Thursday, April 23, 2015

Recap: "Thor" Part 3: The Green-Eyed Monster

How best to sum up the events so far? Well...

The cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon...

Little boy blue...
And the man on the moon.
When you coming home, Thor?

"Don't know when. But we'll get together then. You know we'll have a good time then."
Because sometimes, you gotta go for the unexpected reference.
Although Thor is currently in the custody of S.H.I.E.L.D., Erik comes along to bail him out by claiming that he's their steroid-abusing colleague, Dr. Donald Blake, thanks to an ID forged using that picture Darcy took. Coulson let's Thor go, but he's not stupid. Plus a machine of theirs registers the ID as fake. After our heroes swipe Jane's notebook back upon exiting, Coulson sends a covert team to look after Team Science.

Coulson: "Keep him away from the bars."
Erik: "I will!"
Thor: "Where are we going?"
Erik: "To get a drink."

Soon enough, the two of them drink together, doing the things that drunk people do. For Thor, it's philosophizing on how he ended up in the sorry state he's in. For Erik, it's telling Thor that he doesn't care if he's delusional or just a liar, but he better leave town tonight. From there, it turns into a manliness contest by way of drinking. That's a losing battle, Erik. Thor was probably bottle fed by something stronger than those boilermakers you're throwing down. Heck, Thor was probably breastfed by something with more of a kick to it.

As drinking ensues, Loki arrives on Jötunheim to meet with Laufey. After gaining their trust by admitting that he was the one to lead them into Asgard in the first place, he offers to cloak a few of them with magic to lead them straight to the sleeping All-Father and stick whatever sharp things they want into him. And he'll even throw in the Casket of Ancient Winters for funsies.

Laufey: "I... accept."

Loki returns to find a very suspicious Heimdall waiting for him. It seems that Heimdall, who can see anything in the universe, could not see Loki after he entered Jötunheim. Loki simply responds by having Heimdall reaffirm his undying loyalty to the king of Asgard, no matter which king it may be at the moment. He follows this up with a demand to close the Bifrost. Back on Earth, Thor is carrying Erik back to Jane's trailer.

Thor: "We drank, we fought, he made his ancestors proud."

After Erik gets put to bed, Thor and Jane go outside to sit on the roof of their building in front of a fire and talk. Thor is noticeably less of a braggart as he apologizes for his general behavior, and she apologizes for running him down twice. Thor also hands her back her notebook. At first, she's ecstatic. But then she realizes that S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to try and stop her from finishing her life's work. And she doesn't know why. But Thor convinces her that she needs to continue her work. Because she's right.

He draws for her a small map of reality; a few circles that represent the realms, all connected by the world's tree, Yggdrasil.

Thor: "Your ancestors called it magic, and you call it science. Well, I come from a place where they're one and the same thing."

This is a fairly important scene for establishing the true scope of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The original Iron Man was a surprisingly down-to-Earth film, with only one major sci-fi element in the Arc Reactor. As such, the audience had been left with an impression of how the MCU worked since that film.

Unless you're referring to the magic of cinema, of course.
The way magic works in Thor is pretty much the only way they could have made magic work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Technology in Asgard is so advanced that it passed into the realm of magic long ago. Loki's "illusions" are just photon manipulation, the "realms" are just inhabited regions of space, and the Asgardians are just aliens, when you get right down to it.

In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is the Tree of Life that basically encompasses the universe. Thor is literally drawing it for Jane as a metaphor for the different dimensional pathways through the universe. It's an approach that takes magic and science and makes them be friends, which is easier to swallow than suddenly introducing Harry Potter-style magic into what was originally a hard sci-fi world.

"See, Bifrost is just one of many portals that we call "Stargates"....
After he tells her the secrets of the Nine Realms she soon falls asleep and she ends up watching the stars. Thor doesn't sleep. None of the Asgardians do. That's Odin's thing.

Back in Asgard, Fandral is berating Volstaag.

Fandral: "Our dearest friend banished, Loki on the throne, Asgard on the brink of war, and yet you've managed to consume four wild boars, six pheasants, a side of beef, and two casks of ale. Shame on you! Don't you care?!"

Well, to be fair, those four boars were all just Sæhrímnir over and over.

Volstaag: "Do not mistake my appetite for apathy!"

But Sif tells them what they all grudgingly know already. They're going to have to go get Thor. But Volstaag isn't a fan of such ideas.

Volstaag: "Heimdall might be watching...."
Messenger: "Heimdall demands your presence."

The man is good.

They go out to meet him, and the conversation is to the point.

Heimdall: "You would defy the commands of Loki, our king? Break every oath you have taken as warriors, and commit treason to bring Thor back?"
Sif: "Yes."
Heimdall: "Good."

He says that he gave his word to not activate the Bifrost, but basically walks out and "accidentally" leaves his sword in the activation slot, letting the Warriors beam to Earth as Loki watches from the castle. The four arrive in New Mexico, causing the equipment S.H.I.E.L.D. appropriated from Team Science to go nuts. Coulson and Sitwell drive off to take a gander as, over in town, Erik is fighting the worst hangover he's ever had while Thor serves breakfast.

Loki, having had enough, heads to the vault and activates the Destroyer while the Warriors walk down the streets of Puente Antiguo, to the confusion of of the agents tailing Team Science as well as the townsfolk.

Agent Garrett: "Yeah. Uh, base, we've got, uh, Xena, Jackie Chan, and Robin Hood."

Erik starts talking to Jane about her theory needing evidence as the Warriors show up and knock on the glass window to provide a punch line. They tell Thor that they're there to take him home. This confuses Thor, what with the death of Odin and the truce with Jötunheim.

Sif: "Thor... Your father still lives."

Over with the prince of lies himself, he's at the Bifrost, where Heimdall reveals that he's figured out that Loki was behind the Frost Giants coming in. Loki brags that he knows all sorts of fancy passages through the realms that even Heimdall doesn't know about. The conversation ends with Loki firing Heimdall for treason. No longer bound to the king of Asgard, Heimdall takes this opportunity to attack Loki, getting frozen by the Casket of Ancient Winters for his troubles.

"Save it for Ragnarok, Swordy."
Back on Earth, Coulson and Sitwell are examining the rune left by the Bifrost as the Destroyer is beamed in.

Agent Sitwell: "Is that one of Stark's?"
Agent Coulson: "I don't know. Guy never tells me anything."

The Destroyer takes out the cars (probably realizing that the puny humans aren't the main threat), and Thor tells Jane that she and the others should leave. This is his problem. But he's not going to fight the darn thing. He's going to save the townspeople first.

The Warriors head off to slow the armor down, and the evacuation begins. The townspeople seem overly willing to listen to random orders to leave town, but they might have been watching all that scary stuff on the news about Culver University, or the Stark Expo.

Ah, going for the Sephiroth Drop. Nice tactic, Sif.
Devastation soon ensues as not only are the Warriors unable to harm it, but it can rotate each of those plates around to turn on a dime, making it strong and agile. Not even throwing Volstagg works. And when the Fastball Special is ineffective, that's Marvel code for "things are bad." Things are so bad, in fact, that Thor realizes that the only way to stop it is to give it what it wants. And what it wants is Thor.

The Destroyer is mentally controlled using Loki's spear, Gungnir, so Thor pleads with his brother not to harm the innocent civilians as he makes his walk to the armor. He offers his life in the place of theirs, and Loki accepts the deal by having the armor backhand Thor across the city. In his mortal form, not even Thor can survive such a hit.

He takes his last breath in Jane's arms as the slumbering Odin sheds a single tear. And with Thor's sacrifice to save innocent lives, the enchantment on his hammer deems him worthy. To the amazement of the S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists, the hammer suddenly flies across the desert into the hand of its owner, restoring him back to what he once was.

Jane: "Oh... My... God."

Yeah, exactly.

It seems that Thor's been itching to reclaim his mastery over the storms, so he whips up a localized tornado to lift the armor into the air to destroy it by shoving Mjolnir down its throat.

Jane: "So, is this how you normally look?"
Thor: "More or less."
Jane: "It's a good look."

Yeah, but I wish he wore that helmet more.

Coulson comes over to keep being ineffectual.

Coulson: "Donald? I don't think you've been completely honest with me."

But still awesome. Thor hold no grudges, and even makes the Son of Coul a deal. If they give back the stuff they took from Jane, then they can count him as an ally. Coulson gladly agrees, even implying that Jane will be in charge of continuing her research for S.H.I.E.L.D.

Loki lets Frost Giants into Asgard as the ice around Heimdall begins to crack. Thor flies back to the rune left on the ground, and asks for the Bifrost to be opened, only to be confused when nothing happens. Slowly, Heimdall manages to break free of his icy prison and attack the Frost Giant sentries. He soon opens the portal, and Thor and the others leave for home. But not before Thor makes a promise to Jane.

Thor: "I will return for you."

Yeah, we'll see how that turns out.

After a chaste kiss on Jane's hand, she decides that she wants to taste those Asgardian lips and pulls him close for some making out. After a bit of that, Thor and his friends beam back home. The Warriors take Heimdall to get healed as Laufey and his goons infiltrate Odin's room, only to be stopped by... Loki.

Yeah. Loki's plan is not to lead the Frost Giants to victory. He let them into Asgard to interrupt the ceremony, not destroy it. He wanted to keep Thor from the throne. And even now, his plan is not to help his own race, but to enact "revenge" on them.

"Finally. After all I've endured, I shall have vengeance!"
"Wow, it most be so tough to endure being raised as royalty.
Tell me again how it totally sucks to have parents that love you for who you are?"
"You don't understand, gaumless human. You found your precious school of outsiders.
What could you ever know about growing up emotionally separated from everyone around you?"
"Is it anything like growing up physically separated from everyone around you?"
"Mortal lives are as the lives of mayflies compared to us, you frigid bint.
You cannot possibly fathom the torture of suffering through such isolation for hundreds of your Midgard years."
"I can."
"Yes, well, at least you can all at least inflict your chilling revenge upon the world with but a touch.
I am forced to use a device."
"Silence, frozen wastrels! You think your own suffering is comparable to my own? It's not! I'm unique!"
"Yeah. One-of-a-kind snowflake you ain't, buddy."
"Have we hit a nerve, there? Looks like somebody should just...."
"Let it go."
After Loki swears revenge, Thor arrives to burst the bubble and confront his brother.

Thor: "Why don't you tell them how you sent the destroyer to kill our friends, to kill me?"

Loki takes his brother down with a blast from Gungnir. He's a busy man, what with all that genocide against Frost Giants to commit.

Loki rides out to the observatory and sets the device to maximum, using the Casket of Ancient Winters to freeze the lightning in place to ensure that what he's done cannot be undone as the energy begins building.

Frozen lightning in the shape of Yggdrasil. Just when I thought this movie couldn't get any prettier.
Thor: "Why have you done this?"
Loki: "To prove to father that I am a worthy son."

Because Loki doesn't see Laufey, who abandoned him, as family. Odin, Frigga, and Thor are his family. And all he wants is their approval. He doesn't want the crappy throne on the crappy ice world. He wants to prove that he's worthy of the throne of Asgard. He's done being second best.

The final fight begins, and Thor is quite obviously holding back as he takes Loki's hits. Loki rants about how he didn't even want the throne, he just wanted to step out of Thor's shadow. As Thor calls his plan madness, tears fill Loki's eyes as the usually-eloquent Asgardian is reduced to repeating "Is it?" It's clear that all of Loki's self-control is at work to keep himself from breaking down. Because Loki was doing this all to be seen as Thor's equal, to have Thor see him as being worse than ever is the ultimate blow. So Loki decides to accept his role as the villain in this scenario, if only to stall Thor.

He tells Thor that when he's done committing genocide, he'll go down and kill the woman who changed Thor, convincing Thor that the time for clobbering is imminent. The fight spills onto the rainbow bridge, and Loki falls off the side, clinging to the edge. Thor tries to help his brother back up, but it was just an illusion (and when "he" flies off the side, you can see the real Loki just tumbling further down the bridge, if you pay attention).

Thor beats his brother down, despite more illusions. But Thor is fully capable of taking Loki's head off. And Loki could probably trick Thor into walking off the Bifrost. These two are holding back because when all is said and done, they're still brothers.

Thor manages to knock Loki to the ground and uses his hammer's new immovability to keep his brother in check while he stops the energy beam. With no way to halt the process, Thor is forced to break the end of the rainbow bridge to save Jötunheim, forever separating himself from his precious Earth, and beloved Jane.

"Hey, Loki. Don't go anywhere."
"It is a joke!"
Thor and Loki are cast off the side of the bridge in the ensuing explosion, but Thor is grabbed by the awakened Odin in a literal deus ex machina, with Thor likewise hanging on to Loki. Loki, enraged and anguished at not being able to prove to his father what he was willing to accomplish, lets go of Thor's hammer, falling into the abyss of space. Man. I wonder if Thor and Loki imagined it ever ending like that.

You didn't really think I'd go this long without a reference to these two, did you?
Back on Earth, Team Science finally gives up on Thor returning.

Later, in Asgard, a great feast is held in Thor's honor, though he's not really up for it. He goes instead to meet with Odin and make amends before going to see Heimdall, overlooking the wrecked end of the Bifrost.

Insert exclamations of wonder here.
Thor: "So Earth is lost to us."
Heimdall: "No. There is always hope."

He tells Thor that Jane is doing fine, and she's even working on a way to come visit Thor, in a reused SCIENCEY scene hat was supposed to go at the beginning of the movie originally.

"At least Thor wasn't made king at the end. Blonde bimbos make terrible leaders."
"Do you want to ****ing go, man!?"
And with the fear that Thor might not return to Earth, we head to the credits where, at the end, we're outright told that Thor would return in Thunderball The Avengers.

Watch the spoilers, movie.

After the credits, Erik Selvig is taken to see Nick Fury in a top secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility. After the deal in New Mexico, Fury want Erik to take a look at something they've had for a while. He opens a secure briefcase that doesn't contain Marcellus Wallace's soul, but a glowy blue cube.

Was that glowing swastika a reference to the next movie? Or just an unfortunate coincidence?
Fury wants Erik to figure out how to tap into the cube, which could potentially give the world limitless energy. Loki appears in Erik's reflection and whispers into his ear.

Loki: "Well, I guess that's worth a look."
Erik: "Well, I guess that's worth a look."

So, let's take inventory. Loki's turned evil and is secretly scheming, the Bifrost is broken, and Thor is separated from Jane. Kind of a bittersweet ending, really. But alas, it's still the ending. For now.

So was this film just a tale told by an idiot? Or was it such things as dreams are made of? Let's review.

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