Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Thor: Ragnarok, created by Marvel Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Two years after the battle of Sokovia, Thor has been imprisoned by a demon who reveals certain truths to Thor including that Asgard will be destroyed during Ragnarok, a prophesied event that will be brought on by the connection of certain artifacts.

Thor eventually frees himself and defeats the demon believing that this, along with stealing one of the artifacts away, will prevent the events of Ragnarok from unfolding.

When he returns to Asgard Thor not only discovers that Heimdall is gone but Loki is masquerading as Odin…and has been for the past few years.  Thor forces him to come to Earth to help find Odin with the help of Doctor Stephen Strange…

As the quest to find Odin reveals more than what Thor bargained for including the return of a long lost sister Hela, the death of their father, and the imminent arrival of Ragnarok things are about to go from bad to worse for Loki and Thor…especially when Hela actually arrives on scene.

Banished, with Mjolnir destroyed, Thor must fight for his life to get back to Asgard and reverse what has been done.  But can he defeat his own sister?  Or will Ragnarok finally destroy his entire planet?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Buddy Film

-Creator: created by Marvel Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee

-Length: 130 minutes

-Rating:

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

This is the kind of thing you get when you just hire Jeff Goldblum, give him a character type, and just let him go on set.  THIS is what Jurassic World was missing when they just had him SIT behind a desk and do nothing but talk.  THIS is the kind of film that could have been.

But in all seriousness.  Jeff Goldblum is one of the bet parts of this movie, hands-down. 

I think one of the things that makes this film so great is that it follows the characters that we have been seeing from Thor and the characters up till now that appear in the film.  But it also leans so hard into the “comic” aspect that we haven’t really gotten in the previous movies.

It is colorful, absurd and kind of nuts.  But in that way that unleashing Jeff Goldblum and a great cast of actors on an idea with a great supporting crew and writers can be.

I mean when you can have a goddess of death walk into a chamber of relics and call the infinity gauntlet with all of the stones “FAKE” in the way that she does then you’ve really got something awesome (even if her character design and lore don’t match that of the actual Norse goddess..)

Such great jokes and just like the last few films so much depth in what is going on from grief to discussions of family.

And just generally a LOT of fun in between all of the heavy hitters of the MCU.  We definitely needed this when it comes into the universe.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

The Avengers: Age of Ultron, created by Marvel Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In the aftermath of everything that was discovered by Captain America about HYDRA taking over S.H.I.E.L.D. the Avengers have followed the trail of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker to the tiny Eastern European country of Sokovia.  There they are confronted with two of the experiments that Strucker has been working on, a brother and sister who have been genetically modified to have powers.  Pietro Maximoff has been granted super speed while his twin, Wanda, has both telepathic and telekinetic abilities.

With Strucker dead, Loki’s scepter retrieved and everyone back at Avengers headquarters, Stark and Banner discover that there is some sort of Artificial Intelligence inside of the gem of the scepter.  The pair secretly decide to use it to implement an experimental global defense program, codename “Ultron”.  Its mission is to protect the Earth from threats from within and without.

As JARVIS examines the scepter’s AI…the scepter is doing its own reconossance…bringing to life the otherwise hypothetical Ultron.  When Ultron finally comes to life he wreaks havok in the in lab, eliminating JARVIS and destroying the Avengers headquarters after determining them to be the biggest threat to Earth.  He steals the scepter and leaves the Avengers in shambles to begin his grand scheme.

Rid the Earth of every threat on it…even if that means ridding it of all human life on the planet.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Action/Adventure

-Creator: created by Marvel Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee

-Length: 141 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for mild sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Sakarsgard, James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

I forgot just how deep this movie is.  It isn’t your standard superhero film.  It is a cautionary tale of what happens when you take the idea of defense too far.

I know that many people would love the idea of preemptive strikes on threats both on and off Earth.  But what determines that threat?  Is it someone who has committed a crime already?  How big of a crime?  Someone who is an excellent speaker that can move hundreds if not thousands of people but has never committed an atrocity to date?  Is the fact that they can move people enough?

Or is it the people that do everything they can to save as many people as they can…even if they cause other destruction or issues while doing it?

Ultron and his idea that the whole human race should start over is the extreme of this.  He followed the logical path his programming was given and decided humanity was the biggest threat…so humanity should be wiped away.

Its something to think about.  Our actions have consequences, and those consequences can be damning.

This is why I love comics and superheroes.  There is always the discussions of morality, hope and compassion.  Right and wrong.  The extremes which we will continue to see throughout the MCU.

Some of my favorite characters are introduced in this…Wanda and Vision….and we get to see more of the life behind Hawkeye who is one of my favorite characters of all time.  With every movie we get to see more and more into the characters.  And the Infinity Stones that keep popping up around the galaxy.

Just a great step into the larger world of the Avengers and what is to come.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Thor: The Dark World, created by MARVEL Cinematic Studios, based on characters by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Thor and his comrades have been fighting to restore peace to the Nine Realms after the Bifrost was destroyed two years earlier.  While it has been rebuilt, the lack of the Asgardian leaders has been felt throughout the Nine Realms.  Loki is being imprisoned for his war crimes as they try to bring peace again.

In London, Dr. Jane Foster and Darcy Lewis travel to the location of new portals that have appeared.  These strange phenomena have been disrupting the laws of physics around them.  While studying one of the portals, Jane is transported to another world where a strange power is absorbed by her.  The Aether.

Heimdall alerts Thor when Jane disappears from his all-seeing view which causes Thor to travel back to Earth in search of her.  When he arrives, she is in trouble, releasing a force unlike any seen on Earth.  As he takes her back to Asgard the truth about what she has uncovered is revealed…as are the dire consequences of the Aether being unleashed in the world.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

-Creator: created by MARVEL Cinematic Studios, based on characters by Stan Lee

-Length: 112 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Idris Elba, Christoperh Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

Hmmm…personally I find this to be one of the more mediocre films in the series.  And honestly, I think that is why they went in a very different direction for Thor: Ragnarök.

While the storyline in this movie is essential to the continuation of the infinity stones (as we see much later with Thanos and the end of Phase 3 of the MCU), it doesn’t feel like it fits in amongst the other Thor movies as seamlessly as other parts of the films do.  If you watch all of Iron Man separately, they have a flow to them and can be watched independently of the greater MCU.  This isn’t the case for Thor: the Dark World in my opinion.

And although there are parts of the movie that I do really love.  Getting to see more of Asgard is lovely.  Everything that Loki goes through during the course of the film in really well done.  The costumes are beautiful.

But if it wasn’t for the whole idea of the Aether and the fact that it eventually becomes the Reality Stone for the Infinity Stones I would honestly skip this movie when rewatching the series.  Its fine.  Its just doesn’t feel as important (and kind of drags) in comparison to other movies in the greater universe.

Though Darcy is still a gem…and any chance to get to see her more is perfection.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

REPOST: The Avengers, created by MARVEL Cinematic Universe, based on characters by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

After Tony Stark becomes Iron Man and Thor crash lands on Earth, S.H.I.E.L.D. decides it is time to pull the Tesseract out of storage (and finding as well as defrosting Captain America).  In doing so they have allowed the item to reach is full potential.  As Dr. Erik Selvig performs experiments on the Tesseract, Phil Coulson notices that is emitting an unusual form of energy.  It is only when a wormhole opens and Loki appears, attacking and destroying the facility, that Director Nick Fury realized how deep they are into the problems with the item.  Both Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye) and Dr. Selvig are amongst those compromised by Loki as he leaves the facility.

In response S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury calls in the “Avengers Initiative”, a new group comprised of the best superheros the galaxy has to offer.  Agent Natasha Romanov, aka Black Widow, goes to recruit Dr. Bruce Banner (Hulk).  Coulson attempts to get Tony Stark to join up. And Fury approaches Steve Rogers to take up his Captain America mantle once more.

In the midst of everything, Loki attacks an event in order to get the iridium that he needs to stabilize the Tesseract’s power.  When he attempts to gain control of the crowd Captain America and Iron Man intervene.  As they, along with Black Widow take Loki in hand, their jet is attacked by Thor. He takes Loki to talk him down from his insane plan of interplanetary conquest.

It is in these moments that they are found by Iron Man and Captain America who do not seem at this point to know they need to work together in order to deal with the problems that are being caused by Loki and the Tesseract…and those that are behind everything.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

-Creator: MARVEL Cinematic Universe, based on characters by Stan Lee

-Length: 143 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild alcohol use and mentions of drugs, mild intense and frightening scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Downing Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

I remember seeing this film in theatres and how much fun that I had.

My best friend and I were able to attend The Avengers Initiative at an AMC theatre.  If you are interested in hearing about that experience you can read about it in the article: The Avengers Initiative: AMC Theatres Exclusive Release of MARVEL’s The Avengers

Because of that I do think this film holds a special place in my heart.  While not perfect by any means, every time I watch it I remember that day with her.  So, I may be a bit biased about how good this film is. 

The characters coming together is the most intriguing part of this film.  They are all so different and are so used to doing things on their own that it is incredible to see them stop being so stubborn and work together to fight the bad guys. 

And Loki is a great villain because all he really wants is power.  But that means he can be easily manipulated.  MARVEL’s cinematic universe really starts to hit their stride here.  It is a fairly common theme in the upcoming joint movies that those who desire power can be manipulated by others to doing what is helpful to them…and not the one who was seeing the power.

The introduction of two of my all-time favorite superheroes in existence also happens in this film. Natasha Romanov (Black Widow) and Clint Barton (Hawkeye).  While I am very disappointed that they modified Hawkeye so he wasn’t hard of hearing, I do love Jeremy Renner’s portrayal of Clint Barton. However, it has been announced that in the upcoming television show “Hawkeye” we will have a Clint Barton who is deaf or at least hard of hearing.  And we will have other characters introduced that are diverse in the comics (such as Echo who is being portrayed accurately with an actress who is Native American and deaf!)

Overall, this is one of my most watched Avengers movies.  And a lot of it is because of the nostalgia of watching it.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

REPOST: THOR, created by MARVEL Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Odin, King of the Asgard, has waged and won a war on the Frost Giants to prevent them from conquering the nine realms, beginning with Earth.  As the Asgard warriors defeat the Giants in Norway they are able to seize the source of the Frost Giant’s power.

In the present, Thor prepares to ascend to the throne of Asgard as his father, Odin, begins to step down from his position in the realm.  As the celebration erupts throughout the land Frost Giants attack the city searching for the source of their power.  Thor defies his father and drags his group of comrades off to fight the Frost Giants on their own land nearly inciting a new war.

As punishment Odin sends Thor, and his hammer, to Earth.  He lands in New Mexico to promptly be run over by astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster, her assistant Darcy, and mentor Dr. Erik Selvig.  While they are in the middle of figuring out just what happened to the man they have run into as well as the Einstein-Rosen Bridge they have apparently witnessed, locals have gotten a hold of the hammer.

S.H.I.E.L.D descends on the town, Loki gets out of hand on Asgard…and things go awry.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Redemption

-Creator: based on characters created by MARVEL Comics

-Length: 114 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild science fiction action and violence, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild alcohol use, mild use of medical sedatives, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stallan Skarsgard, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

I wasn’t exactly well versed in Thor and his story in the MARVEL world when I first saw this film but he has become one of my favorite superheroes over the course of his films.  And while I do love Jane and Darcy (who has become one of my favorite characters over the years) this movie isn’t the best of the Thor series…and it’s not one of my favorites of the MARVEL Cinematic Universe.

The movie is fine in general.  It introduces some of the most important and most popular characters like Darcy, Jane, Thor and Loki…even Phil Coulson… but it isn’t the best of the Thor films.  And honestly isn’t one of the best of the universe.

But it is necessary and there are some parts I really love.  The cinematography is really wonderful during a lot of the film.  The little off kilter moments where the camera is turned just slightly off really lend an air of tension and being off balance, which is really fitting for the manner of the film.

Its an interesting “origin” story type of film.  We get to see the first part of Thor becoming the god that we know he is later in the Avengers.  We get the origin of Darcy (and without spoiling too much her journey is killer awesome!).  We get to see the beginnings of a S.H.I.E.L.D.

In regard to those things, it’s a good film.  But between all of the moments where a lot of exposition is needed and Thor being a spoilt brat… it’s a lot.  And while I’m not sure what else they could have done to make the film different or better.  But here we are.  And obviously it ended up working because we are supposed to get yet another movie in the universe of Thor…and even a TV show… which is really exciting.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

The Avengers, created by MARVEL Cinematic Universe, based on characters by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

After Tony Stark becomes Iron Man and Thor crash lands on Earth, S.H.I.E.L.D. decides it is time to pull the Tesseract out of storage (and finding as well as defrosting Captain America).  In doing so they have allowed the item to reach is full potential.  As Dr. Erik Selvig performs experiments on the Tesseract, Phil Coulson notices that is emitting an unusual form of energy.  It is only when a wormhole opens and Loki appears, attacking and destroying the facility, that Director Nick Fury realized how deep they are into the problems with the item.  Both Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye) and Dr. Selvig are amongst those compromised by Loki as he leaves the facility.

In response S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury calls in the “Avengers Initiative”, a new group comprised of the best superheros the galaxy has to offer.  Agent Natasha Romanov, aka Black Widow, goes to recruit Dr. Bruce Banner (Hulk).  Coulson attempts to get Tony Stark to join up. And Fury approaches Steve Rogers to take up his Captain America mantle once more.

In the midst of everything, Loki attacks an event in order to get the iridium that he needs to stabilize the Tesseract’s power.  When he attempts to gain control of the crowd Captain America and Iron Man intervene.  As they, along with Black Widow take Loki in hand, their jet is attacked by Thor. He takes Loki to talk him down from his insane plan of interplanetary conquest.

It is in these moments that they are found by Iron Man and Captain America who do not seem at this point to know they need to work together in order to deal with the problems that are being caused by Loki and the Tesseract…and those that are behind everything.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

-Creator: MARVEL Cinematic Universe, based on characters by Stan Lee

-Length: 143 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild alcohol use and mentions of drugs, mild intense and frightening scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Downing Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

I remember seeing this film in theatres and how much fun that I had.

My best friend and I were able to attend The Avengers Initiative at an AMC theatre.  If you are interested in hearing about that experience you can read about it in the article: The Avengers Initiative: AMC Theatres Exclusive Release of MARVEL’s The Avengers

Because of that I do think this film holds a special place in my heart.  While not perfect by any means, every time I watch it I remember that day with her.  So, I may be a bit biased about how good this film is. 

The characters coming together is the most intriguing part of this film.  They are all so different and are so used to doing things on their own that it is incredible to see them stop being so stubborn and work together to fight the bad guys. 

And Loki is a great villain because all he really wants is power.  But that means he can be easily manipulated.  MARVEL’s cinematic universe really starts to hit their stride here.  It is a fairly common theme in the upcoming joint movies that those who desire power can be manipulated by others to doing what is helpful to them…and not the one who was seeing the power.

The introduction of two of my all-time favorite superheroes in existence also happens in this film. Natasha Romanov (Black Widow) and Clint Barton (Hawkeye).  While I am very disappointed that they modified Hawkeye so he wasn’t hard of hearing, I do love Jeremy Renner’s portrayal of Clint Barton. However, it has been announced that in the upcoming television show “Hawkeye” we will have a Clint Barton who is deaf or at least hard of hearing.  And we will have other characters introduced that are diverse in the comics (such as Echo who is being portrayed accurately with an actress who is Native American and deaf!)

Overall, this is one of my most watched Avengers movies.  And a lot of it is because of the nostalgia of watching it.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

THOR, created by MARVEL Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Odin, King of the Asgard, has waged and won a war on the Frost Giants to prevent them from conquering the nine realms, beginning with Earth.  As the Asgard warriors defeat the Giants in Norway they are able to seize the source of the Frost Giant’s power.

In the present, Thor prepares to ascend to the throne of Asgard as his father, Odin, begins to step down from his position in the realm.  As the celebration erupts throughout the land Frost Giants attack the city searching for the source of their power.  Thor defies his father and drags his group of comrades off to fight the Frost Giants on their own land nearly inciting a new war.

As punishment Odin sends Thor, and his hammer, to Earth.  He lands in New Mexico to promptly be run over by astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster, her assistant Darcy, and mentor Dr. Erik Selvig.  While they are in the middle of figuring out just what happened to the man they have run into as well as the Einstein-Rosen Bridge they have apparently witnessed, locals have gotten a hold of the hammer.

S.H.I.E.L.D descends on the town, Loki gets out of hand on Asgard…and things go awry.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Redemption

-Creator: based on characters created by MARVEL Comics

-Length: 114 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild science fiction action and violence, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild alcohol use, mild use of medical sedatives, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stallan Skarsgard, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

I wasn’t exactly well versed in Thor and his story in the MARVEL world when I first saw this film but he has become one of my favorite superheroes over the course of his films.  And while I do love Jane and Darcy (who has become one of my favorite characters over the years) this movie isn’t the best of the Thor series…and it’s not one of my favorites of the MARVEL Cinematic Universe.

The movie is fine in general.  It introduces some of the most important and most popular characters like Darcy, Jane, Thor and Loki…even Phil Coulson… but it isn’t the best of the Thor films.  And honestly isn’t one of the best of the universe.

But it is necessary and there are some parts I really love.  The cinematography is really wonderful during a lot of the film.  The little off kilter moments where the camera is turned just slightly off really lend an air of tension and being off balance, which is really fitting for the manner of the film.

Its an interesting “origin” story type of film.  We get to see the first part of Thor becoming the god that we know he is later in the Avengers.  We get the origin of Darcy (and without spoiling too much her journey is killer awesome!).  We get to see the beginnings of a S.H.I.E.L.D.

In regard to those things, it’s a good film.  But between all of the moments where a lot of exposition is needed and Thor being a spoilt brat… it’s a lot.  And while I’m not sure what else they could have done to make the film different or better.  But here we are.  And obviously it ended up working because we are supposed to get yet another movie in the universe of Thor…and even a TV show… which is really exciting.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.