Movie Review – Thor: The Dark World

I hesitated writing this review . . . I know someone who really liked the movie. “Epic”, she called it; better than waffles, even.

However, I must speak my truth, and maybe have some fun in the process.

Fair warning; there be spoilers, ridicule, derision, and condescending comments ahead, and if you are not a fan of my snark, stop right here. Also, before I begin, know that I liked the first Thor movie (HERE).

This Thor movie opens much like the other, with a mighty battle from eons long gone, only this time it’s between Dark Elves and Asgardian forces. Apparently the Dark Elves maintain this universe was a mistake (it gotz light, you see, and they are Dark Elves), and they seek to return it to darkness . . . they have obviously not read the news lately; it’s well on its way.

Wait a moment! . . . Dark Elves have eyes; eyes are useless without light, so I don’t get why they hate light; without it, their eyes are useless. For that matter, if they come from a universe of darkness, how did their eyes evolve? I can see them evolving whiskers, or sonar, but eyes?

As I said, this battle was eons ago, fought by Odin’s father, Bor, against Malekith and his enhanced warriors called the Kursed. Malekith seeks to use a weapon known as the Aether.

Minutes into the movie, and I marvel at Marvel’s mastery of making up monikers. I do a bit of writing myself, and I often agonize over names. Who knew I could just say Dark Beings called Kjerks and lead by Bruttokith want to use Achloroform to tear the fabric of the universe asunder?

So, Bor wins this ancient battle and charges a not-to-bright underling to hide the Aether (apparently a destructive force that cannot be destroyed) where no one will ever find it.

The underling fails miserably; not only does someone find it, but that someone is a stupid ‘scientist’ played by (aaarrrgh!) Natalie Portman. Bor himself is also not too bright, as he misses the fact Malekith goes into hiding along with some buddies, putting themselves into suspended animation until such time as the Aether is once again roaming free. Typical god, Bor . . . claims all sorts of stuff, but don’t know jack that would be really useful.

So, Portman, who plays Jane Foster, eventually gets sucked into what I presume is a alternate  universe where one hides stuff, and stand in front of this dark monolith poorly imprisoning the Aether.

So, let me get this . . . Doctor Jane Foster (that’s right, she’s supposed to be smart; she has a ‘Doctor’ in front of her name) stands in an ominous dark cave in front of this ominous black monolith that contains what looks like ominous swirling blood which has dragged her through a temporal transdimensional tunnel and now speaks to her in a ominous-sounding unrecognizable voice . . . and this epitome of mental acuity not only goes near the thing, but sticks her hand inside the six inch gap.

That’s right, you read correctly; a six inch gap. I mean, come on! You’re going to imprison a semi-liquid, semi-sentient, destroy-the-universe evil weapon, and while you start with the right idea – a stone column – you then leave a six inch gap between the two halves!?

Me? I would have chucked the Aether into a Black Hole.

So, I’m left to wonder . . . Just how bright are these Asgardinianites? Apparently about as bright as Jane Foster, who sees nothing wrong with sticking her hand in the gap . . . whereby the Aether can then transfer itself into her. This of course has me wondering why this all-powerful Aether didn’t just escape through the gap to begin with. I also wonder why there wasn’t a booby trap around the monolith; Jane steps too close and ZAP!, she’s reduced to a pile of ash, thus sparing Thor from years of having to live with her.

That’s right; of all the people the Aether could have chosen, it chose Thor’s main squeeze. One could say it it was a poor choice. Yes, I mean Thor’s.

The Aether chose Jane because it moves this slug of a plot along, but there is no excuse for Thor choosing Jane, especially when he has a perfectly fine Sif who is a much better match for him. For one, the actress who plays Sif at least has a range of emotion beyond looking like breakfast did not agree with her.

Understand, we are now a half hour or so into the movie, and both Melisa and I are bored stiff, despite the fight scene that comes before Jane acting all idiot-like.

Oh, I forgot to mention . . . at the beginning Odin is doing squat, as gods are wont to do, Loki is rotting in a cell, but Thor and his buddies are out bringing peace to the Nine Realms. Predictable battles, clever one-liners, and so on . . .

Here’s what I was thinking . . . Thor is sworn protector of the Earth; how about coming down here and bringing peace here? Kick a few dictators asses, have a talk with a few CEOs, waste some gang leaders, and this could be a pretty good place to live . . . apparently not. Can’t really blame Thor, though . . . the Avengers are not doing anything either. Spidy is the only working the beat here, and he gets no recognition because of it.

Anyway, back to what passed for a plot . . . Jane gotz the Aether in her, and Thor comes to get her. He takes Jane back to Asgard where Odin expresses just how little he thinks of humans. OK, it’s Portman, so that’s understandable, but still, not cool Odin, not cool.

There was a chance I would have gained a measure of respect for Foster had she said something like “Sorry, you’re no god of mine”, but she defers to the one-eyed god-snob.

OK, so now we get a half hour of Loki angst (or something like it), Odin being a jerk, and long obscure explanations as to why the Convergence – a rare alignment of the Nine Realms – opens portals all over the place.

Meanwhile Malekith awakens, sensing the Aether is on the move, and creates the last Kursed warrior. He sends the warrior to Asgard to create mayhem as a diversion while Malekith attacks with invisible ships. And then there is action . . . Stupid action with ineffectual Asgardinianites barely able to do anything against attacking Dark Elves that for some reason walk around wearing white-face.

Taking a page out of Star Trek Stupidity, rather than have automated shields, Asgard is protected by a shield that one, is raised one vertical layer at a time, like a bad game of Tetris, and two, can be taken out by one guy hitting the generator (how did he know so much about where everything was? He had been sleeping for eons).

To make a boring story short, Frigga, Thor’s mother who, despite saddled with a lame name, is more of a bad-ass than the rest of the people in this movie, gets killed defending Jane (what a waste) while Thor and Odin take forever to get from one place to the other.

Odin was walking between places – walking! Sheesh, even we have Segways, or even bicycles. Gods apparently slow-walk everywhere carrying a stick and wearing flowing robes, a bunch of minions dutifully following behind. Why not have some bodyguards protecting the queen? Oh, that’s right . . . slug of a plot needs kick in the pants to move along.

Thor then decides to lure Malekith into a trap, and to do so, he enlists the help of Loki who wants revenge for the death of his adopted mother (even though he aided the attacking forces, thus resulting in her death).

What follows is a setup for what I’m sure will become a theme park ride; a long and pointless chase between our heroes, who are riding a gondola of sorts, and Odin’s security forces. The gondola escapes through a transdimensional portal someone forgot to put away . . . it’s not explained how Loki ever found it, or even why it was there in the first place since it takes you to Malekith’s world. Maybe the guy that hid the Aether was supposed to also hide the portal, and though that was a good place to leave it.

The plan is to have Malekith draw the Aether out of Jane, thus saving her life (what a waste), and for Thor to destroy what is described over and over as something that is older than the universe itself, and that cannot be destroyed. Guess what happens? . . . That’s right; Malekith draws the Aether out of Jane, Thor can’t destroy the Aether, the Aether gets into Malekith, now making him uber-powerful, Loki gets killed (except that everyone in the Universe knows he’s faking – but not the main characters in this movie, gods and non-gods alike), and Jane and Thor are stranded on the planet.

But wait . . . by coincidence, and by walking a few hundred feet into a cave, Jane and Thor find a portal to, you guessed it . . . Earth.

What are the odds!? I mean, had they landed just a few miles away or even on the other side of the planet, they wouldn’t have a pasta bowl’s chance at my house of ever finding it.

Meanwhile Dr. Erik Selvig, who gets to run around naked, has come up with a device to control how and where the portals triggered by the Convergence appear. He’s got himself a nifty control box with a cheap AM/FM antenna; turn a dial and you can move people, cars, and gods around, and all he needs is the strategic placement of some sticks.

And good thing he has that, too, because the Convergence has a Ground Zero . . . Greenwich, which is where they are. Again, what are the odds? 

Malekith needs to be at Ground Zero to trigger the End of the Universe. He appears in the skies above London, and then proceeds to use his ship to drag a deep trench though the landscape . . . why he could not have lifted the ship a few feet remains a nagging question, and one that is not answered in the movie.

I suspect it’s done for the sole purpose some idiot thought it would make an impressive CGI sequence to show in the trailer . . . which it did, even though the whole while I kept thinking it was asinine.

A big battle ensues, mostly to showcase special effects, and all the while I wonder why not use one of them cool grenades we see throughout the movie; toss one at Malekith, and have him disappear into what acts like a mini-black hole.

So, Thor semi-defeats Malekith, trapping him into his ship, but in the process Thor is knocked out even as the big-ass ship, with Malekith trapped at the bottom of it, begins to fall on top of him. Jane bravely throws her body over his to save him (he had just survived being repeatedly hit by the most powerful destructive force in the universe and slammed through solid rock, so that makes perfect sense – she’s a Doctor, you see), and I am hoping she gets squashed like a bug . . . instead, Dr. Selvig creates a portal that transports the ship elsewhere.

The ship crashes on Malekith’s home planet, and supposedly kills Malekith, even though he is encased in this huge semi-indestructible ship and has the Aether in him, making him invincible (or near-invincible since he had just taken a whoopin’ from Thor).

Thor then return to Asgard, meets with Odin, and declines the throne. Only it turns out it’s not Odin, but Loki impersonating Odin. One presumes Odin has been killed, or had a better movie offer.

And that’s how the movie ends . . . or does it?

If you sit through the interminable credits you see Sif and Volstagg (another of Thor’s buddies) visit The Collector (implied to be some sort of safety deposit box guy). Sif carries a small container which we learn holds the Aether. Odd that, because for the whole movie the Aether is seen as a large blob of liquid . . . not sure how they compressed it down into that small container.

Anyway, Sif hands the small container to The Collector, claiming it’s too dangerous to keep in Asgard. 

Hello! How about a Black Hole?

Anyway, as they leave, the Collector utters the words “One down, five to go.” I’m left wondering if he means there are five more artifacts that need securing, or if there are five more artifacts he wants for nefarious purposes.

I vote for the latter just based on his looks and tone, but I don’t have time to think about it because another scene comes on during the credits, and this one shows Thor and Jane kissing, and I nearly throw up.

And that, my dear readers, is likely to be the last Thor movie we’ll see. I’m now waiting to be disappointed by the sequels to Captain America and The Avengers, and then my disgust will be complete.

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