O brother, where art thou?
4) Thor vs Loki
- Thor, now fully re-powered and back home. Played by Chris Hemsworth.
- Armed with: Mjolnir
- Loki, now assuming the role of king of Asgard. Played by Tom Hiddleston.
- Armed with: Gungnir, the “Spear of Heaven.” Also made of uru metal, and Odin’s personal weapon. At least a match for Mjolnir, though nobody does anything with it in this movie beyond just firing energy blasts.
The Setup: Thor would have words with his brother over the whole “you sent a magic robot to kill me” thing, and gets Heimdall to whisk him back to Asgard. Meanwhile, Loki has allowed a small contingent of frost giants into the kingdom and led them straight to the slumbering Odin, but, aha, triple cross: Loki spear-zaps Laufey (his biological father) at the last second, just barely stopping him from killing the All-Father. The whole thing was a trap on Loki’s part so that he could come out the hero and make Odin proud.
Thor arrives just after that, and starts blabbing about all of Loki’s machinations in front of Frigga. They could shake hands to settle their differences, but as Chris Farley almost said, brothers don’t shake hands– brothers gotta fight!
The Fight: Loki opens strong by blasting Thor right out of the tower, but rather than sticking around to finish Thor off he decides to jet away and set the Bifrost to destroy Jotunheim. This is dumb on multiple fronts: first off, tend to one problem at a time, buddy. Second, destroying Jotunheim was only part of his plan to come off as the hero after fending off Laufey’s assassination attempt; now that Frigga, Thor and a sleeping Odin (he can see what happens while in the Odinsleep) are all aware of his villainy, this part of the plan seems rather extant. Also, I think it’s a bit of movie-invented, convenient lore for the Bifrost (the rainbow bridge that connects Asgard to the other Nine Realms) to be capable of destroying whole worlds– why is their transportation system also a Death Star?
Thor flies across the bridge and catches up to Loki in the control room, even though the destruction has already begun. They talk some more, with the reformed Thor trying to reason with his brother– at one point he says, “This is madness!” to which Loki shows remarkable restraint by not replying in Internet meme-ready fashion. After Loki makes a threat against Jane, though, his bro finally comes at him.
The short hammer vs spear choreography is a little interesting. Mostly ground-based, with a few neat moves, including Loki spinning on the vertical spear like a stripper and using the momentum to kick Thor. Still a bit too short and none too spectacular, even if the weight of the fight goes a long way to sell the high power levels involved here.
It’s not long before Thor knocks the villain through the wall and out onto the pulsing Bifrost. Loki pulls his disappearing act trick again, and makes a couple dozen copies of himself to ambush Thor with. His buffer brother zaps them all away with a lightning strike, leaving the original Loki stunned. Then Thor pulls what is my favorite stunt of the whole fight: he keeps Loki from moving by placing Mjolnir, which Loki is physically incapable of moving, on top of his brother’s chest. It’s so brilliantly simple, and actually kind of hilarious.
By now the control room is too flooded with overwhelming energy for Thor to get back to, so he takes the Gordian Knot approach and recalls Mjolnir so he can use it to hit the bridge really hard until it breaks (this is said to be emotionally difficult for Thor, since the Bifrost is ostensibly the only way to leave Asgard, and without it Thor won’t be able to see Jane again). Loki eventually recovers and nearly skewers Thor with Gungnir, but once again Odin puts the “deus” in deus ex machina, arriving to save the day. He holds both his sons over the broken bridge, but when Loki sees daddy’s disapproving eyes, he lets go and falls into the space-like cosmos below. Thor bellows in sadness at his brother’s “death”, and it’s sort of weird that he doesn’t try to swoop down and save him, since he can, you know, fly. Too bad, since I’m sure Thanos is not the most cheerful company; “death” this, “conquest” that, blah blah blah.
Out of all the movie’s fights, this climactic battle is probably the least action-packed of the bunch. There’s certainly cosmic energy aplenty and a few neat moves, but the actual combat between hero & villain is brief & halting. Accepting the premise involves swallowing a few questionable plot/character elements, and the conclusion is not terribly satisfactory. I am inclined to be generous due to the high Thor content, but only so much.
[As a side note, I discovered when doing Google Images Searches for pics to use in this article that there is an alarming amount of drawings of Thor & Loki kissing each other. VERY alarming.]
Recommended Links: The new teaser trailer for the movie’s sequel Thor: The Dark World, in which stuff vaguely happens and Loki’s hair grows even longer. Those dark elves won’t know what hit them (though by process of elimination they could probably guess it was Mjolnir).
Coming Attractions: A surprising change of pace and content.