I enjoy the Marvel movies, but I don’t always like them — mostly because their stories are a bit lazy.
Marvel movies have excellent actors, skilled directors, quality lighting and sound, decent FX, and a crowd-pleasing mix of action and humor… but they also have some of the most frustrating, illogical, and convenient scripts imaginable, which drags the entire viewing experience down a notch for me.
Here are 9 things I couldn’t get past while otherwise enjoying Thor: The Dark World.
1. Thor: The Dark World is basically the first Thor movie all over again
Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this one before…
Our movie opens with an Odin-narrated flashback that establishes the film’s external threat. Then we introduce the film’s interpersonal conflict during an expository scene on Odin’s throne, followed by a CGI-heavy off-world battle where Thor beats up some creatures with a hammer.
Then, after a post-battle dining hall celebration where everyone is having fun except Thor — who leaves all pouty while ignoring Sif’s lovelorn advances — we spend a lot of time on Earth with some bumbling scientists as they stumble upon the MacGuffin around which this movie will revolve.
Then Thor shows up, and he and Jane fall in lo– er, they resume their love, which consists mostly of pining looks and a single kiss.
But their love is threatened (as is the existence of the entire universe) by an ancient evil that will be conveniently expunged by the end of this film… but not before:
- Thor disobeys his father
- Heimdall fails to see a cloaked enemy that invades Asgard
- Odin tells Thor he can’t do what he wants to do
- Heimdall is forced to commit treason so Thor can do what he wants to do anyway
- Sif and The Warriors Three are forced to… um… also commit treason
- Loki is allowed to scheme his way onto the throne, and
- Thor once again earns the right to the throne, only to turn it down.
If this all sounds really familiar, it’s because Iron Man 2 was basically Iron Man all over again too, so you’re probably trained to expect this from Marvel by now.
UPDATE: With Thor: Ragnarok, this formula is slightly modified… but not by much. In fact, it really reinforces just how much every Marvel movie is telling the same story.
2. Who’s paying Jane to live in London?
In Thor, all of Jane’s scientific machinery was confiscated by SHIELD… yet for some reason she’s in London when this movie opens, still trying to find Thor (even though he already came and went in New York during the Avengers movie and never bothered to call her).
Also, Jane’s intern Darcy complains that she’s not getting paid… yet Darcy herself somehow has an intern. Why do they need another intern? What are they even studying? And who’s paying them?
3. Why is Darcy still working for Jane, anyway?
In the first movie, Darcy is revealed as a political science major, not an actual scientist. (“She was the only applicant.”) She’s clearly not good at her job, and she drives Jane crazy… yet, somehow, she’s still working (for free?) for Jane in London a full two years after the whole New Mexico incident, during which time Darcy at least had the excuse of earning college credits. What’s she doing now, and why?
4. Do these scientists not use the Internet?
Erik Selvig is arrested at Stonehenge for public insanity, which you’d think would be major news. Yet our intrepid scientists repeatedly call Erik’s cell phone because they have no idea where he is. And when they do finally hear about the incident, how do they find out? On television. (Of course they do; because finding out on Twitter wouldn’t be very cinematic.)
5. The geographic odds of the climax happening in London are astounding.
When the Convergence happens, the universe will be destroyed. It takes both Thor and Jane’s team to stop it. So how convenient is it that the epicenter of the Convergence just happens to be a few blocks away from where Jane is living in London? If the epicenter had been anywhere else — hell, if it had been in Manchester — there’s no way Jane would have gotten there in time to use her… whatever the hell those crutches with the AM/FM radios glued to them are.
6. How unreliable are the nurses on Asgard, anyway?
Okay, so the Asgardians couldn’t get the disastrous Aether out of Jane Foster. Fine. The Aether is older than they are; I’ll accept that they can’t cure it.
But remember in the first movie, when Thor and his friends first go to fight the frost giants on Jotunheim? They retreat in part because Fandral gets stabbed through the entire chest by a stalagmite. Yet while they don’t get him back to Asgard for at least fifteen minutes, the next time we see him he’s fine, like it never happened. “Nice health care they must have on Asgard,” you’re thinking, right?
So why is it that Frigga gets stabbed by a sword just once in this movie and she dies?
You mean to tell me the Asgardian healers can reconstruct Fandral’s entire torso, but they can’t patch a stab wound? Or did that giant stalagmite conveniently miss every organ in Fandral’s body while that thin sword skewered each of Frigga’s?
7. “Oh, you’re a host for the Aether? You’ll be fine.”
When the Aether is in Jane, Odin explains that it will kill her if it isn’t removed because it’s feeding on her life force to sustain itself. Yet when Malekith forcibly removes the Aether, Jane collapses… and then she’s fine.
Considering the Aether had been sapping her very existence like a soul tapeworm, shouldn’t Jane have been near-death, or completely dead, without it? And yet she’s up and running a few minutes later, like it was no big thing.
Just so we’re all on the same page, the hierarchy of “Serious Injuries in Thor Movies” is:
impaled by a stalagmite < having soul eaten by Aether < stabbed with a sword
Right. Got it.
8. Odin is the least perceptive king (or dad) ever.
Let’s skip the logic problem from the first movie, in which Odin rescues Loki as an infant even though he just slaughtered every other frost giant on the planet, and then proceeds to raise this frost giant as his own son, just in case that would come in handy sometime.
If both of your sons have a history of disobeying you, how do you not have someone tailing each of them at all times so they don’t start another war or, you know, try to kill you and take the throne? Especially when you just kidnapped your son’s girlfriend and told him he can never see her again. (Yes, because now he’ll listen to you.)
“Sire? I couldn’t help but notice Thor and Heimdall — whom you just fired — were conspiring in a public grog house. Would you like me to follow them?”
“No, I’m sure it’s fine.”
“I could station someone outside Fandral’s house. Or Volstagg’s. Or Sif’s.”
“No, don’t worry about it.”
“Do you at least want to have one of your crows follo–”
“What part of ‘I don’t think my son who always disobeys me will try to save his girlfriend this time’ do you not understand, nameless guard?”
9. Did the guy who played Hogun piss someone off during pre-production?
Thor has twelve supporting cast members that you know by name — eight on Asgard (Odin, Frigga, Loki, Heimdall, Sif, Hogun, Fandral, Volstagg), and four on Earth (Jane, Erik, Darcy, Ian). That’s a lot of glorified extras to stand around and ask questions that advance the plot. And yet I find it hard to believe that a producer somewhere took a look at an early draft of this script and decided to make a hard choice.
“Hey, yeah, that is waaaay too many characters. Reduce it by one.”
“Uh… just one?”
“Yeah. That should clear everything up.”
“Okay… which one?”
“Doesn’t matter. They’re all kind of the same. Maybe one of those three guys that no one else can tell apart, but whom we still kind of hope to spin off into their own Netflix series someday?”
“I heard of them joking that he’d be cool with sitting this one out as long as we still make him an action figure.”
“Okay, yeah, sure, whatever. Do it. The rest of the script looks pretty bulletproof, though.”
If You Liked This Post
… then you may enjoy this look at why every Marvel movie is telling basically the same story, or this look at how DC should have designed their film universe.