Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Marvel Universe after THOR: THE DARK WORLD…

Saw THOR: THE DARK WORLD yesterday and enjoyed it mucho. A good story, a new/original (as far as my Marvel comics memory can recall) threat, and some great interaction between Thor and Loki. A very cool-looking and interesting movie-realization of the dark elves, particularly Malekith (a clever way to re-create the comic's version's harlequin appearance) and Kurse/Algrim, whom I first met under Simonson's watch. Better, funner writing than the first movie, and some great fun with wormholes. =)

That's as much as I'm gonna jot right now in the way of a "review." What I really want to get to before I forget anything are the epilogues…

Beware. What follows is a SPOILER-ful rambling on the epilogues of the second THOR film…

I was *really* hoping to get a tease of Coulson sucking down some mead and exchanging headbutts with Viking heroes in Valhalla, or haunting the wastes of Niffelheim, perhaps trying to get a message to one of the Asgardian warriors. Alas, no. But then, any Asgardian time of Coulson's should've been spent in the past compared to the timeline of this movie anyway. O well.


We see Volstagg and Sif meet The Collector, played by Benicio Del Toro (! =), to deliver to him one of the Infinity Gems. Apparently Odin has decided that it is too dangerous to keep the gems of the Infinity Gauntlet in the same vault as the Tesseract. On the surface, good thinking, as Asgard and Odin's weapons vault have been compromised or nearly so twice within two years.

The Collector is an Elder of the Universe, one of the I-can't-remember-how-many longest lived beings in the cosmos, each of whom in their old age has become unofficial patron alien of some aspect of existence or another. The Collector collects. He prizes endangered and one-of-a-kind items or beings of the cosmos. In the comic book universe he maintains a world of various artificial environments that are homes to samples or the last of thousands of species. In the comic book universe, the Elders for a time were the keepers of the Infinity Gems and the Collector possessed the yellow Reality gem.

In the THOR epilogue, the case that contains the gem glows red from the inside. The red stone was identified in the comics as the Power gem. The Collector accepts the gem and remarks on the wise decision to separate the gems, from each other and the Tesseract, apparently. Once his guests have gone, the Collector says to himself, "One down… Five to go."

The container for the gem is a little confusing to me. If I didn't know about the Infinity Gems and Gauntlet, the case for the gem would appear to be a miniature version of the containment device that once held the Aether (two black stones/boxes, with the red glowing Aether permitted to radiate from a tight space between them). In the movie universe, is the an Infinity Gem meant to be made of Aether? Since we've already seen the Gauntlet in the vault in the first THOR movie, that really doesn't work for me. I'm pretty certain that Sif or Volstagg called it an "Infinity Gem" ("Infinity Stone?"), too, and referred to there being more than one. So, I think the visual, for the un-Marvel-initiated, might be confusing.

It *would* be kind of interesting to have the gems created or materialize over the course of several Marvel movies, tho, but that would require making them separate and distinct from the Infinity Gauntlet that cameo'd in the first THOR. Why bother, right?

And… The Collector knows there are five more. So yeah. Screw the Aether-as-gem notion. Just a not-very-well-thought-out (or maybe too-overthought on my part) visual design coincidence, right?

Kind of a reach, tacking this on to the end of this movie. I mean, there's no real plot connection between what happens in the film and the events of this epilogue. That's kinda disappointing, but maybe I guess it's just practical, and good use of a now-established channel for tipping fans off about activities that happen behind the scenes, y'know?

Bringing the Collector in sets off my GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY alarm. And for me, it also puts some more movie-time/distance between the present and an ultimate confrontation with Thanos and that is a Good Thing as far as I'm concerned. Thanos is one of The Biggest Bads, and throwing the Avengers and Guardians at him will be awesome, but best done after they've gone a few rounds with other bads (Ultron and the Elders).


Thor beams in from Asgard to Jane Foster's apartment in London and they immediately smooch it up. Sorry, Sif.

Then, a cut to the abandoned shipping warehouse where the first Nine-Worlds-Conjunction wormholes appeared, shipping containers now stacked normally. A small flock of pigeons zips across the scene, followed by a bounding Asgardian beastie (I thought it came from Loki's homeland, the realm of the frost giants, Jotunheim, but not certain) chasing after them and trying to snap a few up in its jaw.

I suspect that the AGENTS OF SHIELD will end up being assigned clean-up on this little fella. Might be an opportunity to get more of the Coulson backstory if it is in fact entangled with an afterlife stay in Asgard.

Hrm… Another way to get the AGENTS more tightly woven to movie events would be to have them stumble upon one of the other Gems. Ohhh… The Soul Gem! That might be a final piece to a Coulson puzzle… OR a VISION puzzle! Wack!

How would they end up working a Gem case? An Asgardian delegation to one of the other Elders/Gem trustee might be intercepted or randomly attacked by enemies of Asgard, or perhaps the Centipede guys, or AIM or HYDRA. If they're capable of hacking SHIELD they might get some up-to-date intel that with some ESPer and Extremis help could give them the advantage of surprise in an attack on a couple of Asgardians in Midgard airspace, right? Anyhow, the Asgardians would smite them, but perhaps not without losing their package.

But to whom on Earth would Odin entrust such an object of power?

How about Doctor Strange? =)

Keep on keepin on~

* November 10, 2013. After a second screening, I found that I missed or misunderstood some of the dialogue in the first epilogue. For updated crazy talk based on a better understanding check out this post. The main of the error is that Volstagg (and the Marvel movie universe) take both the Aether and the Tesseract to be Infinity Stones. Note that it does not undo a lot of my more fun speculation here. =)

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