Comics · TV & Movies

Review of “Thor: The Dark World” (no spoilers)

In short: super awesome movie! The long version below is mainly about Marvel movies in general.

Bits and Bobs

– Stunning visuals. A lot of flights through Asgard and crazy-cool fight scenes.

– Jane Foster still has nothing to do with anything. I like her, and they did work her into the plot, but still.

– The plot came off a little odd. It’s very simple, basically a bad guy wants to destroy and/or rule the universe. I’m actually not sure which, because there’s a whole lot going on in this movie beyond just the plot. So many character dynamics! It’s all very visual, there’s not much exposition after the intro, but practically every character duo exchanges a significant look at some point. I’m not really complaining, I’m actually interested in all those dynamics, it just made for a different kind of movie experience.

– Loki was awesome, as always. He’s used sparingly, but he owns every scene in which he appears. The central relationship between Thor and Loki is handled very well by both actors.

– There was too much comic relief, but that’s just my opinion. It did take its cues from the first “Thor” in that area, and it really was funny comic relief, so I’ll give it a pass.

 

Thoughts about Marvel

Can we just talk about how this franchise is what we’ve been waiting for all our lives?! All my life, anyway. I’m not just talking about waiting for good Marvel superheroes all my life. I adored the X-Men movies when I was younger, but I didn’t even know about the wider Marvel universe for a long time, and I’ve only been into comics in a big way for four or five years. Content absolutely matters, because I imagine comics as magnificent and slapdash movies don’t do our visions justice, but I want to speak more broadly.

Maybe I’m way off on this, but I think we’ve been looking for a franchise like this in every single movie sequel ever made. I’ve been looking for it. I want to see the same characters have new adventures and check in with them over time. I want to see a world so huge that one movie can’t contain it. I want it to be full of amazing people who each deserve a whole saga. I love TV shows and comic books, in part because then can sustain worlds over a period of time, but I want these kinds of stories to have the funding and time to create grandeur. I want each one to be an event.

Many movie sequels fail because in trying to be bigger and better than the first movies, they end up falling flat. The freshness wears off, actors are replaced, boring new characters are introduced, and the whole production is rushed. Basically, they slap together a sequel to paste onto a good movie so they can make a little extra money. THIS is not THAT. I have various complaints about each movie, but on the whole I’ve liked each one of them. One bad movie could sour the whole thing, and it’s remarkable how good they’ve all been. On top of that, the whole franchise is much more than the sum of its parts. Each movie does do new special effects and more impressive villains, but each entry also makes the world deeper, more believable, and more important. That’s how they really raise the stakes, not by designing a bigger monster, but literally by making the fans care even more.

I realize not everyone loves these movies, but I do think this is one way to understand the mania. Other franchises certainly perform the same function for different people.

What’s your favorite Marvel movie, and what makes it stand out? If you don’t like the Marvel series, what’s your favorite franchise and why?

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