Ah, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sure, it’s spawned a few clunkers (Iron Man 2, Incredible Hulk), but it remains one of the most enduring, profitable, and massive franchises of all time. And by “massive,” I don’t just mean how big the movies are, I also mean how numerous they are. 8 films in 5 years with at least 7 more on the way. In fact, I’m going to rank the MCU movies. Soon.
But for now, let’s talk about the most recent entry in the franchise, Thor: the Dark World. This one is a follow-up to 2011’s Thor, which was… pretty good. Nothing special, but pretty good. It revolved around the “god” of thunder, his brother Loki, the god of mischief, and Natalie Portman. This sequel, however, was a little different. It’s also about Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings, and the ninth Doctor. Also, instead of acclaimed British thespian Kenneth Branagh, this one was directed by relatively unknown TV director Alan Taylor. This would explain the lack of direction in the movie, as action scenes would go on for so long you’d wonder how they started, and imagery is stolen from Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, The Avengers, and Star Trek Into Darkness.
But I want to make something clear: those are my only complaints. There is nothing else wrong with this movie. Every other complaint I had was resolved later in the movie. For example, after they had such a solemn, dialogue-free seen to mourn the death of Frigga, I wondered why they didn’t do the same with Loki. Then at the end, it turned out that Loki didn’t die. In fact, while we’re at it, let’s talk about the endings.
In the first ending, the one before the credits, Odin gives Thor the crown, Thor doesn’t accept, he gives a long speech about Loki having died with honor, and him trying to do the same, Odin agrees with a sigh, Thor thanks Odin, but then right after Thor leaves, Odin transforms into Loki and says, “No, thank you.” Okay, that was really cool, but what? Did Loki not die? Who did? Where’s Odin? I’m sure they’ll resolve this in the next one, but it’s kind of irritating right now.
I’m going to jump forward a little bit and talk about the third ending, the one after all the credits. Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgård are sitting around in her a-Portman-t. All of a sudden, she hears a lot of noises and sees a lot of colors coming from outside. Thor has returned. She runs outside, they hug. Elsewhere, in the area where most of the movie’s action took place, some kind of foul hellbeast that must have shown up earlier in the movie at some point is still there, because no one bothered to kill it for some reason. This one wrapped up the loose ends rather nicely, but it opened up another one: why is the beast still there? Has no one noticed? When will they notice? Will they kill it? Malekith’s dead, so he won’t notice. I don’t know.
Alright, now let’s talk about the second one, and the one that there’s most to talk about: the first after-credits scene. Sif and Volstagg, two characters, are in some kind of strange museum filled with strange creatures and an overall strange atmosphere. They are greeted by the Collector, played by Benicio Del Toro, to whom they are giving one of the Infinity Stones, for safekeeping. For those of you who don’t know, the Infinity Stones, when put together in the Infinity Gauntlet, make its wielder one of the most powerful beings in the universe, with the ability to bend the elements to their whim. Volstagg points out that the Tesseract is in Asgard, and it’s not wise to put two Infinity Stones together, which is why they are giving him it. After Sif and Volstagg leave (characters say a lot of things after people leave in this movie) the Collector remarks “One down, five to go.” WHOA. I don’t even have any complaints, just WHOA. The Collector will also be appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy, and from the looks of it, he’ll probably be morally ambiguous. But which Infinity Stone is this? It could be the Reality Stone, since the Collector had it before Thanos, but then again, it could be the Power Stone, since it the right color and shares similar abilities. The Tesseract is most likely the Space Stone.
So overall, I give this movie an A-. Despite a few plot holes and annoyances, it’s a fun action movie with a very interesting mythos, and I can’t wait to see what the coming Marvel movies, especially Guardians of the Galaxy, have in store. As I said before, I’ll be ranking the MCU movies. I decided not to do Delivery Man, meaning no review next week. The week after, however, I’ll be doing a Hobbit review. Until then…