Anthony Hopkins, Avengers, Captain America, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, comedy, Erik, fight scenes, Frigga, hammer, Jane, Jotunheim, Loki, Mjolnir, Odin, Sif, spoilers, Stellan Skarsgard, Thor, Thor 2, Tom Hiddleston
First off — SPOILER ALERT!!!!! Please do not read this post if you have not seen Thor: The Dark World. This is basically a straight-up list of spoilers. I wanted to share my favorite moments and perhaps hear from others. Again, just to be clear (and to provide spatial padding): SPOILER ALERT. Do not read further if you haven’t seen the movie yet. Please come back after viewing it and share your thoughts! [I have made a few edits below…after Viewing Number Three — 2 small corrections, 3 added delights, and 1 significant update.]
These are not in a super-strict order really, but do trend toward my “greatest delight” at the end. And…actually it’s a Top Eleven list.
11. The reveal of Erik once he’s got a nice shirt and tie on…but no pants. (I like ironic contrast.) Jane is pretty nonchalant about it. I’d be freaking out more, because that’s just weird, but I guess with him she’s seen worse since Loki took up forcible residence in his head. [And Thor’s reaction, his “Are you well, Erik?” Hemsworth is really quite phenomenal in this, IMO, he has to do humor and love and action and rage and solemn maturity and romance and pain…and does it all with depth.]
10. Odin telling Thor something like, “You’d be better served by what is before you,” which sounds sort of metaphorical and he gestures outward perhaps to mean Asgard, to tell Thor he should be focusing on Asgard and not Midgard, but who just happens to be “before” Thor at that moment? Sif. And her sparring match ends at that moment and she looks up at Thor. Is Odin trying to push Thor into Sif’s (oh-so-willing) arms?
9. Thor’s reaction to overhearing the phone call with Jane’s date from earlier. Hemsworth’s acting is clearly going for the comedy there, but it works, IMO, and is very reminiscent of some of the Earth-stuff from Thor. And I really appreciate Jane’s “Really?” response when Thor asks who this guy is. I’m not sure what’s going through her head, could be “we have more important things to worry about,” could be “you were gone for two years, do you think you have any business getting jealous?” Either way, Jane isn’t putting up with that baloney. Go Jane! (However, this scene also falls on my short, picky list of disappointments. Coming soon.)
8. Thor hanging Mjolnir on a hook with the jackets and umbrellas or whatever, another nice ironic contrast, an extremely domestic and casual, familial action, when we don’t think of Thor as terribly domestic…much less Midgard-domestic! It’s a tiny moment that got big laughs in my first viewing and even good laughs in my second viewing with the “are these guys actually alive?” crowd. Though…wouldn’t the hook have fallen? Loki seemed to find it pretty heavy when it was sitting on his chest at the end of Thor!
7. In the same series of scenes, Thor squeezing into the car next to Jane. OK, this one’s slightly personal, because I wrote a scene ages ago (fanfic) in which Jane suggests she and Thor have a chat in the car for privacy, and he looks at it and is kind of like “uhhh, how about over there instead?” So it really made me laugh and gave me special delight to see that.
[6.5. A tie —
Loki readin’ a book. (Have you seen this video to get the reference?) Craziness going on and Loki is soooo above it all. This is a deliberate snub on his part, really, because I think for himself he would enjoy watching it — it’s chaos, and it’s got to be the most interesting thing to happen around him in ages. He’s sending a message by acting as though it isn’t even happening (read with Loki-voice): “You are all of you beneath me!” Ha. That’s my interpretation anyway.
Loki’s reactions to Jane. Is he…curious? That would be logical. For the second viewing I caught how, as Thor talks to someone in the foreground after “the slap,” Loki appears to be just staring at Jane. Weirdly. Really weirdly. And then the most delightful is when he says, absolutely for Thor’s benefit, after Jane kind of faints, “Oh dear, is she dead?” the same way you might say “Oh dear, is that milk spoiled?” It sounds very “dry British humor.” It’s gotten good laughs at all three viewings I’ve been to, fewer in #2 with the half-asleep audience. I’ve found it more delightful each time.]
6. This exchange between Erik and Thor: “Is your brother coming?” “Loki is dead.” “Oh, thank God! I mean, I’m terribly sorry.” Followed by a big hug from Erik that looks way more exuberant than sympathetic. It’s funny with regard to Erik, and there’s a reason why Stellan Skarsgard is such a well-regarded actor, he does a phenomenal job with this more humorous take on Erik throughout the movie but I think here especially. On the other hand, it’s slightly awkward, because for Thor, he really did just lose Loki, after they have more or less reconciled. It makes it a little hard to fully embrace the humor here.
[5.5 A tie —
Loki’s genuine delight at piloting that flying boat. He’s enjoying himself. Loki’s delight is contagious. He’s getting to have fun, I mean, he’s been locked up with nothing but books for entertainment for a year, it seems. I mean, I love a good book, but a year. And this is just my supposition as someone who’s been writing Loki fanfic for a long time, I think there’s an added layer of delight for him in that he gets to show off his talents to Thor.
Loki’s and Thor’s bickering in the Svartalf spaceship. Honestly, I’m not 100% sure about the entirety of this scene, some of it feels a bit…like a script. But it hits perfection IMO with Thor’s “I am pressing gently!” First because it definitely feels like two brothers fighting, and second because he is so not pressing gently. Hemsworth is perfect. Weirdly, much as I adore Hiddleston, it’s Hemsworth who sells this scene for me. I’m not sure why. Maybe 50 more viewings will help. Ha. I did see an interview with Hemsworth & Hiddleston (I think this was the full-cast post-London one) in which Hemsworth said some of that was from his input from experiencing just such fighting in cars and such with his brothers, and I do wonder if that’s why it feels so very natural from him.]
5. The Captain America appearance. The audience at my first viewing was howling in laughter and the thrill of the unexpected, the one spot where it got so loud I missed a few lines. I would love to hear an interview with Chris Evans on that, I would think he had a blast doing it. [Read this in Loki’s voice: “Will you ever not laugh hysterically at that?”]
2 (three-way tie). That whole fight scene at the end. It almost can’t be called a fight scene in some ways, really. For context, I should say, I don’t give a rip about fight scenes. I figure those are there for the males in the audience, mostly. The Avengers fight scene is so interminable. It’s fine, really, it gives it the sense of dire-ness and so forth and it’s filled with the little character moments that perk me up (if it weren’t I’d just fast forward through it). But this fight scene is quite possibly the first one I’ve ever actually just loved as a fight scene itself. It’s creative, and full of the unexpected, and it’s not really about strength, which makes it way more fun (for me) to watch Thor dealing with it. He’s like a dog with a bone, stuff gets crazy and he doesn’t bat an eyelash as they go blinking across realms.
So I put these in a tie, because I have two more specific aspects of the fight scene that really made me happy. I loved seeing Jotunheim, and I love that Jotunheim was never labeled, we fans know Jotunheim when we see it. I realized it even before the familiar creature showed up. And I loved seeing Mjolnir get separated from Thor and then like suddenly veering out of Earth’s atmosphere and into space. Into space, guys! Darn, that is one powerful hammer. In general I loved the use of Mjolnir in this film. Creative stuff, and a very deliberate showcase of how well Thor knows his weapon, catching without looking, throwing it like it could have reached Earth just from his throw after Frigga is killed, wow. I’m quite shocked I could get this excited about a giant hammer, actually, but they did a great job building on that from the previous movies. I would give an honorable mention here to Thor getting on the subway (oh, the ironic contrast again!).
1. You know it, of course, the final reveal, Loki on the throne. Oh, I love me some Loki!!! Loki was used fabulously in this movie IMO. Definitely this is the “trickster god” in fine form. I was continuously reminded of Hiddleston saying in an interview “he’s having a really good time.” Well, except for the angsty stuff, but that’s a separate list! But that reveal was completely unexpected, though I had wondered what had happened with the rest of the Loki/guard and Odin conversation. Loki was up there basically saying, “I win!” Ha.
BUT. OK, remember that they called both Hiddleston and Hopkins back for additional shoots? Has anyone heard more about this? I have a suspicion that Loki originally did not live. (Or at least, we didn’t know he lived with that reveal.) Why? Listen to Hopkins’s lines again, and remember it may be Hopkins but he’s (supposedly) playing Loki pretending to be Odin at that point. At one point he says something like [corrected from earlier] “You once said there would never be a wiser king than me.” But wait…Loki wouldn’t know that. Loki was hanging out in “the abyss” or chatting up the Chitauri at the time of that conversation. And as I watched that scene a second time, I mean, I know they can’t have Hopkins say or do stuff that will give away the reveal, but the things he says, for the most part I can’t picture Loki even coming up with those things to say. Except for Mjolnir — you could say “Odin” didn’t take Mjolnir back because Loki couldn’t…though after saving Jane’s life and Thor’s life, might he be worthy now? Anyway I digress. But my suspicion is that those lines were written for Hopkins simply playing Odin, not Loki in disguise. And I can certainly imagine them thinking, “well, we’ve done everything we can do with Loki now, we’ve redeemed him, let’s create some good drama and give him this honorable death,” then seeing the fan hoopla over Loki, and thinking “hmmmmmmm…maybe that wasn’t the best idea we ever had, how can we fix that?” Hope to find out if this is true! [UPDATE! See my blog post or go straight to the article I read it in to see definitively which scenes were added.]
Any other top delightful moments that would make it onto your Top Ten (or Eleven!) list? Any here that failed to delight you?
Other lists to follow soon, hopefully! Most Touching Moments [up now!], and a small list of “I wish this could have been a bit better/different” [hopefully up on Sunday].