Loki: the Dork World
I once again must apologize for not getting this written up sooner. I have been dealing with a technical issue all week having to do with a company with two o’s and two g’s in their name (you know, the German company known as Gurslictenoogle) that has kept me out reviewing for quite a while. I feel bad not getting these out in a timely manner, but since this gig doesn’t actually pay me not that bad.
The Loki image, by the way, is from our Comic Book T Shirt collection.
I have also been hesitant to write this as I am not sure how I really feel about it. Was it entertaining? Yes. Were there fun moments? Yes. Was it good in the way a well developed, well rounded film should be? No.
I think this is another case of writing failure. One of the two screenwriters, Christopher Markus, is what I consider an accomplished writer of sorts. He did write Pain and Gain and the first Captain America movies, both of which I feel were very decent. However, most of his filmography seems to revolve around the Chronicles of Narnia, the film equivalent of nacho flavored Styrofoam packing peanuts. His co-writer is Christopher Yost, who literally has only written superhero TV cartoons. There are six more writers credited, and the whole thing seems to be suffering from death by committee. The script staggers back and forth like a car accident victim with a rear view mirror embedded in his cranium. Sometimes it is a dopey, storyless action movie, sometimes there is an attempt at character development, sometimes there is a romance, and sometimes there is a revenge/brotherhood plot.
I’m not saying it’s terrible. If a strong tone and coherent, holeless plot are secondary concerns I am sure you will enjoy the hell out of it. It’s just not as good as the first Thor. I did that which I hate doing the most, research, and found out that none of the writers on the first Thor were involved in this one. I’m not sure if I understand the logic in that. You would imagine that a sequel to a successful movie would want to keep the same tone and flavor, but I guess if it ain’t broke fix it.
Where this film falls apart the most for me is the characters. In the first movie Thor was a spoiled princeling who needed to learn humility and deal with his lack of powers after being cast down to Earth by his equally interesting father Odin, while his scheming brother sought his fathers throne. In this film Thor is a boring, flawless good guy, Odin is pretty much a non-entity, and only Loki has anything that resembles depth or interest. The fish out of water stuff that Thor dealt with in the first film was a great framework for the chemistry between him and Jane Foster. In this film without that basis he and Jane have all the chemistry of mixing all your Easter Egg dyes together to get a muddy brown color and she ends up being the extraneous third nipple of the film (by that I mean completely unnecessary).
This film also falls into the scope trap that sucks in so many mediocre writers. The first film was about Thor, his brother, their fathers love, and the struggle for identity and personal angst. Sure, there was the whole Frost Giant thing but that was more to give the film context for the story to develop. You identified with the characters and felt their pain and hardship. In this one the villains plan is to DESTROY THE UNIVERSE! OMG! I LIVE IN THE UNIVERSE! I MUST AUTOMATICALLY GIVE A CRAP! You see, when the villains plan is to hurt or destroy a character we identify with that is engaging. As soon as the villains plan is to destroy the world, or blow up a city, or do something to everything in creation all tension is drained from the story. Everyone knows that no film is going to really end with the universe being destroyed, but there is just the off chance that the film could end with the tragic and noble death of Thor. After all, Rocky lost his fight and Spock died at the end of TWOK. If a wave of artistic integrity were to sweep over the writers and directors they could just have the evil plan be for the Frost Giants to get revenge on Thor by killing Jane and have her die in his arms at the end. That would be really cool. However, the odds are more likely of me finding love than that ever happening. Of course, since each film has to have a bigger, more bad ass plot than the last one how do you go bigger than the destruction of the universe? The complete annihilation of all causality? Oh, wait. The Infinity Gauntlet. Duh.
The story starts off with Thor (Chris Hemsworth-Pacific Rim, Snow White and the Huntsman, Cabin in the Woods) running around beating down all the oppressed people who rose up against Asgard when the Bifrost Bridge was destroyed at the end of the last film. Of course since all the bad guys look like post apocalyptic mutant Botox accidents and the good guys look like muscular Abercrombe & Fitch models I guess it fair to assume that seeking freedom from the iron heel of Odin is a bad thing. Meanwhile Jane (Natalie Portman-Black Swan, the Professional, V for Vendetta, some horrible sci fi films that shall go unmentioned as they make me sad) has been languishing back on Earth for two years pining for the guy she met and knew for like twelve hours in the last film with no more contact of any kind. She is doing some kind of weird science thing (if anyone can tell me exactly what kind of science she and her crew do I would appreciate it). She is aided by her bitchy sidekick Darcy (Kat Dennings-2 Broke Girls, the 40 Year Old Virgin, Day One) and Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård-Avengers, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Good Will Hunting), who after being the Marvel whipping boy for like six films is now Birdman of Alcatraz crazy.
Meanwhile Loki (Tom Hiddleston-War Horse, Thor, Avengers) is rotting in the Asgard dungeon with a bunch of the dudes Thor just beat on. He is visited by his mother Frigga (Rene Russo-Outbreak, Ransom, the Thomas Crown Affair (note-she is naked in like 80% of that film if you are interested)) who is the only reason he hasn’t done the hemp fandango (life note-if you are the female relative or significant other of an action guy in a movie or video game but don’t actually kick ass yourself there is about a 70% chance you will die in order to give the protagonist motivation. Be warned).
Tales are told of the defeat of the Dark Elves (by the way, if you happen to play Warhammer you will be shocked at how either this film ripped off Games Workshop or Games Workshop ripped off Marvel. My money would be on Games Workshop doing the ripping off. You can’t tell me Tyranids are not HR Giger Aliens) and how they all died, but apparently a bunch of them hid in hibernation for millenia until their magic zero gravity red Silly Putty was rediscovered or all the realms align or something (details are suspiciously vague. A lot of this script felt very half assed). Super scientist Jane uses her PKE to find a location where the walls between worlds are thin and after seeing the Laws of Thermodynamics sexually molested again falls into another realm. The red Silly Putty (the name in the movie is the Aether, I think) is in a crack between a floating menhir and a big plinth (yes, I know. Google it you lazy bastards). Being the super scientist that she is she figures the best way to investigate would be to stick a finger in and the Aether enters her body (her scientist sense must have told her it wasn’t radioactive or anything).
She ends up back on Earth in time for Thor to arrive and discover she has the red scabies. He ports her back to Asgard where she is treated like a short bus child (I guess she kind of is to them). Meanwhile one of the prisoners in the dungeon with Loki turns out to be a Dark Elf (I can’t type that term without wanting to talk about the new Army Book that just came out. Warlocks are way overpowered IMO) who is one of the Kursed, a suicide super soldier of sorts. He breaks out and frees all the other prisoners except for Loki and tears ass through Asgard. Meanwhile more Dark Elves (why did they move RBTs from Rare to Special? It just means more uniformity of army builds IMO) arrive. They are attacking to capture Jane and extract the red menace from her and put it into a super weapon to destroy the universe. Frigga gets killed.
At that point Loki joins up to get revenge for the death of his mother. Thor has to go against Odin (Anthony Hopkins-the Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, the Elephant Man) and needs Loki to sneak out of Asgard. About 30 small stories that could have developed into something are planted and then left to rot (like Sif secretly loving Thor, or some look at the motivation behind the Dark Elves (now Dark Steeds have the Fast Cav rule? That is pretty awesome)). Stuff gets blown up, and crazy man Eric Selvig invents metal tiki torches that teleport Dark Elves (he must be using Lore of Shadow) around because of science(???).
I don’t want to spoil the plot twist but I will say it was at the same time painfully obvious and drawn from the deepest recesses of the writers deepest ass. A plot twist is one thing, but having some random bulls&*% happen at the end is just dumb. It’s like if at the end of Saving Private Ryan the bridge was saved by an army of ninja clown paratroopers dropping in.
Loki was pretty awesome, and every scene with him actually had nuance and character. I’d be willing to bet one writer with talent was working on him exclusively. Two stars. There were some good humor moments. One star. Action was good, and Thor’s hammer Mjölnir was even cooler than it was in the last movie. One star. CGI was as always flawless, and the 3D managed to add to the film rather than detract from it. One star. I really like that the filmmakers didn’t just roll with the idea that everyone in the Universe speaks American English and actually had the Dark Elves (at least they lost the reverse ward save) speaking a different language with subtitles. Movies that assume I know how to read please me. One star. The Dark Elves themselves (access to all the lores adds a lot of flexibility, but the vast majority of them are going to just go Mindrazor FTW) were pretty cool. One star. Pacing and editing was nearly perfect. One star. Overall I enjoyed myself. Two stars. Total: ten stars.
The black holes.
Just not terribly well written. Plot holes and little to no attempt to explain anything. I’m not looking for a thesis paper here but if you are going to teleport bad guys all over the place at least make up a fake scientific reason why that is happening or how it was developed. One black hole. There was nothing of the character development that went so well in the last one. One black hole. I really wanted to know more about the Dark Elves (why oh why do they now also have ASF?), Jane’s research, Odin, Thor, Frigga, Sif, or any number of other cool sub plots that were tossed out with the bathwater. If you hadn’t seen the first movie this film would have felt really inadequate. One black hole. There was no actual chemistry between Jane and Thor, and honestly the film might have been better without her. One black hole. If you have high tech anti aircraft guns why do you go after guys on the ground with swords? The fight against the Dark Elves (at least they are still Toughness 3) might have gone a lot better if the Asgard forces had walked in with SPAS 12 gauges. Pick one or the other. One black hole. The plot twist just spontaneously manifesting itself as if by the will of God. One black hole. Total: six black holes.
A grand total of four stars. Not horrible, but not what I want from a Marvel comic book movie. Kind of meh. The action is good, and Loki is fun. If that is enough for you go see it on a big screen in 3D. If you want more than maybe wait for NetFlix. Just not great. I feel no need to ever see it again. Date movie? Meh. At least Chris Hemsworth keeps his shirt on, so you will only have to deal with his long hair, rugged good looks, and sexy accent when being compared to by your date. Bathroom break? Any of the “romance” scenes between Thor and Jane are 100% disposable. Go nuts.
Thanks for reading. I will have something up tomorrow I promise. Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu. If you have a comment on this film or my review post it here, and if you have an off topic question or suggestion email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk to you soon.
I honestly laughed out loud when I saw this. I don’t mind women superheros, but if you look back on the history of female superhero movies you can see the fields is littered with horrible movies that are kind of career killers for the stars. It’s like Scarlett is tired of being a successful actress and wants something to end her run.
If you look at girl superhero movies, the only two that are remotely canon and taken seriously are Catwoman and Electra. In both cases the films failed miserably. Catwoman was voted the 15th worst film in history, and Electra was about as unwatchable as a comic movie can get. The thing that Scarlett Johansson should keep in mind however is the fact that since those films neither Halle Berry or Jeniffer Garner have had a good solo role and have kind of slunk off to do mediocre movies and support roles.
It makes me wonder if there is something about women comic hero movies that puts the audience off. Most comic book fans are dudes, and a group more willing to look at hot women in tights you won’t find. However, it might just be that since most comic book fans like to think of themselves as the hero in a film, you won’t pull them in to watch someone the cannot see themselves as like a hot girl. Either that or Hollywood doesn’t know how to or care enough to write a decent script.
The Catwoman image I got from the comic book t shirts. Nice shirt, but I don’t know about the color.
Why is it the only two villains the Superman movies can ever come up with are Lex Luthor and General Zod?
Dave’s not much into Superman but I am, and I have to say that I was really hoping for someone other than another old villain for the next movies.
Honestly, General Zod was never much of a villain in the comic, yet somehow he is the main bad guy in two different movies. I guess this is more proof that Hollywood cannot come up with anything remotely new for anything. It’s not like there aren’t other villains who can give Superman a run for his money. Brainiac alone makes for a really good story because he is so smart, and if you just want life threatening mayhem go with Doomsday. I just think General Zod was so well done in the other movie that there is no need to rehash his character again.
This cool Braniac picture comes from Dave’s DC comic t shirts. I think I am going to have to get one for myself.
Of course, really when you think about it I don’t know if Lex Luthor was really treated fairly in Superman Returns. Sure, he was pretty cool and I thought Kevin Spacey both did a great job and had the man parts to actually go bald unlike Gene Hackman, but Lex Luthor is supposed to have a ton of super science backing him up. I want to see Lex in a super powered armor suit flying around blasting Superman with Krpytonite autocannon shells. Also, what the hell was the deal with his secret plan? He wanted to raise a new continent, killing half the world population, and then sell barren salt encrusted rock real estate to the half that didn’t drown? I mean sure he might do some damage, but did he really think that no country in the world wouldn’t have an aircraft carrier survive the aftermath and wouldn’t air strike him to death? Also, while appearing before the UN to claim the land he just created don’t you think someone might have asked him some tough questions about the billions of people he just killed in order to make it? Just dumb, really.
Back on Zod. The question I always had at the end of the last one was shouldn’t Lois Lane have had super powers after the whole switcheroo machine went off? For that matter, if the three of them could have killed Superman why did they take the chance on him pulling some kind of fast one? I’d be like “Well, we could let him use his equipment in his Fortress of Solitude where ever single wall and piece of furniture looks alike, or we could just remove all his internal organs and launch the remains into the nearest black hole.”
Also, what is up with a human having sex with Superman? I mean, aside from the fact that he would most likely tear her in half in the first two seconds, how is it he feels any sensation from her? It would be like having sex with a woman made out of tissue paper.
Damn, I just wrote a Dave length post. Don’t get used to it. I did find this really funny blog cast of General Zod talking to his defense attorney before being sentenced to the phantom zone. It’s really good.
I have been reading a bit about the new Green Lantern sequel. Any fan of comics will tell you that the first one sucked. While I don’t pay attention things like writers and directors like Dave does it seems they are making a few positive changes and then a massive number of negative stay the sames.
The GL shirt I found in Dave’s DC comic t shirts, incidentally.
First off, they are apparently firing the director, Martin Campbell. Good move in my opinion. He really chocked it. However, they are keeping the same writers. How does that make sense? I mean, do they really think the writers from the first one did such a great job, or that they have some kind of connection to the Green Lantern story? If this was an original character they created that might be a good idea, but really the original creators all are the comic book writers. Get any lame hack in the world he he will have as much connection.
They say they are going to be relying less on CGI. Good move. There was way to much of it in all the wrong directions. But the biggest mistake they are going to make is they are keeping smarmy sleaze bucket Ryan Reynolds as the main guy. Is it remotely possible to hire someone who might take the part seriously and not smirk at the camera all day long? Maybe someone who understands comics. He wears a mask. He doesn’t have to be the biggest hearth throb in Hollywood. Get rid of him.
My name is Jason, and I’m coming on board with Dave as his loyal sidekick, kind of like Robin only not so wimpy (Robin shirt from the Batman T Shirt category). I am going to be posting here reasonably often about nerd stuff I see in order to have this blog do what it is supposed to do and give Dave more time to work on his actual job.
Dave is going to keep on doing all the movie reviews and long nerd rants, and odds are won’t slow down on them. I really don’t have that kind of free time, since I actually have a life, and will be keeping my posts short and sweet. Mostly I will be keeping an eye out for interesting nerd facts about upcoming movies, comic books, and so on. One that I heard the other day has to do with the fact that they are likely to make the Expendables 2 PG-13 instead of R. Big mistake in my opinion, as PG-13 is a recipe for suck. Word on the street (or internet) is that this was a requirement put forth by tough guy Chuck Norris, as he feels the need for kids to see him in all his middle aged glory. Guess what, Chuck? No one young enough to be affected by an R rating gives a rats ass about you. Get over yourself.