That is, of course, if there’s not more behind that. For example, it could be very interesting to see Loki as Odin’s secret weapon. Now, I don’t believe that either of them can/will trust (or like, for that matter) the other enough to agree to such an alliance, but if they find a way to make it believable and work… who knows whether and how often Odin made use Frigga’s skills. Loki has the same skills, and Odin could just need them.

It would make for one hell of a story twist if Odin knew that Loki was on the throne when he spoke to Thor; if Odin had even been watching. I don’t know of what use that could be, but if they find the right story to tell – why not? It could be just Odin and Loki knowing about it, because danger is looming once again, and Odin must be concealed for various reasons. This just needs a good screenwriter.

 

Let’s talk about the fun moments. And really, for a movie like this one, there were so many of them. Not involuntarily funny, but truly amusing. I don’t know when I’ve last laughed that much.

It’s easy to call the whole thing “Sass: The Movie – starring Tom Hiddleston as Loki”. Because seriously, take Loki out of it and you have a rather boring film. Still funny in some respects whenever Kat Dennings as Darcy is on screen, but other than that? I’d say 90% of the fun came from scenes with Loki.

Let’s start with my four favorites:

The first one has to be “Ta-dah!” I didn’t hear it at first – or well, I heard it, but didn’t recognize it as something that had been said in the movie. Only when Spooky laughed and repeated it, I realized that it had indeed been said on-screen, and that it had come from Loki. Afterwards, when I thought about it while on my way home, I sat on the train and laughed so hard that people started looking at me like I was crazy ^^

The second one is Loki reading like nothing in the world – or all nine realms, for that matter – can bother him, while outside his cell a big fight is going on, with people (creatures) actually dying. The way it was done; how he sat there, completely relaxed, and even licked his finger to turn the page – I can’t even begin to express how genius that was done. I like to think that the smaller details, like the finger licking, wasn’t in the script, but either brought in later by the director, or even Tom – and really, I can imagine it being the latter.

And then there is Loki’s Transformation Walk. Let’s call it Transformation Walk, because there’s really no other way you can call it. He walks, and he transforms into whatever – whoever – he likes. First the blond guard (we then see again later, bringing news of Loki’s “death” to Odin), then he turns Thor into Jane (with Thor’s voice), and then Loki again as Captain America, and I think it was then that I died. Kudos to Chris Evans for nailing Loki’s/Tom’s jolly cheerfulness in that scene.

And last but not least: The flight in the Dark Elves ship.

“I think you missed a column” and “Well done. You just decapitated your grandfather.”

The whole bickering between Thor and Loki in that scene was one big kill-us-with-laughter event. All those comments and snarks… by now I know there’s such thing as too much laughter. Well, no, not really, but… I really wished for an opportunity to breathe then.

There was so much more to laugh about though. I loved the reactions in the cinema when the rain started shortly before Thor appeared on Earth – and only Jane and Darcy, standing together, were unaffected because of a circular area around them where it didn’t rain. You could hear how the audience slowly caught up to the fact that something’s not quite right. Cue the first laughter. And then Jane started to move when she spotted Thor and I immediately saw how the circle moved with her – knowing exactly what was going to happen. Made even better by the fact that not only Darcy of course got soaking wet, but also that she some time later interrupted Thor’s and Jane’s reunion kiss to get to the dry area again 😀

Then we have the tube scene – Thor asking for the way and actually entering the tube (obviously he indeed used it to get where he needed to go). Almost impossible to exceed in its hilariousness – unless, again, you are on Tumblr, where someone pointed out that Thor would have needed more than three stops; that he had to change trains twice. It was all I could think of, and it made the scene even better.

Oh, and – the Warriors Three (well, those still around, which excludes Hogun, who stayed back on his world Vanaheim) and Sif threatening Loki, to which, after, I think, the third, he replies (very unimpressed):

“Apparently there’ll be a line.”

In general, the movie can be seen as a stage for Loki’s cheekiness. And I’m so not complaining.

Apart from Loki, there was of course lots of other humor. We have Jane, awkwardly walking on Asgard. Especially hilarious are her encounters with Odin (Who is this guy, who does he think he is? :D) and Frigga. I loved that they didn’t make her fall to her knees or execute a perfect curtsey when Thor introduced his mother. It made the whole thing absolutely believable. And to top all that: When Frigga told Jane to follow her and do exactly as she says (because Frigga had to protect Jane when the Dark Elves arrived – funny here tragically coinciding with Frigga’s death), Jane doesn’t answer something with “your highness” or the like – she replies: “Yes, Ma’am.”

And then there is the final bonus scene at the very end – Thor finally returning to a once again waiting Jane, kissing her (which made the whole cinema go “awww” :D) – and the monsterdog from Jotunheim (Did I mention – continuity? Although I had no idea there were more than one of these creatures Thor had killed the last time.) that is no running around on Earth, in London, chasing birds. I’ve never seen anything more odd and yet funny.

 

Let’s talk for a moment about the fact – and psychology – of Loki turning Thor into Jane instead of himself. Being on Tumblr, I’m very aware of that to me rather strange Lokane shipper movement – people shipping Loki and Jane. I’m not on that ship; Thor/Jane is completely fine by me, and Loki, well… I used to ship him with Sif, and after that little scene they had in the movie I’m inclined to continue to do so (that’s the shipper mind for you, we make the biggest thing of the smallest and possibly most meaningless moments), but I’ll surely never ship Loki/Jane.

That said, mentioned scene made me wonder as to why they solved it like this. The shipper movement only began after the movie was basically finished; when the first teasers and trailers came out. So they surely didn’t put it in to tease. I don’t even think they ever had the intention of teasing Loki/Jane in any way; it just happened to be understood like it. His “I like her” after she had slapped him (which was funny and a tad suggestive on Loki’s side, no argument here) was probably already reason enough to start to interpret; and if I’m honest, it didn’t help that he studied her intensely for the remaining duration of the scene. I think he is curious about her, and well, she is his brother’s love interest after all, so rivalry or not, I guess in some regards those two will always be brothers, and those are bound to check out the other’s girlfriends.

In any way, Loki changing Thor into Jane. Easiest would be to assume that he wanted to confuse Thor a bit – it worked also, which made it all the better and funnier (and Chris dubbing Natalie then was made of win) – and in my opinion it is all that was behind that. Now, shippers may see any fantasies on Loki’s side in it; fantasies about Jane, even about Thor. I’d really like to know what shippers see here. If anything, I see already mentioned curiosity – and one brother rattling the other’s cage, since Loki knows that Jane is Thor’s weak spot. In whatever way he fools around with Jane (no, not like that…), it sure will get Thor’s attention.

But while we’re at it. Thor/Sif? Huh. Interesting. It was obvious in the last movie already that Sif does have at least a crush on Thor, and now they traipsed around the subject again when they let Thor and Sif talk to each other, and Sif notice a few things regarding Thor’s behavior. They didn’t get really into it, which I think was a pity. This is by no means a movie about a love triangle, and I wouldn’t have wanted it to be one either, but they included it, but then left it hanging, which wasn’t great. This includes this little bit of weird air surrounding the scene when Jane and Sif met – or more, Sif met Jane, because I don’t think Jane suspected anything here.

Another thing I have to mention – or another person – is Chris Eccleston. For my lack of understanding everything regarding his storyline (he’s the big bad and he wants Darkness to return to all nine realms, effectively destroy them, ah well), I just loved seeing him again, and hearing him again. He was speaking in the language of his people, which sounded good. I loved it. :) But I couldn’t help thinking of Nine the whole time… lol…

 

In essence, this is a movie about family ties, about friendship and trust and the many forms love comes in. It’s about redemption and about the good that is in everyone, and that one has to have faith in just that good.

Here we see Loki and Thor fight side by side. It is about protecting, about saving Asgard, about saving the nine realms, and Loki has no reason to not help Thor – at the very least, the realms’ continued existence is as much in his interest as it is in everyone else’s. But I think for everything that has happened, he also loves Asgard, and maybe he even loved Earth. And – that’s something Tom Hiddleston had said a while back – he just as much loves his brother, in some way. (Quite possibly it is also his interest to get revenge for Frigga’s death that drives him.)

But no matter what it is, it showed us a Loki who wanted to help, to be in on the game. For whatever reasons, in the end he made the right decision. He even saved Thor and gave his life. We can wonder if he knew he was going to survive (we know Asgardians are mortal, even if their life expectancy is much higher than that of normal humans – but what about Frost Giants?), though I doubt it; at least he couldn’t have planned all that ahead. And the fact still stands.

When it comes down to it, THOR THE DARK WORLD doesn’t need a good story, action-wise. It doesn’t need to make sense when it comes to the Dark Elves and Malekith and his plans. That’s just bonus to make it all a bit bigger, a bit more explosive, and a bit more thrilling.

All this movie needs are strong, three-dimensional (no pun intended) characters and complex ties between same characters.

And surely this the THOR THE DARK WORLD has.

3 Responses to Thor: The Dark World

  • Ara Ogle says:

    So… I’m not seeing all of my comment? Sorry if I’m posting this twice. I admit – I think you’re underestimating Loki a bit there at the end. We’ve seen him use his illusions many times in battle before

    • Liz says:

      Sorry, due to spam comments have to be moderated :)

      No, you’re of course right. Still, I think a line has to be drawn at some point. Loki is good, better than probably everyone on Asgard predicts (excluding Frigga?), but that good? There are limits as to what one is able to plan ahead and do and scheme. I’d like it if some of it actually was Loki just being good, and then luck playing into his hands. But who knows. We certainly won’t before the next Loki, uh, Thor movie comes out 😉

      • Ara Ogle says:

        (still can’t see my whole comment? Weird.)

        I don’t think it takes all that much planning head; and yes, part of it is definitely wanting to help Thor.

        He sees Thor in danger, decides to do something about it. That ‘something’ is levitating the grenade into the right place, and distracting the guy till it goes off. Then, his natural sense of humour, drama, and a lingering instinct of ‘this guy WILL put me back in prison if I let him would lead him to play out the scene. :)

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