Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Thor: The Dark World – My Perspective

Thor: The Dark World - My PerspectiveIt’s been 72 hours. You’ve all seen Thor: The Dark World, right?

Good. Because I’m talking about it. With spoilers, so turn back now.

But, first, it was a good movie. I enjoyed it a lot. You should definitely see it and not just for the hunk with the hammer.Spoilers ahead.

Like Avengers, it seems that Marvel is tired of explaining things. We get a back story and some set-up, a little “what you’re seeing here is,” but it’s not as heavy-handed as the first Thor. If you bought a ticket to The Dark Word, it’s as if the ticket seller is saying, “Hey, buddy. This is a Thor movie. Understand?”

And I’m good with that.

The other major issue I had with Thor #1 was the lack of humor. There was so much gravity to everything, no one was happy. Everyone was confused and angry. The Dark World corrects this. There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, usually in the form of Kat Dennings. Oftentimes in a matter of dramatic irony, if you know more about the Marvel Universe. At this point, considering how much money The Avengers made, it’s safe to say everyone has seen it.

So, why am I writing this blog post if I have nothing to say about it?

Well, I do.

As much as I am not one to want to turn a superhero movie into a romantic romp, I think a big opportunity was missed, here and it would have made the movie much better.

Most of what Natalie Portman’s character does is pine for Thor during the whole movie. We find out that Jane Foster has been searching for Thor for two years. We know that she saw Thor help out the Avengers in New York, but he never contacted her. Thor, of course, was trying to restore order to the realms after the destruction of the Biforst because apparently Asgard is the America of Yggdrasil, supposed to police the world with their superior…ness?

Anyway, enough about politics.

The golden opportunity here was a call to classic mythology. Obviously, Thor the comic is inspired by Thor the Norse God of Thunder and there’s plenty of mythology going around, but I’m talking about something a little more familiar than the Norse gods.

I’m talking about Psyche and Cupid.

The story of Psyche and Cupid was the one where Cupid fell in love with a mortal. So, he kidnaps her. And, she’s in love with him, despite all the kidnapping stuff (it’s a little Beauty and the Beast Stockholm Syndrome). The one caveat is that she’s never allowed to see his face. Her sister convinces Psyche that he’s a monster, so, one night, she takes a lantern in and looks at him. Obviously, he’s gorgeous because he’s a god, but she’s cast out and has to undergo trials in order to be reunited with her husband.

In Thor: Round 1, you set up Jane and Thor’s romance, but at that point, she doesn’t know that he’s a god. Then, it’s revealed to her, and they are forced apart.

In Thor: The Dark World, you don’t get the weight of the second half of the Psyche and Cupid story. Jane just seems kind of pissed. Pissed at Thor, pissed at Loki. Generally angry. Jane is carried to Olympus (Asgard) and there doesn’t seem to be the gravitas of her own journey. Because she doesn’t make sacrifices and face her own trials, the weight of their reunion is less. There is some hint at the fact that she’s been “looking for him”, but that’s vague at best.

So, here’s where I’m getting hung up. In the first Thor movie, it seemed important for us to form a bond with Jane Foster. She was the human. But, in Thor: The Dark World, we don’t get as much Jane. We get Thor.

Lady SifI expect a lot from my superhero movies. They don’t have to be empty, mindless fun. Lady Sif, an Asgardian warrior, has a slightly bigger part in this film, but it’s mostly as a romantic rival to Jane, bumping another strong female character down to set dressing. Can’t she just be all ass-kickery without having to be in love with Thor?

As a final word, I think what Thor: The Dark World puts to rest is the idea that Thor works alone. While he’s taking on the Big Bad at the end of the film with only the puny mortals by his side, the rest of the film is filled with allies Sif, Loki, Heimdell and The Warriors Three.

The secret formula for a Thor that works is a Thor that’s on a team, be they Fosters, Avengers, or Asgardians.

Go see Thor: The Dark World. It’s a good movie.

Don’t forget to stay through the credits, too. Infinity Gauntlet fans will be pleased.

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