acting, Asgard, Brian Tyler, character death, Chris Hemsworth, Frigga, hammer, Hogun, Joss Whedon, Loki, Mjolnir, music, novelization, Odin, parallelism, redemption, scripts, Sif, spoilers, 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 the moments I found most touching/heartfelt/emotional — however you prefer to think of it — 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!
Like my Top Ten Delightful Moments post, here are ten-ish moments that I found moving in some sense. The order is sort of approximate, counting down to the moment I found most moving (which I suspect won’t be the one most viewers found most moving, but we’ll see). How this worked out to precisely ten I really don’t know.
10. Thor in the pub after the Vanaheim battle, alone in a crowd. Maybe this is an odd one to be on here, but I did find it touching. If Loki was once the “odd man out,” as most fans presume in one way or another, now Thor is. He’s with his people, even with his closest friends (save Hogun), yet he sits as though alone at a table, perhaps there in the first place only because Odin basically told him to go. This is not the same Thor from the first movie, not by a long shot. And yet the journey here makes complete sense. His heart is just not fully there anymore. (Much like he told Hogun to stay on Vanaheim for a while, to be where his heart was.) Sif tries to draw him in, and Thor’s polite but not interested (oh yeah, on either level). You get a very clear sense of the burden of responsibility he bears, and the sadness he feels knowing that he is not where his heart is. Hemsworth is outstanding; this calls for subtlety and he delivers.
9. The “funeral” scene. Honestly it’s not so much Frigga’s boat that gets me. I wish it were, but I expect to get that more from those who’ve lost Frigga, and Sif is showing the most emotional reaction to it — and yes, her clear grief gives my heart a twinge. I’m not saying I think it’s a bad choice to not have Odin or Thor acting more visibly emotional (especially Odin, who’s playing a role before his people here), just that their held-back reactions resulted in my not getting lots of heart tugs. BUT, what did get me was suddenly seeing all the other boats behind Frigga’s. And then realizing that all those people there were there for their queen who I imagine was beloved, but they were also there for their own loved ones. That there has been a massive loss and Asgard has felt it keenly. And I’d forgotten. I was beautifully and poignantly reminded with the appearance of those boats. And with the glowy light things people released. (Except mostly those distracted me because I didn’t know what they were. Still don’t. Souls? Symbolic representations of those lost with no body left behind? A ritual done in honor of the dead in general?)
Oh, and I bought the MP3 soundtrack, good stuff, “Into Eternity” is the song played for the funeral, holy moly does it sadden you up when you hear it; this theme is repeated in “Deliverance,” I’m not sure when that is played in the movie (I haven’t seen it enough yet to be paying attention to the music in the movie…which means a job well done on the soundtrack, as expected from Brian Tyler, who did an outstanding job on the Iron Man 3 soundtrack. Generally speaking the music should fit seamlessly in the movie and not make you go, “huh! listen to that music!”)
8. Thor’s reaction to Frigga’s death. We have never seen Thor throw Mjolnir like that. Hemsworth is lucky he didn’t pull something…or rip something solidly out of its socket…doing that. That scene, maybe more so than any other in the prior movies, showed me who Thor is, in terms of his power. Wow. I won’t say much because I commented on the amazing use of Mjolnir in the Delightful Moments post, but the pure rage-fueled power of those throws pulls on the heartstrings.
7. Loki finds out Frigga is dead. I watched carefully the second time to be sure the guard’s lips moved, that it wasn’t one of those dopey TV/movie moments where the doctor/police officer comes out and — because dialogue is so yesterday — just looks at the family and the family takes one look at the doctors/cop’s fabulous acting and knows their loved one has died, and the doctor/cop walks away, job done with no more than top-notch use of facial expressions. (You may have noticed this is something I rather dislike.) Nope, the guard tells him. Obsessed fan that I am I want to know what exact words he said. It wasn’t much. And I love how Loki dismisses him, very naturally, you can tell this is a man who has grown up in privilege and is used to dismissing people. His reaction is pretty perfect (except for a continuity quibble I have…to come in a quibble-post — I’m hoping there’s an explanation).
6. “See you in hell, monster.” Oh, man. Part of me is tempted to put this much, much higher on the list. This line is critical, I think, to what must be the underlying self-hatred still in Loki regarding finding out he’s a Frost Giant. My thoughts surround the line haven’t settled yet. Is he identifying with Kurse? He’s definitely saying “we’re both monsters, both headed to the same place of the damned.” Is he accepting his death (oh, wait, maybe not), and saying that he deserves death the same as Kurse? We know this is a word with a lot of meaning for Loki (it came up in both prior movies). Very tragic, full of pain on the emotional level as well as the physical with his stabbing. (I also thought Thor was going to like whip out a Healing Stone or something at this point in Viewing One.)
5. Loki’s death. Uh, yeah, correction, Loki’s “death.” OK, woah, that was a shocker. I’m referring to the stabbing part. You might think this would be further down the list, but actually because I was utterly convinced Loki would not actually die, I was kind of staring in disbelief, probably missed half of the following scene, because I was like, uh, no, Loki’s not dead. Thor, go back, because no, he’s not dead. Why would they be so stupid as to kill off Loki when fans love him so much? (And please don’t cheapen Frigga’s death and death in general by pulling one of those, oh, he’s dead but he’s back anyway two movies later because Magic.) So the whole thing really left me rather numb as I realize wait…he’s actually dead? As in, dead-dead? Not alive anymore? Not in any more movies? Give up all hope for a Loki movie and the theorizing over whether a Loki movie would work? DEAD??? I sort of wish I could have “experienced” his death more (but I blame the movie here, this is one of my quibbles). Anyway, it is on the list. Loki’s three — THREE — apologies. Thor’s acceptance of them. Thor’s “I’ll tell Father what you did here today” — Hemsworth’s acting here especially in the specific moment is spectacular, heart-breaking. Why bring up Dad in the midst of this? What were some of Loki’s last words the last time he “died”? “I could have done it, Father, for you.” He wanted Odin to be proud of him (to consider him a “worthy son”). So Thor is telling him in his final moments, Odin will be proud of you, I’ll make sure of it. He’s fulfilling what he thinks is Loki’s dying wish. But Odin isn’t who he once was to Loki. “I didn’t do it for him.” And that line, and Hiddleston’s delivery of it, put this squarely into stomping-on-my-heart territory. Loki’s dying — oh, yeah, “dying” — words were to tell Thor “You’re my brother, and I love you.” Oh, wait I might start crying now. I wish they’d hire me to write the novelization of this thing. Writing this made me want to move it up to number three.
4. Loki denies Frigga. This scene was riveting to me initially because of Loki’s outburst about Odin — I’m not sure, but he *might* still have some anger issues to work through. (Oh, and because Loki was in it.) But by Viewing Three, what struck me about it the most was what I’d realized between Two and Three — Loki’s last words to his mother were to deny her. “Then am I not your mother?” “[beat] You’re not.” And then, God bless her, Frigga says what I’ve long thought about Loki since his Frost Giant discovery meltdown, basically that he’s so perceptive about everyone except himself. She is saying, in my current interpretation, “I know that you love me, that you still think of me as your mother, yet you deny it. You don’t know yourself anymore. You’re so lost. Come home.” And then she’s gone, her eyes misty with tears as she fades away. (But I saw the little sparklies. Perhaps we’ll get a Star Wars – like apparitional visit from her in the future.) She would be so proud of Loki’s actions on Svartalfheim. (Well, maybe all but the last one!)
3. The reveal of Loki’s illusion in the prison. Rip my heart out and stomp on it, yes. (AND, put to rest MONTHS of frustrating speculation about Loki’s different looks in the prison.) This is a moment I think I could watch on a repeated loop a few dozen times in a row and not get bored with. Loki has no privacy in that cell. And little though he may care to admit it, he cares what others think. This was a private moment for him, he wouldn’t want to let anyone see it. (Amazing then how quickly he drops it for Thor — necessary for storytelling but also works, for the characters, I think, that he *is* willing to appear that vulnerable before Thor.) He’s had a real meltdown, everything overturned, scorches on the walls, and we see his kind of ratty clothes and disheveled hair and cut, bleeding foot. And I’m tempted to list it separately, but Loki’s “Did she suffer?” is completely genuine, in his tone of voice. He’s really asking, and hoping she didn’t. You know how badly he wishes he weren’t in that prison and could have somehow saved her.
2. Thor’s and Loki’s conversation on the “boat.” Wow. Soooo many layers. This is one of the scenes Joss Whedon did some rewriting on. I’m not sure what it was before or what he changed/added, but it’s pretty marvelous, really starting with Thor and what I interpret as a bit of jealousy on Thor’s part. I admit I may be seeing this a bit through the lens of the fanfic world I’ve constructed, but to me Thor’s line which I can’t quite remember, “You’re not the only one who lost her,” something like that? To me this is him saying “You don’t get to sit there and wallow in grief and anger like you’re the only one who lost a mother in this, Loki. I loved her just as much as you did.” And when Thor says “You had her tricks but I had her trust,” he is saying “And she loved me just as much as she loved you, and I didn’t disappoint her.” And OH, Loki does not react well to that. (The “tricks” thing is also something I think Loki takes as an insult, and here Thor is speaking in grief and anger himself and he means it as an insult, I think.) So Loki accuses Thor of not protecting their mother. “You let her get killed!” And OH, Thor does not react well to that, and it just keeps growing. Because in addition to grief and anger, they’re both feeling guilt. So Thor accuses Loki of not doing anything either because he was in a cell, and Loki’s repeated “WHO PUT ME THERE?!” is just rip-your-guts out painful, along with Thor’s repeated “You know damn well!” Because there is also hatred and resentment. From Loki’s perspective, why couldn’t Thor just let things lie, why did he have to get involved (in Avengers). From Thor’s perspective, why can’t he stop making excuses and blaming everyone else, he made his own choices, he did this to himself.
Look at their eyes. Especially Loki’s. Loki’s eyes are fixed on Thor’s as if that’s the thread of life itself. This really grabbed me the first time and all subsequent times, I don’t know why, but I suspect this is the moment when they fully understand each other and connect with each other again because they really are feeling all of the same things. And right after this moment, in my mind, is when they get down to planning the deception for Malekith that the audience (and conveniently passed-out Jane) isn’t privy to.
Oh, but wait, first we need to skillfully tie this scene up and pull us out of the super-intense emotion we’ve just been drawn into. So Thor backs off, saying “Mother wouldn’t want us to fight,” and Loki says — delivered absolutely perfectly by Hiddleston — something along the lines of “Well, she wouldn’t exactly be surprised.” Hemsworth delivers it back every bit as perfectly with a combination of sadness and regret and grief, and humor in response to Loki’s effort to bring down the tension, with “I wish I could trust you.” And you can tell he absolutely means it. He wants his brother back. Then the script masterfully reminds us that there’s still a movie plot going on and refocuses us on it, with Loki’s “Trust my rage.” Bravo, bravo, all around, fabulous acting, fabulously structured script.
I’ve lost count, oh:
1. And hands down, for me, the most moving, heart-wrenching moment in the movie — Loki being pulled into the…Suck You Into a Ball And Kill You thing, which for shorthand I will call The Thing. Loki has just done something completely selfless. (Wait, really? Loki?) He protected Jane before (crouching over her) because it was part of the plan he and Thor agreed on. But he sees The Thing headed her way and…it’s all so fast but I think he pushes her out of the way and maybe also tries to bat The Thing away? But he’s closer to it and when it starts to go all “Suck You Into a Ball” he gets pulled in. As Loki is pulled in…the image is remarkably similar to the one in the end of Thor, of him falling into the remnants of the bifrost wormhole. It’s clearly a deliberate parallel, and a beautiful one. When Loki let go and fell, he was making a deliberate choice to reject his family, his home, everything he’d ever known and loved. Even himself, his own life. In this so similar imagery in The Dark World, my heart aches for Loki, because he doesn’t want this now. He’s reaching out, not letting go. He’s trying desperately to get away from what he turned toward and embraced before. (Can you hear my heart exploding?) And Thor doesn’t watch forlornly from above — he swoops down and SAVES Loki. (Yep, there go the last tatters of my heart.)
Top two reasons to write a novelization: (1) You get to write all this stuff down and get paid for it. (Well, not all this stuff.) (2) You get — I assume — to meet with the costumers and SFX designers and storyboarders and all those guys who put this stuff together and find out what The Thing (and all that other stuff we don’t have names for) is actually called.
Which scene grabbed your heart the most? Cast a vote, and/or leave a comment.
By the way, here’s my fanfiction (scroll past the rambling to the bottom) if you’re interested in non-novelization Thor-world stuff I’ve written and not been paid a penny for (I say for the don’t-sue-me thing, along with innocent cherubic blinking). I don’t do the blog to “advertise” the fanfiction, but you know, if you read this far, maybe you’d be interested. Mostly I do this blog as an outlet for my obsession. Wait…yep, same reason I do fanfiction. 😉