Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Trailer: Thor the Dark World

Oh, this is going to be good,...!
"What are you willing to sacrifice for what you believe?" that question isn't centered on what you have, what you want to get, what are you willing to sacrifice for the safety of those you love, what are you wiling to sacrifice for the destruction of your enemies? No, the question is put to Thor, "What are you willing to sacrifice for what you believe?" and that is a very pointed question because what we believe reveals our deepest, truest most intimate identity, our real self is found in what we really believe, and what we really believe we sacrifice ourselves for.
Now, this introduces the subject of Loki,...
There is a substantial amount of visual information released in this trailer. For example, it appears--and I could be wrong--that, once again, it's London under attack (in GI Joe Retaliation and Star Trek Into Darkness London is attacked); why? The last several years, London has been a hotbed of civil unrest regarding austerity measures and the government cutting back on entitlement programs, generating protests. This is important because this theme appears to be in Oblivion as well, though slyly concealed. Has England become a socialist state? Officially, this might not be the case, but is it so in reality? I remember a documentary on Winston Churchill I once watched and, regarding the elections at the end of World War II, one socialist politician made the comment that England would adopt every socialist program but never under the name of socialism. Has this, in fact, happened? No one holds the US British alliance dearer to their heart than myself, and especially my large readership base in the UK, but given the recurring destruction scenes in London films are depicting, we have to ask this question: has London destroyed itself with socialist legislation? It's a theme to which we will, regrettably, be returning. So, if this is London in the opening scenes, what is Jane doing in London? The last we saw her in Thor, she was in New Mexico and in The Avengers, Agent Coulson had her sent away consulting like in Washington sate or something. So, unless the narrative is jumping around--quite possible--what takes the American Jane to London will be symbolically important.

In our discussion on The Avengers, we examined how the "god of mischief" made his older brother look foolish when Loki tricked Thor into entering his prison and trapping Thor inside it and Loki asked Thor, "Are you ever not going to fall for that?" The scene establishes the virtue of Thor, even while risking making him look ridiculous, because it reveals that even when Thor has the greatest reasons to flat-out hate Loki for what he has done to him personally, Asgard and earth, Thor stills loves him as a brother and in every situation, Thor acts honorably and with the utmost dignity. This is what makes a hero. This is what makes a person great: what they hold in their heart. This also demonstrates what makes a villain and why Loki is such a good one. Thor strives for truth and love, Loki strives for power and revenge. "You must be truly desperate to come to me for help," Loki snips at Thor, but Thor isn't "desperate," he loves Loki and wants Loki to want to help him, Thor wants Loki to redeem himself (Thor could no more kill Loki than he could kill Jane but I do think Loki dies in this film). In prison--similar to the cells in Skyfall, The Avengers and Star Trek Into Darkness--Loki appears wasted, and sometimes "wasting away" is good because the waste within a person has been starved in exile and they become a better person (for example, we see Thor wearing black several times in the clip, and black can be taken as a sign of death, that part of Thor is wasting away, and that's good because he's being cleansed of his impetuous nature, his own arrogance and conceit); this doesn't appear to be what has happened with Loki judging by the arrogant tone he uses with Thor. 
Another aspect of the trailer we need to note are similarities between Thor and Captain James Kirk in Star Trek Into Darkness. Like Kirk, we see Thor siding with the need for action and going after the trouble-makers, even if it means war, and this is not an easy agenda to sell to audiences. Like Kirk, we see Thor the great and proud, falling to his knees, just as Kirk has to apologize to his crew for putting them in jeopardy. But we all make mistakes, but heroes turn mistakes into virtue, and that's why not all of us are heroes, we don't learn the right lessons from our mistakes, and that difference reveals one of the essential roles of art in humanity, how art teaches us about ourselves.
"Some believe," Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) says, "that before the universe, there was nothing. They are wrong. There was darkness, and it has survived." Why elves? Is an elf a worthy enemy of the god of thunder to do battle against? Don't we generally think of elves as being good? Like the little, red-hatted elves in Rise Of the Guardians, or the plethora of immortal elves in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? I think this is exactly why he's battling elves, we do think of them as being "good," so--in our world, on this side of the screen--there is something that "looks good" but is truly evil; what could that be? The voice over from Odin, about "darkness that has survived," creates--at least at this point--an interesting metaphysical scenario: that there is always a primal darkness that latches onto something or someone in order to resurrect itself, and we see this in The Hobbit with the resurrection of the Necromancer everyone thought was dead but is using someone to raise himself up again. In Thor the Dark World, it's not the elves that existed before the universe, it's darkness, and it's just through the elves that darkness returns.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner