Movie Review: Thor Ragnarok (8.5 / 10)

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In the third and best installment of the “Thor” franchise, “Ragnarok” gives us solid 2-hour popcorn entertainment while further expanding the lore of “Thor” and the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. Compared to the rest of the MCU’s filmography, this is a fairly light hearted film that focuses more on character development and witty, funny dialogue, and (once again) less on the villain and the dark tone that some might have been looking forward to seeing.

Lets get the minor criticisms out of the way first since they are few and far in between.  Similar to every single MCU film up until now with the exception of “Spiderman: Homecoming”, “Ragnarok” did a decent job utilizing the always-amazing Cate Blanchett playing Hela, the Goddess of Death, but it still wasn’t quite enough; with someone of Blanchett’s caliber, the filmmakers could have given her more screen time and further develop the tone of the Thor universe, for this film and subsequent film.

Secondly, as a result of the filmmakers’ desire to create a film packed with witty jokes, some delivered by director Taika Waititi himself as the hilarious Korg, the film does sometimes suffer from jarring shifts in tone;  one scene we’d have Hela talking about revenge upon her father, taking over Asgard and conquering beyond the Nine Realms; the next scene we’d have Thor trying to consult a whining Hulk, who acts like a 5 year-old when in Hulk form.

Despite these minor criticisms, the film soars with charismatic and performances from Chris Hemsworth, who is so good as Thor, and Tessa Thompson, who commands the screen every time appears, as Valkyrie.  Hemsworth’s chemistry with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki reaches new highs, and it is in this particular relationship that provides viewers with the biggest link to “The Avengers: Infinity War”.

Finally, the addition of Bruce Banner / Hulk was perfect for the Thor universe.  Mark Ruffalo was great as Banner and Hulk provides awesome action scenes were great.

“Thor Ragnarok” doesn’t quite crack my list of top 5 favorite MCU films, but does have a really good shot at making the top 10.

Quick Review: Thor: The Dark World

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It was one of those movies which I enjoyed immensely as I walked out of the theater, but hasn’t withstood the test of time very well.  Tom Hiddleton steals the show as the charming and cunning Loki, whose character is infinitely more interesting than Chris Hemsworth’s titular character.

The filmmakers have once again tried in vain to emancipate Thor from the land of one-dimensional protagonists.  The character was utilized to full potential in “The Avengers,” when Thor was able to feed off of other more charming characters such as Iron Man, Captain America, and even Hulk.  It shows that, perhaps to the detriment of the character’s solo franchise, Thor is most appealing when part of an ensemble cast.

“The Dark World” is directed by Alan Taylor, already an established figure from directing episodes of “Game of Thrones” and “The Sopranos.”  Compared to his predecessor, Taylor’s darker, grittier style transfers well onto the big screen, and provides the franchise with a much needed change of pace.

Thor will next appear in the 2015 Avengers sequel, likely to be followed by “Thor 3” in 2016.  It’s probably for the better for the franchise to take a break, as audiences will no doubt suffer from ‘Thor fatigue’ if anymore comes out anytime soon.

Movie Review: some thoughts on Marvel’s The Avengers

‘Awesome!’ is the word I keep hearing from people who have seen “Marvel’s the Avengers,” the first of the summer blockbusters featuring the superheroes that have had their stand-alone hit movies in the past few years.

Now that the film is breaking box office records almost everywhere and is approaching Avatar-esque gross, just how good is The Avengers?

In spite of all of the fantastic visual effects, action sequences, coherent storyline, and engaging acting, the most brilliant feature of the film was director Joss Whedon’s ability to keep it from becoming scattershot.  Often times, big budget movies with megastars can fail miserably if the direction fails to hold everything together;  “Troy” fell into the wrong hands and became sluggish and campy; “Transformers 2” is one of the worst action movies of all time, although of course that did not stop Michael Bay from making a sequel, and perhaps a sequel after that.

Whedon’s ability to inject humanity into the characters amidst all of the special effects and battles in a film that clocks in at two hours is uncanny.   The characters are not delivering dull, corny lines like in the “Transformers” films.  They were, through their dialogue and various other non-verbal interactions, bonding.   Moreover, the actors were not just stoically reading from their scripts, they made the most in developing their characters and did so in a charismatic way.

That’s about all I have to say about this film.  Praising the action or special effects or acting was would take away from how awesome the film is as a whole.  When you see the film again (if you haven’t, do it!), just take notice of how well it holds together from start to finish, that everything hits the right note.  And above all, this film is what going to the movies is all about, having fun!