monday morning movie club

Should Tom Hiddleston Write a Marvel Movie, and Other Questions About Thor: The Dark World

Photo: Marvel

Thor: The Dark World made an impressive $85.8 million domestic this weekend, putting it well on its way to make enough money for a speedy renovation of the partially destroyed Asgard. And it did so on the back of Chris Hemsworth’s long-haired brooding, Tom Hiddleston’s perfectly British smirks, Natalie Portman’s … umm … being there, and a whole lot of pretty good jokes. (“How is it possible that Thor’s hammer didn’t rip that coat rack right off the wall?” is a question you forget to ask when laughing at a very solid sight gag.) We want to know what you thought, so please talk it up in the comments below. Here a few thoughts to get you started.

Tom Hiddleston should maybe write the third Thor.
Did most of the good ideas in Thor: The Dark World come from every critic’s boyfriend, Tom Hiddleston? According to the actor, he’s the one who suggested that Thor and Loki be forced to team up in this film, and he protested when the first draft lacked any scenes at all between Loki and his father Odin, an oversight later solved by reshoots. (The great Loki moment where he transforms into Captain America while taunting Thor was also a reshoot addition.) Also, that brief but effective moment where Loki is silently informed that his mother has died and his anger sends the objects in the room spinning? Another on-point Hiddleston suggestion. Give this man a script doctoring fee! 

Jane the rag doll.
Natalie Portman appeared game throughout, but her character Jane is awfully useless, told by other characters what to do and where to go until the very end of the movie. Whether it’s Kat Dennings pulling her out of a date, the dimensional warp (conveniently) pulling her into the Aether’s hiding place, Thor pulling her into Asgard, Frigga putting her into a hiding place, or Thor and Loki roping her into their second-act scheme without telling her the extent of her con, the poor girl was at the mercy of the plot throughout. (Yes, she ran around in the last fifteen minutes twisting that dial like she was driving a remote control car, but too little too late, guys.) But it didn’t even have to be that way! A couple of simple fixes — say, Jane pursuing the Aether herself through scientific means — could have smoothed over plot holes and given the character a lot more motivation of her own.

So, this is what Guardians of the Galaxy will be like?
We are of two minds on that mid-credits scene that introduced Benicio Del Toro’s Collector, a cosmic character who will appear in next summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy and portends big things for all Marvel movies to come. First, let’s start with the positive: Del Toro’s performance is so incredibly, weirdly, delightfully out there — and he’s reportedly signed to a several-film deal — that every Marvel movie from here on out is enhanced by the possibility that he’ll show up. (If Benicio Del Toro is working that fey outer-space magic on Robert Downey Jr. in The Avengers 3, who even needs the rest of the team?) On the other hand … lesbihonest, that scene looked like it cost about as much as the errant change scavenged from a Chuck E. Cheese carpet. Was it lit so cheaply because Marvel had to account for two separate viewers, those who had already doffed their 3-D glasses and those who’d kept them on? (The scene, as you may have noticed, is in 2-D.) Because the early Guardians of the Galaxy footage that we saw at Comic-Con looked amazing and expensive and color-corrected and quite unlike this.

Are you ready for things to get real weird?
Speaking of Del Toro’s Collector, did you read our explanation of who he is? He’s “one of the elders of the universe, an essentially immortal group of survivors from extinct races” and he collects important artifacts, keeping them in a secret space museum. His goal is to collect all six infinity gems, likely to prevent Thanos from doing so, as it would give him “godlike power.” Some might find this super cool. Some might be wondering how we got here? These movies all started with Iron Man fighting Jeff Bridges in some bulky robot suit. And now the villains predate the universe and are legit threats to wipe out not a city or a country or a planet or even a solar system but all of existence. Comic book fans have be trained to opt out of stories if they prefer the less fanciful, but those who are just getting into the movies have no choice, they have to accept the one story line Marvel’s giving us. The next Captain America will probably be pretty straightforward, with Cap fighting some human with a metal arm, but, after that, expect a lot of space, prosthetic faces, and infinite power.

Thor does funny moments well. (Everyone else … )
Whether it was Thor hanging his hammer up on the coat rack, Thor responding to Darcy (“How’s space?” “Space is fine.”), or Thor having to find his way back to battle on the London Underground, Chris Hemsworth is able to sell the “god on Earth” moments that serve as the film’s best jokes. As for wisecracking Kat Dennings and foggy-minded Stellan Skarsgard … well, they were somewhat less successful.

Let’s Talk About Thor: The Dark World