Thor is not a comic hero I really ever knew much about. The whole actually-being-the-Norse-gods thing was a bit odd, and feels like it could be a bit stifling for creativity. Plus, he’s overpowered, and as I mentioned in my post on Superman, I am not a huge fan of those sorts of characters.
However, with the first Thor, I was convinced. The vision they had of Asgard, and the role of the Asgardians, was entertaining and creative. And Thor is the sort of hero you want in a group like the Avengers. Because it really still takes a threat that big to need Thor involved.
So to prepare for Thor: The Dark World, I read a few Thor comics to get my head in Thor’s world. First I read the Thor novelization, and then the Thor: The Dark World Prelude. But the prequel comics are only so good, as I have found this year with my LitFlix, so I went hunting. I found an old story from the 80s, the first appearance of Malekith, and a huge epic battle from there – in Thor 344-353.
So read on for some of my thoughts on how Malekith, Kurse, and others were used in the movie as opposed to the comics! It was a good movie, so if you want to avoid spoilers, you should go see it! Onward!
Also, I will take a look at the credits Easter Egg, the lead-in for the next few movies!
Thor: The Dark World Prelude
Much like the Iron Man 3 prequel comics (which I talked about in my Iron Man 3 LitFlix) showed what was happening in Iron Man’s world at the same time as the Avengers (well, War Machine’s life, anyway), the Thor: The Dark World prequel showed Thor as the Avengers happened.
And, after all, there is a bit of a question there. They reference Odin having to conjure Dark Energy to send Thor to Earth. In the prequel comic, they show it, a large device the Asgardians have locked up. Because they are rebuilding Bifrost, but it is not yet complete.
And because it is not complete, things are falling apart. The other realms, as they come under natural sorts of attacks, are finding out they lack Asgardian protection. And the bad guys are figuring that out too.
So these conflicts feed into the beginning of Thor: The Dark World. They’re also a logical result of Thor’s actions, and explain why he has been away, what he has been doing, all of it. It makes a lot of sense, really, and I liked that.
The other thing we see in the prequel is the repair of Bifrost: something that is completed with the power of the Tesseract. It’s interesting to think of the Asgardians using this power, rather than just locking it away, but after what we saw it do in the Avengers – and knowing it is a doorway warping space and time – using it to repair a wormhole generator like Bifrost makes some sense.
But that wasn’t enough of the story, at least not enough for a LitFlix! Also, I was curious about Malekith, Christopher Eccleston’s character in the film: not a very well known villain. And, as it turns out as I looked him up, not the most common of villains, either.
His first appearance is marked by him working on getting his hands on the Casket of Ancient Winters – something we certainly know from the Thor films! Interesting to see this sort of thing happen again. In the Extremis comic, inspiration for Iron Man 3, I found the character of Yensin and the Iron Man origin story from the first Iron Man. Then in reading these Thor comics, I found the Casket from the first Thor movie. They’re working their way through singular comics in multiple movies, it seems.
In the comic, Malekith ends up being evil and sneaky and powerful, and has a champion who ends up becoming Kurse (so it’s his first appearance too), but in the end he’s working for someone else. He unleashes all the winters, shattering the entrance to the Realm of fire where Surtur, older than Odin (and killer of Odin’s brothers), breaks out. He unleashes armies onto Earth, and Asgard goes to war. Then he attacks Asgard itself.
There, the Eternal Flame is one of the many artifacts held by Odin and the Asgardians. Only Heimdall and Odin are left, and they hold their own. Thor realizes what is going on, and leaves to join them. But they are still not enough. Not until Loki shows up – triple-crossing the bad guys. Because if Surtur succeeds, he will destroy the Universe. And if he does that, then what is there for Loki to rule over? Odin falls, but his sons stand victorious in Asgard.
So in the movie, the universe being destroyed is still there… Assault on Asgard, and Loki joining the heroes for the win. A battle on Earth. They remove the complication of the number of villains, bringing us down to just dealing with one. And rather than an ancient flame, there’s an ancient darkness, the Aether. But really, a lot of the basics of the story are there. Even moreso, it showed me that their vision of Asgard, and the characters they’ve peopled it with (Sif and the Warriors Three, Heimdall, Odin and Frigga) have matched the comics pretty well.
Added Thoughts: The Credits Easter Egg
So really, the comics I read gave some insight into the movie, but it also told its own story nicely, that followed clearly from the first Thor and from the Avengers. I don’t know if I will read much more of just Thor, though I am loving how he is being used by Jonathan Hickman right now in his run of the Avengers comic.
But then, the most interesting thing coming out of it, for, say, a blogger like me who has blogged on things like Marvel movie casting was the end of credits Easter Egg. Not the very last one – there’s one of those too, if you missed it – and stay if you haven’t seen it! But there’s a scene with the Aether being brought to the Collector.
Being brought to him for protection… because that won’t come up again, right?
Being protected because it’s one of the Infinity Stones.
AC Powers (one of our guest bloggers) recommended this synopsis from IGN about the Collector:
They do a better job than I could to present this character and talk about the stones. The Collector is another character I don’t know much about, so I’ll be interested to see where this goes, leading into the Guardians of the Galaxy next year. I’m also not sure how Captain America: The Winter Soldier is going to tie in with these things… even seeing the long ad they showed before Thor.
However, something I can speak on is the Infinity Stones. After seeing them come up in the New Avengers Illuminati storylines, I read back into the Infinity Gauntlet, and am excited for the thought of this plot working its way into the movies. And with Thanos on the horizon…
They seem to have done a few things here. First, they are ignoring the screenshots people have found from the first Thor film of the Infinity Gauntlet in the Asgardian Vault. Because clearly if the Tessaract and the Aether are Stones, then the Asgardians did not already have the full Gauntlet.
Second, they are moving away from the small-round-stones look for the Infinity Stones, instead making them powerful artifacts. Which to be fair, powerful artifacts are indeed what the Infinity Stones are. As Thanos pointed out in Infinity, one stone is enough to be like a god. The full Gauntlet is then… so much more. And seems to be the plans right now for Avengers 3.
If the talk is true, and they’re doing Doctor Strange, and Black Panther, and the Inhumans, then what’s crazy is they could almost pull off doing the Illuminati. If only for rights on an X-Man and Mr. Fantastic! Could you replace Fantastic with Hank Pym, and Beast with… not sure. But the people are nearly there to do some crazy things from the comics with the Infinity Gauntlet.
Then again, the original Infinity Gauntlet plot – of Thanos killing half of the universe – is also good. You’d need a large cast of heroes by then. Because you’d be killing half of them. Except this would be hard with actors and contracts, telling them that they aren’t going to get much of a part in the movie. So something like the Avengers – or a secret group of Avengers – getting their hands on the Infinity Gems before Thanos, and he comes to get them… that’s actually an easier plot to do in a movie.
But I digress! Will there be a Thor 3? Who knows! When will we see Loki again? Who knows! For now, I wonder if Thor will be making his way into any of the other films before Avengers Age of Ultron!