Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Dark World -- It's a Spoiler-Filled Thorsday!

Doug:  Karen and I have both seen this motion picture now (me just two days past -- what was I waiting for?).  Since it came out two weeks ago, it's probably safe to launch a spoiler-filled post.  Sure, we know other folks do this sort of thing right away.  We'd like to think we have a sense of courtesy around here, and always appreciate our readers for sharing that sentiment.  Have at it -- what did you like, not like, what was better than the first film, or worse?  Jane or Sif (Edo's right, by the way)?  And as always, there's that end-of-credits excitement to look forward to -- what did you think?


Doug said...

Hi, guys --

I just saw it Tuesday afternoon in 2D --went to a 3:50 pm show and it only cost me $5! However, I'd go see it again right now. I think Marvel has had three really good film sequels, all in fact better than the originals IMO -- Spider-Man 2, X2, and now Thor: The Dark World.

This movie was a blast start to finish. Some of the comic bits got a tad annoying, but overall this action film seemed balanced. Like others have mentioned on other boards, I thought of the Star Wars films throughout this one -- now that Disney owns the Lucas properties, they readily borrowed numerous sound effects. That was OK by me. The tech. vs. antique dichotomy of the weaponry continues to amaze, and we've mentioned this in our Tales of Asgard reviews.

Frigga was awesome -- quite a pleasant surprise, and handled very well. She could give Yoda a run for his money in the swordplay department!

Tom Hiddleston is starting to push the all-time great comic villains (movie versions). He steals every scene he's in. Whoever originally cast him in the part of Loki should get a huge bonus. Really, he and Chris Hemsworth are perfectly cast, as much so as Downey is as Tony Stark.

This film seemed inspired by the Tales of Asgard series, particularly the stories about Thor's relationship to Loki. I wonder if others among you have made the correlation between those old Lee/Kirby tales?

The guest appearance by Chris Evans in full Captain America garb was a hoot -- don't know if I could have smiled more! And the introduction of the Collector at the end credits? While I thought he was portrayed a bit foppishly (if that's a word), I was very excited -- it was like unwrapping a Christmas present and being very surprised!

If I have a major complaint, it's in the portrayal of Volstagg. His character is where they should have spent their money on comic relief; instead we got Jane's lab assistant over and over in that role. I just thought Volstagg was played way too straight. Fandral, on the other hand? Perfect!! I'm unclear as to why Hogun the Grim only got about three minutes of screen time, as the other members of the Warriors Three were quite well-used. And Odin? I don't think Anthony Hopkins is playing him as a strong enough character. There's not enough anger, not enough omnipotence being exuded. He's sort of a Nordic "Father Knows Best" kind of guy here...

Jane vs. Sif? Jeez, why is that even an issue? Thor's dumb.

I'm looking forward to what others say.


Karen said...

I'll add my two cents as well:

I really enjoyed this as well. I think there's a nice balance between Asgard and Earth here, and the cast is solid. The biggest weakness is in the villain. I thought Malekith was little more than a plot device. He reminded me a lot of Nero from the Star Trek reboot of 2009. He's angry, he wants revenge, blah blah blah. The problem is, Loki is in the picture and he's a far more compelling villain. In fact, he's almost too interesting. He tends to steal every scene he's in.

I liked the fact that someone knew that Hogun came from another realm than Asgard (there's a whole series of stories about it in Tales of Asgard); however it was weird as Doug says that he disappeared for the whole film. In fact, I had thought we'd see much more of Sif and the Warriors Three helping Thor so the fact they did not was a bit of a disappointment. but I understood why the writers did this, in order to get Thor and Loki alone. Still...

And no real love triangle. Maybe in the third film? So much was touched upon briefly and then the next thing was brought up. I guess they just don't have enough time in a single film to do it all.

I could've done with less Kat Dennings. But I enjoyed Stellan Skarsgaard. I suppose we were to infer that his breakdown had to do with having been mentally controlled by Loki? He said something at one point about "having a god in his head"? And I loved Stan Lee's cameo!

The Collector's appearance seemed a bit corny -I hope del Toro gets reined in a bit in the Guardians films. That whole scene looked a little shoddy to me. I read elsewhere that you could see Adam Warlock's cocoon in the background -I missed that! So based on the dialog there, are we to assume the Tesseract (aka Cosmic Cube) is also an Infinity Gem? It sounded like it.

One last comment: where was all the thunder and lightning?!

Doug said...

Hey, maybe just you and I can discuss this!

I'd accidentally read something about Him as well, but also completely missed it.

Volstagg or Sif, one of them, remarked that the Tesseract was being contained on Asgard and was an Infinity gem. But I think we all agree that the Tesseract is the Cosmic Cube, so I don't know how that fits. Karen, do you recall that photo you posted from San Diego a few years ago of the Infinity Gauntlet prop? Wasn't that in Odin's trophy room in the first Thor film? So something's not exactly coming together for me. And where did this Infinity Gem that was given to the Collector come from? Was it the aether, contained? I'm thinking that the Guardians movie, which I am not all that excited about, is going to be critical as we move toward Avengers 3.

A spin-off featuring the Warriors Three would be welcome!


Doc Savage said...

Mediocre at best. Full of plot holes. Still not sure what the dark elves wanted, or why they dozed for millennia if they're so badass they can obliterate Asgard anytime they want. Kat Dennings isn't funny. Natalie Portman is dull as dishwater. Why does Thor like her again? Deus ex machina solutions drive me nuts. If they had the professor's gear all along, why wait till the last moment to use it? Still a lot better than the train wreck of Iron Man 3 but Marvel movies seem to be losing their luster. Hope the new Captain America is better.

Loki and Thor were good as ever, wish they had a better script and a plot that worked. Too bad we didn't get more Sif and such a waste of Volstagg/Falstaff.

Karen said...

I think they're going to have to ignore that little glimpse of the infinity gauntlet that was in Odin's vault. It was a cool thing to do at that time but they probably hadn't planned to do the whole Thanos/Infinity Gauntlet movie then. I assume the gem they gave the Collector was the Aether -but yeah, it wasn't 100% clear.

Doug said...

I'm not sure what "having the professor's gear all along" means. They hadn't identified the problem, got his mind right, had Thor and Jane present to tell of the gravity of the situation, and then do the calculations to truly see if they could disrupt whatever it was that the aether was doing.

Nope, not a problem for me at all.

And I don't find Jane Foster dull. In fact, she's just the opposite of the way Stan and Jack wrote her in the Silver Age. This Jane was certainly plucky -- too much for my liking. I thought there was no sense of wonder on her part at being in Asgard, and the way she so casually and sometime callously addressed Thor's family seemed inappropriate to the reaction I thought I was going to get. So while not dull, I thought the scenes in Asgard were poorly written for the character.

Falstaff = Shakespearean character, or cheap beer from the '70s?

I love a good popcorn movie -- two hours of escapism. Love it!


Greg said...

Looking forward to seeing it. I know I'm going to complain (probably) about the story/ plot afterwards, but I know that going in and I'm just going to enjoy the ride. Your thoughts seem to echo what I've heard elsewhere- Thor and Loki are great, the villain kinda lame (or under- used), Sif rocks.

I too wish they would play Volstagg a little closer to the comic version, but oh well. it sounds like its a good popcorn movie. I do hope Thor cuts loose a bit though...

Karen said...

I wonder if they are concerned with portraying Volstagg as too fat? You know, the big, fat comedy relief character? Hit to close a nerve for some folks? In the film, he's big but not really shown as the butterball he was in the comics.

Doug said...

Greg, once I gave in to the fact that the Marvel movies skew more to the Ultimate Universe seeing these films became a lot easier. There are still those wonderful nods to the Marvel Universe and to folks our age (the quick look at the Original Human Torch in the Cap film comes to mind). Guys (and gals) like us "get it" when Thanos turns his ugly mug around or the Collector shows up -- I had to explain both to my sons and was proud of my knowledge and ability to cogently do so!

It's really a fun movie -- if you love the Lee/Kirby Thor, then I think you'll really like this. It's much closer to those cosmic Thor stories than the first film, which for my money spent way too long earthbound.


Greg said...

Karen, you're probably right, I had not considered that but good point. I can see that getting awkward.

Doug, I have never read any of the Ultimates stuff but that makes sense. I've heard that said before too, that the Ultimates had a big influence on the movis. I know I'm going to quibble about things when I see it, but yes the little nods to Marvel history are nice- and the fact that they're doing it in a fun, big budget way is awesome. I seriously never though they would ever make even a halfways decent Thor movie, after all!

And I'm glad they're going more cosmic in this one. I wasn't super impressed with the first one. Thought a lot of potential was wasted.

Doug said...

Greg, if you ever do read the Ultimate line, particularly the Avengers-substitute The Ultimates, buckle in. It ain't yer daddy's Avengers... And, I think others would support me on this, it got progressively creepier, more violent, etc. The first 6-issue arc was OK, but then I began to wonder.


Teresa said...

I liked The Dark World.

Yeah it had plot holes.
Sure, it had angry Romulans/elves. I don't care. It was fun and I liked it!
I guess I'm in the minority about the supporting cast. I liked all the plucky sidekick banter.
I liked that there are consequences for the professor when a God has tickled his brain.
Loki was a great scene stealer.
This movie should be a lesson for future Superman films.
Thor and Superman have a lot in common. Their power level and they navel gaze when left unsupervised stand out. They need fun and interesting supporting casts to keep the movie fun.
I only have one little negative comment about the film.
That scene with the Collector...Yikes. What was that all about? Did they rent an old Dr. Who set from the 70s? I want to see the real Collector in his Marvel Comics glory.
Do Over!

Murray said...

I loved it from start to finish. Everyone, including me, seemed more comfortable with the concept. The first Thor movie seemed a little stilted, a little this, a little that... not this time.

"Ultimates"? Never read a panel of them/it. All I saw was an acceptable movie adaptation of the grand old days of Lee-Kirby-Buscema (that's when I discovered Thor) Maybe some of the elements I took to be whacky movie choices are perfectly accurate "Ultimates"?

The only consistent pebble in my shoe is why Jane Foster has to be a physicist? She takes on the super doctor mantle rep that was Don Blake's. She could be linked tightly with Scientist Erik and Ditz Darcy by any number of methods.

The new pebble in my shoe is an old pebble, which others have mentioned: what does Thor see in Jane when Sif is standing there??

Did anyone else feel sorry for Mjolnir? Up to orbit and back down and around trying to connect with its master.

Greg said...

Doug, Thanks for the heads up on Ultimates. I probably won't read it, it just doesn't look like my cup of tea. It never really appealed to me, I'm perfectly good with the old Marvel Universe and didn't really see the need for a new version of Avengers.

I have a hard enough time with the direction of the current Marvel Universe, I'm sure the Ultimates would be more than I want to deal with! :)

Anonymous said...

Do you guys separate the films that Marvel Studios made from the other "Marvel" movies like Spider-Man/X-Men like I do?

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the few people who haven't seen the movie yet.

First off, I'm with Doug - whoever cast Tom Hiddleston as Loki deserves a freakin' medal; easily one of the best casting choices for a villain in many years.

Volstagg is huge in these movies but doesn't resemble a human blimp like he is portrayed in the comicbooks.

As for the Sif vs Jane faceoff, I've always been in the Sif camp. I've always thought the romance between her and Thor at least from a comics perspective since the days of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby was too contrived, a formulaic love interest for our hero to chase. However, with regard to the new movie, I think studio bosses will try to push Jane Foster because a) they have an Oscar winning actress in the role b) the interplay between Earth and Asgard will make more sense if our favourite Thunder God has some reason to go to Earth.

- Mike 'Asgardians, earthlings and Dark Elves, oh my!' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Doug said...

Greg -- you mean you're not looking for a comic with a rampaging naked Hulk who's defeated because the Wasp flashes her breasts at him in the heat of battle?

Dave -- no, I guess I really don't separate the Marvel Studios films from those made by the big Hollywood studios. But now that you mention it...


Karen said...

Teresa- spot on with the "Dr. Who" comparison. I thought that set looked terribly cheap too!And the Collector's 'companion' also appeared to be wearing hand-me-downs. Weird -maybe it was a rush job.

Dave -I do make a distinction between Marvel Studio films and the Sony and Fox films. MS just seems to get the characters right -they don't deviate that much from the comics and so far have produced the best films (IMO). The Spider-Man, X-Men, and particularly FF franchises don't feel nearly as 'Marvel-like' to me.

Edo Bosnar said...

Haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm pretty unconcerned with spoilers - I find it has no impact on whether or not I enjoy the film when I do eventually see it.
Anyway, I had to chime in to agree with Karen about the various Marvel films, i.e., I definitely make a distinction. I liked all of what I call the Avenger films I've seen so far (Avengers itself, IM 1-2, Thor, Cap) to a greater or lesser extent, while the Spidey films with Maquire were all right, not bad and awful. Haven't yet bothered seeing Amazing Spider-man. As for the X-franchise, I didn't really like any of them very much; in fact, I think my favorite of the lot was First Class, and even that wasn't all that great.

And it's nice to see that most people agree with me about Sif, whether in the comics or the movies. In fact, in the first Thor film, in that scene where the Sif and the Warriors 3 came to earth to help Thor out and he and Jane are making googly eyes at each other, I kept waiting for Sif to say, "Hey, I'm standing right here, bozo!" (Or, at least, Volstagg or Fandral to look from Sif to Jane and then ask Thor, "Really?!")

J.A. Morris said...

I thought it was pretty good, and I've never been a big reader of Thor comics (Bronze Age or otherwise).

Hiddleston is one of the best villains in recent film history, someone at work asked if I was going to see 'Loki And His Brother'!

And I've already said I'm in the Sif camp, I read a few reprints of the Lee-Kirby issues with Jane. I always thought they were a bit too soapy for my tastes. But I don't see the movies picking Sif, as Thor and Jane give them the old "two people from different worlds" trope.

david_b said...

Haven't seen the new movie yet, but at least with the Thor franchise (and the 'first' Avengers movie..), the creative team GOT IT RIGHT..

In any worthy action/suspense story or movie, you HAVE to have a villain large enough, evil enough, sinister and conniving enough that folks are going to be drawn to.

It's not so much the heroes, but once you set the stage with a diabolical enough threat, folks are going to love it. Why do you think folks love the original 'Star Wars', 'Wrath of Khan' and perhaps the original Grinch christmas special (adding a dash of humor) so much..?

Once you have a worthy villain and a decent story, it makes heroing much easier. Just classic story-telling.

Doug said...

Speaking of Sif, did anyone see the "dress" Jaimie Alexander wore to one of the Thor premieres? I'm thinking "tape", and lots of it.

(I have to learn how to embed a link in a comment!)


Greg said...

"Greg -- you mean you're not looking for a comic with a rampaging naked Hulk who's defeated because the Wasp flashes her breasts at him in the heat of battle?"

Doug, Wow. That bad huh? I had no idea... yeah I'll pass on that!

Hoping to see Thor this weekend... finally.

Doug said...

Oh, Greg, Greg... I didn't even get to the part about Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. You know, Quicksilver's always had an intense interest in his sister...


Doug said...

Y'know, I have one other nitpick about the film that I forgot until now --

Why does every other Asgardian seem to wear headgear, but our hero -- known far and wide for his signature chapeau -- bares his blonde locks to the sky throughout the picture?

And of course, Chris Evans was sans mask, too. -sigh-...


Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, re: embedding links in comments. I just figured out how to do this the other day, it's actually quite easy, although I don't know how to copy/paste the command in the comments without it creating a link itself. So here's a link to a site that explains how it's done.

And here's a short version of the link to the Jaimie Alexander article you mentioned above.

Doug said...

And now you're just showing off!

Thanks -- I am definitely going to check that out!!


Greg said...

"Oh, Greg, Greg... I didn't even get to the part about Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. You know, Quicksilver's always had an intense interest in his sister..."

Gaah! Say it isn't so...

Good grief, did they play this straight???

Rb82 said...

Doug - The reason why Thor doesn't wear his helmet is given in the BR extras of the first film: he thinks it looks like he is wearing a chicken :p

Unknown said...

I loved it. I liked the first Thor film fine, but Dark World is much better. All of the actors really seemed to inhabit their characters fully. Every line and facial expression of Loki's was delivered sublimely. Hiddleston can do no wrong at this point. I especially enjoyed the escape from Asgard and the battle with the wormholes. Make mine Marvel!

I make a very definite distinction between the Marvel studio films and the rest. There are parts of the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises that really worked for me. But you just know that Daredevil and Ghost Rider would not have made it past Feige & Co's quality control.

Anyone see the Winter Soldier trailer before Thor? Even my wife was excited (pretty sure she's never heard of the Falcon. Not sure she'd even heard of Capt America before the First Avenger).

James Chatterton

Karen said...

Brad Maddox, or whoever you are: you can keep posting your Forex promotional crap here and we'll just keep taking it down almost immediately. It's really not doing you a damn bit of good. Move on, why don't you, to some blog that will let you live like the parasite you are, attached to its skin while it goes on in blissful ignorance? Believe me, you'll never get more than a moment of time on this blog before we cut you out and cast you off like the sickening leech you are.

OK kids, back to the fun.

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