So, over the weekend, me and a dear friend saw Thor: The Dark World and it’s every bit as good as the previous installment (meaning as good as the original Thor; there’s no way it could compare to The Avengers).
However, there were several nods to various things that my friend needed explained. Then I realized that others may need a primer as well. As such, here is my SPOILER FILLED explanation of some of the events in Thor: The Dark World.
Why Aren’t The Dark Elves Dark Skinned?
This is a sad result of us – the audience – suffering from cultural colonization and misinterpretation of lore.
When most of those of a geeky persuasion hear the term ‘dark elf,’ we tend to think of the drow; a race of dark-skinned, subterranean elves made popular by Dungeons & Dragons. However, these dark elves have no connection to Norse mythology or even elves in general.
The drow we know, originally called trow, are actually hideous and mischievous fairy folk from Celtic folklore that have no connection to Norse mythology other than that they bear a strong resemblance to the trolls of Scandinavian legend.
Nordic dark elves, more accurately known as Dökkálfar, are the diametric opposites of the light elves or Ljósálfar. Because Celtic and Old Nordic cultures drew from one another, it’s likely the two stories were combined over generations.
Granted many Norse legends describe the Dökkálfar as “blacker than pitch,” but here, I feel they went with a more traditional elf appearance to draw greater attention to the primordial darkness that was their world before the universe as we know it manifested rather than a physically dark appearance.
Also, our big bad of the film Malekith does begin to look more like a traditional Dökkálfar later in the film as he draws closer to his evil goal (I won’t say how; have to keep the spoilers to a minimum) and making them pale white sets up our next topic.
What’s The Significance Of Thor Scorching Melekith’s Face?
In a display of the utter badassery that he’s known for, one scene has Thor blasting a fleeing Melekith in the face with the lightning of Mjölnir permanently burning half of his face. Why is this a big deal?
There are many depictions of Hel’s appearance including half-human/half-blank or half-alive/half-dead, but most art depicts her as half-pale white/half-pitch black. So going with the most recognizable depiction makes the most sense from a storytelling standpoint.
Who Was That Weirdo In The Ending Stinger and What Is An ‘Infinity Stone’?
I’ll be honest; the man who inspired me to do this blog, MovieBob, did a whole episode of The Big Picture all about this particular weirdness and I encourage you all to watch it on the grounds that he explains it better than I ever could hope to. That said, I can help to try and fill in a few of the smaller gaps.
So, as he was introduced, the very eccentric acting fellow in the obligatory Marvel end credit stinger is Taneleer Tivan, The Collector. He is a member of a pantheon of characters known as the Elders of the Universe who comprise the oldest sentient beings in the universe and are essentially the Marvel Universe equivalent of gods. In Collector’s case, his life goal is to preserve the universe by collecting specimens of it.
So, what about these Infinity Stones that they mentioned? It’s almost certain that they meant the Infinity Gems, six powerful stones that grant different powers on their own, but when combined into the settings of the Infinity Gauntlet can make their wielder nigh unstoppable.
Only one villain in the Marvel Universe has completed the Infinity Gauntlet: Thanos, The Mad Titan. Who is he? Well, you met him in the stinger from The Avengers. He’s the big, purple guy with the evil smile. He wants to destroy most of the known universe as a tribute to the love of his life, the physical embodiment of Death. This makes that whole, “To challenge them is to court Death” line both amusing and terrifying.
So, judging from the events of the films and comics, it seems the Tesseract will serve as the blue Mind Gem granting access to the minds of others and enhancing mental powers and our new maguffin, the Aether, will stand in for the red Power Gem accessing all energy that has, does, and will ever exist. What’s more, The Collector seems to be helping Thanos gather the stones on the grounds that, with most of the universe gone, his specimens will become that much more valuable.
So, What About The Movie?
It’s great. I won’t say it was better than the first Thor like most critics, but it was certainly on par and made me care to see what else Marvel has in store for its cinematic universe. And don’t worry; even with the spoilers I mentioned, there are plenty of twists to shock you. Go see it now.
- Thor: The Dark World, What You Need to Know (snippetstudios.wordpress.com)
- Who’s the Guy at the End of ‘Thor 2,’ and What Does He Mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe? (slashfilm.com)