Thor: The Dark World
Sophistication of Story: The film sets up later films with its last scene. This isn’t a great film and it really under utilizes Loki, who is usually the best part of a Thor film. It does start to introduce some humor, with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston both demonstrating good comic timing.
Contribution to the Overall Avengers Storyline: This film doesn’t make a huge contribution to the overall Avengers storyline, with the only major lingering plot point being Loki is posing as Odin, but that doesn’t come back until the next Thor film, Thor: Ragnarok.
Infinity Stones: The Aether, which is the reality stone, plays a large roll in this film. At the end, Sif and one of the other Argardians bring the stone to the Collector for safekeeping to be stored in his vault.
Villain: Malekith, an ancient Dark Elf, is the villain the film. He wants to invade Asgard because they defeated the Dark Elves long ago. Or something like that.
Feminist Level: Jane is a scientist and is presented as very intelligent. The scientist she speaks to in Asgard is also a woman. Darcy gets to say some of the funny lines, as in the first one. Sif is featured fighting, and shown as a competent warrior. Frigga fights and defends Jane. Additionally, the scientists are part of the solution the invasion of the dark elves.
Does it pass the Bechdel Test: Yes
Does it pass the Race Bechdel Test: No
Ratio of Male:Female Characters:
-2 for more than double the number of male characters to female characters
-1 for Frigga dying as a plot device
-1 for Jane finding the aether because she was looking for Thor
-1 for Malekith being a plot device villain with no character development or depth
+1 for Jane using her skills as an astrophysicist
+1 for the Asgardian scientist also being a woman
+1 for Sif being shown as a competent fighter and saving Thor
+1 for the scientists saving the day
Is the film worth watching: Maybe. It’s not bad enough to avoid, but it’s not good enough to recommend. If you’re a Marvel completist or a big Loki fan, it’s worth watching.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Sophistication of Story: This film has amore sophisticated storyline than the other Avengers films up to this point, by necessity, as it sets up some major plot points that reverberate through the MCU, from Avengers: Age of Ultron to Agents of SHIELD. It also is a storyline about long-term sleeper agents and betrayal, which required the writers to look at characters that existed in the story, and work that into a betrayal storyline, which they do well.
Contribution to the Overall Avengers Storyline: This film brings back Bucky, in the guise of the Winter Soldier. Additionally, it introduces Falcon and gives Natasha more of a backstory. Perhaps most significantly, it also brings an end to SHIELD as we have known it.
Villain: Pierce is the main villain, though he uses the Winter Soldier and members of Hydra to try to accomplish his ends. Rumlow is also shown at the end, as he will be back in Captain America: Civil War.
Feminist Level: Another view into Natasha is given in this film. When they are in the hospital during Furys death scene, it is told from Natashas view/gaze. We clearly see that she saw Fury as a father figure in her emotional reaction to his death. The film also gives Natasha her own character arc. After they learn that Hydra has infiltrated SHIELD, we see that Natasha feels it, too, when she tells Steve she tought she had gone clean when she joined SHIELD, but is left feeling like she traded the KGB for Hydra.
Does it pass the Bechdel Test: Yes (Barely, but Natasha and Maria have a brief exchange in the hospital)
Does it pass the Race Bechdel Test: Yes (Sort of, if you include things Fury says in general, and that Falcon responds to. Also, in the last scene, Fury invites Falcon to join his mission to Europe).
Ratio of Male:Female Characters:
-1 for significantly less female characters than male characters
+1 for Natasha having a separate mission on the aircraft carrier, unrelated to Steve’s
+1 for Natasha teaching Steve how to go on the run
+1 for Natasha and Steve both saving each other at different points
+1 for Natasha having her own character arc
+1 for Maria saving Steve, Natasha, and Sam from Hydra
Is the film worth watching: Yes. This film has a plot that stands on its own, and is well written and fun. It’s one of my top 5 Marvel films.
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