Thor 2: Fun and funny, but could have used a little bit more Loki

This week’s Agents of SHIELD is going to be a tie-in to the Thor movie (due to the evil genius of Marvel, probably). So, yes, I fell for the obvious marketing ploy and went to see the movie in theaters. I admit it, I’m guilty. I’m ashamed.

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Verdict: This was good, stupid fun.

This movie actually gives me some hope for the future of superhero movies, which I was starting to lose after Iron Man 3 and The Wolverine. It wasn’t perfect, and it wasn’t great, but it was solidly entertaining. It went by fast–I barely noticed the passage of time. The plot holes don’t grate that much, because the movie clearly isn’t meant to be taken seriously. There are only a few dramatic moments, and they don’t last long.

The plot concerns the Dark Elves, an ancient enemy of Asgard, and their attempts to take control of a destructive weapon (the Aether) that ends up inside Thor’s girlfriend, Jane. Now, Thor has to get the Aether out of Jane before it kills her, without letting the Dark Elves get their hands on it.

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As expected, the interaction between Loki and Thor was fantastic. We didn’t get nearly enough of it, but it easily made for the best parts of the movie. It was mostly played for comedy (brilliantly). Loki’s obvious mockery paired with Thor bullheadedly ignoring him made for a great dynamic.

I really wish that Loki was given a stronger focus, since he had so much more character development to go through, and so much more room to change, than Thor. When he started taking certain actions, it came out of nowhere, because we didn’t get to follow his development. I can’t help but wonder if we couldn’t have had more Loki development instead of some of the more jarring rom-com scenes.

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Jane Foster in Asgard was odd. The complexity of getting transported to a mythical place populated by powerful near-immortals was barely even touched, and Jane certainly didn’t act like she even remotely understood what that meant–She should have been smart enough not to even think about talking back to someone from a god-like warrior race.

Hint: If an unknown Asgardian warrior compares you to a goat at a banquet table, it’s entirely possible he is very powerful and can kill you painfully. You’re in his territory and not even remotely in a position of strength–this is not the time to challenge him in any way.

Also, what was with all the slapping?

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There were a couple of instances where the plot obviously needed to go in a particular direction, and so characters took actions that were nonsensical. For instance:

1. Thor’s brilliant strategy to take the thing your enemy is looking for away from somewhere defensible and filled with warriors who can protect it. Bring it right out into the open. (By “it”, I mean the Aether, not Jane.)

2. Thor’s mother, Frigga, seems to realize pretty quickly that the enemy storming her home is after Jane. So what does she do? Take Jane somewhere obvious to confront them. In fairness, she makes sure they can’t get their hands on Jane. But wouldn’t it have made more sense to take Jane somewhere the enemy wouldn’t be looking for her?

The action was fine. The idea for the ending fight was brilliant–falling through different realms in the middle of the battle because of all the invisible portals between them? That sounds amazing. The execution was decent.

And back to the comedy, since that was the most important part of the movie–So, is this a thing now? After the Avengers movie, are all Marvel movies going to try to be funny and filled with jokes?

The Avengers balanced comedy and drama very well, even within the same scene. But that was because Joss Whedon is good at this. It’s part of his style.

Imitating this just because it was successful before, is a lot like playing to someone else’s strengths. It’s bound to produce mixed results. Iron Man 3 veered way too much into constant puns and made jokes out of things that should have been treated seriously–essentially, it made jokes at the expense of the story.

Thor 2 did a much better job handling its jokes–they were funnier, and they were generally more appropriate. And we weren’t bored by generic jokes that could be inserted anywhere. These jokes belonged in this story.

The comedy did happen at the expense of the drama. But the plus side is that the movie didn’t overreach itself. Glossing over the dramatic moments quickly let it get away with a lot of things that wouldn’t work in a more serious movie. It was just meant to be an entertaining ride, and it succeeded there.

Side note: Captain America’s “cameo” was wonderful, and it’s fun to watch the actor get to take a different style–I found him totally believable in this role.

EDIT: Norse mythologist Karl Seigfried answers questions about the Thor movie seen through a Norse cultural lens.

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4 Responses to Thor 2: Fun and funny, but could have used a little bit more Loki

  1. Psycho Gecko says:

    I think we could have used more Loki between Thor and The Avengers. Yeah, his interaction with Thor is great and could be used a lot more, though what happened with him in the movie made a great deal of sense as far as his character.

    Not a big fan of that one particular Woman in Refrigerator moment. She went out like a badass, but still not the best way to do that.

    I also liked the bit at the end. Fun little epiphany moment about why Odin REALLY didn’t take Thor’s hammer away from him.

    I also liked the nod to the comics where Malekith’s face wound up half black and half white. In the comics, the dark elves are more of a dark blue color. Either way, his face is half dark, half white. Thanks to some blasting in the movie, his face winds up half dark and half white like that.

    Unfortunately, the destruction of the Dark Elves means we won’t likely see The Incredible Hercules from the time when he dresses up as Thor and seduces the Dark Elf queen, who doesn’t hold a grudge due to his quick master of the “Elven Tickler”.

    It also lead to Thor dressing up as Hercules and the two having a hilarious fight, which can be seen out of order a little ways down this page:

    I was wondering if Agents of Shield was going to crosspromote. Seems the obvious thing to do to help both the series and the movie.

    Also, nice first stinger after the end. Can’t wait for Guardians of the Galaxy. I didn’t like it as much as I enjoyed Nova (supposedly some members of the Nova Corps. will be in there), but it’ll be fun seeing Rocket Raccoon on the big screen. Not so big on Batista playing Drax the Destroyer, mainly because he’s known for being a bit of an ass towards women behind the scenes. Wish they wouldn’t butcher it so much with having Ronan work for Thanos, though.

    • Marie Erving says:

      Oh my gosh, how did the hammer thing not occur to me sooner?

      Honestly, that entire last scene is hard for me to parcel out just because I don’t know how it’s meant–is Loki saying what he does as Odin because he’s just clever enough to blend together what Odin would say and what Thor would want to hear? Or does he actually have the slightest inkling of understanding of what he’s saying, or of sincerity for any of it?

      The last appearance of Tom Hiddleston on screen does nothing to tell me if any of the apparent character development Loki had actually stuck or not.

      And yeah, the death scene was pretty pointless. It was so easily avoidable and obviously just happened to give Loki some believable motivation. Eh, plot driving characters.

      • Psycho Gecko says:

        I thought he was just playing Thor at the end, saying what he figured was best to say. He even did a little bit of that “lying while telling the truth” thing by saying that no matter how much he might want to, he couldn’t tell Thor some heartwarming mushy “I’m proud of you son” kinda thing. Which is true. Loki couldn’t say that.

        It was in his best interest to keep Thor happy and working for Odin. Exiling didn’t work out for him last time, after all.

        The one good thing about her death, though, was that Loki wouldn’t have to pretend with her too, which would get squicky for people. She’d probably even be able to get through his illusions seeing as she has the same abilities.

        It almost…ALMOST…makes you wonder if he wasn’t really upset over her death, but just realized that if he appeared so, he could potentially get out to try and pull off that plan.

      • Marie Erving says:

        Honestly, it’s hard to say what was what, since Loki did seem to have character progression during the movie, and at the end, it’s almost like it didn’t happen. So in the interests of there actually being development, I’m going to go ahead and believe that Loki changed in this movie, and we just didn’t get to see it in that one scene at the end. Just because I want that to be the case.

        Until the next movie irrevocably proves me wrong, anyway.

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