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…hammer away

At this point it should come as no surprise that the Marvel Universe has pulled together another great story, yet “Thor: Ragnarok” still seems to be blowing everyone’s minds. Not that I blame them. It is incredibly well told and continues to do a great job of interweaving the ever-growing list of franchises.

Of course, it’s been a good long while since we had a standalone “Thor” movie, which may be hard to believe, mostly because we had “The Avengers,” to get us through, not to mention the constant parade of the (excellent…mostly) Marvel movies in the meantime (eight total…but who’s counting?). Read the rest of this entry

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…keep rolling

filmTomorrow we’ll wrap the 2015 Summer of Blockbusters with 2WC’s final judgments on the last few months of movies. Today, I thought I’d take the opportunity to look forward. Read the rest of this entry

…nail it

The wonderful brilliance of “Thor”  was (and is) that it was able to take the extreme leap from a fantastic, futuristic world of the gods to the very real-world middle of Roswell, New Mexico with brilliant wit and charm. It has all of the action and super you expect from a comic book story with the surprise, dramatic flare, and wordplay of a Shakespearean drama. And given that  the endeavor was helmed by Sir Kenneth Branagh that was of little surprise to anyone.

Its sequel “Thor: The Dark World”  takes the same plunge (this time with Alan Taylor in the director’s chair) and continues what “Thor” started beautifully.

“Thor: The Dark World” picks up where “The Avengers” left off. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has returned to Asgard with his villainous adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in tow. Loki is sentenced to imprisonment (a light sentence given his crimes against humanity) and Thor settle back into the monotony of the day-to-day life of a demigod, pining for the forbidden (by his father Odin [Anthony Hopkins]) Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Read the rest of this entry

…Marvel

What happens when you assemble some of the biggest B-team superheroes on the silverscreen for one of the biggest blockbusters of all time?

More explosions and action than you can shake a stick at; a little bit of crazy; some humor and all in all a pretty good superhero movie courtesy of director Joss Whedon.

“The Avengers” should not work. With so many egoes crammed into one film, it’s easy to lose focus. For those who forgot, the Avengers consist of Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). And to be honest, it does get crowded at times with so many backstories and unresolved issues floating around. But with a little help from an unlikely source, in the end it works.

Starting with the first scene, “The Avengers” is packed with action sequences. Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who apparently fell right out of Asgard (at the end of “Thor”) and into Crazy Town, makes a grand entrance via the Tesseract (that blue cube from “Captain America: The First Avenger”) and begins wreaking havoc. Of course, he escapes and promises to unleash the Other’s (Alexis Denisof) Chitauri army on Earth.

What follows is pretty astounding, and we learn a valuable lesson about power in numbers. An amazing thing happens when you assemble too many superheroes in one film, the supervillian pulls focus.

Tom Hiddleston as Loki, steals this film. Despite the character’s departure from his motivations in “Thor,” Hiddleston manages to pull off a convincing and believable performance. With every one-on-one conversation with each of the Avengers, he gains power. To put it simply, he makes evil look good.

It may not be the greatest superhero film of all time, but it’s entertaining and provides the opportunity to answer some crazy “what if” questions. For example: who would win in a fight between Captain America, Thor and Iron Man? Answer: no one.

And at the very least, it’s good enough to set up “The Avengers 2.”
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…just for fun:

…hammer it home

Well, we made it the Avengers are assembled and many, many, many of you have already seen it.  If you sense incredible jealousy in my written word, well done.

In a tragic twist of the cruelest and most melodramatic kind, 2WC has an exciting and busy weekend that does not allow much time for “The Avengers” (blasphemy, I know my hands are burning just typing the words).  So, alas you’ll have to wait until next Friday, when we’ll have what I’m sure will be a brilliant review from Zer.

In the meantime don’t be too downhearted, we still have one final installment in our countdown to “The Avengers.”  Zer reviewed it last summer, now here are my two cents on everyone’s favorite weatherman, that lovable god of thunder, “Thor.”

The premise of “Thor,” and let’s face it most superhero stories, is a little out there, in the quite literal sense.  Thor is after all a god (or demigod, I’m a little unclear on this point) from Asgard, a realm of the universe far removed from our own.  Add a magic hammer named Mjolnir, and surprisingly you still end up with a perfectly relatable story.

It’s astounding that a story that spans the time and space between Asgard and New Mexico can work, but it does.  Whether it’s the story, the direction (well done Mr. Branagh), the acting, or more likely a team effort from all of the above, “Thor” manages to meld magic, science, and action to tell a truly touching story.

But “Thor” doesn’t just give us our final primary Avenger, here in the realm of Asgard we also find our villain, Loki.  In the great spectrum of villains (of which I’ve written before), ranging from the intelligent, motivated and you can’t help but respect him Magneto of X-Men all the way down to the just evil for evil’s sake Dr. Facilier from “The Princess and the Frog” (kids are smarter than that Disney), Loki ranks pretty high.

Why? It’s simple really.  Motivation.  All I ask of my villains is that by the time the credits run you provide me with enough information to answer one simple question, “Why are you evil?”

Why is Loki evil?  He’s adopted…and a natural blue.  Is destroying an entire planet really an appropriate response? Probably not, but at least we know why he’s gone off the deep end. As a semi-intelligent film goer, I appreciate it.

So thank you “Thor” for not only successfully bridging the gap between fantasy and reality (with a rainbow road nonetheless) but for having faith in your audience to keep up.  We thank you.

And to anyone shocked by the announcement of a sequel, of course there’s a “Thor 2” there has to be,Natalie Portman’s not in “The Avengers.”

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***READ THIS***…except OMC, you already did…every one else, you’ll be glad you did: “Superheroes Movies Like ‘Avengers Assemble’ Should Not be Scorned”: The Guardian