Monday, March 17, 2014

Naked Science: Thor the Dark World & the Infection That Protects Itself

Dr. Eric Selvig provides patients in a mental ward a lecture on the upcoming Convergence of the 9 Realms, explaining why the Convergence is of upmost importance, and how his special sensors are designed to stabilize the imminent play of physics so the earth will escape unharmed; why is this scene important? It's a device to tell us, the audience--not the patients in the film--what the film is truly about. The most famous example of this technique was done in in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when the economics teacher, played by Ben Stein, gives his lecture on "Voodoo Economics,": the students in the class aren't students, they are us, the bored audience, preferring to watch Ferris rather than be told about the impending economic doom--according to the film makers--about to befall us from the effects of Reganomics (please see Abe Froman, the Sausage King Of Chicago fore more). So, what's the true danger the film makers are warning us the audience about via Selvig's lecture to uninterested patients? There are two important clues.
I had high expectations for the film going in and, to be perfectly honest with you, Thor the Dark World exceeded every one of them. It could not have been more spectacular, entertaining nor as artistically woven together. Every aspect of the story fits in perfectly with the next piece, and we should expect that: Marvel has assured fans that all their movies and television shows will impact one another and be a whole, so what's true in Thor will be true in SHIELD, and Captain America and Iron Man, etc. This is a feat, not only because it's difficult to keep up with this many story lines, but because it's difficult to maintain that massive of a "reality" without contradiction or sliding, in other words, it demonstrates that there is a strong, strong foundation upon which the Marvel stories have been built, and that foundation will not be abandoned, but strengthened even further. Perhaps the most important moment of Thor the Dark World is when Thor meets with Heimdgall and tells him that what they are about to do is treason "of the highest order. Success will mean our exile, failure will mean our death," and we have all ready seen this in 47 Ronin, when the Ronin are faced with exactly the same situation.
Pretending like we are Sherlock Holmes, the first clue is the shoe Selvig employs to help him illustrate the Convergence. One, of all the things Selvig could have grabbed, he grabbed a shoe (don't forget, shoes are important in this film: Darcy wants to throw a shoe into the physic anomaly the kids show them, then Jane and Thor discover the shoes when Richard calls on Jane's phone, so the shoe is a recurring motif in the film, a line of references we are supposed to note and connect together). It's a tennis shoe, a shoe worn by athletes (the person it belongs to is the other clue) for athletic activity. Why is that important? Competition. Shoes symbolize our will, because our feet--where we put shoes on--takes us places just as our will takes us to where we want to go in life, so this shoe communicates to us that the will power of the owner is that towards competition, which leads us now to the second clue: the shoe's owner.
The first time we see Selvig in Thor the Dark World, he's running around Stonehenge, naked, on the news. Why? Because, when we saw him in The Avengers, he was running around New York City (the most technologically advanced financial capital of the world, juxtaposing the ancient Stonehenge to NYC) but "clothed" in the evil intentions of Loki (and yes, it's right for us to be thinking of this, because Loki is mentioned immediately by Selvig when he sees Thor and, when Jane first meets Loki, she punches him and says, "That's for New York"). Selvig is naked because he was doing "naked science," as opposed to Jane who is not. In other words, Selvig doesn't have any agenda or motivation "clothing" his research, he doesn't have anything "up his sleeve" that he's hiding, he won't benefit from this in anyway: he is completely "exposed" and this is a good state for him to be in because it illustrates his honesty. Jane Foster, on the other hand, is not "naked" nor exposed. Jane wants to find Thor again, and she hides that personal desire underneath her scientific guise (more on this in the next caption). Now, why does Selvig "think better" with his pants off? We just discussed this with Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham) in Inside Llewlyn Davis: it's symbolic of the "creative act." Having his pants off situates Selvig in an intimate situation, like a groom with his bride, because that is what science is to Selvig, his bride, to whom he gives himself completely and in giving himself to science, that is when he is most alive and most involved in "the creative act." The next most important thing about Selvig is why he hugs everyone for so long: Darcy and Thor, he almost won't let go of them, and that, too, is probably a remnant of The Avengers when everyone came so close to annihilation (partly because of Selvig himself) and Selvig holding onto people, one, demonstrates he recognizes how fleeting life is (especially since he understands the dimensions of the Convergence about to happen) and, two, how dear to him these people are. Last point of discussion: Selvig's weird clothes. In this shot, he wears a gray sweater with navy blue basketball (gym) shorts; it must be fairly cool outside because everyone wears pants and jackets, so Selvig's clothes are more of a costume than regular street clothes (yes, yes, yes, of course he was naked in the previous scene and had to be given clothes to wear because he didn't have any of his own, HOWEVER, this is an exploitive point in the narrative [he could be wearing all an all white "inmate" jump suit or some other uniform, rather than random clothes) so, the question is, why is there a break in the plot to spend time showing the audience Selvig wearing this ensemble? The shorts emphasize what we just deduced with the gym shoes: athletics, Selvig is competing, and it's easy to see what he competes against when he, Darcy and Ian go outside and see the Starlings acting strangely: the Convergence is happening sooner than he thought, so he's "in a race against time" (the competition). He wears shorts, rather than a jersey or shirt that implies the athletic theme, because legs symbolize "our standing" in society, our reputation, so his reputation in the scientific world--and the world in general after what he contributed to in The Avengers--is at stake regarding how this "race against time" turns out because, if he's wrong, he'll be "left out in the cold" (wearing shorts when it's cool weather outside to reflect ostracization if he's wrong about the Convergence).  Why the gray sweater? It's a sweater because, right now, he is out in the cold: no one else knows about the Convergence but him, and he has to "keep himself warm" in assurance that he is right about what is going to happen, while at the same time remembering that, if he's wrong, he will be out in the cold permanently (the shorts in cool weather). The sweater is gray, then, because gray is both the color of penance and the color of the pilgrim: in earlier, days of history, people would perform acts of penance (symbolized by putting ashes on their head--ashes are gray--because that was an act of humility, "From ash you came, to ash you return,") and the pilgrimage, usually to Jerusalem or some holy site, was undertaken to remind people that the true purpose of being on earth was the pilgrimage to heaven (this holds true for the wizard Gandalf the Gray in The Hobbit). Now, Selvig, we can further deduce, is doing penance for what he did in New York in helping Loki (remember, it's the first thing he mentions when he sees Thor), and his pilgrimage, then is remembering the real purpose of science, again, that it's not a vehicle for someone's agenda (Loki's), rather, a pursuit all its own for its own sake.
The little old man who asks, "Can I have my shoe back now?" is the great Stan Lee, executive producer of Iron Man, Spider Man, The Avengers, The Wolverine, Thor the Dark World, and just about all Marvel's film projects. Why is this important? For at least two reasons.  First, such an appearance is usually called a "cameo," (the most famous cameos being those by director Alfred Hitchcock in all 50 of the films he made) but when it's one of the principal film makers, I think the term "self-portrait" better qualifies the appearance, because Mr. Lee and the other film makers, by inserting a "real world person" into the make-believe world of Thor, want you to know that the make-believe world isn't so make-believe (because real people can go there) and there are real people making this film (it didn't just pop into existence on it's own). Secondly, invoking the real world (as we have discussed with trailers for Muppets Most Wanted UK) reminds viewers of the world they live in, and that there are parallels between our world and the one we are watching, like when the Dark Elves' ship crashes into the Palace of Asgard, we are meant to think of 9/11 and the destruction of the World Trade Centers. So, what does Stan Lee's tennis shoe mean?
Whereas Selvig "gives" himself to science (in not wearing pants while doing research) Jane uses science to get to Thor in hopes of mating with him; this alterior motive makes Jane weak which allows her to be "possessed" by the Aether. Now, before it sounds like I am being too hard on Jane, let's look a bit earlier in the film before the scene pictured above. In Asgard, Odin commands Thor to go and celebrate with his warriors and advises Thor that he would do better to take what his before him (Lady Sif), and we see Thor, presumably in his room, washing himself and looking out the window; when we first see Jane in the film, she's with Richard, Jane alludes to Thor, and Darcy shows up, astounded that Jane is wearing clean clothes, she's bathed and smells good, she's done her hair,.... Both Thor and Jane think they have cleansed themselves of the other--Thor of Jane after his father tells him to consider Sif, and Jane of Thor because she's gone out with Richard--but, in the reality of the film, they have prepared themselves to see the other again. When Thor comes to Jane, he says he believes that fate brought them together, and while, moments before, they each thought they would never see each other again, here they are, back together after two years. This might seem like a side-track, but it's utterly important. The reason Jane and Thor have to "be cleansed" before seeing the other is because that is what Love does to us. Love cleanses us of our weakness so we can be made strong to carry out the labors of Love that make Love stronger within us and, thereby, make us worthy of Love (that is the key to why Loki has not been converted, the reason Loki is in a state of rebellion with Frigga, Odin and Thor, Loki won't give himself to Love, he wants to take power, which is the exact opposite, more on that below, and instead of seeing what's good in people, Loki sees what's bad in them, and instead of seeing how others love him, Loki sees how he can use them for his own ends). If Jane were not a good and strong character, then the Aether inside of her would destroy her (Thor and Loki have this conversation about Jane when Loki lustily says, "Oh, what I could do with the power in her veins," and Thor retorts that Loki would be consumed by it; Jane holds up under the pressure of the power, as Thor tells us, because she has strength and goodness within her that Loki can't understand). Now, just because a character is good and strong, doesn't mean they don't still have flaws and weaknesses, which is the case of Jane Foster. Whereas Selvig was possessed by the Tesseract to overtake the world in The Avengers, Jane is possessed by the Aether to overtake the universe in Thor the Dark WorldThe reason Jane can be used as a vessel is because she has opened up to being dis-ingenuous (just like Loki in his disappearing and tricking Thor all the time) because she uses science for her own ends (to find Thor, which she admits, I wouldn't have found the Aether if I wasn't looking for you, she tells him) instead of how Selvig is now in this film, trying to understand the Convergence to save the world. Before Jane "finds" the Aether, there is blowing wind and "whooshing," and the wind pushes her into the anomaly where the Aether is; what's that all about? The "winds of change," the very same "winds of change" that are in Mary Poppins (hey, it works because it works). So what's the big deal? In being "dis-ingenuous" she becomes like the Aether itself, not only being a vessel by means of which it can escape its hiding place, but also giving it greater power because she is such a "good" person (we all agree on that, she's a good person, she just committed a very human folly) the Aether feeds off her being a host and "host" should be taken as a political term (more discussion on the Aether below; you can also check the Marvel wikipedia here). Scientists doing experiments for their own ends, in other words, found science they shouldn't be doing, and in finding this science, they became hosts to the science and the political means needed to carry out that science.
The tennis shoes symbolize a will (the shoe) turned towards competition and drive (the shoes are athletic shoes, not loafers or house shoes or orthopedic shoes [which is what one would expect with an elderly owner], etc.); that the shoe belongs to Stan Lee, the executive producer, is meant as a not-so-subliminal message that his movies will support the competitive spirit of America, democracy and capitalism, and, if you don't believe me, you might want to just glance your eye over this article. But there are two more important instances of "shoes" in the film, and the first one is the strange case of Loki not wearing any shoes at all,....
Please click on the image to expand. It looks like Loki's feet are bleeding in this brief scene, however, that's not the case: there was some fruit that was turned over onto the floor (in the extreme foreground of the last frame, under the word "brother," you can see some of it) and he had stepped on that fruit, the crushing of it resulting in the juice staining his feet. Just a detail? I think not. Frigga, Odin and Thor tell Loki that his imprisonment is the result of his actions, his abuse of power; for those who think it's too harsh for someone to take responsibility for their actions--and that's sadly becoming common place in America---the film makers validate that Loki's imprisonment is the direct result of his assault on humanity. Feet, again, symbolize our will, and Loki's feet being bare means that his will is "exposed" and the crushed fruit (probably symbolic of "forbidden fruit" because Loki never should have gone anywhere seeking to rule) not only invokes the blood he caused to be spilt (the fruit juice looks like Loki's own blood) but as well the fruit that has been ruined (Loki can't do anything now or hope for anything because he is imprisoned for life so his life will "bear no fruit" that will last, in crushing the people on earth, Loki has really only crushed himself). Whereas Loki's feet are exposed--like his will to power being exposed--Thor, on the other hand, wears a dark colored wrap around his shoulders and chest; why? He's covering his heart so Loki can't see how much Thor still loves him, because Thor knows, sadly, that Loki will abuse Thor's love for him and hurt himself (Loki) even more. The dominant color associate with Loki is green, like the shirt he wears above. Green is the color of hope because it's the color of "new life" at spring time, but green is also the color of something that has rotted. Whereas all those who love Loki hope for him to turn away from his pursuit of power (myself included), Loki seems determined to rot. On a slightly different note, why is Thor the only one realizing that Loki has been putting up an illusion all this time? Because Thor still believes there is good in his brother's heart (which is why he believes Loki actually sacrificed himself to save Thor) and the sign of that good in Loki's heart would be, not only regret and remorse over what he did do, but the realization of how he has ruined his own life.
When Thor approaches Loki about helping him stop the Aether, Thor is the one who knows Loki has been putting up illusions, and Thor can see the symbolic significance of Loki being "bare foot," (Loki's will--symbolized by his bare feet stained with fruit he has stepped one, see above--is "exposed") that Loki will betray Thor because Loki is consumed with gaining power for himself ("When you betray me, I will kill you," he tells Loki).  
If you watch Thor the Dark World on disc, at 15:57, if you press pause, after Jane has gotten into the car with Darcy and they are going to check out the strange readings, there is a English World War poster in the upper-center of the screen that says, "Is your journey really necessary?" asking about driving and preserving gas. Why bring this up? It fits in with the question of "Who is Jane Foster's mom?" They keep mentioning Jane's lab, i.e., her mom's house, but we never learn anything else about Jane's mom, or see her. So, who is Jane's mom? England. Later on, film makers might want us to associate a real person with Jane's shadowy mom, but the absent mom corresponds to the "mom-to-be-absent" in Frigga who dies protecting Jane as if Jane were her own child (of course Frigga knows what is to be lost if Malekith obtains the Aether). When Jane, Ian and Darcy arrive at the site of the anomalies, the cargo cars are standing end-up, like the stones at Stonehenge in the previous scene (which means that's exactly what we are supposed to be thinking of); why? It's unnatural. It's unnatural when there is a ring around Jane where the rain doesn't fall (picture on the right). When Darcy, Ian and Jane goes inside the truck yard, they see little kids, all minority kids; Darcy exclaims, "It's okay, we're Americans," and Jane responds, "That's supposed to make them like us?" because, as Barack Hussein Obama has taught this country, and liberals have preached his gospel, the world hates us; but a miracle happens, and the kids come out, because I guess that does make them trust Darcy and Jane. "Are you the police?" the little girl asks, because America, back in the days when we were a super-power, in the days before Russia invaded the Ukraine, America was like a police force, making sure that no one over-stepped their bonds, but Darcy and Jane can't answer that they are police, they can't make sure people aren't over-stepping their boundaries, "We're scientists," and that's probably the worse answer they can give. Anyway, we have seen that little English-Indian girl before (not her exactly) in Star Trek Into Darkness: the little sick girl who was laying in her hospital bed dying when John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) approached her dad Thomas Harewood and said, "I can heal her," and giver her some of his blood so her father will spill the blood of Star Fleet command on his (Harrison's) behalf (please see The Enemy Of My Enemy: Star Trek Into Darkness for more). The reason this is important is because the little boy takes two fingers and turns over a huge truck. As Darcy says, "That doesn't seem right," and she's right, it's not right, it's unnatural. So what does it mean? Everything has been made so easy, there are no struggles so no one grows: the little boy doesn't have to become strong to turn the car over, he can do it because he's a minority so things will be made easy for him. This, and all these examples, are socialism. Not driving excessively (no freedom of movement), anti-American sentiments, for cargo trucks to be empty instead of full and taking products to a destination where they will be sold, instead standing on-end like Stonehenge rocks. These are all the signs that the "motherland," Jane's lab where the "socialist experiment is taking place," is rotting away England and that's why it's invaded and that's why Jane's the perfect political "host" for the unnatural, unholy power of the Aether. Now, why is it a bottle of pop and an old pop can are the items used to demonstrate the anomaly? "Sometimes they come back, sometimes they don't," the little girl explains to Jane, and residents in the US, under Michelle Obama's food regime, and the banning in NY of large pop drinks, knows that socialism is like a black hole: some things are going to get lost, maybe not everything in the "change" that is going to take place, but plenty of things will get lost that won't be recovered, like car keys, and the keys getting lost in the anomaly tie in directly with that poster we see at 15:57 about unnecessary travel and a socialist government limiting your movements so you are more easily controlled (please remember that George Orwell's famous book 1984 takes place in Great Britain).
So, the million dollar question: why then does Thor trust Loki? Is, as Loki suggests, Thor "truly desperate" for the help only Loki can provide? I can understand people supporting that interpretation, and there is nothing wrong with that, however, I think there is a much stronger possibility based upon what we see happen with Loki a bit later: Thor wants to give Loki another chance to redeem himself in spite of what Thor tells Loki (if Thor really believed it, he would have tried to find another way to succeed without Loki).
Why would Thor, the apparent heir to the throne, want to give Loki another chance, when it's obviously to Thor's advantage to have Loki out of the picture and out of the way, not causing problems? Justice. Thor knows that there is good in Loki, and he wants to give that good a chance to grow and become the dominant force within Loki, who, however, prefers the "darker side" at this time (more on Loki and his future below). Thor, however, can really only make decisions that are right for him to make, so, back to the quandary, if it's more advantageous to have Loki out of the picture, why bother giving him another chance? Potential, as we have said, but believing in someone else's potential, and being willing to sacrifice for someone else to have a chance, is one of the highest marks of character, and greatest strengths of a true leader (we see this in both Man Of Steel when Clark Kent breaks the neck of General Zod who is about to kill a family; Clark doesn't want to kill Zod because Zod has real potential to change and become a better person; killing Zod kills that potential. Likewise, we see this in The Dark Knight Rises with Bruce Wayne: Batman clearly tells Catwoman he doesn't kill people, because justice can't be exacted on the dead, and because that seals off the chance for their reform. Thor is in this same category). So, one recognizes a good leader based on their ability to see and encourage the potential of others. In the scene above, we see another trait of good leaders we have seen in other films lately, like The Legend Of Hercules: hand-to-hand combat between the champions. The scene above, with the abnormally large "champion" of the enemy coming out and knocking down one on his own side, is meant to invoke the Spartan film 300, not only to remind us of what a good leader is--as we saw in King Leonides (Gerard Butler)--but also to make us think of the same enemies and the threat the Persians posed to Greek freedom (remember, in about two weeks, we will be seeing 300: Rise Of An Empire, so all of this has been timed to tie-in and relate). Towards the end of Thor the Dark World, Thor battles Malekith and repeats the line he says in this scene above, "I accept your surrender." Why? For at least two reasons: first, Thor sates the line before it's clear that he has won because he knows, and has absolute faith, that right will always prevail over evil: evil can never win because evil doesn't have the qualities necessary to win and persevere, qualities like sacrifice, patience and trust (to name just a few). Secondly, Thor says this line to draw the audience's attention to this earlier scene, tying them together so we look for the similarities the film makers have planted: Malekith, like the huge stone monster above, is also "made of stone," having become so "hard of heart" he is permanently devoid of all virtues and refuses redemption. On a different note, why does this scene pictured above even happen? The hammer of justice. Thor, as we are reminded at the end, can yield the hammer because he is worthy to yield it (he had been cast out and exiled for irresponsible behavior at the start of Thor). Because Thor has been subjected to justice, Thor has the right to subject others, something Loki doesn't understand.
What is the difference, we should ask, between Thor wanting to give Loki a second chance, and Thor's grandfather Bor not giving Malekith a second chance? Malekith has given himself over to darkness and seeks to take the whole universe with him; Loki, as is revealed in his opening dialogue with Odin, has darkness encroaching upon his soul, but doesn't want to thrust the universe into darkness, he just selfishly wants to be king,... over anything. Loki, then, might be redeemed, as is evidenced when Thor and Loki have taken Jane to the Dark Elves' home planet, and Loki has saved Jane from being swallowed up by a vortex released upon them, but Loki is about to be swallowed up himself. A scene such as this characterizes Loki for us: Loki isn't bad enough to be destroyed (swallowed up in the vortex, which would symbolize the vortex within him, destroying all that might be good inside Loki), but he isn't good enough to save himself by his own strength, Thor has to save him (more on this below). But now, it's time to turn our attention to Malekith.
What is the Aether? The Progressive agenda to take America back technologically (Moonrise Kingdom, The Lone Ranger, Savages, Gravity, Jack the Giant Slayer, Pompeii, Noah). The Aether and Thor's red cape are the opposites of each other: both are red, but they symbolize the opposites of what red signifies. Thor's cape is red for the color of love: he loves his father/mother, his country, the people of the Nine Realms, the people of Earth, Jane and Loki. The Aether, on the other hand, is the red that symbolizes anger, because red is the color of blood (so red-as-love is that Thor would shed his red blood for any person he loved) but red-as-anger means a person would shed another's blood for appeasement (such as Malekith's anger and thirst for revenge against Asgard, and Malekith's willingness to shed the blood of his own people for his own survival at the start of the film). Why does the Aether speak to Malekeith, and talk to him so that he knows where it is? We have seen similar situations, like the gold coins speaking to pirates in Pirates of the Carribean: the Black Pearl, and the ring speaks to Smaug and Sauron in The Hobbit and The Lord Of the Rings. Why? The power of the Aether and the power of the ring, along with the treasure the pirates took and must replace, is the voice of temptation: the temptation to greed, the temptation to power, the temptation to anger. All these temptations can be properly attributed to the methodology of socialists trying to start revolutions through dissent and revolt in countries where it's trying to establish itself (yes, of course, we can find the same characteristics in capitalism, however, these traits are located in individuals within a capitalist system, capitalism doesn't need [nor desire] such characteristics within its structure because that's "bad for business" whereas these traits are necessary to the whole structure of socialism to attract its ruthless leaders, their minions and then the wretched of society to start the bloody revolutions for the leaders). We can see the distinction between the two styles of leadership in Thor and Malekith: Malekith sacrifices his people for his own survival, whereas Thor is willing to sacrifice himself for the survival of his people.
The Dark Elves, as we have noted previously, don't seem very,.... threatening. Come on, "elves?" We think of elves as being Santa's helpers (as in Rise Of the Guardians) or the wise elves who help Bilbo in The Hobbit, but not as enemies of humanity. This, however, might be the very reason "dark elves" were chosen to be the servants of Darkness: we don't have a natural fear of elves, we tend to trust them as they have been depicted to us in the past. Is there someone in our culture today whom we have trusted that has betrayed us to the Darkness? The Democrats.
It's the standard interpretation of the eyes that they are the "windows of the soul," and the Dark Elves have eyes completely blacked out, symbolizing that their soul, too, is completely blacked out or even non-existent. Is there someone in our world today who is waging war on America that does not believe in the soul? The liberals. All their most important policies (abortion, gay marriage, legalized drugs, free contraception, government issued health care) go against most religions in one way or another, or are meant to de-stabilize religion (please recall, at the Democratic National Convention for 2012, the Democrats booed having God part of their platform 3 different times, but was finally forced in by Obama standing off stage who was afraid of what it would look like if they didn't adopt it, and this was on national television). We've seen those same big, round blacked-out eyes in the natives of Nibiru, the planet facing destruction in Star Trek Into Darkness (the ones with the white faces, wearing the yellow robes) who also symbolized Progressives (one of the branches of socialism, those who don't believe in technology nor progress). Take another look at the elves; do you notice their ears? They look really big--the outer black part that curves--but if you look closely, there is really just a very small part of the ear for actual listening; sound like liberals you know? They brag about being tolerant, but refuse to listen to any arguments that counter anything they believe. The "ultimate Dark Elf" is the Kursed: ""You will become darkness, cursed to this existence until it consumes you. Until then, no power our enemies possess can be used stop you." Well, doesn't that sound like the Obama Administration and the liberal press? What is the first thing the last of the Kursed does? He releases the prisoners of Asgard; where have we seen that before? The Dark Knight Rises, when Bane (Tom Hardy) releases Gotham's prisoners to terrorize the populace. Why does the Kursed not release Loki from Asgard's dungeon? Even the Kursed can see that Loki has his own agenda and would not aid the Dark Elves' cause, that Loki is too dangerous.
Democrats--now known as the American  Communist Party or, alternately, Progressives--always stylize themselves as the defenders of humanity and the lovers of the poor and minorities, but have they really sought to return America to "Darkness" like that expressed in Thor the Dark World? At the start of the film, the very first thing we see is,... nothing. This is depressing for people who have paid to see "something." That "darkness" on the screen is meant to make us think what it was like before there were films, technology at all, because--to an American living with smart phones and the internet--that's what darkness is, a world void of technology. Odin tells us:

Long before the birth of light, there was darkness. And from that darkness came the Dark Elves. Millennia ago, the most ruthless of their kind, Malekith, sought to transform our universe back into one of eternal night. Such evil was possible through the power of the Aether, an ancient force of infinite destruction.

Obviously, this is completely made up, however, we know that art is a metaphor for actual things, events, people, places, so--we have to ask--what does the Aether and Odin's opening speech mean? What does it refer to, how can we identify with this force of such great destruction and come to fear it when we don't know anything about it? Unless, we do know something about it,...
Is there another leader we could understand as being "two-faced" in America today (like Aaron Eckhardt's character Harvey Dent becomes, Two-Face, in The Dark Knight)? The scars on the right side of the face (Malekith has scars on both sides, but the more extensive scars) come from Thor's hammer hitting him seconds after Malekith stabs and kills Frigga, Thor's mother. As Queen of Asgard and an older woman, she symbolizes the traditions of the country (like M [Judi Dench] in Skyfall, who also dies at the hand of the main villain). Is there a leader today that, in trying to destroy one of our own traditions, has revealed his "other" more baser side? Like the destruction of the US Constitution, perhaps (the 1st, 2nd and 4th Amendments, in particular)? The tradition of limited government that doesn't spy on its citizens? The tradition that the enemies of the country are actually the enemies instead of the citizens being the enemies, and the enemies being the "friends" of the country? Frigga is quick to act because, as Thor mentions, Frigga was the one who told Thor and Loki the stories of the Dark Elves, those who would bring ruin, she was the one who knew to look for the signs of ruin and how to protect against it. Frigga doesn't die, she sacrifices herself so Asgard will know the light that exists in each of them. Malekith happily destroys her because Frigga is light, the kind of like the Dark Elves hate and despise, and he wants all of her kind, the kind who can put a greater cause before themselves, dead. She doesn't die. Her soul, her soul forge, lives on and inspires.
What event signals the "birth of light?" Christ, who was the light that came into the world. I know you atheists out there are unhappy about this, but it's Loki who tells his father that he went to rule earth as a "benevolent god," just like Odin, to which Odin reminds Loki, that they are not gods, but have a birth, and a death, so it's Loki who brings up god/God. Loki also brings up God when Thor has released him from the dungeon and Loki creates the illusion of being Steve Rogers/Captain America (see more in caption below). Darkness, then, is what existed before the light, and that darkness, we could say, is exactly what Malekith intends to bring back: paganism.
When Loki has been freed from his cell by Thor, they walk down the hallway and Loki changes guises, including into Captain America. Loki calls the Avenger one of Thor's new companions that he likes so much and, as Steve Rogers, says: "The costume is a bit much. So tight. But the confidence, I can feel the righteousness surging. Hey, do you want to have a rousing discussion about truth? Honor? Patriotism? God bless Amer--" and Thor stops him. What does this scene mean? First of all, we see how quickly Loki "turns," and how deep his deception can be. We also see how he despises those he deems less than himself (the people from earth, Thor's "new companions"). Loki would especially despise Captain America because Cap was the first Avenger Loki met and the one who compared Loki to Hitler, so mocking Captain America shows Loki's baseness. When disguised as Cap, Loki uses the word "surging" to describe the righteousness he feels; "surging" is also used when the doctor tells Thor about the Aether in Jane's veins and how she won't survive it. Comparing the two energies, the power that sucks life out of the host vs. the power that empowers with good will and honor, Loki wants the power of the Aether, not Captain America's truthfulness or patriotism, because the suit is "so tight," that is, Loki would have to walk the straight and narrow path, and he couldn't bear to do that. Now, when Thor, Jane and Loki are "escaping" Asgard and Thor pushes Loki out of the plane and onto a ship, Loki says "You lied to me. I'm impressed," but Thor didn't lie, Thor was just protecting himself, Jane and all of Asgard by not trusting someone who has proven they can't be trusted.
We have seen it in The Lone Ranger (Tonto and his bird) and Pompeii (Milo addressing the exploding volcano as his "gods"), and going back to a state of existence where there is no technology (which is what we see in Gravity--at the very end when she gets back to earth--Savages, Jack the Giant Slayer, The Lone Ranger, Moonrise Kingdom, Noah, Pompeii, and the threat of being put back in the stone age by both Godzilla and Transformers 4) and, literally, no light because there is no technology to give light in the darkness, nor is there the light of individual genius in being able to invent because the darkness would swallow it up.
Why do Democrats want this?
No free market.
The Aether requires a host, as we know (please don't forget the ramifications from the anti-socialist film of last year, The Host) but it is a force, a power that cannot be destroyed. Why not? Well, when is the first time we see the "power" of the Aether? When a cop is going to put Jane under arrest for trespassing, in other words, when she has to take responsibility for her actions, the cop is blasted and the Aether "protects her" from being arrested. That's why the Aether can't be destroyed, there will always be people who will sacrifice themselves to being the host for socialism so they don't have to take responsibility for their actions or provide for themselves. The Aether forms a barrier around Jane the same way that Asgard puts up a barrier around itself to protect the city from attack (we see the same barrier in Oz the Great and Powerful and Percy Jackson Sea Of Monsters because it symbolizes how there was always a barrier protecting the US from the kind of attacks we are suffering today). So, there are similarities between the Aether and Asgard, but there is a huge difference, and we see it in Jane's conversation with the Asgardian doctor: Jane asks if that's a quantum field generator, to which the doctor replies, "It's a soul forge." Science sees humans as animals and energy, but capitalism sees people as forces to be reckoned, for example, in reading this post, my energy, my ideas and passion are being transferred to you, helping to forge your own soul (whether you agree with me or not) your identity is being solidified as you read these words, just as my identity is being solidified and forged in writing them; socialism would say,... I don't know what they would say, honestly, but they would never admit that I or you have a soul and neither would most scientists, which is why Jane is a perfect host for the Aether. One of the doctors tells Thor they do not know what is inside Jane, but they know she cannot survive the energy within her, but Jane is also giving energy to the Aether by basically denying that she has a soul. This is the reason why Frigga's sacrifice and her funeral are such imperative points in the plot, those moments validate this reading of the Aether, it using Jane and how it can be overcome. Odin tells Jane and Thor that the Nine Realms are not eternal, they have a dawn, and they will have a dusk, "before the dawn, the dark forces, the Dark Elves, reigned absolute and unchallenged. Born of Eternal Night, the Dark Elves come to steal away the light." Thor says, "I know these stories, Mother told them to us when we were young," and his mother, who warned about these forces, is just about to be killed by them. "Their leader Malekith," Odin goes on, "made a weapon from the darkness and it was called the Aether. While the other relics often appear as stones, the Aether is fluid and ever-changing. It changes matter into dark matter. It seeks out host bodies, drawing strength from their life force. Malekith sought to use the Aether's power to return the universe to one of darkness. But, after eternities of bloodshed, my father Bor finally triumphed," Odin tells Jane, and it's this grandfather of Thor's that will be decapitated when Thor drives the Dark Elves' ship they left in the palace of Asgard as Thor commits treason, just like the Dark Elves basically commit treason against all ten trillion living souls in the universe. The ship Thor uses to get out of Asgard, the ship that decapitates his grandfather, was designed to decapitate his grandfather, just as Obama tries to decapitate our grandfathers, the founding fathers, who gave us the Constitution. The head symbolizes the government, (in Christianity, Jesus identifies Himself as "the Head" of the Church) and the leader is the "head" of government; decapitating the grandfather of Asgard decapitates the rightful ruler; this is, subsequently, why all traitors and those who commit treason are decapitated: because they tried to replace the rightful "head" of government with their own head.  
The dominant driving force of technological development is the market for new and better technology; likewise, because of the free markets, technology is easily accessible to most of the free world (the not-free-world being China, North Korea, Cuba and parts of Africa). By doing away with technology, the Democrats/Progressives will (they believe) deal a death blow to capitalism forever and sink the world into the Dark Ages, which is exactly what they want, because people who don't have technology available to them are far easier to control. It's important to discuss this because the theme will come up again when we discuss Godzilla. Yet there is another characteristic important in properly identifying who Malekith is, which this clip highlights:
This clip provides us with the perfect evidence of why originality isn't always a good thing. For 5,000 years the Dark Elves have "slept," so basically, they are dead--Odin certainly believed them to be so--so who else raises the dead? The Necromancer/Sauron in The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug. The same darkness that is Sauron/the Necromancer (whichever you prefer) is the same darkness in Thor the Dark World and Star Trek Into Darkness. In other words, Bilbo Captain James Kirk and Thor are basically the same heroes, fighting the same threat: socialist revolutions. This is why originality isn't always a good thing: if the scenes in these films were much more different, we wouldn't be able to recognize that all these films are detailing the exact same threats: a foe we believed was dead (after the Soviet Union fell) but has been awakened by their master (Obama and the liberals) and is now ready to take over the world.
Odin doesn't fair well in the film at all. The first time we see him, a black bird comes and lands on Odin's arm, suggesting the bird is a pet. Now, the bird probably symbolizes death, not only because it's black, but because it's a predator; so, in what way does Odin holding out his arm for this bird to land upon foreshadow how he "falls" in the film? Thor tells us: in his arrogance about the Dark Elves, he is no better than they are. We can very much see Odin as King Thranduil of the Milkwood Elves in The Hobbit: the Desolation Of Smaug, and we will be comparing the two.
So, back to shoes.
The third instance of shoes being important is when Jane and Thor have failed to destroy Malekith and the Aether and have stumbled into a cave and Richard calls Jane on her cell. "What are all these shoes doing here?" Thor asks. Why is this scene important? Well, it's not important, it's imperative, because where the shoes are (the will) is also where they find the keys because the keys are for the "vehicle" that gets everyone together and working to stop the spread of darkness about to be unleashed. Once everyone realizes how real the threat to the universe is, they are ready to do something about it, and this realization is symbolized by the shoes that had been "lost." The Rubic's Cube key chain validates this reading, because--just like the Convergence with all the planets lining up--so the Rubic's Cube is all the "colors lining up."
Now, one may argue that the anomaly which allows the children to lift up the huge trucks is good because Ian uses that anomaly to lift up a car and save Darcy's life from Dark Elves, right? Wrong. The scene provides an example of socialism being used against itself, and we have also seen this in 300: Rise Of An Empire, and we see it again in Thor the Dark World when Malekith's ship falls on him at the end of the battle, and that's a good thing; when we see Darcy, however, kissing Ian, and Ian is in her arms, leaning back, the reversal of traditional male-female roles is a consequence of that anomaly existing and its effects upon society. Darcy is a good character, she provides a lot of comic relief, just like another character in the film, Loki. Darcy is on a micro-level what Loki is on a macro-level: a ruler over those who are less. Darcy bosses Ian the intern around the same way Loki had Selvig and Hawkeye doing his bidding in The Avengers. In other words, on a limited scale, Darcy is a character who embodies petty abuse of power.
There is, as always, far more that can be decoded and commented upon, however, let's now turn our attention to the two post-credits scenes. The second scene, where Thor has returned and kisses Jane, is the breath of life, love's reward; they are not finished with being made perfect, however, this is their rest before their next trial begins. The creature we see chasing after the birds as a food source, will prove to be important because what is true in one part of the Marvel universe, is true in another: it's possible that the beast turns up in Captain America: the Winter Soldier, of The Avengers 2. More importantly about this beast, however, is that it's lizard-like and it's not too much of a stretch to compare it to a baby "Godzilla" roaming Greenwich. Now, the first post-credits scene (someone taped on their iPhone in the theater but it will refresh your memory):
We have been introduced to a new character, Taneleer Tivan, aka, The Collector of the Marvel universe. Now, we can deduce that Sif and Volstagg could not have made the decision to bring one of the two Infinity Stones from Asgard and deposit it into his vaults, that would have had to come from the king of Asgard, either Odin or Thor. We know Thor has left to be with Jane on earth, so that leaves Odin, and Odin has been "captured" by Loki, so, following the chain, we can conclude that Loki sent Sif and Volstagg to the Collector with an Infinity Stone for Loki's own good reason (to be disclosed later, I am sure).
So, who is "The Collector?"
The one with "The Collection."
The glass cases in which we see "specimens" should make anyone feel leery about the motivations of The Collector, even if they can't quite articulate why.  What are the physical characteristics revealing about The Collector? The black line down the middle of his lips make them look as if they are split, so we could say it's to convey to the audience that what The Collector says is "split": he says one thing (the "Infinity Stone" will be safe in my vault) but means another ("One down, five to go," so he's actually collecting them for himself). Have we seen anyone else, recently, with unnatural blond hair? Silva (Javier Bardem) in Skyfall. We could say his thoughts are "dead" because his near white hair has lost color and the sign of life. His eyes are darkened, rather like what we see in the Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes) in Captain America: the Winter Soldier, and since the eyes are the window of the soul, his soul itself is dark.
Nearly no one saw The Collection in 2012 when it came out, but I would have voted it least appreciated film of the year. Granted, the Marvel character of The Collector has existed for decades, however, that doesn't mean the film makers of Thor the Dark World didn't want to bridge to The Collection through visual clues, because the "holding cases" of the "specimens" we see in the clip look awfully similar to the ones used in The Collection. Why would a horror film almost no one saw be in the mind of the makers of Thor the Dark World? To reward those who had seen the film (implied viewers), and to instantly know, upon seeing the "collection" of the Collector, that he can't be trusted (please see The Collection & Collectivization: the Horrors Of Socialism for more).

Thor the Dark World is packed, from top to bottom, with a deep, coherent narrative that knows what its talking about and communicates to its audience on a number of levels. What we have learned in this installment of Marvel's universe, will be applied to the others, so these are all lessons and techniques for us to keep in mind.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner