Movie review: “Thor: The Dark World”

[SPOILER WARNING: This article reveals a major plot point for “Thor: The Dark World”]


I’d like to start this article by admitting the biases I have. One, I am a Norse Pagan who worships the real gods and goddesses that the Asgardians in “Thor: The Dark World” are based off of. Secondly, I unashamedly love the “Thor” comics and have endured some awful, awful media for the sake of getting more of my favorite characters.

That being said, “Thor: The Dark World” wasn’t bad.

The movie takes place two years after its predecessor “Thor” and a year after “The Avengers.” It follows Thor and his friends as well as his adopted brother and the antagonist of the previous two films, Loki, as they attempt to stop Malekith the Accursed from plunging the entire universe into eternal night. This is further complicated by Malekith’s semi-sentient weapon having installed itself into Jane Foster, Thor’s girlfriend; the fact that Loki has kind of tried to kill Thor before and now Thor has to trust him if he wants to save the universe and an unexpected death that throws several characters into a state of grief and emotional instability.

Visually, the film is absolutely stunning. The score is gorgeous, the costumes are beautiful, the acting great. While the plot had some minor holes, it was good overall. My main problem is the aforementioned death.

Because the character who gets suddenly killed is none other than Frigga, the Queen of Asgard, Thor and Loki’s mother. This really rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t mean that it made me too sad, I mean that it actually made me really uncomfortable and rather angry that they did this. Here’s the thing: the only narrative purpose of Frigga’s death is to set some things in motion for the male main characters and provide them with some nice emotional grief and man-pain.

And in a film franchise that already needed to work on having its ladies play a more prominent role…well, it doesn’t say good things about the writers. Killing off a female character to justify pain and/or growth in a male character is a common trope in media, such as in  “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Supernatural” and “The Dark Knight;” and it’s one that most feminists will count among their least favorite tropes, as it reduces women characters to nothing more than plot devices to further a male character’s arc.

Overall? It was a good film with lots of good things to be said including the witty dialogue and the emotional acting. But with the glaring fault of Frigga’s death, I can’t love it as wholeheartedly as I wish I could.