Tuesday, November 12, 2013


We watched the first Thor movie again last night. Taken all in all, it is not as good as the Jane Austen movies we've been watching -- or maybe it is simply different. Lots of crashing and smashing and booming and not a lot of character development, except for Loki. Patrick suggests that Loki would be a good candidate for psychotherapy, and it's a pity that there is (apparently) none available in Asgard. All Loki really wants is to be loved.

The movie belongs to Tom Hiddleston as Loki. In part -- good part -- this is due to Hiddleston's acting. The guy can act. But it's also due to the plot. Loki is the character with the real, the terrible problem. He loves his father Odin and wants his approval; he is envious of his brother Thor; and he discovers that he is adopted. He is not an Asgardian, one of the good guys. He is a frost giant, the enemy, a monster. His physical father, his "real" father is Laufey, king of the frost giants.

Early in the movie Odin tells Thor and Loki, "you were both born to be kings." But Loki -- it turns out -- was born to be a king of Jotenheim, the land of the frost giants, which is cold, dark, bleak and ruined. What kind of deal is that? He wants Asgard, which looks like a city of the future out of 1940s science fiction: golden towers like pipe organ pipes and a sky made up of Hubble telescope images.

Thor is a big, strong, good-looking, likable oaf, whose problem is immaturity. He needs to grow up and learn to be a decent human being as well as a god. That done, he is his father's heir. He gets golden Asgard. Loki, who disappears into a black hole at the end of the movie, is left with envy and loss and malice.

He reappears in The Avengers, where he is the villain and badly underused.

As you might have figured out, I like Loki. He's a fascinating character in the Norse myths -- a typical trickster, sometimes good, sometimes bad, ultimately unreliable and dangerous. Thor's comic sidekick and the parent of monsters. The Thor movie gives Loki real motivations. I like real motivations.


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