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Thor - the not so dark world
I went to see Thor: the Dark World a couple of days ago, and my thoughts on it -- and this review is full of spoilers and if you are just squeeing over Hiddles I should avoid... are under the cut.

Saw this in 2D, of course, but the first hour or so was plainly designed for the 3D fanboys with lots of big, big tech and things flying at the screen. I understand the decision to try and make Asgard science fiction rather than myth, but I am very tired of bigger and bigger guns and bigger and bigger vehicles in lieu of plot and characterisation. I found it very hard to feel much sympathy for the average Asgardian cannon fodder – and really do wonder if that city actually has a civilian population.

The London sequences were much more interesting, even when they consisted of Jane and her extraneous boyfriend not-ordering lunch. Or Darcy and her even more extraneous boyfriend pratting about.

In a movie that already has far too many named characters, the comic relief boyfriends just meant we actually got less of Jane and Darcy and Erik and Sif and the Warriors Three and Frigga and Odin, all of whom I happen to like/find interesting far more than the extraneous boyfriends – or, indeed, than Loki, who you just know is going to betray Thor in the end, and, whaddya know, he finally does. If you analyse the plot it becomes clear that, in essence, Loki's part is unnecessary – he's been written up and other characters written down to take advantage of the fangirl squee. Heimdall's abilities are lessened so that Loki is the only one who can get out of town and Frigga is fridged to give him motivation. I am very, very cross about the latter. (For those of my flist who are not familiar with the term, 'fridged' is a shortening of 'placed in the refrigerator' and refers to female characters who are killed/raped/otherwise disposed of to give motivation to a male character. It almost never happens t'other way about.)

This is even more annoying because Frigga herself is a knockout; Erik Selvig, on the other hand, is reduced to comedy relief.

Chief villain Malekith was introduced to Marvel after I had left the building, and my current acquaintance with him owes more to the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon than the comic books. I have to say he is more nuanced and more frightening in that children's cartoon than here. I am sure Chris Eccleston is doing his best, but it's hard to do anything with that much makeup and bland script.

One of the most noticeable things about Thor was the strength in depth of its female cast. (The comic is also noticeable for its female villains, but we seem to be avoiding those, just as Maya was downgraded in IM3.) Jane is still wonderful, and there is never enough Darcy, but Sif is kinda sidelined. Thank goodness they didn't follow up on the hint of a Thor/Sif/Jane triangle – relationships got ridiculous in the early days of the comic book where Thor/Don Blake was in love with Jane and Sif was in love with Thor and Balder was in love with Sif and Karnilla was in love with Balder...

However, setting aside the many deficiencies of the plot, and away from Malekith, big ships and pod racing high speed chases the movie was great fun and, indeed, often funny. My favourite moments, as ever, were Thor's amusing interactions with humans, which have always been part of the comic. (Such as the lady travelling up in an elevator with Thor and thinking "That reminds me, I'm due for a permanent at noon.") Oh, and the shape-shifting cameo was hilarious and I'm sure the other Chris enjoyed doing it.

Hemsworth manages to tread the fine line between camp and heroism without making Thor seem naive – good trick, that. He is also frightening at times, which is very necessary to the character. Hiddleston is enjoying himself as anyone would be who gets to play a witty villain – but the smugness is getting to be annoying. Portman is clever, brave, complex and convincingly brilliant at science and clumsy at relationships. And Idris Elba gets to make something of Heimdall!

So, it never made me angry the way IM3 eventually made me angry, and there were some great scenes and great characterisation, but there are parts that are really boring.

Three stars out of five.

As for the two after-credit scenes... Ohoh. Infinity 'stones'. The Collector. Looking to you, Guardians of the Galaxy.

See, I knew they wouldn't kill Loki, and that he would betray everyone. (And was he faking his grief over Frigga? Did he plan that betrayal right from the beginning?) Shreddies I can take, but goat's milk? And now I am tempted to send Nick Cutter and the team from Primeval after that monster...

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Yes, that final final scene did actually make me think of you and Jean at the time - !

One question, which I think can be answered without spoilering. I've been worried that the scene from the trailer in which Jane busts Loki in the chops and he says, "Oh, I like her!" would be the high point of the movie. Am I right or wrong?

No, it's not, though it's a moment to be cherished. There are funnier moments.

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