Thor: The Dark World

[2.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Watched this for completeness. Because (please don't take away my nerd credentials) I've never been much of a Thor fan. It's a matter of taste, the same way I like watching baseball and football, but find basketball and (especially) soccer uninteresting.

It makes sense to me: obviously guys like Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, etc. are more believable and relatable than a Norse god (but not really a god) with family problems, coming from an invisible alternate reality that gets joined up with ours every so often.

Here, the deal is that Thor's girlfriend, Jane, gets occupied by the "Aether", a bit of mumbo-jumbo desperately sought by the evil elf Malekith and his minions, in order to bring darkness upon Asgard, Earth, and all the other realms in the universe. Thor must enlist the imprisoned Loki to aid in his quest to disinfect Jane and defeat Malekith, and… oh, there's a lot of fighting and fantastic special effects, and etc.

But the actors deserve some sort of award for simply making believe (but not making me believe) that this all makes perfect sense. There are many hints that the screenwriters, at least, aren't taking the scenario very seriously. ("I better get my pants.")

It's becoming a Marvel trademark: yet another movie that involves an epic battle in, above, and around a major metropolis. (London, this time.)

His Last Bow

[Amazon Link]

Coming near the end of my project of re-reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes yarns… His Last Bow is a collection of eight Holmes short stories. It also includes a short story with the title "His Last Bow". Poking around Amazon reveals that some "books" for sale only include the short story, and some differ on the ordering and contents. Caveat Emptor! I'm going with my Barnes and Noble collection (pictured) as definitive.

The chronology is confusing, too. The short story "His Last Bow" is set in August 1914, and it's the last recorded adventure. (In fact, Mr. Baring-Gould places it on August 2, 1914, which means I read the story 100 years to the day after the events it describes took place. Neat!)

But there are a bunch more stories that were published after those in this collection. (The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes) Although they describe events that happened pre-1914. Clear?

There's "The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax", which (despite its name) is not about anyone related to the provider of used vehicle repair histories. Holmes serves his country in both "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" and "His Last Bow", in both cases thwarting the espionage efforts of those who would wish England ill. "The Adventure of the Red Circle" has Holmes sniffing out the truth about a mysterious lodger. "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box": the box contains two severed ears, eek!

And a few more. All interesting and good and fun.