Tag Archives: Thor

Thor The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World (2013) – Review – Don’t Be A Fool, Watch This

Thor: The Dark World is the second film dedicated to the Norse god and the third Marvel film to include him, and it dominated the box office for good reason — it kicked ass. The Dark World garnered $85.7 million in its opening weekend, topping its predecessor’s $65.7 million and earning one-third of The Avengers‘ take of $207.4 million.

Enough with the numbers: Thor: The Dark World brought everything to the table: action, comedy, love/hate, and a great story. Even if Thor (2011) contained the origin story, The Dark World had more action and more story. It provided the audience with more entertainment, which is good because most sequels tend to bomb at the box office these days.

A brief update brings us the back story of Asgard being involved in a war with ancient Elves during the time of Thor’s grandfather. The war, similar to the war with the frost giants, was basically to keep them from their achievement, which was to gain control of an unbeatable force. Fast forward to today and Thor is in yet again another war with the nine realms, aiming to gain peace. Obviously, based on the trailers you may have seen, Thor is reunited with Jane Foster, due to a discovery by Jane and her crew of scientists, as well as Loki.

An attack on Asgard forces Thor and Loki to briefly work together to avenge a certain individual’s death, I will not say whom. But at the end, Thor is obviously victorious because, well, he’s Thor. The movie is also left open for another sequel and there’s an Easter egg after the credits.

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The Avengers (2012) Review – Or: The Dark Knight Will Have To Rise Pretty High To Top This!

Depending on the strength of your inner geek, you’ve either been waiting patiently for The Avengers since 2008’s Iron Man first hinted at the larger Marvel universe waiting in the wings or for several decades prior to that. Being a lifelong comic book fan, dreaming of seeing my favorite team assembled on-screen has been a favored pastime for nearly 33 years. With the preponderance of the comic book movies swamping movie theaters since 1998’s Blade kick-started the genre, it was inevitable that Marvel’s premier team of heroes would get their own starring vehicle. What is surprising is the sheer talent overflow that constitutes the movie’s cast.

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It’s a miracle this stage isn’t collapsing from the sheer awesome gathered here.

Unlike 2000’s X-Men (the closest movie analogy here) The Avengers doesn’t feature a cast of mostly unknowns gathered for the express purposes of launching a movie franchise. While X-Men director Bryan Singer chose the best possible cast he could afford and hope for, Avengers helmer Joss Whedon had most of the ground work done before even getting the gig, and the difference between the two approaches is glaring.

Having successfully brought Tony Stark to life in a pair of Iron Man movies, Robert Downey Jr. inhabits the role so effortlessly that he barely appears to be acting, his performance just flows naturally, all cocky billionaire playboy with a somewhat buried heart of gold. Chris Hemsworth only has the benefit of last year’s Thor to fuel his performance, and he’s somewhat overshadowed by Tom Hiddleston’s showier Loki, but when it comes time to fling cars around and bring down the lightning, it’s hard not to buy him as the God of Thunder brought to life. Chris Evans brings the same Gary Cooper-ish, all-American hero attitude that made him so winning in Captain America but, at times, his character arc felt a bit restrained. Understandably, Whedon might have been hampered by the need to keep Cap’s fish-out-of-water adjustment to modern times a major plot point of the upcoming Captain America sequel so Steve Rogers’ main plot arc involves him stepping up to a leadership role on the team.

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“I didn’t know they could pile money that high.”

These three, the proud owners of their own movie franchises, easily get the most screen time. However, the supporting players end up stealing the movie’s thunder. Quite literally, in Thor’s case. Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow walks away with an early showstopper in which she dispatches several assailants while tied to a chair. Johansson, beautiful as a redhead, manages to make her character more than femme fatale eye candy. Faring slightly less well is Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. While Johansson’s role in Iron Man 2 was considerable and showy, Renner only has a two minute cameo in Thor to work with. To his credit, Renner imbues Hawkeye with a sense of sadness and regret that is palpable and easily drew cheers from the crowd during his final battle antics.

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And firing arrows at the viewer makes up a lot of the movie’s 3-D effects.

To nobody’s great surprise, if you’ve been following audience reactions online, it’s the Jolly Green Giant that manages to steal everybody’s heart. After two good but in no way incredible Hulk movies, Whedon seems to have discovered where the purple-wearing behemoth works best: as a showstopper. Mark Ruffalo, the third actor to essay the role after Eric Bana and Edward Norton, finally finds the right balance between geeky scientist dude and boiling cauldron of rage. Watching the rest of the cast walk on eggshells around him, lest a wrong word or an awkward glance cause his blood pressure to rise, never ceases to be funny.

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“WHO ATE THE LAST DONUT!?”

And The Avengers is funny, make no mistake. Those of you unfamiliar with Joss Whedon’s penchant for snarky one-liners might walk away surprised by how witty everybody in this movie is. Luckily, the jokes are always appropriate to their context and never come off as something any particular character wouldn’t be caught dead saying. The script does get a bit bombastic at times, with some lines coming off very comic-booky but The Avengers can be forgiven for a few knowing winks at its mother genre.

Read the verdict after the jump…

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Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
[rating:5]
Year Released:
4 May 2012
Director:
Joss Whedon
Cast/Crew
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston
Genre
Action
Official URL:
The Avengers
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Did The Avengers Live Up To The Hype?

Holy fucking shit!

That’s my review. Oh? You want more? Something in-depth, without too many spoilers? Ugh, you’re so demanding.

I suppose I can oblige.

Irredeemable_Ant-Man_Vol_1_10I like to consider myself a “casual” comic book fan. I never really collected comic books while growing up; I was more interested in sports and getting girls to touch my penis. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t know my shit – but I can’t rattle off who was on the cover of issue #99 of Ant-Man.

I’m sure you’ve seen all the Marvel movies leading up to The Avengers, as I have. The two Iron Man movies, Thor, Captain America, and, to a much lesser extent, the two Hulk movies. So, staying strictly with the continuity of the film franchises, I was prepared for The Avengers. And it didn’t fail to deliver the awesomeness.

You truly get it all in this movie.

There are epic battle scenes that are not only good versus evil, but good versus good as the Avengers try to sort shit out. A lot of cock-measuring goes on in the middle of the movie before they finally get their egos in check and get to work against Loki.

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There’s incredible humor, and of course it’s Tony Stark who takes the cake when it comes to the wisecracks, but even good ol’ Captain America gets in a joke or two.

There’s great tension, and for me the build up to the Hulk’s first appearance had a lot of weight. I’ll knife fight anyone who thinks that Mark Ruffalo wasn’t the perfect choice to play Dr. Banner. I was hesitant when I first heard that he was onboard, because I thought that Edward Norton had done a decent job (but, honestly, compared to Bana, my dead grandmother would have done a better job). In the end, however, Ruffalo was great. And when the Hulk finally showed up…

Fuuuuuck!
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Any nerd worth his weight in pocket protectors will agree, the Hulk is the greatest ever. I might have a wet dream tonight about his scenes. He was that good. Joss Whedon did a great job with the Hulk. Not only with his action scenes, but with the overall look too. It’s spot-on.

And of course, the incredible scene at the end. Make sure you stay until the very end, after the credits. You should know this by now, with all the little Easter eggs Marvel has been sticking in these movies, but there’s not one at the end of The Avengers, but two of them, so don’t leave too soon.

The Avengers Trailer

As great as The Avengers was, I do have two small complaints:

1. The obvious similarities to Independence Day at the end. It’s small, and it’s not forced, but as soon as I saw it, I couldn’t stop thinking about ID4. Damn you, Randy Quaid.

2. The roles of Black Widow and Hawkeye. I felt that because the other Avengers all have had much more screen time in the past, that Joss Whedon may have worked a bit too hard to get them a decent amount of scenery to chew on. It wasn’t entirely forced, but most of the time they were on the screen I was hoping it wouldn’t be for very long – Mostly because I wanted more Hulk. Goddamn that shit was awesome.

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Brian Simpson is a DJ at the active rock radio station 95.7 The Rock in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He’s also a hardcore Metallica fan (having been to 50-odd concerts) and a hard-riding scooter biker (his scooter is fashioned after the Green Goblin).

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Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
[rating:4.5]
Year Released:
4 May 2012
Director:
Joss Whedon
Cast/Crew
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston
Genre
Action
Official URL:
The Avengers
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Stock Character Extravaganza: A Review Of Thor (2011)

Thor (2011) Review:

I didn’t go into Thor with high expectations. I’ve never really followed the comics and wasn’t expecting a Shakespearean masterpiece — even with Kenneth Branagh directing. From the beginning of the film, it was clear that I was getting myself into a cheesy popcorn flick and I was mostly OK with that.

Thor (2011): Natalie Portman

The movie starts out with Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, and Kat Dennings schlepping around the desert with a bunch of scientific equipment, researching wormholes. Natalie Portman plays Jane Foster, the horny young scientific ingenue/quirky love interest, while Stellan Skarsgård fills the role of the sane fatherly mentor type, Erik Selvig. Kat Dennings, of course, provides comic relief as Natalie Portman’s plucky assistant Darcy and doesn’t have nearly as many lines as she should. Jane prattles on about how she’s on the verge of a big discovery and how everything that’s been happening is interconnected. Just as the group is about to hit the road, a sudden light show happens. Darcy does not want to drive into it, but Jane does. After a steering wheel fight that could have ended tragically (or preferably in a more saucy cat fight), they drive right into that light show and end up hitting the titular character. They get out of the car to inspect the body and when they do, we are treated to an overly lengthy origin story.

Thor (2011): Anthony Hopkins

It’s your typical origin story, especially typical for a combo superhero/mythological background. Sir Anthony Hopkins plays Odin, who wages war against the mildly creepy Frost Giants of Jotunheim so that the Ice Baddies won’t conquer the Nine Realms, starting with Earth. He also manages to nab the source of their power, the treasured Casket of Ancient Winters, which looks more like it could be a prop in a Polar Ice chewing gum commercial more than anything.

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Sometime down the road, dumb blond prince Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is getting ready to ascend the throne when everyone’s favorite Ice Assholes show up to steal their minty fresh artifact. Even though Odin tells Thor it’s a bad idea to go to Jotunheim, he does it anyway, with his eccentric band of scrappies; there’s token warrior chick, Sif (Jaimie Alexander), Gimli-esque bearded dude Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), pretty boy Fandral (Joshua Dallas), snot-nosed conniving trickster god Loki, and a token Asian guy, Hogun, who is surprisingly played by Tadanobu Asano, whom some of our readers might remember as Kakihara from Ichi the Killer. An epic battle ensues and breaks the truce between the two races, leading Odin to strip Thor of his godly powers and banish him to Earth with Mjolnir, the hammer of legend, which has now been rendered useless until someone worthy enough to use it can wield.

Thor (2011)

And from there on, you can imagine how the plot develops – I won’t give it all away for you. There are some zany antics as Thor tries to reconcile being a powerless god in a human’s world, while Jane drools over him and Loki schemes in Asgard.

There are a few very predictable plot twists along the way that won’t shock the average viewer. The thing I was most surprised at during this film weren’t the actors’ performances or the CGI effects; it was the lack of action. While it wasn’t a Shakespearean masterpiece, there was entirely too much dialogue and too much forced plot development to seem comfortable. It didn’t fit in with what my idea of an action movie should have been. There were about five fight scenes, tops. I’d gone in expecting a long string of ass kicking and nothing else. I realize that as a female movie-goer, I’m probably supposed to like the romantic subplot that was so rudely forced upon us. But honestly? I didn’t. I was expecting to see guys kicking the fuck out of each other, not Natalie Portman smiling coyly for an hour and a half and playing badly at being bumbling and socially inept. Her performance as Jane seemed like she was trying all too hard to make it a more serious performance than it needed to be. Chris Hemsworth was decent as Thor and managed not to make the role too silly, but there was nothing stand out about his acting either.

The thing that did stand out about the film positively was that a few of the actors, given what they had to work with, did a superb job of having fun with their roles. Sir Anthony Hopkins and Stellan Skarsgård ham it up admirably without going overboard. The real breakthrough performance for me was that of Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki. He seemed to be channeling Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt in Watchmen for a large portion of the film in the best way possible, until the end of the film, where he came into his own. I hope to see him in more things in the future.

Thor (2011)

The special effects were passable and did everything they needed to do, but nothing was super great about them. All in all, it’s an average summertime, no-thinking-involved sort of flick. Fans of edgier comics are going to be disappointed if they come in expecting a non-stop action romp as I was. The fighting that was in the film was good, but there wasn’t nearly enough of it for this reviewer and it was very PG-13.

I wish I could add more about if the movie had stayed true to the comics or not, but I’m going to leave that to our faithful readers to fill in for me down below. What did you guys think? Leave a comment below to let us know what you thought of yet another comic book adaptation coming to the big screen!


Thor (2011) Trailer

Thor (2011) movie poster
Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
[rating:2.5]
Year Released:
2 May 2011
Director:
Kenneth Branagh
Cast/Crew
Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings
Genre
Action, Adventure, Drama
Official URL:
Thor The Movie