When I was about eleven years old, I used to pretend I had a flowing red cape and a big hammer and long, fair hair. I wanted to be Thor, or to know Thor, or to hand out in Asgard. I was a Thor groupie. Big time. My parents were puzzled by my fascination with Norse mythology.
So now it's 2013, and the eleven-year-old fajrdrako has got her heart's desire: a Thor movie that satisfies all those old craving and more.
Great things about Thor: Dark World (and, trust me, spoilers follow):
1. Chris Hemsworth. His face isn't the face of Thor in my imagination (channelling Jack Kirby), but he's quite wonderful in the role. All that muscle and courage. Nice smile. Nice puzzlement. Nice compassion.
2. Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. I never much liked , who was yet another of those secretary/nurse types who tended to be rescued a lot, and not to have much personality. But Natalie Portman's Jane Foster has courage and brains, and has won me over despite myself.
There's a scene where Thor, unconscious, is about to be crushed by a falling ship. Tiny Jane throws herself over Thor's huge body to protect him, and she broke my heart with the brave, loving, futile nature of that gesture. That was such a wonderful moment.
3. The visual style. Art that twist Jack Kirby magnificence, Star Wars spaciness, and Scandinavian art history into a smooth and convincing - glittering - reality.
4. The Ether. An odd excuse for a villain or villainous weapon and tool, but it was visually fascinating: sometimes flowing like water, sometimes ruby shards. Wonderful design, both in terms of look and movement.
5. Loki. Oh my goodness, Loki. How does Tom Hiddleston do it? I don't think he had a bad moment. He has chemistry with everyone. Prince of Lies - he pulls some great tricks. And he broke my heart, too. Several times.
6. London. The Earth parts are set in London, one of my favourite cities on Earth. I kept thinking at TARDIS would appear over the Thames, and then wondered why it didn't.
7. A mention of S.H.I.E.L.D. - and Darcy being discreet about it.
8. Richard, Jane Foster's hapless date. I hope we see him in a future movie.
9. Speaking of future movies.... What a set-up for the next one. More Loki! And... The Collector. A hokey villain whom they have already made interesting. I am impressed.
10. Loki mimicking Captain America. Oh what a moment.
11. Stan Lee. Always love his moments. Seems Eric Selwig has become the king of the loveable crazy scientists, possibly even outdoing Walter Bishop.
12. Loved the way the Ether made things disappear and reappear in space. And the way this was cleverly used as plot. People and things, appearing and disappearing. Jane Foster finding the car keys. I was waiting for that.
13. Thor gets his hand cut off. Woo. Didn't see that coming, and it's one of my tropes. Well done.
14. Frigga was the Queen of Magnificence. I'm not sure I liked her dying - I'd rather have her around - but that might be the best funeral scene ever. Loved Loki saying, "She wasn't my mother."
15. An artful blend of modern science and medieval concept - best exemplified by Jane Fostor and the Healers having different words for what was happening. But also visual - elvish magic being like space ships, spells and portals being like Hubble photos. This fits nicely with the sense of illusion that underlies the themes.
16. Jane Foster and Thor get to kiss and cuddle and I actually liked it. She really has won me over.
17. Nice use of Shreddies.
18. Darcy really came into her own, and got a guy, too, though I was curious as to how the intern got an intern and what he was doing there. Working for Darcy in hopes of learning from Jane, I suppose. I particularly liked Ian in the scene where they were throwing things into the stairwell to see them disappear and reappear.
19. I love stories that set something up in the beginning, then refer to it near the end. In this case, it was Thor leaving Hogun on his homeworld; and then later, Hogun sees the battle with Malekith breaking through into Vanaheim - that was Vanaheim, wasn't it? - so we could see how it was impacting on all the worlds. And I loved they way they did that, flipping from one place to another.
20. The scene in the London Underground was delightful.
21. There was a nice sense of continuity in Thor's explanation to Jane Foster why he hadn't been to see her, in mentions of the Battle of New York, and references to the first Thor movie.
22. Loved the Asgardian prisons and the prison scenes. Oh, Loki.
Things I didn't so much like:
1. Christopher Eccleston was wasted as Malekith. Sure, he was a fine villain, but it was all in the photography, the script, and the costume. They didn't even of that man's beautiful voice, not to mention the subtlety and power of his acting ability. This isn't really a complaint - Malekith was fine - but it does seem like a wasted opportunity. Malekith didn't even get a good monologue.
2. Too much Star Wars, though that's an interesting influence loop - Jack Kirby created Marvel's Asgard, George Lucas was inspired by Kirby for a lot of his visual creations, and now the Lucas influence, mixed with the Kirby influence, comes through in the visual design of this movie. In Star Wars, it bored me unutterably. Here... it rather fascinated me, though I'd have liked fewer explosions and fewer space ship races.
3. Too much Jane Foster, not enough Sif. I want to see more of that warrior woman.
4. Can't really articulate why, but Odin seemed to have less oomph than he did in the first movie.
5. Would have liked more of the Warriors Three, also. But I suppose the set of major characters was already large, and I wouldn't want any of Loki's scenes to be any shorter. There should have been more of them.
Hope to see it again, and soon.