Ruminations on Marvel Movies
I know that Thursday is normally the day that I do my reviews, but hey, I worked late yesturday, it was raining, and I just didn't make it to the comical book store. I'll go today, I swear! Besides, I hear that Howard the Duck is out.
My beloved and very talented son-in-law, managed to clean up the mess of sphagetti also known as various wires for some purpose, that were sprouting from the back of my television. It's a fairly new television, and for some reason or another, we hadn't quite figured out how to hook up the DVD player. For those of you who "stream" or do netflix or whatever, I have indeed heard of these things, but have no idea on earth of how to actually..."do" them. So I'll stick to my beloved DVD's. And CD's for those carmakers among you who are leaving them out of new vehicles. Harumph!
So, I have been indulging in a veritable orgy of Marvel Movie Madness. I watched Thor, Avengers and Thor II, or...as I like to call them...the Loki trilogy. I've seen them before of course, but it is nice to be able to watch them in a more casual atmosphere, and snark about them to my companions in crime, and something has come to my attention.
I love Thor. I've had a crush on him since I was fifteen and started buying his comics at the drug store. (yes, I am indeed old). And Chris Hemsworth is the perfect embodiment of Comic Book Thor on the Silver Screen. Needless to say I was delighted. On the other hand, I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Loki in the comics. Then a few years back when they killed him off and brought him back as Kid Loki, and all the wonderful wonderful stories that we've had in Journey into Mystery, and Thor and Loki: Agent of Asgard, not to mention Young Avengers...well...Loki has become one of my favorite Marvel characters.
Having Tom Hiddleston portray him in the movies doesn't hurt either.
(Excuse me while I wipe up my drool.)
But in a weird way...it actually seems as though Loki is the hero in these movies as opposed to Thor. An Anti-hero if you will, but still.
When we first meet Thor in the first movie, he is brash, hot-headed, arrogant and a bit of a jerk. He's about to be crowned as the new King of Asgard, because apparently Odin is old and cranky and wants to move to Forida or something. The ceremony is interrupted by the incursion of a couple of Frost Giants into the Vault, where Odin keeps all of his goodies. Thor goes berserk, because he didn't get his fancy party and decides to haul all of his friends and brother off to Jotunheim and teach those mean old Frost Giants a lesson.
Now, granted, we learn that it was actually Loki who smuggled the Jotun into the Vault in order to prove to Odin that Thor was a loud-mouthed oaf, but he really doesn't want to go to Jotunheim, and neither do the rest of Thor's buddies, who are sweet-talked into it, and fall for it because who can stand up to Thor's blue puppy dog eyes? So off they go, in express defiance of Odin's ruling, and get their asses handed to them, because Thor would rather beat up giants than look after his own brother and friends, and then Odin has to come and rescue them, and oh, it is ON!
Then Thor starts having a tantrum, and insults his father, and gets banished. And...Loki finds out that he's actually a Frost Giant himself, stolen as a baby when Odin was defeating them in the big war. Needless to say...he's a bit taken aback. Especially because Asgard regards the Jotun as boogey-men, who eat naughty Asgardian children for dinner. He...doesn't take it well, and who can blame him? Odin mouths a few excuses and conveniently falls into the Odin-Sleep, leaving his mother Frigga, to hand him Gungnir and rule Asgard as Odin's regent.
There are a few scenes that have been deleted from the final cut of the movie, and one of them is the scene where Frigga appoints Loki as King. He didn't just swipe the power, as is intimated by the movie, when Sif and the Warriors Three go stomping in looking for their playmate. So...he is legally the rightful ruler of Asgard, and of course, they start to plot treason, because they all think Thor is just the ginchiest. Heimdall abets them in this treason, as they all go running off to Midgard.
Thor is "unworthy" for sassing Odin, basically. So he gets a time-out on Earth. He gets run over by Jane Foster, a hot scientist, because that is the way it is in movies. He beats up a lot of doctors and interns at the hospital, he is taken back by Jane and her cronies, and makes an ass of himself with the coffee mugs, and is rude, and condescending and...incredibly manly. He finds out that Mjolnir has been tossed into a crater about fifty miles away and immediately stomps off to find it. When he does get there, and beats up an entire squad of SHIELD agents, he finds that he actually CAN'T lift it, and finally...finally calms down and gets depressed. Also Loki shows up and tells him that Odin has died, and he can't come home, which gets the first real reaction from Thor yet...the realization that he can't punch his way out of this problem, and that perhaps he should actually think once in a while.
Then the Warriors Three show up the next day, while Thor...who has just found out that his father is apparently dead...is cheerfully serving breakfast to Eric and Darcy and Jane. He'd gotten drunk with Eric the night before and was busy flirting with Jane, because that is how a Thunder God mourns the death of a beloved parent.
At this point Loki is getting more pissy, because nobody is listening to him much, and running a kingdom is more trouble than it looks, and he's in a state of some panic and terror since he has just discovered that his entire life up until now has been a lie, and worse, he's been lied to by the very people whom he loves and who claim to love him. He's had a rough few days...certainly a lot rougher than Thor, who gets to hang around and make googoo eyes at Jane. He's had enough of Sif and the Warrior's Three defiance, and sends the Destroyer after them, which isn't the smartest thing he can do, but hey...he's new at this whole king thing.
Thor does the manly heroic thing, and saves his friends, and for some reason, this is enough to make him worthy again, so a burst of lightning, and he's back to being Godly again. The first thing he does is smooch Jane, and then go back to Asgard to kick Loki's butt.
Loki in the meantime has lured Laufey, King of the Jotun (and his actual father) into Asgard, and sets him up to kill Odin, except that Loki kills him instead, which is more than Odin ever managed, and then goes off to the Bifrost so that he can use its power to lay waste to the Frost Giants. All without shedding a single drop of Asgardian blood, incidentally, and removing them as bitter adversaries. The same adversaries that Thor was gleefully pounding into blue mush a couple of days before. Now Thor is all self-righteous and angry, that Loki is doing a better job of genocide than he did, and they fight, and Thor beats up Loki, and breaks the Bifrost, thus saving the Frost Giants, and they both fall off the edge of the bridge, only to be saved by Odin, who has miraculously woken up.
Loki is trying to explain what he's been doing, but Odin is too mad or asleep or just a crummy Dad to listen, and tells him no...so Loki gets this sad expression on his face and lets go of the spear, while Thor yells a lot, and falls into the Void.
Then, after the death of their former King and Prince, all the Asgardians go back and party till the cows come home, because that is apparently what they do. Maybe Thor getting drunk after thinking Odin was dead, is the natural thing to do after all.
Am I the only one who thinks that Odin and Thor are kinda...obnoxious? I'm not saying that Loki is an angel in all of this, he's manipulative, and sly and pulls a few fast ones, but heck, there are some really huge extenuating circumstances. He's been thrust into a horrible situation and is doing the best that he can to cope...using all the teachings of his own so-called Father, to deal with it. Thor is no help at all. But he's the Hero?
Then in Avengers, Loki is the Big Bad Villain, who brings the Avengers together in order to save the earth from an invasion by Thanos. Except...Loki fell into the Void, and was found by Thanos and his minions and tortured for quite a while. Heimdall and Odin apparently didn't feel the need to look for him. Thor was too busy mooning over Jane to ask if Loki was anywhere.
Thanos wants Loki to use his army of Chitauri to find the Tesseract, a relic of Asgard, that Odin seemed to have left on Midgard for some reason, and bring it to him., as one of the Infinity Stones, and to incidentally kill off everyone on Earth as a present for Death. Thanos has a thing for Death, and thinks that she is his girlfriend. He offers Earth to Loki to rule, but Loki isn't stupid.
He's obviously in terrible shape when he shows up and uses his sceptre, aka the Glow Stick of Destiny to enslave Hawkeye and Eric,and steal the Tesseract. He then goes out of his way, to show up and terrify a few mortals in Stuttgart and to bring together as many of Earth's heroes as he can, all the while being big and scary. The scene where Iron Man and Captain America have captured him and are bringing him back to New York is interesting. He's given up way too easily, and then their Quinjet is attacked by none other than Thor, who hauls Loki out of there, and proceeds to yell at him a lot. Iron Man is pissed, and goes off to yell at Thor, with Cap following them. So naturally, the first thing that Thor does, is start...fighting. He doesn't know who Iron Man or Cap are, or why they have Loki, or anything, he just does what he has ALWAYS done, and start swinging his hammer.
Thus proving that he hasn't learned a thing from his banishment. He could have killed Captain America, and they are all damned lucky he didn't. They all end up on the Helicarrier,and seem to calm down, but still...Loki is thrown into a Hulk-proof cell while Fury sneers at him for a while.
It's pretty obvious at this point that...as Fury himself points out...that Loki is perfectly happy to be there. He could have escaped a dozen times. I found it particularly amusing that he just sat on the cliff and watched as Thor, Stark and Cap all fought over him, instead of escaping. Heck, he probably conjured up some popcorn.
The end result, or so it seems to me, is that Loki has been manipulating all of them...which is his thing after all, in order to make his invasion a complete and utter failure, thus ensuring that Thanos doesn't get the Tesseract, and that he gets both it and himself back to Asgard. Yes, he gets tossed into a cell, but it's probably the safest place for him, after all the threats about what will happen to him if he fails. Plus, I'm pretty sure that he's under the influence of the sceptre too, although not to the same extent as Hawkeye and Eric. He had Hawkeye only wound Fury, and Eric built in a fail-safe into the Sceptre, which he probably wouldn't have done if Loki hadn't had him do it.
And he gets to beat up Thor a bit, which is a bonus.
Thor II, The Dark World, is the one that really starts to get my blood flowing however. Odin tosses Loki into jail immediately, after telling him that his destiny was to die as a child, and that he'll never see his mother again...whom he still adores...and that he's really really pissed. You would think that Odin would be happy that his son wasn't dead. Yes, he killed some Frost Giants and some Midgardians, but compared to Odin and Thor's murder lists, Loki's is pretty feeble.
Odin is a bit of a dick.
Then Jane Foster comes back into the picture. Thor is supposed to be madly in love with her, but never made any sort of effort to see her when he was in New York defeating Loki's army. She manages to stumble upon the "Aether" which is this deadly force used by the Dark Elves eons ago, and hidden away by Odin's Father Bor...after wiping the Dark Elves from the cosmos. Apparently Genocide is an old family tradition among the Aesir...but not when Loki tries it. I think that the Aether is also supposed to be one of the Infinity stones as well. So obviously eventually Thanos will be after it. But Malekith is the big baddie in this movie, and he's one of the few Dark Elves who escaped and wants to use the Aether to bring back...darkness or something.
Now that Jane is full of Aether, Thor decides to go and find her, and she slaps his face a couple of times. Then he brings her back to Asgard, where they discover what it is, and Odin calls her a goat, and is just as rude as heck. Naturally Malekith is able to trace the location of the Aether and attacks Asgard. He has smuggled in some of his minions, all of the prisoners that are filling up the dungeons...courtesy of Thor of course. It's a ruse to get his own men into the palace, and Loki is smart enough to figure it out. Frigga is killed protecting Jane, Thor is too late, and Odin is too late, and they have a really fabulous funeral for the Queen.
Which Loki is not allowed to attend. They could have put him in chains, or something, but no...Jane can come, but not her own son. Then Thor and Odin fight some more, and Thor decides to cheerfully commit some more treason with his old treasonous buddies. He even sends poor Sif...who has been in love with him for years, to break his new girlfriend out of jail. Nothing like rubbing it in, Thor. Then he decides that for skullduggery, he needs...Loki.
So he goes to Loki's cell, and finds out that his brother is pretty broken up about the death of their mother. Loki asks him if she suffered, and he doesn't even answer him. Instead, he insults him, and tells him that he can come help him and get vengeance, but then he has to trot obediently right back into his cell for the rest of eternity.
Wow. That's some really great incentive! Then most of Thor's buddies do their part, threatening to kill him if he betrays Thor. Finally when he gets to Volstagg, and Volstagg does the usual blustering, he replies that if they want to kill him, that evidently there will be a line. I love good snark. And instead of using Loki's magic and sneakiness, such as disguising them, and getting them out of the palace unseen...which Loki SHOWS to him in the sequence where he changes into a Guard, Sif and Captain America, Thor decides to steal the remaining Dark Elf Ship, and bust up the rest of the palace, and half of Asgard, before being chased by the Guards, and finally thowing his brother out of the door and jumping after him into a boat piloted by Fandral.
Wow again. Thor threw his brother into space...after falling through the void for ages again. What a guy. But Loki does what Thor asks him to do, finds the hidden gateways and paths into Svartalheim, and they attack the Dark Elves, and Jane gets the Aether taken out of her, and using Loki's tricks, they fool Malekith and so on and so forth. Then when Thor is being beaten to death by Algrim, Loki is the one who saves him...as he had saved Jane earlier...and gets run through by the spear he used to stab Algrim.
There is a lovely death scene where Thor cradles Loki in his arms, as his evil brother repents and dies. Then Thor dusts off his hands, grabs Jane, and goes back to Midgard, leaving his brother's body to rot. Thor and Malekith fight, Thor defeats him, blah, blah, blah. Thor goes back to Asgard, where Odin should be pretty pissed that once again, Thor disobeyed him. You would think that he'd be banished again...but no, Odin is pretty understanding and calm and even fatherly, which is a lot different from the way he's been acting up until now. Thor gets all misty-eyed and says that he'd rather be a good man than a good king, and says that Loki's death was honorable...now that Loki isn't around, they can all cry over him and say what a great guy he really was.
Except that it isn't Odin at all, it is Loki disguised as Odin. Odin probably fell into the Odin sleep when Loki showed up, that is usually what he does when there is a situation that he doesn't want to have to deal with. So nice, understanding good king Odin is actually....Loki.
Again, Thor is right back to being an idiot in this movie. Any humility he may have learned from the first one is obviously gone, he runs around beating people up with his hammer with glee. He treats his brother like crap, with no effort to talk to him or find out his side of the story. None of them try to find out his side of the story. He gets no trial, no chance to explain, just gets tossed in jail. Then Thor tells him that he needs his magic, and that then has has to go right back to jail again. Is he insane? Thor has just given Loki every incentive there is to make sure that Thor and his friends no longer draw breath. Loki doesn't kill them, he doesn't even hurt them...he just finally does the smart thing, and goes undercover. I always wondered how he felt when he realized that Thor had just left his body there in Svartalheim, and made no attempt to retrieve it or give him a nice viking funeral.
So...again...Loki is the villain? He's the one who saves their collective bacon!
I'm looking forward to Thor III: Ragnarok, but my expectations aren't really too high. It would be nice if they used this as a way to prove that Loki is the smart one, but that hasn't been their modus operandi so far. And I still love Thor...I just wish that he would actually use his brains instead of his brawn for a change.