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Dark Elf

Thor: The Dark World
by yo go re

Poor Rustin thought this guy was cancelled. I guess that's my fault, for not reviewing him before now. Heck, I bought him the same day as Kurse, so I clearly let my fellow OAFE down.

The Dark Elves have long been one of Asgaard's greatest enemies. The ancient race has risen, mounting an attack that threatens not only the kingdom, but the universe itself. Skilled in battle, highly intelligent and immensely strong, the Dark Elves won't be easy to stop - even for the powerful warriors of Asgaard!

The only mention of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim (actually, the Black Elves [svartálfar] - the Dark Elves [dökkálfar] are a different group) in the real mythology comes from our old friend Snorri Sturlson and his Prose Edda. But from context, it's clear that they're not elves at all; rather, "svartálfar" appears to be another term for dwarves. And on that note, it's also not clear whether the dökkálfar are supposed to be the same thing, too. Black Elves and Dark Elves may be the same thing, and that thing may be Dwarves.

But that's in the real mythology; in Marvel's comics, elves is what they are, and so the movie followed suit.

The costume designer did something very clever with those creepy masks they wear: the eyeholes are slightly lower than the actors' eyes; therefore, in order to look ahead, they have to tilt their heads back, giving them a prouder bearing. You can see the elf's pink ears poking out just a bit, and his white hair is pulled into two braids that fall down his back.

In the comics, the Dark Elves have blue skin - but that would have made them look like the frost giants from the first film, so Thor 2 made them pale white (not that you actually get to see very much of their skin). They live up to the "dark" part of their name by virture of their black costumes, which have a texture like deeply charred wood. Then over that they wear golden armor that has a primitive (yet ornate) design aesthetic. It definitely doesn't look like the same things worn by the Asgaardians or the giants of Jotunheim - that's good world-building!

Unlike other movie toylines, the Thor 2 toys have good articulation. The Dark Elf has swivel/hinge rocker ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, swivel/hinge elbows and shoulders, and a neck joint that's probably a balljoint, but only seems to have the range of a swivel - you know, "Mattel" style. Disappointingly, the shape of the armor on the shoulders really prevents them from raising to the sides, and he has no wrists or waist. Still, it's better than the 5 POA garbage most of last summer's other movies suffered from. We're looking at you, Wolverine. And you, Iron Man. And don't think we forgot about you too, Star Wars.

The accessories are just as stylish as the armor. In most mundane terms, he has a knife and two guns, but that's selling them short. We start with the bladed weapon, a golden piece that fits over the hand and forearm and really looks like an extension of the elven armor; it probably doubles as a shield, and it come to three points at the tip. Since that leaves a hand free, you can then give him the giant blaster that looks like a combination of technology and cooled lava and fits all the way over the forearm. Or you could skip both of those, and give him the thing that looks like a staff, but which we saw in the film was more like a two-handed rifle; unfortunately, the lack of wrists mean he can't really hold it the way he should.

The Dark Elf is a nice figure, even if there are improvements that could be made. But you really have to ask why, if the chest armor is just a separate piece that's glued onto the figure, did Hasbro not use this same body to create Malekith, the actual villain of the movie? He dresses just like his troops, with slightly different armor and a coat, so it would have been super easy to make him. Did they somehow not get Christopher Eccleston's likeness rights? It makes no sense at all.

-- 01/06/14

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