You’d think that a comic based on an actual god figure from real-world mythology would be rife with potential for this column, but most of the time The Mighty Thor, which stars the new Jane Foster iteration of the character, doesn’t actually deal with much that could be considered theological in nature. However, the last three or so months’ worth of issues (#15-17, to be specific) have featured a very interesting conflict that gets at a meaty question. What does it mean to be a god? More specifically, does ultimate cosmic power come with a responsibility to one’s worshippers? How ought gods prove their power to their followers? This conflict is addressed through a competition that is both fascinating and horrifying.
We’ve talked before about the Law of Conservation of Magic: the idea that nothing comes from nothing and therefore everything must come from something. That is to say, well-written magic should come with some sort of cost. From the Equivalent Exchange of Fullmetal Alchemist to the consequences of fairy bargains everywhere, this concept is ubiquitous in magic-related fiction.
If you try to transmute a human, you’re gonna have a bad time.
But what if the exchange is always terrible? How can you justify using magic if you have to pay an awful price for it? The answer to that question can make or break the writing of a story. Continue reading →
This review is a little later than I wanted it to be. I held off writing it so I could watch the movie at least twice. Normally, my opinion of what I like and don’t like in a film tends to change drastically after seeing it numerous times, and looking back, I can say with almost 100% certainty that I greatly disagree with many things in the posts I wrote about The Avengers and Man of Steel. So I figured it wouldn’t be fair to do the same for Thor: The Dark World. That said, I might as well not have bothered with multiple viewings, because my opinion of this movie has not changed in the slightest since the opening night. Of course, since I’ve willingly subjected myself to it multiple times, you can probably already guess that I liked it.
A while back, I reviewed the teaser trailer for Thor: The Dark World, and I was considerably underwhelmed. I feel a lot better about this trailer, but it hasn’t really done much to allay some of my grievances—such as Jane Foster being a damsel in distress and not having a clear antagonist outside of dark evilness.
However, this trailer also delves into something else that I don’t so much as hate as I am greatly amused by: Thor and companions trusting Loki who is clearly not trustworthy. This is a common problem in the comic books. Everyone, despite what Loki’s done in the past and despite how much they hate and distrust him, still decide to go through with plans that absolutely require them to not be betrayed by Loki. And every time, it never ends well. And so the comics keep going through this loop, where the story has to keep coming up with reasons for all the characters to not just kill Loki—and even include him in their heroic missions—and be done with it.
As mentioned for the last trailer, the plot this time around is as such:
Set one year after The Avengers, Thor battles to save all the Nine Realms from a mysterious enemy older than the universe itself. However, a primeval race led by Malekith, who is out for revenge, intends to plunge the universe into darkness. Confronted by an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot overcome, Thor must reunite with Jane Foster and set out on a dangerous journey that will force him to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Alright, I still don’t really know what Malekith’s goal is, and neither trailer even seems to want to expand on who he is for the sake of non-comic-book-reading audiences, but at least this trailer is a little more clear on Loki’s involvement. The previous trailer didn’t show Loki until the very end, probably to get a rise out of all his fans, whereas this trailer features him a lot—but I still don’t know why Loki’s being involved at all, and we’ll probably have to wait until the movie’s release to get a clear answer on that. Unfortunately, the impression I have thus far is that in the movie Thor’s taking after his comic counterpart and making some really dumb decisions.
This conversation happens in the trailer:
Heimdall: We face an enemy known only to a few.
Thor: Known only to one.
Now, either Heimdall just lied, or Thor’s making a really stupid decision, and even Loki calls him a fool for it. If there is anyone else—anyone at all, which there seems to be, according that conversation—that person will probably be a lot more trustworthy than Loki, and Thor should enlist his help instead. I admit that I love Thor, but let’s face it, he really has never been the brightest Avenger. I love Loki too, and I’m glad he’s in this movie, but come on.
As an aside, Frigga seems particularly badass here. It’s a pleasant change.