So once again we have survived.

Thor

tn_thortechnical note: I’m still pro-3D, but because THOR was 3D-ified after the fact instead of shot that way I sought out the “2D in select theaters” version.

THOR (directed by Kenneth Branagh, no joke) follows IRON MAN 2 as the latest in the Marvel Comics “setting things up for a movie we’re gonna do later” series. This one introduces the Norse god Thor (hairy blond muscleman with a magic sledge) who will later team with Iron Man when the world faces a threat that requires both a robot suit and a magic hammer, and specifically a case where they have to be used by two separate people. If I understand correctly Iron Man would not be able to use the magic hammer because only Thor has the power to lift it, but I see no reason why Thor couldn’t wear the robot suit. He might not need it because he has armor and can fly. But I guess if he wants to use missiles.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. The movie begins in a desert in New Mexico, where Jane (Natalie Portman) and her assistant (Kat Dennings) and an old guy (Stellan Skarsgard) are driving recklessly in a van, using computers, etc. You know, one of those science-adventure teams like in TWISTER. They see a flash in the sky and they run over a bearded muscleman and ask “Where did he come from?” Then Anthony Hopkins tells us.

You see, hundreds of years ago in viking times, legendary magic, battles, kings, swords, etc.

Hopkins plays the king of Asgard. He’s definitely not the same king from BEOWULF, because he has oversized armor and a metal eye patch. Asgard is a magical kingdom made mostly of castles and bridges. He has two sons, Thor and Loki, who are very different:

THOR is the son who is a brash warrior, loves to fight, loves adventure, etc.

LOKI is the son who is jealous because the movie’s about Thor

And by the way it’s pronounce Azz-guard. Don’t you dare pronounce it Ass-guard, smart guy. That’s an important part of an Asgardian’s clothing, obviously, but it’s not the name of the kingdom.

mp_thorSo you can see where this would lead. There is CGI monsters called “frost giants,” etc. Thor is not ready to become king (he started a war, he knocked over a big table) and instead gets banished to that shithole New Mexico, Earth where he loses his powers and is merely a mortal. Except also has super strength and can beat up like 50 armed soldiers and I think can control weather to interfere with electronics. But otherwise is mortal and powerless, so he hangs out with Natalie Portman. Her computers get confiscated by the government, so he helps her in lieu of a lawyer.

The script is ambitious in terms of scale, but weak at basic things like establishing characters. Because Thor has to learn a lesson and grow throughout the movie he’s introduced as an obnoxious asshole who wants to start a war out of machismo and yells at his dad all the time. He’s got four warrior pals (including Punisher #3 Ray Stevenson sporting a dwarf-from-Lord-of-the-Rings beard) that I assumed just worked for him and didn’t like him until Thor made reference to all their adventures together, quickly implying that he’s supposed to be charismatic and fun leader. Later it turns out that he is, but it would be nice to see in the beginning that he’s a likable dude even if immature. Instead it seems like he’s an arrogant dick who turns humble and polite as soon as he lands on Earth.

(It doesn’t help that the movie has what would’ve been considered a blatant Bush parallel a couple years ago. He’s the spoiled, party-loving son of the king who uses an attack by a small group of invaders as an excuse to start a dangerous war against his father’s wishes. If he’s Bush then how am I supposed to root for him later?)

Other times they do make the things they want you to know about the characters clear, but not in the most subtle ways. For example in the opening scene they want to make sure we understand that Portman’s character Jane is a master physicist, not some storm chaser, so her colleague Dr. Guyplayedbystellanskarsgard says, “You’re a master physicist, not some storm chaser!”

Thor’s brother Loki pretends to have the kingdom’s interests in mind but is secretly plotting a major betrayal. He seems calculating and evil but we know he’s mischievous because one of the warriors says that he’s done “his share of mischief.”

The contrast between Asgard and Earth is a little weird. Asgard is an epic digital land with huge sets and armies, Earth is a ghost town. The Earth scenes are mostly confined two locations: the crater from after the credits on IRON MAN 2, and a little speck of a desert town where there aren’t many people and there are even less buildings. Then Thor’s superpals show up and walk down the dirt roads in their crazy armor, it’s just like SUPERMAN 2. And MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE. I guess it’s nice that they had the freedom to choose a small town as a deliberate artistic choice and not because they’re making MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and have no money.

I couldn't find many clear pictures of the Frost Giants online, but this one's pretty good I guess
I couldn’t find many clear pictures of the Frost Giants online, but this one’s pretty good I guess

Luckily they mostly stay away from the “what is this strange mechanical beast you ride?” type fish-out-of-water humor. There’s one line that implies Thor might’ve been to Earth before. If not maybe he’s just smart enough to figure other “realms” have their own magical shit that they do, no big deal. But there’s definitely some BEASTMASTER II type corny jokes in there (“is there a renaissance fair in town?”) and even a drop of racism (a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent calls the Asian-Asgardian “Jackie Chan”).

For a high-tech, super-secret, super-powered intelligence organization S.H.I.E.L.D. sure has some huge holes in their security. They can seal off an area, confiscate property, reroute commercial flights from their laptops, but they can’t notice Natalie Portman hiding under a coat outside their fence, or Thor swiping an important book off of a table as they escort him out. Hopefully Scarlett Johanson or the Incredible Hulk or somebody will get them to work on those blindspots.

Also I could swear Thor is wearing Earthling pants and t-shirt when he lands. Maybe you get those inside the portal.

Of the supporting characters the standout is definitely Gold Armored Magic Guy Who Controls the Portal Thing, played by Idris Elba from that TV show you guys all watch and talk about all the time, The Office. He mostly just stands still and talks in a processed voice, but he makes a good eternal being and gets the biggest laugh in the movie. I really like Idris Elba. Hopefully his face is hidden enough that he can come back as another Marvel hero. Him and Punisher #3.

By the way, there was a story a while back that supposedly conservatives or purists were upset about a black actor playing a Norse god, and I still see people repeating that. To be fair to conservatives and comic book literalists, though, it should be pointed out that while the word “conservative” is in the name of the group that started that nonsense they’re actually a white supremacist group whose websight describes them as “the only serious nationwide activist group that sticks up for white rights!” Yeah, they’re purists all right, but they don’t read comic books. Not enough pictures. So we can stop mentioning that as an actual controversy, unless we’re gonna get quotes from the Flat Earth Society in articles about upcoming space movies.

Speaking of racists, Natalie Portman is not one as far as I know, but also is not that great in this movie. That was not a very good segue in my opinion but there’s very little I can do about that other than write something better, like they could’ve done with her part in this movie.

You better believe I can dig Portman as an actress. I thought she earned the shit out of that BLACK SWAN Oscar and I’d think that even if the entire role was done with her head superimposed onto the angry dance double. And seeing her in YOUR HIGHNESS definitely got me past any lingering “she was the little girl in LEON” barriers to perviness. But I have to say that this is not one of her top roles. She’s a smart and charming young lady but they did not quite give her the tools to make us believe she’s a “master physicist” in instant love with a warrior god from another dimension. One part where she was really natural though was a funny voicemail she has to leave while outside of the S.H.I.E.L.D. security area. (Come to think of it even she thought they’d be able to spot her there.)

So it’s not exactly a captivating love story. I wonder if Thor’s lesson in humility was supposed to be learned from Jane? If so maybe it was just because she told him not to smash mugs, like he does in a diner to celebrate enjoying coffee. A little later he not only serves breakfast to Skarsgard but politely tells him he’s “very welcome.” So it’s a stunning transformation of character.

Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor, is definitely the best thing about the movie. He was the guy who played Captain Kirk’s dad in the opening of STAR TREK: NOT THE MOTION PICTURE, JUST STAR TREK. Now he’s got He-Man muscles, but he can act. Despite the weaknesses in the script he’s very likable and will be a good addition to the real story they tell whenever they decide to make the actual movie and not a bunch of set ups and cameos.

Also I gotta give the movie props for at least being different from all the other comic book movies. The combination of super hero and swords-‘n-magic fantasy is novel enough that it doesn’t feel like a rehash of any of the other ones.

I enjoyed watching this movie the one time, wasn’t bored and didn’t think it sucked at all. But it’s definitely a mid-level comic book movie. Somebody asked me if it was closer to IRON MAN or IRON MAN 2. I gotta say it’s below both, but way above, say, any of the FANTASTIC FOUR movies, or GHOST RIDER. And I don’t think there’s any dancing in there, so you “Never forget SPIDER-MAN 3” guys can sleep peacefully.

I guess I’d put it at about Hulk movie #2 level of quality, but a little better because I don’t have to compare it to an earlier more interesting Thor movie.

mp_thorB

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Saturday, May 7th, 2011 at 9:48 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Fantasy/Swords, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

248 Responses to “Thor”

  1. Terrible trailers, good movie, in my opinion. THOR didn’t change my life, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Vern’s roughly correct in his placement of this one within the filmatized Marvelverse to date.

    2D might be the way to go on this one. Good call. 3D = darkness.

    The characters were better delineated than this review gives credit for. I thought we all liked a commitment to good, succinct character descriptions & arcs in our action-adventure movies, and that’s what this script & Branagh’s direction (Wha? Hell yeah!) does. Also, if you know anything about the mythology involved (and no, I didn’t even know that Marvel Thor funny papers existed beforehand), you would know ahead of time that Loki is notorious for being a shapeshifter, a trickster, a fork-tongue, etc., but that his morality & place in the gods’ family is endearingly ambiguous. So I appreciated that the depiction of Loki, as well as that of the not-totally-archenemy race of Frost Giants, left room for second-guessing and hope that there’d be a double-triple-cross at some point. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, but I was smiling and could conceive of myself being at the edge of my seat if I were, like, 12 years old watching this movie.

    But I’m clearly overthinking all this. It’s just a big dumb summer movie directed by Kenneth Branagh. It’s not like it’s supposed to be Shakespeare or something, right?

  2. Vern – So how many popcorn buckets do you give this?

    (Sorry couldn’t resist.)

  3. “Speaking of racists, Natalie Portman is not one as far as I know, but also is not that great in this movie. That was not a very good segue in my opinion but there’s very little I can do about that other than write something better, like they could’ve done with her part in this movie.”

    This is the best paragraph you have written since the Fountainhead review.

    Also, did anyone else feel like Loki’s arc was severely confused? You have this whole thing where *SPOLIERS* he discovers that he’s actually a frost giant. But then…he had already let the frost giants into the kingdom and then he tries to kill them all later, even though he’s one of them. And then he father doesn’t recognize him either time they talk? It seemed like they had 2 different interesting ideas for the character and both of them got jammed together.

    However, I really enjoyed this movie. I’d put it above both Iron Man and Iron Man 2 because it doesn’t strike me as such a brazen Neo-Con apologist piece of agitprop like the first Iron Man nor does it strike me as a piece of boring, incoherent crap, like the second Iron Man.

    Best comic adaptation since…Persepolis?

  4. Excellent review, Vern. Pointed out all the things I hated, but I thought the movie was downright Thorrible. I’d watch Fantastic Four over it any day.

  5. I’ll have to respectfully disagree with Vern and Fred. I thoroughly enjoyed it, plot holes and all, and would put it just above Hulk v2.0, which is better than either Iron Man imho.

    However I agree about the tastelessness of the “Jackie Chan” line – the saddest thing is, that got the biggest laugh in the whole movie when I saw it. Thor’s pet shop entrance was great though.

    Oh, and I would take Dennings over Portman any day of the week, because she has spectacular boobies.

  6. Is it wrong that the pic of Mr Freeze makes me want to watch Batman & Robin again? I love the awfulness of that movie and find it endlessly entertaining. I’m not even ashamed to admit it.

  7. yeah, I thought it was only ok too, I probably should have seen the 2D version, but the 3D one played at a more convenient time so I just said “fuck it”

    and I love that Vern’s version of the poster so much

  8. anyone remember Kenneth Branagh as the villain in the not-quite-as-bad-as-it’s-reputation-but-still-not-very-good Wild Wild West?

  9. I hope this AVENGERS movie is really something, given that all these movies are leading up to it, and kind of shortchanging the audience a little bit (IMO) with the setup. But something tells me it’s not going to be all that special, something tells me it’s going to be 90-120 mins of exposition and “witty” banter and 30 minutes or more of some CGI-assisted people fighting CGI. Call it a hunch.

    Also the last two actors to play Odin in big budget Hollywood productions were Anthony HOpKINS and Bob HOsKINS. What’s going on there?

    My favourite Kenneth Branagh movie is DEAD AGAIN. Just saying

  10. My 2 cents, I was kind of bored by the Asgardian stuff, but felt the film picked up when Thor landed on Earth. Also, didn’t notice any weaknesses in Natalie Portman’s performance, as she just stunned me with her prettiness.

  11. Fun movie. It reminded me Supergirl – i don´t why-

  12. So, how was the action? Good? No shakycam? too much CGI? What?

  13. Great review, Vern. I felt that Thor WAS a pretty charismatic guy right from the start, and wasn’t so much a shithead as an almost-hero with a really fatal flaw, and that it was funny that while it was arguably wanting glory that got him banished to Earth, there was also a nugget of common sense in how he wanted answers as to how the Frost Giants got into Asgard, while Odin was happy to just ignore it and not do anything about it.
    “I guess it’s nice that they had the freedom to choose a small town as a deliberate artistic choice and not because they’re making MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and have no money.”
    Definitely artistic, as the most recent incarnation of the comics had Thor bring Asgard into the Earth realm and it’s outside a small town (in Oklahoma though, not New Mexico), plus the Marvel movies have been a lot more varied in locations than the comics have (pretty much everything takes place in New York). I’d also say the Avengers setup stuff didn’t really impact or diminish the story here at all, as it just ammounted to a post-credits scene, Thor telling Coulson he’d be Earth’s ally (aka an Avenger), and the Jeremy Renner cameo as Hawkeye(the superhero, not the M.A.S.H. surgeon in my opinion), which is hopefully a tease for how badass the guy will be in Avengers.
    BONUS THOR FACT: Stan Lee originally based Hogun(the Warrior who got called “Jackie Chan”) on Charles Bronson.

  14. How cool would The Avengers be if Hawkeye from M.A.S.H. were one of the main characters? By the way, the home of the Norse gods is not called Assgard. It’s pronounced Åsgard (the letter Å sounds a bit like the o in top).

  15. I didn’t like the Hulk movie with THE HONEYMOONERS character at all. I also didn’t like IRON MAN 2. With that said I am on my way to see this one soon and just hope it’s at least better than those. Iron Man can’t life it but I do remember Captain America being worthy of lifting the hammer in the comic books. So maybe in THE AVENGERS we will see that.

  16. Vern— Glad to see you beat Knowles The Illiterate Cripple to the punch with the future DVD cover blurb. Pity he doesn’t have a sense of irony to match his complete lack of understanding about filmatism, or much of anything else.

    I admit a modicum of restraint; I did not see “Thor” this weekend, and have no compelling reason to see it anytime in the future. Since the first X-Men movie threw open the gates to comic book adaptations 11 years ago… I have been cautious, albeit with optimism.

    With that context in mind, “Thor” seems like the Emperor’s New Clothes, provided they were second-hand clothes, and worn by a homeless person who reluctantly began a new job after several years of contented panhandling.

    Make of that what you will.

  17. I guess you’re supposed to know that Loki is the Norse trickster-god. All kids nowadays know that, right? Right. I bet 95% of the adult population doesn’t know it….

    Natalie Portman is quickly becoming the Samuel L Jackson “movie whore” – an actor who can put in an astonishingly good performance in a fantastic movie (BLACK SWAN, CLOSER) and then slum it in some piece of crap where she doesn’t even look like she is awake for half of the scenes (STAR WARS prequels, THOR?). Well, I didn’t see THOR and probably won’t but maybe she tried to put some life into her character but failed? I dunno but if she doesn’t stop with the overexposure she’s headed for an Angelina Jolie type backlash where people don’t care too much about her movies any more. Call it the reverse Daniel Day Lewis effect.

  18. Darth Irritable

    May 8th, 2011 at 7:25 am

    I work with a guy called Thor. Could be the Norse god of Thunder. He only weighs about as much as Natalie Portman though, and I’ve never seen him bust out a hammer in a design review. So probably not.

  19. Teddy Jack Eddy

    May 8th, 2011 at 8:03 am

    The big problem with these Marvel movies is in making them have distinct styles, because otherwise they are just the same old boring action scenes with new characters plugged in (sort of like the Marvel Comics of the Jim Shooter era). It’s hard to be different and still toe the party line (ex: Dennis Kucinich). Also…Thor is kind of a weak character, in my opinion. He has never really changed much despite hanging around humans/other aliens/The Avengers as much as he does. At least The Incredible Hulk occasionally sports a different haircut.

  20. I spent a lot of time in OIF working with an officer named Tor. High energy, charming, self-confident bordering on conceited, and he has the triple canopy/tower of power on his left shoulder, too. Never saw him with a hammer, but he definitely dominated the battlefield. He’s one of the few guys I admit is more hardcore than myself, so maybe that makes him a Norse god. Come to think of it, I once saw him throw down a chai mug & break it!

  21. Asgard is really pronounced Osgard?!? Like Oslow? What? Wow…Of course, here in New England (which a lot of Swedish people have told me reminds them of home, oddly enough) it’s pronounced AzzzGahhd.

    How could somebody have never known of the Marvel Comics Thor? Didn’t they see Adventures in Babysitting? And that TV movie where Thor fought the Hulk?

    Amusingly, in the first Secret Wars, one of The Wrecking Crew also makes reference to the other Hawkeye. “Hawkeye the archer, huh? Well you gonna need Hawkeye from M.A.S.H. when I’m done with you!” I vividly remember it as an early Tarantino esque pop culture reference. (Hawkeye ended up shooting the guy in the shoulder with an arrow at close range, along with a lot of ballistics explanations about how bullets may bounce off Piledriver or whotever but at this range an arrow from a longbow is a lot more powerful.)

    Speaking of Tarantino, anybody else read DJANGO UNCHAINED?

    Anyway, I may be a lifelong Marvel fan, but I have to admit I still can’t stir up a huge amount of interest in most of these New Marvel films. Iron Man was great, but nothing since then has really been as good. Captain America has potential, but Thor sounds like they really dropped the ball (or hammer): I mean, all they could have done, and this is what they end up with? It sounds like it barely scratches the depths of potential inherent in both the Marvel version of Thor and the Norse legends themselves. I mean, everybody in Hollywood is constantly talking about Joseph Campbell ect ect, and here we have the literally mythic. I was hoping for something like a cross between THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR and Harryhausen’s JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS. I can keep hoping.

    Still, I persist in believing that it will ultimately all be worth it when we finally get Thor, The Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America together in the same frame, speaking Joss Whedon’s dialogue.

  22. I always thought Asgard is pronoucned “Us-Guard”.

  23. Knox Harrington

    May 8th, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I don’t know if it’s “better” than Iron Man, but I actually enjoyed it more. Could be because I always liked Thor more than Iron Man. It’s surely a better movie than Iron Man 2, though. Iron Man 2 was pretty bland.

    Also, I for one really liked the second Hulk movie. It was good to see an all-out Hulk action movie, and Leterrier is pretty good with the action stuff.

    I also think that the casting of Bruce Banner is getting better and better. Bana was very good, even if he wasn’t the most obvious choice. Norton was also very good, and a little closer to the Banner in the comics. But Ruffalo is gonna kick ass with that role. That guy has some serious acting chops. Go watch YOU CAN COUNT ON ME if you don’t believe me. Reminded me of Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces ,for some strange reason.

  24. The problem with these superhero films is that they require quite a bit of world building for the audience. You have to explain how the superhero received his powers, what those powers are, how he started superheroing, etc. All this is fine in a comic book or a novel, but it’s difficult to make this stuff interesting in a film. Usually it just ends up being a lot of exposition. I genuinely like these more recent Marvel films, but they still always come across as lugubrious. At least in the case of Thor they added a fantasy element, which differentiated it from other superheroes and got rid of the superpowers origin story (which was promptly replaced with a story about the Frost Giants). Thor wasn’t a bad film, but it also didn’t solve any of the problems these kinds of movies usually have.

  25. Larry- “Since the first X-Men movie threw open the gates to comic book adaptations 11 years ago… ”
    I think you’ll find BLADE is the one that deserves the credit on that.

  26. Well, X-MEN was the one, huge smash hit, that also got praise from “serious” critics, while even the most enthusiastic reviewers didn’t refer to BLADE as anything more than a “stylish action movie”.

  27. Yeah, X-MEN was really the one that undid most of the damage BATMAN AND ROBIN did to comic book/superhero films as commercial properties and “respectable” popcorn fodder, if not quite lifting them to the level of major critical respect they would reach later in the decade. By superhero standards BLADE was almost a “small” film; it was the SPAWN it was OK to like (and people did)

  28. Pro-3D? I’m pretty sure 3D is the worst thing to happen to modern cinema since the invention of I don’t know what.

  29. Sternshein needs to see STEP UP 3D. In 3D.

    Worst thing to happen to modern cinema? I don’t know, man. We’ve got ticket prices, popcorn prices, soda prices, showtimes that are 25 minutes earlier than the real showtime, trailers that are way too long & revealing, trailers that silently fade to black every 4 seconds, and Tyler Perry, just to name a few things that I notice have assaulted my moviegoing experience in most of my recent trips to the movies.

  30. Yes, Mouth. I am gratefull Tyler Perry’s movies don’t come out over here, as from what I know them they’re a pretty fucking insufferable series.

  31. Mouth – People checking their facebook and twitter whilst watching a movie is my biggest annoyance. You’re there to watch a movie so watch the bloody thing!

  32. Stu, do you guys across the pond have to sit through nearly a half hour of commercials & trailers before every new release, too? Am I being an old fogey by complaining about this?

    The upshot is that this is one more reason to love & support “arthouse” cinemas, as, in my experience, they limit seated customers’ pre-feature time to about 2 previews for movies that they plan to show at a later date at that theatre.

  33. Also, what Dirk said. I don’t think you have to be an old fogey to be correct in complaining about that!

  34. “Stu, do you guys across the pond have to sit through nearly a half hour of commercials & trailers before every new release, too? Am I being an old fogey by complaining about this? ”
    Yes. I like trailers though as part of the cinema-going experience…the commercials not so much. Especially the PSAs. Nothing to get me in the mood for a fun action romp than a road safety commerical where a guy keeps being haunted by the dead body of the kid he ran over!

  35. Asguard is pronounced: Ass-gord here in Scandinavia. The Å is in gård, not As: Asgård. The gård (fortress) of the Asir, a race of the old gods.
    At Chrismas time we also make cakes with the secret hammer-sign of Thor.

  36. JD:

    Will you email me a copy? I haven’t found one yet.
    straight to video at gee mail dot com please.

  37. Just got back from a stupid 3D show I was stuck with since the one in glorious 2D was sold out when I got there. Overall not bad. Surprisingly the 3D was not dark and even added some cool depth to Asgard and the giant refrigerator land. Not bad for a post-conversion job.

    I agree with Mouth about Vern not giving enough credit to the character development. The earth characters were actually pretty charming overall. Loki was also pretty well fleshed out. I felt some empathy towards him which as someone who grew up actually reading these comic books was very key to him working in the film. Hemsworth was impressive a lot more Christopher Reeve in SUPERMAN THE MOVIE than Ben Affleck in DAREDEVIL. The scenes he had in the trailer were horrid as were the trailers overall but seeing everything in context it really worked. He’s a star.

    Hopkins kind of coasted and I wanted to see more Sgt. Cole errr.. Rene Russo but it was really nice to see the essence of Heimdall and Volstagg in the flesh for sure. Good work there Ray Stevenson and Idris Elba. The only real issue I had was with the action. Most of the setpieces were poorly staged and executed. This is Branagh dammit he’s capable of much better I mean hello HENRY V pretty much confirms that. FAST FIVE this definitely is not when it comes to action that delivers.

    However everything else made up for the lackluster action and I’d say it’s definitely much better than THE INEDIBLE SULK and IRON MAN 2. Not touching IRON MAN though but it’s nice to see 2 of the 3 Marvel characters I grew up liking the most (Spidey & Thor) get some good origin movies. If only my number 3 (Daredevil) could one day get a good movie that would be pretty nice.

    The Hawekeye cameo felt forced it was like “HEY GUYS LOOK HURT LOCKER GUY” but I don’t think this movie suffered from the “COMING SOON AVENGERS” vibe like IRON MAN 2 did. It had a lot of elements that helped it stand out on it’s own. I liked Bo Welch’s production design his second for a superhero movie (BATMAN RETURNS being the other) and I actually look forward to seeing how they plan on upping the stakes in the future post-AVENGERS.

    I want BETA RAY BILL in one of these things eventually.

  38. So at one point in the film Odin goes into Odinsleep, something that I guess rejuvenates him. Does this mean that when Thor is king he will go into Thorsleep? Cause if he has to Odinsleep it’s just another slap in the face that he will never be out of Hopkins shadow.

    Another query, SPOILER, since the rainbow bridge/bifrost/whateverthefuck is destroyed at the end of Thor, and since there won’t be time for Thor 2 before the Avengers, how in the hell does Thor get back to Earth and join the team without a shit-ton of time wasting exposition at the beginning of that film? I already cannot come close to picturing how its going to work with that much superhero firepower plus starpower running around on set, but details like do nothing to assuage my fears.

    As much as I worship at the alter of Whedon (always have and always will, ever since Buffy), I just can’t imagine how it’s going to play out and how he’s going to make it all work. I hope we get all these movies and teasers and cameos and tie-ins coming together for the single greatest superhero film event of all time, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

  39. If you stuck around for the post-credit scene I assume knowledge of what happens there will get Odin to be confident enough to just push his son off the ledge and hope that he doesn’t land in the underworld. That could be handled in 2 minutes. What I’m more curious about is how a certain actor will work under Whedon considering Branagh understands that actor’s sensibilities a lot better due to all their past work. That’s going to be interesting to see.

  40. I barely noticed these “cameos” everyone keeps mentioning, so I didn’t even realize I was supposed to be all pumped up (or primed for nerd disappointment) for a culminating filmatic Marvel mash-up team movie.

    jsixfingers, I thought it might have been implied ***NOW ENTERING SPOILERVILLE*** that Dr. Hot Astrophysicista would someday soon reconstitute her research projects and maybe invent something or have a breakthrough that results in earthlings being able to connect with the realms, like she would figure out how to backtrack the lightning-portal-wormhole-bridge event and go and have Asgard sex. (And then the transport would only work once before some secretive federal government asshole dismantles it and there’d be suspense about how she can return to Earth or help the Asgardians rebuild their bridge, etc..)***NOW LEAVING SPOILERTROPOLIS***

  41. I did stick around for the post credits (a staple with this Marvel films of course) and while I know the most basic of things about SPOILER the cosmic cube ie its from the Cap world, Red Skull used it or tried, source of great power, blah blah, I know very little beyond that. It’s obviously something that Loki is going to try and procure for use, probably in the realm dominating arena?

    Leading me to my next bulletpoint, you are saying that we may not get such a layered and simmering performance out of Tom Hiddleston once he’s working under Whedon? I would say it’s been proven that Whedon has a massive love for the characters and actors he works with, and I think that will show through in the Avengers. I’m more worried about Loki being the main villian and being able to present a credible threat to not only his brother the fuckin God of Thunder but also Cap, Hulk, Hawkeye, SHIELD, ect ect. Not only does it seem to me like that would/will be difficult to pull off, but nearly impossible in a movie thats not 8 hours long.

  42. SPOILER

    Yeah, basically, Jane Foster (Master Physicist) is working on creating their own equivalent of the Rainbow Bridge to connect to Asgard from their end, and she’s doing it with the extra help of SHIELD, who’ve probably got their own tech and experise to lend to it. I could totally see them using that actually, by having Thor return to earth in the midst of battle, and in his confusion he attacks Hulk or something, creating some team friction to be resolved later.

  43. Mouth, Agreed, that would be a logical place to take it, but in a direct sequel to Thor, not in the Avengers mash up. Avengers has sooooo much material and characters to deal with it needs to open with the assembling of the team and jump right the fuck in. We won’t have time to deal with a lengthy side story about Portman figuring out how to return Thor to Earth or herself to Asgard. I just thought it was a strange way to end the film only because we know the next time we see him it’ll be joining a team of superheroes on Earth. Which he currently can’t get to. We’ll see.

  44. Well, I hope Joss Whedon pays attention to this comment board, b/c we’re doing his screenplay work for him and of course he has a history of struggling to come up with ideas and witty scenarios in his movies & TV shows.

  45. jsixfingers

    SPOILERS AHEAD

    I think that now that Loki fell to our realm and is managing to manipulate Selvig since Selvig knows Banner and they will work close together it’s going to be the way they get Loki to eventually control the Hulk. Similar to the original Avengers comics how Loki basically manipulated the Hulk into fighting Thor. I guarantee that’s the way they will set up Hulk Vs. Thor in AVENGERS but yeah Natalie Portman’s research also FTW in that.

    Look I saw EVERY single season of BUFFY when it first aired. I like that show before it even became cool to like it by season 3. I saw ANGEL up until Whedon got a lot more hands off with it. Wasn’t that big on FIREFLY but still saw SERENITY in theaters to support the man’s second shot at a big screen directorial effort.

    I don’t knock Whedon but he’s not really all that experienced with getting the best out of more stage trained actors like Hiddleston in the same way as Sir Big Ken the B is. Then again I’ll own myself by stating that I just remembered Anthony Stewart Head so perhaps I’m dead wrong.

  46. Very few working directors today have the classic stage experience that Branagh does and I don’t think many people would deny that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Whedon can do no wrong (Dollhouse, Alien Resurrection anybody?), but I think the good he’s done in television (Buffy, Angel) and film (Toy Story, Serenity) have earned him some goodwill, or at least a temporary pass until we see more of what he does with this monster of a film. Also Hiddleston is mostly an unknown to me, but I thought he knocked Thor out of the park and I’m loathe to attribute that to a director over himself as an actor. Of course KB deserves plenty of credit, but I think TH will be able to bring it no matter what come Avengers.

  47. Afterthought Anthony Stuart Head is fucking solid gold in Buffy, and all I’ve seen him in since was an entirely wasted barely cameo in Sweeney Todd, a crying shame because he’s a magnificent singer. Somebody find a new Giles vehicle! Hell I’d still watch that Ripper show/mini-series if it ever actually happened.

  48. Sorry, and Repo Genetic Opera. He’s the sole reason I own that film.

  49. Avengers will likely begin with a “teaser” of the villain, followed by Stark and Nick Fury waking Captain America up from hypersleep. They might even go with the Hulk being the first “villain” and when they can’t defeat him, they go to get Thor to fight him. Then, when they overcome the Hulk, it will lead them to the larger villain, aka Loki and the green aliens with the big eyebrows. At some point, the heroes will get separated and for much of act 2 you will have inter-cutting set pieces where Thor/Iron Man along with Hawkeye or the Black Widow go on one mission while Hulk, Captain America and Nick Fury go on another. In the end, Thor will have to choose between his allegiance to his brother and his knowledge of right and wrong. He’ll probably defeat Loki by permanently trapping himself in earth (because even though Asgard is the coolest thing in Thor, Earth based adventures will be an easier sell and more commerical for sequels).

    Perhaps they can structure it so that first Iron Man fights the Hulk with the help of Captain America and then when the larger threat appears they have to go on a journey to get Thor back, building to his reveal at the midpoint. Making one of the characters a midpoint objective would help deal with the overstuffed nature of the movie and make the absence of one of the primary protagonists narrative rather than simply another case of underdevelopment. Plus, you could cut away to Thor watching earth from Asgard acting as a sort of sports commentator, which these types of films very often rely on.

    Realistically, the pecking order here is:
    1. Iron Man
    2 .Captain America (even if CA is a huge hit in the US, which I think it will be, the international market is likely to be favorably inclined toward a superhero dressed in the colors of our flag).
    3. Thor
    4. The Shield folks (they want spinoff movies for Nick Fury, Hawkeye AND Black Widow, after all)
    5. Hulk
    6. War Machine
    7. probably at least one more cameo character we don’t know about yet.

    If you make it about the power dynamic between Iron Man and Captain America with Hulk acting as a sort of pseudo-villain who has to be brought back into the fold and Thor as a midpoint objective who can only be reached with the help of the Shield folks, you keep everyone busy and give everyone something to do.

    That’s how I’d handle it anyway.

  50. Hunter D; I very much enjoyed your theories and yeah, that actually all works and could very well be implemented in the film. Couple nitpicks, Thor can’t be keeping an eye on Earth, at the end of his solo flick he asked Heimdall if he could see Natalie, implying that Thor himself cannot look through the realms. Also, while it wouldn’t surprise me that Thor does defeat Loki by trapping himself on earth, I think keeping the 9 Realms and Asgard involved is crucial. Thor needs those magical realms and supernatural foes to fight, here on Earth with his powers he’s just too unstoppable. Look how quickly and nonchalantly he crushed the Destroyer after he got his hammer back, an enemy that probably would have annihilated Iron Man or Cap or both of them together. Thor just seems too powerful to not be putting him up against other Gods and Kings and magical beasties. Maybe I’m wrong, I admittedly know little to nothing about Thor but what I saw in the film and little bits and pieces I’ve read online.

  51. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Hulk was actually more controlled for most of the movie, since that’s what the ending of the last film implied, that Banner could change at will and stay himself. So he could be working with the Avengers after an initial misunderstanding, then perhaps something happens that makes him lose it(Betty dies?) and he goes off the rails again and has to be contained by the rest of them. Also I’m pretty hung up on how at the end of Iron Man 2, Fury told Tony Stark he wasn’t deemed suitable for the project, but they’d like to keep him as a consultant…so maybe he’ll actually NOT be on the team at first, and just be coordinating things and providing tech while War Machine fills his role until something happens that forces Fury to allow him to suit up and fight. I think they could manage to have a lot of the characters there, and a lot of action, but make the audience anticipate their big moments more. Hawkeye for instance I could see repeatedly be about to use a bow, but keep getting distracted/stopped, then when he eventually does it, it’s at a really crucial moment and is spectacular. The version their basing him on, Ultimate Hawkeye is really more of a gunman with the bow as his special signature. They could have him actually fighting something which takes up all his gun ammo without being scratched, but it’s the Bow that does the job.

  52. Also, since there will naturally be a rivalry between Iron Man and Captain America for dominance in the Avengers, you will have a moment in act 3, possibly right after the low point/long dark tea time of the soul, where either Captain America, or more likely Iron Man has to do something selfless that will injury him in some way (more than physically, hopefully) so that he can save the other one/set the other one up to save the day from the big baddie.

    I think the story is more interesting if the Hulk is a threat at the beginning and then becomes a hero later on, so that you don’t know exactly where his allegiances lay, especially since the government has screwed him over again and again and the whole on the run element is fairly central to the Hulk’s mythology.

  53. Well also remember that Cap knew Tony’s dad, so I expect that to come up in how they two interact with each other.
    “Seriously? Howard Stark had a son? Given the way he was looking at me after I got transformed into a Supersoldier with bulging muscles and stuff(http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2011/03/25/dominic-cooper-stark.jpg)…that’s a surprise.”

  54. Sorry, I read a printed copy of DJANGO (and then had to give it back to someone, who was not anybody famous; no, seriously, just a friend in the film industry). Can’t email it. I really liked it, though.

    Gard means fortress? Fortress Of the Aesir. Makes sense. And if it’s pronounced “gord” it even sounds a bit like “fort”.

    Reg. The Avengers: I suspect it’ll go something like this. Loki causes some kind of trouble. The Avengers assemble to stop it. Loki then teams up with the Red Skull and they make Hulk smash, and The Avengers now have to stop Hulk who’s gone crazy and is tearing up Manhattan. Also, Cosmic Cube, Shield Helicarrier, Asgard / Osgard / Asgort, Scarlett’s 38Ds, Nick Fury, ect.

    Anyway, this would actually roughly follow the first issue of the Avengers, where the team comes together as a result of Loki’s villainy.

  55. Scarlett Johanson’s done a lesbian scene. Natalie Portman’s done a lesbian scene. The reporter who slept with Tony Stark is played by Ricky Bobby’s hot wife, so she’s obviously down for whatever.

    I’m campaigning for Whedon to send the world a curveball and make his super-Marvel movie a hard R-rated affair.

  56. Well, I really liked it, specifically because unlike Iron Man 2, I felt like it DID tell a singular story with an arc and a beginning, middle and end. As much as I’m looking forward to Avengers, I was relieved that this one told an actual story.

  57. Mouth the WALT DISNEY PICTURES logo that will be in front of it unfortunately won’t allow something that cool to happen. Marvel needs more lesbian kisses in their works DC has them beat in that department in the comics. So Marvel could gain the upper hand in the movies that way, break new mainstream superhero movie ground.

  58. That’s why it’d be a curveball!

  59. hell yeah, pretty much every movie could benefit from the addition of lesbians

    anyway hey Hunter D., have you read that Save The Cat screenwriting book? I ask because you referenced one of it’s terms

  60. Dirk, not wrong at all. I think it’s wonderful that someone spent all the time and money to make those lavish sets and costumes for such a misguided endeavor. There’s no reason to not enjoy it.

    I was happy Branagh didn’t shakycam it, but aside from the frost giant fight, there wasn’t any cool action to look at with his steady hand. Beefcake slamming soldiers and robots? Meh.

  61. I have perused that book. It’s not a bad place to start and gives you an idea of how to write a very basic screenplay, but I wouldn’t take it as the gospel. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work closely in a mentor/co-writer position with several different screenwriters, one of whom wrote one of my 10 favorite films. So, I learned a lot more from just chatting with them.

    Which term did I use? Midpoint and low point are both like Campbell terms and Long Dark Teatime of the Soul is from Douglas Adams. Am I forgetting something?

  62. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I totally see how it was playing fast and loose with plot contrivances, but the sincerity was there and it was so gracefully charming and fun that I’m still smiling about it.

  63. Am I the only one who finds lesbians overrated? I mean, I don’t have any problems with homosexuality in any form, I just don’t find anything hot in two kissing women. Even when I watch porn, I skip the girl/girl scenes.

  64. Is it really racist to jokingly call an Asian guy dressed for battle “Jackie Chan”? It is a stretch and kind of a weak joke but it doesn’t really seem racist to me. (I personally think it would have been funnier to call him “Ichi the Killer” but obviously that wouldn’t really work.) Unless you think he was somehow implying that Asian people look alike or something, but I didn’t get that impression at all.

    Is it also sexist that he referred to the woman as “Xena”?

  65. Save The Cat, has “dark night of the soul”, I just assumed that term was your own spin on it

    anyway I just wanna say, I love how you guys make discussing movies fun again, after spending years on sites like AICN and imdb I grew sick and tired of all the negativity and it just wasn’t fun anymore

    what I like is that you guys see the glass half full, you give every movie a fair chance and don’t go in with the mindset that it’s gonna suck and never live up to your expectations beforehand

    and when you dislike a movie you give actual reasons, arguments that I can respect if not always agree with, you don’t just say “it sucks” nor do you ever just troll

    so stay classy you guys

  66. Yeah, the Save the Cat dude didn’t invent the Dark Night of the Soul phrase either. That’s actually a phrase from Christian philosophy, if I recall. Basically that whole book is a crash course in basic Jung and Campbell. It’s not a bad place to start. It teaches formulaic writing pretty well and you need to know the formula before you can subvert it. But honestly, reading this site and engaging in the comment section and WATCHING movies will do you much better.

    Three good exercises are:

    1: Go hang out with some friends, bring a tape recorder along. Surreptitiously record about 5-10 minutes of random conversation without telling anyone. Go home and transcribe this conversation, verbatim. Notice how people don’t answer each other directly or speak in full sentences.

    2: Pick a favorite movie of yours. Watch it with remote in hand. Stop the movie at the end of every scene and diagram each scene. What characters are in it? What was the conflict? How was the conflict resolved? How did the scene begin? When did the scene have a “twist” of some type? What questions did it answer? What questions did it raise. Ect. Ect.

    3: Always base stuff around a midpoint. If you just have act 1, act 2, and act 3, you’re fucked. Act 2 is twice as long and is boring a shit to write. The characters need to have a plan, achieve that plan at the midpoint, and then discover that this leads to a larger challenge. It can be reaching Thor, or it can be getting to the Hammer of Thor, or it can have nothing whatsoever to do with Thor. The choice is entirely yours.

  67. Without having seen the movie it sounds as if they’ve used a mix of many of the most famous stories about Thor as the basis for the screenplay. In Norse mythology Thor is, in addition to being a war god, a fertility god. But I haven’t read anything that indicates that this is emphasized in the movie.

    Electric Eel; It’s pronounced Åsgard (with the Å sounding like the first A in awkward) in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, so where in Scandinavia are you from?

  68. Jake – a lady in armor, makes sense to call her Xena. A guy with a goatee and Robin Hood outfit, makes sense to call him Robin Hood. But the other guy didn’t look anything like Jackie Chan. Jackie is not known for wearing armor (unless they thought the THOR audience was up on LITTLE BIG SOLDIER) and the guy didn’t do any kung fu or anything. The only connection as far as I could tell is that he’s Asian. I definitely interpreted it as “it’s funny to call all Asians Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee,” but your mileage may vary.

    It’s mildly racist in my opinion so I called it “a drop of racism.” It probly wasn’t racist enough to make it into Transformers 3, so they put it in Thor.

  69. CJ, two hot girls are better than one. There’s also a potential benefit in looking at two girls without any naked dudes there, but this group is open minded so that’s probably not a factor.

  70. It was an Asian guy in period battle costume. Jackie Chan is famous for a lot of period action movies. True, he rarely if ever wore armor in these films, but they were still period. I’m usually pretty hypersensitive to racism stuff, but in context that made sense. If you were the soldier on the other line of that walkie talkie and you saw the Asian guy walk up, would you not know EXACTLY who the first guy was talking about?

    Go say the words “Asian Warrior” or “Asian Hero” to 5 random people. I bet at least 3 of them would come up with “Jackie Chan” as their response. Does that make them racists? No! It means that Jackie Chan has created a specific star persona.

    The line made me laugh and I don’t think it was derogatory. They were like 50 feet away. I can generally differentiate between Chinese, Japanese, Korean (usually, though due to the long history of “comfort women” and conquests, it can be harder), Thai, Vietnamese men and women…but not at 50 paces. At 50 paces, I’d be like, it’s an Asian dude in battle armor. If I had to describe the guy to my friend in a wise ass manner I might well say Jackie Chan, or Zatoichi, or Sonny Chiba, or Genghis Khan.

    If I got up on stage and started doing some jokes about Jewish culture and someone called me Alvy Singer, I don’t think that would be racist either. Sure, I look NOTHING like Woody Allen. I sound nothing like Woody Allen. But if someone had to describe my stand up routine over a walkie talkie in a wise ass manner, Woody Allen or Alvy Singer would be a completely fair comparison. Why? Because the other guy would recognize me based upon that.

    Just my two cents. But I gotta go, I heard someone dropped a nickle in Milwaukee.*

    *see, THAT joke is racist.

  71. I just wrote a fairly long post about my experiences with lesbians and bisexual women and then I realized this was not at ALL the place to discuss such matters.

    Suffice it to say, bisexual girls can be very interesting. It can lead places. And the ultimate place that leads is to the end of said relationship with the aforementioned bisexual girl. But damn if it isn’t a really fun way to lose the best girlfriend you ever had.

  72. Of course are two hot girls better than one, but only if they are focussing on me! I mean, when they start to kiss each other, it doesn’t make them ugly, but it doesn’t make me go: “OH FUCK YEAH, NOW WE ARE TALKING!!” I just don’t get the appeal of that, sorry.
    BTW, I think it’s weird that the average man feels uncomfortable upon the view of someone elses penis, but doesn’t mind seeing them in pornos. Shit, the average porn has at least 3 dicks per boob and they don’t mind, but as soon as they see a naked man in a “normal” movie, they feel offended.

  73. Yeah, I interpreted it more as “Jackie Chan is the only Asian reference most people will get so that’s what we have to work with.” Calling him Toshiro Mifune wouldn’t get any laughs. In America anyway.

    To me it seems like there needs to be a better word than racism to describe a joking use of stereotypes since it often isn’t motivated by prejudice or discrimination or the belief of racial superiority that goes along with real racism. Racetious?

  74. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    May 9th, 2011 at 1:42 am

    Did Harry Knowles really write that quote about Thor or is it bunkum?

  75. Hey CJ, when you’re really turned on, do you lose the ability to speak using contractions? Because that would be awesome.

    Also, Ace: Yes. Knowles DID write that. I think Vern might have even improved the original punctuation.

  76. Btw guys, I think I’m going to stop posting under my birth name. Henceforth, I shall refer to myself as TAWDRY HEPBURN. Unless ya’ll think that’s lame.

  77. Unfortunately, Ace, that is an actual quote from Harry’s review of Thor. It’s hard to get a sense of whether a movie is worth watching when his reviews either tend to be gushing or reflecting some kind of huge disappointment with little in between. Nothing against his enthusiasm for films, but it does not make him a good reviewer.

    Overall, I thought this was a decent to pretty good popcorn movie but not great. I think Vern has it exactly right on where it stands compared to others.

    Nice to see someone mention Ichi the Killer. I think it’s crazy that they have the actor who played Kakihara in that and have him here in possibly the most invisible minor role, with nothing of note to him. All of the other Asgardian warriors managed to have some kind of characteristic to make them stand out except him. Oh wait, I forgot, he was Asian.

    I’m on board with Hiddleston as the villain of the other Marvel film. I genuinely liked his work here and how nuanced he was as a villain. Definitely a more interesting take of a character that could have easily been played more broadly and over the top. I also credit Branaugh with how Loki was depicted.

    I’m glad Hemsworth has found a lead role to really show what he can do since his appearance in Star Trek was a highlight. When is Armie Hammer going to get his chance?

    I liked Edward Norton’s take on the Hulk. It was more in line with direction that this set of shared Marvel universe movies are going and it’s a shame they couldn’t get him back. Ruffalo is a good replacement though and should be interesting to see his take on the character.

  78. hey Hunter D., thanks for the tips

  79. You have anything written Griff? Since you’re smart enough to be on here, I’d be happy to give you some notes. email me at
    straight
    to
    video
    at gee mail dot com

  80. Hunter: I’m still trying to figure out what kind of sexual euphemism “using contractions” is, but I just say carefully “yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees?”

  81. I didn’t care that they called him Jackie Chan, I just think it’s a shame that they completely ignored Ray Stevenson in that joke, if they had finished it with “…and Captain Caveman” it would have been perfect, though it might have upset cavemen.

  82. Vern: great review.

  83. Tawdry Hepburn/ the artist formerly known as Hunter D – I’m a terrible procrastinator, but I’ve been meaning to write some scripts for a while, I’ve got plenty of ideas though

  84. You can’t have “NINJAS VS. NAZIS” though, Griff. That one’s mine.

  85. Btw, I kinda felt bad for Jaime Alexander as Sif in this, because I think her character’s pretty cool, but because the movie’s went with a THOR/Jane Foster pairing, she won’t get as much focus, because in the myths and the comics she’s Thor’s main love interest, whereas Jane is actually just Donald Blake’s(he’s Thor’s equivalent to Bruce Banner, but since that would require basically a second lead character and actor, I can understand them just alluding to it with Thor using it as his human alias).

  86. I have one complaint:

    Thor opened on Friday. It is customary for some wannabe blockbusters to open midnight on Thursday.

    Thursday is derived from THOR’S DAY.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thursday

    It’s like they had a day of the week named after Iron Man, Ironmanday, or the Hulk, Greenday, and did not open a freakin’ movie named for that character on his or her own day? C’mon.

    Heretowithfor, all werewolf movies must open on Monday (the moon day), all Mummy movies most open on Sunday (after Ra the sun god), and all Ice Cube movies must open on Friday.

  87. Oh shit, what’s gonna happen when Thor fights Werewolves, Mummies and Ice Cube in the sequel? When are they going to release it?

  88. Cassidy – I think Rene Russo got an even more invisible role than Asano. I was very happy when I saw both actors show up at the beginning and then sad when the movie ended and they didn’t get to do anything. Also on a somewhat related note, if you are going to call yourselves The Warriors Three shouldn’t you try and do a little more than attack a giant metal guy once and then run away? Seems like if you’re gonna have a team name like that it carries along with it certain responsibilities.

    BR Baraka – They are also not releasing Captain America on July 4th. Apparently Marvel doesn’t really understand release dates.

  89. Jake:

    That’s because July 4th only exists in the USA. In Great Britain, for example, the calendar goes from July 3rd to July 5th.

    In all seriousness, is Captain America going to have a global rollout? They have to try, right?

    So are the theaters going to be empty in other countries? What I’m getting at is these blockbuster movies are made by committee, and I’m surprised a movie like Captain America even got greenlit. Some suit in the room had to say “they’re not going to see this movie in Kyoto or Belo Horizonte or Dakar.” Foreign box office receipts are a huge deal in Hollywood decision making nowadays.

    Plus, aren’t Germans totally bored out of their minds with the endless Nazi bad guy movies by now? What’s the motivating factor to see the Red Skull in Frankfurt, for example, adding to the insult that he’s acted by an Australian Elf/ System Agent?

    Casting? Hello? Who doesn’t want to see an Udo Kier Red Skull?

    It will be an interesting gauge of world opinion on the topic of the USA, the breakdown of Captain America box office receipts in foreign countries. Assuming they are even releasing it overseas.

    I also want to see the eventual fanmade remixes. The creative youtube edits that make Captain America look like a villain rather than a hero, or the photoshops of Captain America to make a Captain Persepolis, or a Capitan Yucatan, or a Captain Mao fighting the White Skull of foreign devils?

    Not that I’m not a red-blooded American. America, fuck yeah! But you have to admit that the WWII era symbolism is ripe for parody in today’s world.

  90. CAPTAIN AMERICA’s coming out over here, and I don’t think it’s going to be that much of an issue. Part of the movie is actually set in Great Britain and his love interest is english, though presumably when he gets frozen and wakes up in the present he’ll instead settle for her americanised lookalike granddaughter. A possible reference to the CAPTAIN BRITAIN mythology wouldn’t be amiss too…
    As for the Nazi thing, Red Skull may be one, but the movie will actually have him also leading a related but seperate group called Hydra, so I wouldn’t expect the film to be awash with swastikas or anything, and more Nazi-inspired footsoldiers.

  91. Also, Cap was part of a WW2 Superhero team called The Invaders, and the director of the movie says they’ll be appearing in the second half…though I know only the character of Union Jack will be appearing. The rest of the team are a bit more complicated because one’s the original Human Torch (which was actually an android), another’s Namor The Sub-Mariner(who’s supposed to have been getting his own film for years now, but hasn’t been mentioned as being cast for this), and the other one was a super-fast chick called Spitfire, who similarly hasn’t been cast. So the Invaders could end up just being Cap, Bucky and some english guy.

  92. Stu: interesting. Thanks for the info. I did not know those plot points.

  93. pegsman: Im from Denmark. There might be some strange nordjysk dialect, where they call it Åsgård, but I’ve never heard it.
    You are from Scandinavia too? I must admit, I dont know how the word is pronounced i Sweden or Norway, and they tend to say vocals quite different from danes.

  94. Electric Eel:

    I blame Ålanders

  95. When are you people going to realize America is the center of the Universe. Sheesh. :)

  96. By the way, I sincerely hope that Joss Whedon Avengers dialouge will, for Thor anyway, include reprising a certain line from Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Because we all know what the hammer is.

  97. Surprised you didn’t mention the typical sloppy, barely coherent visual noise action filmatics friendo. That made “Thor”, for me, an enjoyable dissappointment. Also, gotta respectfully disagree with that “Hulk”ranking and assessment. The original is a film that made obvious to me, that there is a discernable difference between arthouse pretense and genuine depth. Talented as we know Mr. Bana is, Ang Lee’s movie made him about as engaging as a paperweight. When a movie so blatantly fails the characterization of its central players and their relationship, a cool color palette and Sam Elliott just don’t pull it out of the fire for me. So I’d say “Incredible” was better in every area that counted. It’s only failing for me was the not quite epic enough(pretty sure it had to do with budget) end battle. You don’t set up a clash of titans, and then deliver a UFC fight.

  98. I agree with Rogue4, I really hated that 2003 Hulk

    I’m all for smarter blockbusters (like Inception), but Hulk is a perfect example of how NOT to do it, good lord was that a boring as hell movie and the few action sequences there were were either too brief or made no sense at all, like that fucking ridiculous Hulk Dog fight or his final fight with Nick Nolte that made no sense at all

    a cool color palette is right though, it was a beautiful film to look at, just not to listen to

  99. I will say though that it’s amazing that Universal Studios actually took a risk and let Ang Lee make Hulk the way he wanted too, since Universal has become an increasingly risk averse studio (looks like they wont eve bankroll Ron Howard’s Dark Tower movies, for better or worse)

  100. I really enjoyed this. I disagree with Vern’s assessment of the Marvel films, I’d put the most recent Hulk above the two Ironmans and the 2003 Hulk. I think Thor was up there.

    The action in Thor wasn’t all that great. Like Broddie and Mouth, though, I liked the characterization.

    I thought it was an effective drama and I was excited to see what Kenneth Brannagh would do. He wasn’t as crazy as I had hoped but it was really good.

    I’m not a comic book guy but I’m really impressed that they are managing to do a Thor movie about Viking gods / aliens and have it be totally epic in the same summer that we get a WW2 Captain America movie. We’ve come a long way since the Fantastic Four movies (which should have been great as I loved everyone in the cast. Vic Mackey?? Horatio Hornblower?? that one hot chick?? Generic white dude?? SIGN ME UP!).

    Also, I might be in the minority here but I think Katt Dennings is gorgeous. She’s much more attractive to me than Natalie Portman. I like my women to have curves.

  101. do you think it’s only a matter of time until Marvel reboots Howard The Duck and adds him to this movie Marvel Universe?

    who wouldn’t want to see Robert Downey Jr interacting with a CGI anthropomorphic duck?

  102. as a matter of fact, you could say it would make the audience QUACK up!

  103. caruso_stalker217

    May 9th, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    *slow clap*

    Well done, sir.

  104. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    May 10th, 2011 at 1:00 am

    With enough weed I can sit through Howard The Duck and have a pretty enjoyable time.

  105. I have two words for those out there who live under the impression that Howard the Duck is the Plan 9 of the 80’s; Jeffrey Jones! Well, it’s a name, really, but mister Jones as Dr Jenning makes Howard the Duck f*****g funny – even without weed.

  106. Howard the Duck is not a good movie, but I’ve seen way worse

    also Jeffrey Jones likes underage boys, I hate to break that to you pegsman, but it’s true

  107. I’m blown away that Thor was able to muster up 109 responses prior to my post.

  108. I’m blown away by Jeffrey Jones!

  109. Jareth Cutestory

    May 10th, 2011 at 10:36 am

    So after reading Vern’s review and all of the comments, I think I have ruled out the possibility that Thor travels between worlds the way Kenny travelled between South Park and the Heavy Metal world (eg. having a cat pee on his face). That seems like a missed opportunity to me.

  110. Jareth Cutestory

    May 10th, 2011 at 10:47 am

    But seriously, to address BR Baraka’s point:

    From my perspective in non-America, the actual name and costume of Captain America isn’t really much of a deal-breaker when it comes to American national pride being seen as off-putting to so many people in the “international market” simply because almost every big summer event movie that we see from the US is generally perceived in the same way. The DIE HARD movies, Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Transformers, Rambo, Eastwood: these are accepted by “foreign markets” as quintessentially expressions of American popular culture. Putting a flag on the guy’s shirt is just underlining the obvious.

    A buddy of mine actually argues that films like SPEED RACER and V FOR VENDETTA actually suffer financially for not appearing American enough to mainstream audiences.

  111. Casey:

    You do realize that the “random white guy” from Fantastic Four is actually the SAME GUY playing Captain American.

  112. Really? Awesome, I thought he was pretty good in Fantastic Four. Fantastic Four was an instance where they took a pretty good cast and ruined it. I hope Captain America doesn’t do the same!

  113. ThomasCrown442

    May 10th, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Fantastic Four was embarrassingly bad. It seemed like it was made for 5 year olds or something. The whole relationship with The Thing and the blind girl had me in stitches. I wasn’t buying the Reed Richards and Sue Storm romance at all either. Dude had no charisma at all. They somehow made Dr. Doom a lame villian too. The only 2 saving graces of this movie were Chris Evans’ fun performance and Jessica alba at peak hotness. Unfortunately they even fucked that up in Silver Surfer by making her look like some bleached blond android Dolly Parton looking thing. How hard is it to point a camera at Jessica Alba and make her look hot? Terrible Terrible Terrible.

  114. I think Alba is only hot from the neck down. The placement of her eyes is very, very strange. Maybe none of ya’ll made it that far up her body, however. I often got stuck around the waist.

  115. Darth Irritable

    May 10th, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    I think Captain America will do OK outside the US. I grew up reading Cap comics in NZ, and here in Dublin they just took a crack at going after the Guiness book of records for most people in Super Hero costumes. I saw a few Captain Americas. More Caps than Batman’s actually, which surprised the hell out of me.

  116. yeah, I think it’s pretty stupid that Hollywood assumes the rest of the world will be so hostile to something like Captain America, the entire rest of the world is not the middle east

  117. It’s odd that Tadanobu Asano is in this and apparently has nothing to do. Thats some cool casting; too bad nothing came of it. That guy is one of the coolest actors around and has been in some of the best and most unique Japanese movies of recent years.

  118. Griff, I know all about Jeffrey Jones’ weaknesses (he was never convicted, though), but that doesn’t really make him less funny in the movies he made in the 80’s. He was a cool cat back then. Much like Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider. I can still watch that movie and NOT think about the fact that he became a republican 30 years later.

  119. The movie was not bad but it was not great either. For a supposedly all powerful God-like Hero, Thor doesn’t feel nor look that powerful in the movie.

  120. “It’s odd that Tadanobu Asano is in this and apparently has nothing to do. Thats some cool casting; too bad nothing came of it. That guy is one of the coolest actors around and has been in some of the best and most unique Japanese movies of recent years.”
    I liked MONGOL with him.

  121. OK, I’m pretty much tapped out as far as “yea or nay” factor about seeing “Thor” in the theatre goes.

    From what I’ve sussed out from intermittent visits to this site: most, if not all of you, seem intelligent and fairly ruminative when it comes to movie-related issues (those traits perhaps emanating in part from “In Vern We Trust”).

    So, here’s the rundown of my likes/dislikes of recent comic book movie adaptations:

    “X-Men”— liked it quite a bit.
    “X2: X-Men United”— superb.
    “X-Men 3”— sporadically good. As many feared, the substitution of Ratner for Singer was a crucial error.
    “Hulk”— Bana was great. The movie itself faltered. Even the Sam Elliott Mustache (a viable plus in any movie) couldn’t save it.
    “The Incredible Hulk”— Better execution that the first, but still lacking. WHY did they pair Norton with Liv Tyler? H.S. Valedectorian and Head Cheerleader do… not… blend well.
    Both “Fantastic Four” movies— sadly wasted opportunities.
    “Batman Begins”— Nolan exorcising the demonic misfires of Burton and Schumacher. Bale (finally) steps out from behind his indie film shadow. The character of Batman (thankfully) receives absolution. Well done.
    “The Dark Knight”— Stern, precise, and unmercifully accomplished. Not perfect, but damn close.

    So… all those of my opinions taken together, do any among you think “Thor” is worth my time and $10? Thanks in advance.

    “Batman Begins”— Yes.

  122. I recommend it. The nerds have said it’s a good entry-level film, which means you don’t have to have all the comics and toys to appreciate it. I liked it, a lot more than Iron Man 2. Well worth $10/ £10. However, once again, avoid 3D if possible. The print I saw seemed almost VHS quality.

  123. I maintain that Batman Returns is the best live action Batman film yet produced while Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the best overall.

  124. Thanks, Jimbolo. Yes, I’ve read from various sources that the presentation of “Thor” that employs 3D Upconversion takes one right out of the movie… so I’ll go see it it in regular format then.

    @Tawdry Hepburn: “Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm”… indeed. Well played, sir. Your sense of purism is admirable. Saw it two years ago; liked it immensely. “Batman: Under The Red Hood” has its points as well.

  125. A little late to the game but I thought FF2 needed some defense. I’m not even gonna try with the first one. Look, in a field increasingly populated by adult oriented superhero flicks I found FF2 kind of refreshing. A comic book movie for kids. What a concept. It’s a straight up adventure film the whole family could enjoy. No gritty violence, no revenge or sexual innuendo. Just classic sci-fi Marvel action with a dose of genuine pathos from the awesome Silver Surfer. It kinda’ reminded me of some of the classic adventure films of the 80s. If nothing else, it shows that, with a little tweaking one way or the other, the superhero genre can appeal to a number of different markets, not just the jaded adults looking for some costumed ultra violence. Personally, I’d like to see more of this kind of film as my daughter get older. I would show my daughters FF2 without much hesitation.

    For the record, my favorite comic book movies are Blade 2, Dark Knight, Spiderman 2, and, hopefully, Captain America.

  126. Jareth Cutestory

    May 12th, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I saw IRON MAN 2 on an airplane. I think I’m more favorably disposed toward that movie simply because of the relief I felt that I wouldn’t be stuck watching the typical crap they show in-flight like GARFIELD.

    Obviously the special effects suffer in such a setting. IRON MAN 2 could have used the same technology as THE MR BILL SHOW and I would have been none the wiser.

  127. I know, in my head, that IRON MAN 2 was not as good as the first one but seeing Black Widow kick some ass made my heart flutter. That alone was worth the ticket price.

  128. I can understand that the Fantastic Four movies are geared more towards kids and thats ok. I was never into kids movies though, even when I was a kid, so maybe I’m just clueless as to how to enjoy a movie made for kids (though in the first FF4 movie, there’s a running gag about Alba having to always get naked to turn invisible. I guess they’re trying to give kids boners nowadays).

    As far as tone, i would put the FF4 movies on the same wavelength as the first Spiderman or Batman Forever but much more inferior (yes, even to Batman Forever). At least those movies had some interesting things going on whereas FF4 was just bland and boring.

  129. Caught this one at the discount theatre – mildly enjoyable and better than Iron Man 2, but also kind of forgettable. Great performances by Hopkins, Hemsworth, and Hiddleston that I know wouldn’t have happened w/out Branagh at the helm. And it’s kinda weird that Portman is the biggest name in the cast and has a nothing character to play. I actually think Thor had more screentime and bonding with Skarsgaard than Portman to be honest.

    But the action was coherent enough (didn’t see it in 3D), and the emotional stuff (except the love story) clicked for me better than say, Super 8. Plus it’s fairly fast-paced and entertaining even when there’s no action, which I can’t say about alot of comic book movies.

    Oh and re: the Jackie Chan thing – yeah, it’s racist (yes I’m Asian) but I didn’t mind too much b/c the SHIELD agents were portrayed to be assholes in this movie anyway. However – to those who say it’s not racist – do you agree if Idris Elba’s character crossed over and the SHIELD agent called him Shaq or something, 1) the theatre would not have laughed b/c they wouldn’t want to look racist, 2) this would have led to said agent getting his ass kicked at some point, which never happens here.

  130. Y’know, I really enjoyed this one and if you ask me, which of course none of you does, I would even say it’s the best of the AVENGERS prequels so far. It’s not in the league of the SPIDER-MAN movies or X-MEN 2, but it has the right mix of true ambition and light hearted, slightly cheesy fun with an 80’s summer blockbuster vibe, that most movies are missing these days.

  131. I don’t know, this one felt more like a trailer than a whole movie to me. Lots of cool elements to keep you diverted but no real throughline to make you care. And no memorable action beats to make you want to come back for more. I really liked Thor himself, though. Wish there was more with him and less of the needlessly sprawling supporting cast. The movie seemed oddly squeamish about spending too much time with its titular character for some reason. It felt like when a director is saddled with a movie starring a non-actor who’s famous for other things, like a wrestler or an Olympic gymnast, so they give all the lines to the rest of the cast and shoot around him as much as possible. Hemsworth is a good actor but I guess the muscles fooled them.

  132. No one fucking asked you, CJ.  
    Oh wait, you’re sort of agreeing with me.  Carry on, friend.  

    Mouth’s Marvel movies rankings (of those I have seen & can recall): 

    1. BLADE II
    2. BLADE
    3. PUNISHER: WAR ZONE

    big drop-off in quality at this point

    FLYING HULK, CROUCHING NOLTE
    IRON MAN
    X-MEN FIRST CLASS / THOR (tie)  
    BLADE: TRINITY 
    THE PUNISHER, Tom Jane edition (haven’t seen Dolph’s yet)  
    MEN IN BLACK 
    RED SONJA
    THE INCREDIBLE HULK redux
    KICK-ASS
    X-MEN 2 & 3 (tie)  
    X-MEN 1  (They each had their moments, and they all kinda sucked.)  
    MEN IN BLACK 2
    CAPTAIN AMERICA
    IRON MAN 2
    SPIDERMAN 
    DAREDEVIL 
    GHOST RIDER 
    WOLVERINE 
    FANTASTIC 4 
    SPIDERMAN 2 
    SPIDERMAN 3 (Surely I didn’t spend money on this?!?!?)  

  133. Sheesh, I can’t rank any Marvel movie, but I would rank those, who were produced by them and lead up to THE AVENGERS in that order:

    – Thor
    – Iron Man
    – Iron Man 2
    – Hulk

    Haven’t seen CAPTAIN AMERICA, so I don’t know where to put this one yet.

  134. Iron Man
    Thor
    Captain America
    Iron Man 2
    Incredible Hulk
    Something I just realised too about Thor that differentiates it from the other Marvel films and most Superhero films in general is that the hero’s family are still around and an important part of the story. Tony Stark’s parents are dead, Banner’s probably are too, just to sidestep the whole mess of continuity questions with the Ang Lee movie, Cap’s family are no doubt dead in the present day as well. With Thor, family’s an important part of the character, usually with how he’s pulled between the two seperate worlds and how he interacts with Loki and Odin. Marvel got the rights back to Fantastic Four, didn’t they? So there’s another one that’ll not be all about Orphan/Loner heroes.

  135. No, FOX still owns the FANTASTIC FOUR rights and plans a dark and gritty reboot to keep them. But I haven’t heard anything about that in a while..

  136. Oh right. It’s BLADE Marvel got back, wasn’t it? I think I was hearing something instead about DAREDEVIL’s rights reverting back, but that’s apparently not until next year. I’m kinda glad X-MEN rights aren’t with Marvel though, as I think the X-MEN only really work when completely seperated from the rest of the Marvel universe. I don’t really believe that the public would fear people who got superpowers through evolution, but love those who got them by accident or scientific means. Not to mention the non-mutant heroes would look pretty ineffectual/dickish if they let atrocities against mutants happen on their watch.
    There is a bit of confusion actually about where two characters lie in regards to rights. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are very associated with the Avengers, buuuuuut…they’re mutants, and in fact, are Magneto’s kids. But if Fox had the rights to them, surely they’d have been used by now?

  137. Mouth – the fact that you put “Blade 2” above the original “Blade”, let alone anywhere near the top of that list, immediately means we’re disagreeing. The fact that you put “Red Sonja” above “X-Men 1” and “X-Men 2” is the final blow for me. Yeah, I kinda enjoyed “Red Sonja” too, for sheer perverse cheesiness; but as you put it, there’s a massive drop-off in quality there. And “Blade Trinity” so high? I seriously wonder sometimes if they have one version of films for you, and another one for me. Or maybe it’s the UK / US thing again. I dunno.

    Anyway, I just saw “The Thing”, prequel edition. Long story short: on the sliding scale of “The Thing” (Carpenter’s best film by miles, despite having some fairly major issues with its last section) to “The Thing from Another World” (1950s film, iredeemably bad in ways that don’t, unlike other bad films, make it interesting to watch) it comes somewhere in the middle. Harry Knowles’ review is definitely harsh.

    I’d like to do a full write-up of the “Thing” prequel, but here’s the bullet-points:

    – The cast and acting are generally good, but the characters aren’t really fleshed-out enough, even by “The Thing” standards. That Carpenter’s characters – themselves fairly lightly sketched – were probably the most intricately portrayed of the three films says a lot.

    – The monster effects, on the other hand, are frequently pretty bad. This was a big let-down in the movie for me. The CGI really, really doesn’t work. There’s a sense throughout that the prequel format was immediately constrained by the limitations imposed by what we saw of the Norwegian camp in Carpenter’s film. There has to be two melted faces, a guy sitting in a chair with his throat slashed, etc. All of this has to be explained.

    – The monster is a lot more aggressive than in Carpenter’s version. This was always something that bothered me – how few of the cast were actually Things until the very end. Well, this film solves that problem but brings a few of its own: on at least three occasions, a character is alone with a Thing when it reveals itself, yet manages to get away from it. This is NOT what’s supposed to happen. If you’re alone with a Thing, you’re fucked.

    – The suspense is better than Harry Knowles gives it credit for in his review. There’s a few moments where there’s palpable tension between characters and I was genuinely unsure about who the Thing(s) might be.

    – The ending is actually quite good, and the sequence leading up to it is certainly better than the (horrible) fourth act of Carpenter’s movie. Without wanting to give too much away, let’s just say that the Thing’s plan does NOT involve constructing a space-ship out of materials scavenged from a helicopter that can’t even make it through a snowstorm. (Yeah… I love Carpenter’s movie… but that’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever witnessed on film. And considering I’ve seen “Terminator 3”, that’s quite an achievement.) There’s a rather ineffective segway into the credits and the “dog chase” scene from the point of view of the Norwegians. But where has the dog been all this time, and what has it been doing? We never find out. Annoying.

    All in all… this is ok. “The Thing” is Carpenter’s best movie of the ones I’ve seen, allowing for the fact that I happen to be an ardent fan of that particular sub-genre of movie; it’s 85% perfect, although massively let down by everything that occurs after the “test” and before the final scene. Its prequel doesn’t have that problem, but nor does it have any of the striking images of Carpenter’s film. If you’re looking for an equivalent to the nightmare-inducing visual of a Thing absorbing Donald Moffat’s face with its hand, you won’t find it here.

    So… if you like this genre of film, this is not even close to a first-class example of it, but it’s a pretty good third-class example at least. If you aren’t a fan of this genre, see Carpenter’s film first, but be aware that this film ain’t gonna convince you any different. If you like this kind of film, it’s worth seeing as a curiosity. If the idea of Carpenter’s iconic “The Thing” being ruined sends you into fits of cataclysmic rage, REALLY avoid this, because you will hate it.

  138. Oh, forgot to mention the one thing that really stopped the prequel from being a possible classic: rather than it being a group effort, as in Carpenter’s version, this is strictly the Mary Elizabeth Winstead show. And while SOMEONE had to catch onto what was going on first, it’s pretty unbelievable that everybody else, non-Things included, are so disbelieving for so long.

    On the other hand, there are infinitely worse characters to be stuck with. “The Thing From Another World”, the 50s version, in addition to all of its (legion of) other flaws, had one of the most excrutiatingly bad token female characters I’ve ever seen on film. I’ve put my thoughts on this horrible, horrible character before, but to repeat my summary here: She cooks! She cleans! Her pointless scenes stink of producer-interference and only serve to slow down what is already a pretty-much nonexistent conflict between scientists and soldiers! Only the lead male shows the slightest interest in her despite none of the others having seen another woman for months!

    So anyway, yep… MEW is not even close to being this annoying. She does her best to carry the film, and while the direction and script severely limit her, she comes off pretty well.

  139. No, Paul, it’s not a UK / US thing. It’s just I’m right & you’re wrong.

  140. I like BLADE: TRINITY too, and I dunno what everyone’s fucking problem is with it(Snipes included). I’m only really annoyed by how the Nightstalker group all get wiped out without really doing much in it, and the rather odd choice to have Abigail’s flashback to meeting her dad so obviously be reusing his dialogue from the first film talking about how he became a vampire hunter. I think the second film has more problems than the third, honestly.

  141. Maybe I should have moved KICK-ASS up a couple spots. Oh well.

    In conclusion, go watch BLADE II again.

  142. Okay, fine, I’ll be that guy: KICK-ASS is completely non-Marvel affiliated.

  143. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1922679/news/1922679/marvel-movie-madness-part-25-kick-ass/

    There’s a gray area. Liberal idea of affiliation, vis a vis properties, subsidiaries, labels, studios, publishers. I don’t know these things. Sadly, I don’t have the luxury to spend my Wednesdays at Midtown Comics very often.

  144. In other words: Kick-Ass the COMIC is Marvel associated, but creator-owned. Kick-Ass the MOVIE is not Marvel related.

  145. Majestyk: If you’re going to go full nerd on us, you might as well tell us who you think would win a in a fight: Hit Girl or Batman.

    Also, I think it’s obvious by his list that Mouth is trying to assassinate some nerd by inducing a geek-rage embolism. That’s the only justification for FANTASTIC 4 and GHOST RIDER being above SPIDERMAN.

  146. I’ll never rewatch any of those movies, especially not the SPIDERMANs. Tobey Maguire looking forlorn in closeups does not agree with my retinas. Sam Raimi & Baz Luhrmann (and their editors & cinematographers) both have a horrible way of shoving ugly human faces into my own. Occasionally Jean-Pierre Jeunet employs this nauseating filmatistic style as well.

    It was kinda funny when Green Goblin interrupted prayer time, though —

    “. . . and deliver us. . . ”

    {hard infil, loud noises}
    “Finish it!”

    “… from evil!”

    I don’t know how you can take anything seriously in any of Raimi’s spidey movies after that. I appreciated the annoying newspaper editor (“I want a nickel every time someone says it!” or something like that made me laugh), but it still makes no sense for Peter Parker to let himself get screwed all the time.

    Instead of clever plot-related reasons for his failures and for his decision to let Mary Jane fall into the lower socioeconomic class (Do I remember right that she was struggling and working a shitty job while her best friend was a superhero?), the movies handle these odd narrative obstacles by. . . making Peter Parker a little bitchass.

    So that totally deflates the stuff that’s supposed to be serious, the relationship angst that’s supposed to fuel the romance, etc.. The cast could be all legos and the story would be no less frivolous & boring. And the “rahrah I heart New York City” stuff was poorly done, manipulative, jarring, and childish.

  147. Mouth, I’m glad you put SPIDERMAN 2 low too. I have major issues that no one else seems to have with it.

    Marvel also got the PUNISHER rights back. Bring on Frank Castle #4 I say.

  148. Comic book movies are weird to me. I can only think of a few that I ever wanted to see again.

    I remember liking Spiderman 2 but really being annoyed by Spiderman’s 1 and 3. Spiderman 1 was rad before he got his fancy costume and Spiderman 3 was pretty good when it was about the funny dude from Wings. The rest of the movies bored me.

    X-Men 2 was good the whole way through, I guess. I can’t remember much from 1 and I remember seeing 3 with a girl who led me on for years, so yeah.

    I remember Punisher: Warzone being rad because it had McNulty and Titus Pullo going at it and lots of blood. That was cool.

    I’ve only seen Blade 1 in Spanish and remember seeing him fight vampires with the power of breakdance. Blade 2 is really good and I don’t remember Blade 3 being really any worse than the average Marvel comic book movie.

    Iron Man 1 was like Spiderman in that it was a really good movie before he got the full costume. Iron Man 2 was really bad and boring and just had no point.

    I liked the Edward Norton Incredible Hulk more than the Ang Lee Incredible Hulk. I remember the new one feeling like a TV movie but I could forgive it for some cool scenes (like the stuff in Brazil) and that the old one was kind of goofy.

    Daredevil was okay and not really any worse than any other Marvel movie.

    I liked both Thor and Captain America enough. Captain America had a lot of whimsy early on that it totally destroys and Thor was really good until it started to feel like they were on that rainbow bridge thing going back and forth every 5 minutes. They’re both okay, though, but I don’t think I care to see either again.

    Nic Cage was good in Kick Ass. I don’t really “get” the genre of “hey, let’s make a super hero film but set it in the REAL WORLD but then really just make a regular super hero movie and cop out of the premise” thing. I’d rather watch Defendor or Super than Kick Ass. Or Mystery Men.

    I liked every actor in Fantastic Four. Vic Mackey? Horatio Hornblower? Generic white dude? Weirdly hot Jessica Alba? SURE, SIGN ME UP! I don’t care about the Fantastic Four so maybe it’ll just be a fun movie with actors I more-or-less like. Instead, it’s forgettable.

    Honestly, the only movie I think I have revisited is Ghost Rider. I kind of dig it. It kind of sucks but there are a few scenes that just work for me. Ghost Rider was my comic of choice as a kid, though, so I’m biased.

    Man, actually writing this makes me depressed. Why do Marvel movies even exist? They’re all okay, I guess, but I don’t think any really need to exist.

  149. “And the “rahrah I heart New York City” stuff was poorly done, manipulative, jarring, and childish.”

    well keep in mind Mouth, the original Spiderman came out in early 2002, aka less than a year after 9/11, so everyone was in a “rahrah I heart New York City” mood

    anyway I strangely have no desire to re-watch any of the Spidermans, I enjoyed the first two when I saw them, but something tells me those are the kind of movies that are best left tied to the time and place in which you saw them, they might not hold up, is what I’m saying

    and also, I’ve always thought that they were a bit too serious, Spiderman is supposed to be a wisecracking smartass and the world he inhabits is supposed to be very “comic booky” (for lack of a better term), I was hoping the reboot would maybe get that, but it looks like they’re going for a Batman Begins vibe, huh? why can’t we have more comic book movies that know they are ridiculous instead of trying to be as realistic as possible? it seems comic books like that were only possible in the 90’s

  150. I think Captain America and Thor were hip to their ridiculousness. Or they were both really earnest. Not sure.

    But, yeah, emo Peter Parker isn’t for me.

    I watched Antichrist and Dancer in the Dark today. Melancholia is tomorrow. Maybe Lars Von Trier should do a superhero movie? Something tells me he’d make a rad Dr Strange movie.

  151. Casey – good lord, there’s something about that Ang Lee Hulk that just really, really pisses me off (like, it almost makes me Hulk smash angry)

    I think it’s because it’s close to being a good movie, I’m mean it sure is a beautiful LOOKING movie, the bright, comic book like colors, the wonderful granny smith like color of Hulk’s skin, it might even be one of the prettiest looking blockbusters of the 2000s

    but good lord, there’s just something so unbelievably fucking pretentious about it, I’m all for classing up blockbusters, but Ang Lee went so far in the opposite direction

    I mean it’s literally like a mad scientist crossed a blockbuster movie with a slow indie drama, it’s maybe an interesting idea, but it doesn’t begin to work

    the whole time you can almost hear Ang Lee saying “you stupid, fat Americans, you want comic book movie? screw you I give The Ice Storm instead”, I mean it’s like what 43 minutes until Eric Bana first Hulks out? and the handful of action scenes that are in the movie are stupid and don’t make any sense (like the finale with the Hulk flying through the clouds or something? or the Hulk fighting a giant mutant poodle? whaaaaat?) and the actors are so glum and depressing in it, there’s just no fun at all to be had in that movie

    sorry for the rant, but that movie just pisses me off

  152. Well, I don’t like Ang Lee’s HULK movie at all either, but I’m more inclined to blame the material than I am Lee, who, in my opinion, has a solid track record of enjoyable films. I certainly don’t think he’s a snob. If I remember correctly, Lee had nothing to do with the terrible script for that film, and scripts that he has co-written, like EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN, are hardly pretentious. In fact, I’d say they’re the very definition of crowd-pleasing.

    Do you really see a similarity between THE ICE STORM and HULK? Lee might have wanted HULK to come across as respectable, and the film is certainly downbeat for a comic movie, but HULK is a melodrama. THE ICE STORM is the very model of restraint.

  153. I think I disliked Lee’s HULK as well, but it’s probably the most interesting movie on the list, the one that most prominently nestles its way into my memory. I look forward to reassessing it decades from now, unlike all the others ranked below it.

    HULK gets big points for one great sequence — the minutes (1:55:30 to 2:04:00) leading up to Nolte becoming one with electricity. The tone, funny papers-style paneling, art direction, sets, pacing, lighting, and acting all come together for a prolonged, intense interval that I don’t think has been matched in any other superhero movie.

    That segment has a lot of the stuff that usually disgusts me, like talking through one’s daddy-mommy issues and melodramatic staredowns that lead to tears, but in this case it works because the film becomes a 2 man play. Nolte & Bana are onstage, like Oliver Reed as the psychoplasmics psychiatrist and his patient in THE BROOD.

    Ang Lee in this sequence somehow gets to the essence of the problems he wants to explore, comics nerds & mass audiences be damned. By ignoring or backgrounding all the blockbusterisms & military hardware that frames the scene just outside Bana & Nolte’s little world of quiet emotional exploration, he makes a damn fine movie within a mediocre movie.

  154. Jareth Cutestory – I confess to not having actually seen The Ice Storm, I was just using that as an example of an indie drama Lee directed

    to be fair, it’s also been a long time since I’ve seen Hulk and I watched it on tv, not in theaters, I would maybe give it a revisit some day, but that would probably require buying the blu ray and spending money on a movie I hated the first time when there’s seemingly a million other movies I would rather get on blu ray? that’d be a tough decision

    it’s also ironic that Nolan’s The Dark Night was pretty damn serious and deeper than your average comic book movie and I liked that one, but Nolan remembers to give you some exciting action sequences as well

  155. Mouth – funnily enough, I absolutely agree with you on the “Spiderman” movies. I think they’re actually quite fun in an “Oh my GOD who came up with this terrible dialogue?” kind of way. #2 gets the closest to being actually good while #1 and #3 are so unintentionally hilarious, they’re kind of riveting.

    But here would be my list of the films I’ve seen (which do not include Ang Lee’s “Hulk” or the “Thor” movie from earlier this year) and also including the Batman and Superman movies because I really don’t care about differentiating between DC comics and Marvel anyway:

    Top ranking:
    THE DARK KNIGHT. (Yeah, Nolan gets the #1 spot. Surprised?)
    X-MEN 2 (As comic book movies go, this one will always be right up there for me)
    BLADE (One movie about which I absolutely agree with Vern, this one’s probably up there with Snipes’ best work)
    SUPERMAN 2 (Easily the best Superman picture ever)

    Very good but with problems:
    BATMAN BEGINS (Great, great villains, great setup, nearly everything is great, but Katie Holmes and the batmobile sections kinda spoiled it for me. Still a great film though.)
    X-MEN: FIRST CLASS / X-MEN 1 (These both have a great setup but a disappointing final act)
    MEN IN BLACK (I actually dug the hell out of this movie despite Will Smith being in it)

    Still recommended but with reservations, overall not as good as the last rank:
    SUPERMAN (Yeah, it’s a classic to a point, but it turns to shit the moment Gene Hackman steps onscreen – a shame because the opening is fantastic)
    BATMAN (The original and still holds up pretty well, but there’s a definite drop in quality from “Begins” and “Dark Knight”)
    IRON MAN / IRON MAN 2 (I liked both of these movies but couldn’t find it in my heart to love them)
    BATMAN RETURNS (This could’ve been great but Catwoman is just too annoying for me to give it a higher ranking. I like the Penguin, Walken and the main storyline.)
    THE PUNISHER (Dolph Lundgren edition – haven’t seen the latest one – but it’s Dolph versus the Yakuza. This is a severely underrated film.)
    KICK-ASS (Worth seeing as a curiosity, but if you can’t get behind the film’s tone or premise then you’ll hate this one.)
    SPIDERMAN 2 (The closest thing to an actually “good” Spiderman flick.)
    ELEKTRA (While I liked this one, I have to admit the villains were completely un-memorable and it never challenged itself where going the conventional route would do).

    Films that have just too many issues for me to recommend them:
    BLADE 2 (See “Elektra”. This one’s all setup, no payoff. Why were Ron Perlman and his crew in this movie again? Talk about disappointing. Also I fucking hate the “traitor” subplot.)
    SPIDERMAN (Works as a spectacle, fails on just about every other level. If you hate cheesy dialogue you will want to turn this off after about two minutes of it.)
    CAPTAIN AMERICA (irritating characters and an assault-on-your-eardrums-inducingly intrusive score, plus it’s mindlessly offensive in a way that’s neither funny nor challenging.)
    BATMAN FOREVER (Yep. I did it. I put “Batman Forever” on the same level as “Blade 2”. I’m gonna get flak for this one.)
    DAREDEVIL (Affleck’s good, Garner’s good, MDC is good, Favreau is good, Farrell is excellent; but the script sucks! Surely they could’ve come up with something better to do with these characters than this?)

    Films that are so bad they’re actually fun to watch:
    SPIDERMAN 3 (Absolutely, brilliantly, emo dancingly rubbish. As a spectacle I actually prefer this to the other “Spiderman” films. As an actual film… doesn’t hold up too well.)
    SUPERMAN 3 (Richard Pryor as a villain, Superman being shot with missiles in a giant computer game, kryptonite that causes Superman to become schizophrenic and start fighting his own cover self… how could this go wrong? Well, they managed it. But it was a fun attempt.)
    RED SONJA (Includes Arnie wrestling a giant mechanical snake. Somebody somewhere had to be getting off on that one.)
    BATMAN AND ROBIN (I really, really don’t need to explain this one, do I?)

    Films that have no redeeming features:
    BLADE TRINITY (A movie with absolutely nothing interesting to say that says it badly. Stupid villain, stupid heroes, stupid main plot, and we’re not talking the fun kind of stupid here. This is just lame.)
    SUPERMAN 4: THE QUEST FOR PEACE (Yeah, this is one of the most notoriously ill-advised films in history, and I STILL rank it above X-Men 3 and Superman Returns. Go figure.)
    SUPERMAN RETURNS (If you want to see every single beloved character you grew up reduced to an absolute asshole, or you’re just interested in what Kevin Spacey would look like if he tried to act while overdosing on valium, this film’s for you. It rips off all the bad parts of “Superman”, while completely missing the point of what worked.)
    X-MEN 3. (FUCK THIS MOVIE. Fuck it. Fuck iiiiit. Fuck it with a nine-inch rubber cock with metal spikes shoved through it. This would be terrible even if it wasn’t for the fact that its predecessors are so damn good. The fact that it takes all of those characters that I’d grown to like and just pisses all over them actually makes it worse, if that’s possible.)

  156. Is Hellboy allowed to be mentioned in these discussions?

  157. I was keeping my comments to Marvel movies.

    I forgot to include XMen First Class which I really liked as a Bond movie. It’s easily in the upper tier of Marvel movies for me.

    If we were to bring out non-Marvel comic movies my two favorite would probably be Scott Pilgrim and Ghost World. That’s kind of a problem, though, as they really aren’t “comic book movies” but movies based on comic books.

  158. I can’t help noticing though no animated efforts on anyone’s list. The more fantastical/ridiculous stuff is easier to take in that medium and they do really have some great and mature stories sometimes. Batman: The Animated Series is the pinnacle of course, but DC’s also done animated movies. BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM’s really good, and explores the idea of Bruce Wayne almost giving up his War on Crime for a normal life before becoming Batman, and UNDER THE RED HOOD is a great example of how the concept of Robin can lead to really interesting stories, as well as an examination of Batman’s refusal to kill. THE NEW FRONTIER is also really nice with the heroes transplanted into the 1950s and the themes of the cold war paranoia and the space race etc. all add a lot. Although, DC are doing more and more straight up adaptations of their stories like that and while really well made, they’re so literal that there’s not much point in seeing them if you already own that particular comic, unless hearing them get name actors for the voicework like Bryan Cranston as Jim Gordon is enough of a draw for you.
    Also the absolute best comic book movie that’s not actually based on a comic book is THE INCREDIBLES.

    Griff-“I mean it’s literally like a mad scientist crossed a blockbuster movie with a slow indie drama, it’s maybe an interesting idea, but it doesn’t begin to work ”
    Yeah, I can respect what he was going for, but it’s just not what I or a lot of people wanted to see from a Hulk movie.
    As a fan of the source material though, nothing annoys me more than when it’s clear someone helming these things clearly seems to think that it’s their job to “elevate” the material, and doesn’t respect it, so thinks that they can change whatever the fuck they want. Do these people really think these characters would have endured for so many decades if they weren’t in and of themselves interesting and connected to people? Yeah, you may think it’s just nerds nerding out about that stuff(and sometimes it is about the details), but I’ll just point to Vern’s reaction to how they’re changing PARKER from an amoral “all that matters is getting the job done, no matter how” criminal to a “a thief who, though at times is forced to be a killer, still lives by a code of honor that includes never stealing money from people who need it” to see this isn’t just a nerd thing. Vern wasn’t a fan of this, and he’d read 16 Parker novels. It’s only natural people who’ve read dozens, maybe hundreds of stories would have a more passionate reaction about the comics. It’s GENRE itself, not any particular genre, that’s getting shit on.

  159. Stu – oh yeah, “Mask of the Phantasm” and “Incredibles” would be way up there for me. Heck “Incredibles” would be up there with “The Dark Knight”.

  160. Casey: I don’t know why “comic book movies” have to be superhero or action related to be called something like that. A “reality” grounded piece like GHOST WORLD or A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE is still a comic book movie to me, just because it is based on a comic book. (even if they call it “graphic novel”) To not call a movie, that is based on a comic book a comic book movie, just because it is maybe a serious drama, without any fantasy elements, is pretty snobistic to me.

  161. Stu, it’s not exactly the same thing, but I think the nerd problems you nerds have with the unfaithful, flawed funny page movies are similar to problems all of us have with the depictions in movies & tv of, say, the high school experience or, often in my case, various military experiences. Basically, Hollywood screws it up, gets it all wrong, and it falls on the audience to enjoy the story despite the failed depiction of a world that has the correct pieces in place but is very foreign to the truth that we know.

    Here’s some story about a bully at school, and the little guy punches him and gets his lunch money back, which we should enjoy seeing, but the dialogue is all false & hollow and none of the teachers resemble our own memories of school teachers so we don’t relate to it as any kind of personal reminiscence as the filmmaker would intend. “Does anyone really think 16 year olds talk like that? Fuck this.”

    Here’s some story about an EOD team in Baghdad, and it’s well shot with good sets and mostly appropriately evocative details, but the filmmakers are, as Vern once said, “staring at the mustard and not seeing the hot dog,” so there’s glaring, infuriating lapses in realism amidst the otherwise admirable commitment to verisimilitude — faithfulness to the original subject matter, but failure to convey a properly faithfully truthful story within that framework. (Mark Boal turned from journalism to shitty fiction. Fuck that guy.)

    Here’s a story about the Incredible Hulk, and it has all the ingredients and emulates the sensory experience of reading the Hulk funny papers (which I’ve never seen), but it tweaks the characters’ abilities and motivations and fails as an adaptation, and Hulk fans are pissed off/disappointed. “Where’s the truth of this Marvelverse, the affection for these characters that I know & love? Not in this movie.” (The film also fails as a blockbuster action movie, and for most people as a human drama.) “[director/studio] turned my beloved comic into a shit movie. Fuck those guys.”

    No new ground to tread here. The tautology of my summation of the problem is a reflection of the diseased tautology of the Hollywood approach to 99% of narrative cinema.

    The cliche, that Hollywood always gets it wrong, is accurate. But they’ll get it all wrong with a high school depiction, and the preteen audience won’t notice or care because they don’t know what lies to look for in the script & filmatism. Hollywood’ll get it all wrong with a war movie, but civilians won’t notice or care because they have no reason to be bothered by poor operational procedure and 89Ds crying like a bitch during a gunfight and then not being immediately transferred to MWR guard duty. Hollywood’ll get it all wrong with a comics movie, but 80% of the audience won’t care because explosions.

    End result: Hollywood keeps getting it all wrong, with a few exceptions, and keeps making lots of money with the movies, with very few exceptions.

  162. Well, you guys all know I love the HULK movie, so I won’t rehash the whole thing, but a couple of points about what has been said about it:

    James Schamus is one of the credited writers. He is Lee’s producing partner and has written 10 of his movies, including The Ice Storm. So I would consider that to be Lee having something to do with the script.

    I love HULK for its “I’m going to do this my way even if it’s supposed to be a blockbuster” approach, but I can’t picture Lee saying “you stupid, fat Americans, you want comic book movie? screw you I give The Ice Storm instead.” He’s not Michael Haneke or Lars Von Trier, I don’t see any hate or bitterness in him, and definitely not anti-Americanism. He went to college in Illinois and New York (he worked on Spike Lee’s JOE’S BED STUY BARBER SHOP) and more than half of his movies have been Hollywood productions done in English.

    Also, I like DARK KNIGHT better too but HULK has the better action scenes. Don’t you remember him fighting the tanks and jets?

  163. “Also, I like DARK KNIGHT better too but HULK has the better action scenes. Don’t you remember him fighting the tanks and jets?”
    Well I tried looking up those scenes for a reminder, but I could only find the tank scene. I remember the Jet thing being good, though the whole things kinda spoiled by how the Hulks CGIness is pretty apparent, and I think DARK KNIGHT still has the edge with the chase scene because a lot of it was in fact done for real, and I’m just generally impressed that they went and made a fully working Tumbler at Bat-Pod for it and actually flipped a truck for real in downtown chicago, and actually had Heath Ledger walking out of a building and blowing it up behind him.

  164. Good luck with building a working life size Hulk and strapping him on a fighter jet.

  165. That sounds like a challenge.

    Herzog would do it.

  166. Herzog would just paint Nic Cage green and strap him to a fighter jet. And Nic would love it!

  167. It wouldn’t be in the script, but Cage would catch & devour insects & migrant birds in his teeth at 400 mph.

  168. Vern, I was trying to be silly with the whole “you stupid, fat Americans, you want comic book movie? screw you I give The Ice Storm instead.” thing

    I’m not saying that was literally his mindset, that’s just how the movie felt to me, intentionally or not

  169. Why would you assume Ang Lee spoke in broken english though, huh?
    *finds footage of Ang Lee speaking*
    …alright, you get a pass. For now…

  170. Saw the sequel THE DARK WORLD tonight, and I liked it. After the moviegoing trip it does feel kinda inconsequential (the same feeling I had with the first film), but I was amused along the way and made to invest myself in the narrative just along enough for those credits scenes. More so than I was with #1. The fanboys can bitch about Marvel’s solid sense of humor all they want (this cracked up my thursday night preview crowd), but the humor is probably what makes this film “work.” (I almost want to go nuts and say that without it, this could’ve almost been another G.I. JOE: RETALIATION minus the awesome ninja mountain fight.)

    Marvel is basically James Bond now. Sure Iron Man is their techno-Bond and Thor is their space opera LORD OF THE RINGS-ish branch (The sequel really rips off, I mean taps more into that) and so forth different aims with their franchises, but all Marvel movies share a basic functional formula.

    We’ve had some awesome Bond films (like GOLDFINGER) and some shitty ones (like DIE ANOTHER DAY) but most 007 movies are I suppose decent enough afternoon killers. You basically know what to expect going into it with its formula, and (usually) you get what you came for. What I’m trying to say is that THE DARK WORLD feels like THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS or FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, one of those solid (if not outstanding) middling 007 entries. It works.

    Two more thoughts:

    (1) That certain Oscar-winning actor in that mid-credits scene setting up that certain Marvel movie next summer, I loved it. I don’t know what the fuck he’s doing, but I want more.

    (2) For all the blabber about its power, the Aether really doesn’t exactly do dick in a fight does it? Still nice that Thor and Doctor Who-turned-Evil-Elf play PORTAL in the middle of London.

  171. I liked it too. Not loved, and I doubt I’ll remember much about it in a couple months, but it clears that bar of quality that Marvel/Disney has set for themselves. In particular, I thought the action scenes were well executed. Nicely choreographed, well shot. The PORTAL fight was great. They did a good giving every minor character from the first movie something to do.

    I liked that for the sequel they spent more time in Asgard, but the mythology stuff was pretty generic and came saddled with a whole bunch of fantasy movie cliches. There’s the opening prologue with expository narration (“Thousands of years ago, before the blahbity blah blah”). There’s the one-dimensionally evil ancient race who want to destroy the universe for some reason (“I thought they were just a myth!”). There’s the vaguely defined magical maguffin that is supposedly all-powerful but in the end is kind of pointless and defeated by random asspull.

    Like you said, it goes exactly where you expect it to but it’s a pretty fun ride getting there.

    Honestly the thing that was the most exciting for me was that mid-credits scene. It was campy and ridiculous and awesome, everything I hope that movie is going to be.

  172. Crustacean – I have a slight dumb question. Did your crowd howl at the *SPOILER* scene of Thor hanging up his hammer? *SPOILER* Mine did, and I honestly don’t know why we did. I would just call it good manners, nothing more.

    Anyway, I found it amusingly retarded how Space Opera-ish this THOR sequel goes, what with dudes wielding swords as standard battle gear in a universe where invading enemy forces use ray guns, and the swordsmen charge them. There’s no logic to it, but I like it because of that. If George Lucas took such (wonderful) nonsense and added logic and grounded reality (if that’s the right term) in STAR WARS, this (like JOHN CARTER last year) tries to drag it back to that genre’s primitive Flash Gordon origins.

    Weirdly the opening scene you mentioned, I had a deja vu of MAN OF STEEL with characters looking upwards at the epic aerial warfare going around them. Hollywood, can you avoid that cliche for awhile? Unfortunately knowing them and how these things go, we’ll get more of this shit in the next little while.

    “Honestly the thing that was the most exciting for me was that mid-credits scene. It was campy and ridiculous and awesome, everything I hope that movie is going to be.”

    One must give Marvel credit that after the fanboys bitched about the Mandarin in IM3 that Marvel didn’t pussy out and tell that director of that upcoming movie to tone it down or reign it back. If that scene is any indication, then I applaud them for letting that director go “out there.” If I wanted a generic serious villain, I would watch THE DARK WORLD again because that’s what Eccleston did. (Not to say he sucked or anything. He did his duty as the obligatory 007-esque villain that gets dispatched after nearly destroying the universe.)

  173. RRA: I saw it in a theater with about a half a dozen other people, so not the biggest sample size, but yes, that scene did get some laughs. You don’t see why Thor nonchalantly hanging up the Mighty Mjolnir on a coatrack is funny? I thought they were going to follow it up with a visual gag of the rack collapsing, but they didn’t.

    I liked the haphazard mishmash of sci-fi and fantasy, and swords vs guns is one of my favourite things. It reminded me a little of MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE.

  174. Also of note, same director of sequel is doing the next Terminator movie which has gone apeshit just last few days (especially today) with reports and rumors. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Terminator will bodyguard Sarah Connor in her childhood. Taylor Kitsch screentesting for Kyle Reese. People testing for young adult Sarah Connor and adult John Connor. (The director apparently wants Tom Hardy for that gig.)

  175. Unless I start thinking of something interesting to say about it I don’t think I’ll review the THOR sequel. I kinda assumed it was gonna be an improvement on the first one, but I got the same “pretty fun to watch one time” sort of experience out of it. Just like with IRON MAN THREE I was surprised how goofy it was, but Shane Black’s jokes are much better. My favorite thing in the movie is Jane and Thor just walking into the apartment out of the blue and Jane casually tossing her car keys like she’s just come home from the grocery store or something.

    But about that SPOILER mid-credits thing – is that seriously what GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is gonna be like? I was picturing it more like a cool big budget movie and not a shitty Charles Band production. Maybe Benicio will be funnier in the movie version but they better get movie quality sets and costumes and stuff. I honestly thought at first that they were supposed to be on earth visiting some chintzy theme restaurant or something.

  176. I didn’t know anything about the mid-credits thing and thought it was a link to this Marvel tv show I haven’t seen. And it looked cheap for a TV show. So after wondering why they bother to promote a shitty looking tv show in their blockbuster I was more than surprised that this was a first impression of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Very strange.

    DARK WORLD was a lot of fun. They’ve managed to make the final fight more entertaining than in the most blockbusters of the last years I can remember. It’s not a movie that has it’s own voice, but they avoided most of the traps of modern blockbuster making with good pacing, likable characters, a great dose of humor and the original action scenes. The whole cinema showed great reactions to the action and the jokes. It was a nice time in the cinema after a long day of work, something I value highly.

    There’s probably not much to discuss, but I’m happy with this level of quality in a mainstream blockbuster.

  177. I heard now many people, including some associated with both THOR 2 and GUARDIANS complain (more or less in public) about that scene and how it was apparently a rushed afterthought, done by some 2nd unit director. Considering how everybody loved the GUARDIANS footage, that was screened at Comic Con a while ago, I think we can be sure that it isn’t a proper representation of the movie, though.

  178. Vern’s got bigger fish to fry, people… especially this weekend, when one particular movie goes wide and plays into his unique sub-agenda. Be patient, at least until Monday morning.

  179. I don’t think that Vern is gonna review THE STARVING GAMES.

  180. No, CJ….. I was thinking more along the lines of Django Part 2, Serious Mode.

    Good guess, though.

  181. Vern/Andreas- Not to be picky, but all those post-credits scenes for those Marvel movies have been rushed and cheap afterthoughts. Remember THOR’s (for AVENGERS) was in a friggin hallway, IM3 (for nothing at all) was a joke perfectly wasting a good Hulk appearance, AVENGERS’ Shwarma scene in fact was shot so late in the game that it wasn’t attached to the overseas cut.

    The only exception I assume might be the Thanos scene in AVENGERS, if only because of all the greenscreen used for that brief (awesome) moment.

    “but I got the same “pretty fun to watch one time” sort of experience out of it. Just like with IRON MAN THREE ”

    Vern – I still find it weird that Mr. Majestyk was more positive about a nerd movie like that than you were.

    Andreas – Not to excuse TDW for being a disposable entertainment (I mean lets be fair), but I remember after G.I. JOE RETALIATION earlier this year when I was ranting and raving around here against it, I think I made a crack that between Hasbro and Marvel, the latter knows how to make a good toy movie. Some would use that as a backhanded compliment, but I don’t. Compare their track records, both strive to make popcorn spectacle big budget blockbuster adaptations of old “junk” (whether comics or toys) but one clearly generally does a better job than the other.

    CJ Holden – or ABOUT TIME.

  182. Why’s that so weird? I’m a Shane Black superfan, Vern doesn’t even like LETHAL WEAPON that much. (Something about Mel’s hair. Who can tell where these obscure nerd nitpicks originate?) From where I’m sitting, the math adds up.

  183. Mr. Majestyk – I guess suppose of your brilliant insight at IM3 (“a Charles Bronson movie motive”), which really nailed the film for. You and I get it. Vern not eating it up like we did is what surprised me.

    Come to think of it, Vern didn’t care much for LAST BOY SCOUT either did he?

  184. I recently noticed that pretty much every Marvel Studios movie (Except their HULK one) is better the 2nd time around, even if I already liked it the first time.
    Not to mention that they seem to be the only studio, who is able to nail the 80’s Popcorn Fun style, that everybody of a certain age feel so nostalgic about it. And I mean this in the best possible way!

  185. And RRA, while all post credit scenes were often done in the last minute, the THOR 2 tag is also apparently completely incompetently shot. I’ve heard people saying that it looks like made with a cheap consumer camcorder, is badly lit, looks like a Charles Band production (can’t remember who said the last one) or a fanmade YouTube video, etc.

  186. CJ – I heard the bad buzz going in (“Space Liberace” was a popular diss already at BDT) and….fuck guys, I don’t see what was such a disaster about it. It was OK, I mean whatever. I disagree with Vern that BDT was trying to be funny. He wasn’t at all. He was just….out there. Come to think of it, I like Space Liberace. I bet he could crank out an awesome piano ballad whenever he’s not helping Thanos destroy the universe.

    The way Vern and others have explained it that scene, they make it sound like it was shot by film school rejects in a basement trying to make a porno. “Cheap consumer camcorder?” “Charles Band”? Oh jeez, big expectations!

    Dear Internet, your hyperbole (which you lot pass around as common currency*) really let me down. I wanted a disaster as you all claimed! I wanted Titanic meets Hindenburg! But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    *=Remember Comic Book Guy on SIMPSONS? “worst movie ever!” When I hear that, I don’t want just the worst thing you’ve seen in the last 2 days. I want MANOS: HANDS OF FATE bad. (Which is insufferable even with the MST3K commentary.)

  187. Well, RRA took my quote out of context, I was not saying I would only watch IRON MAN THREE once. I was just saying that both it and THOR 2 were advertised as being very grim and serious but are actually jokier and sillier than many super hero movies these days. It’s true that you guys liked IMT more than I did, but I did like it more than THOR 2 (which was also fairly enjoyable) and I’m intrigued by the amount of people who’ve told me they liked it better the second time. I also intend to get to watching and re-reviewing the LETHAL WEAPONS one of these days.

    Space Liberace is a good description. I didn’t mean he was trying to be funny, I just think he didn’t have time to figure out how to make that type of performance as entertainingly crazy as I assume he will in the actual movie, or as he has in many previous roles.

  188. MANOS: HANDS OF FATE is nothing. At least it has recognizable characters and a storyline that more or less progresses from Point A to Point B. You want a really bad movie, how about BLOOD OF GHASTLY HORROR, an Al Adamson piecework cobbled together from three different failed movies in three different genres shot over a period of like ten years? Or BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS, a Tor Johnson-starring black-and-white monster movie with absolutely no production sound and no ability to dub dialogue, forcing the filmmakers to show reaction shots of another character whenever someone is talking and tell most of the story through a nature documentary-style narrator who’s prone to waxing philosophical about the savage nature of man in the nuclear age? Or Ray Dennis Steckler’s BLOOD SHACK, a movie in which absolutely nothing happens except for a guy in a black leotard waving a rapier around amidst 20 minutes of stolen rodeo footage? Or my personal All-Time Shitty Movie candidate, FREEDOM DEEP, which concerns a post-apocalyptic warrior who bases his incompetent music video of a lifestyle around the lyrics of Kurt Cobain? MANOS is a terrible movie, but it can get worse. Boy howdy can it.

  189. The Original... Paul

    November 9th, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    “Thor 2” was advertised as being grim and serious? What the heck advertising were YOU watching?

    I mean, I know that calling the villains “dark elves” was stupendously idiotic. (Welcome to “Thor: Middle-Earth!”) And the plot-convenient Aether – which can throw the entire universe into darkness, yet fits conveniently into a wardrobe-sized stone box or a human body – was just dumb. And the villain did let the movie down a bit. As did the design of the dark world itself (which kinda reminded me of the kryptonite island from “Superman Returns”… I know it’s SUPPOSED to be dark, dead and foreboding and everything, but you can’t get it any more interesting-looking than that?)

    (And of course there’s the MASSIVE PLOT HOLE at the end. Thor teleports directly onto the London Underground, yet he doesn’t have a ticket. Look, I’ve been in the position of having lost a ticket in transit there, and let’s just say that they do NOT make things easy for you. I think the world would’ve been plunged into darkness about three times over before he would’ve escaped.)

    But you know what? None of this really mattered to me. This movie was a freaking blast. It EASILY knocked “Fast and Furious 6” clean off its pedestal of “best big-budget action movie of 2013”, and I very much liked “Fast and Furious 6”. Both of which movies benefit from having a stellar cast of interesting, likeable characters. And unlike the first “Thor”, SHIELD doesn’t come in to spoil the fun either.

    But let’s have some appreciation for the finale, guys. I mean… big-budget action movie final sequences don’t get much better than that, surely? At least I can’t think of any. The number of different characters they had to keep track of, the different locations that were used, the way that different elements of each world were just mashed together to produce a perfect storm of chaos that somehow remained perfectly clear and easy to follow throughout… That one sequence on its own would’ve been worth the ticket price. Even if the rest of the movie hadn’t been great (and it was), that would’ve been enough for me.

    But there’s more! (More?) MORE! Not only is Stellen Skarsgard’s character back in force (THANK YOU for realising that “Avengers: Assemble”‘s turning the best character of the entire Marvel franchise into a one-note mind-controlled lackey might’ve been the worst possible thing to happen, and promptly correcting it by having him reappear naked in Stonehenge. That alone pretty much made me love the film.) But you also have Thor, easily the best hero of the bunch, and the only one of them who perfectly marries a full awareness of his own serious responsibilities with the willingness to have some fucking fun while he fulfils them. Oh, and Natalie Portman and the Space Vikings are back as well. I missed those guys.

    And that’s the crux of it, for me… I’ve watched three “Iron Man” films. Thought they were all okay, couldn’t name a single character apart from Iron Man himself and Pepper Potts. I’m sure there were recurring characters in it – I remember Don Cheadle being in the first two movies, but I don’t have a freaking clue who his character was or what he did – and the same goes for “Avengers: Assemble”. Does anybody remember Jeremy Renner in that movie? Could anybody even tell me who he played? ‘Cause I’m looking at IMDB right now, and the only thing I can remember about this character is that he had a bow and arrow… I’m not going to go back to the comments section of “Avengers: Assemble”, but somebody must’ve said something about him at the time? Right?

    But watching “Thor 2”, after having watched the original “Thor” about four times now on DVD… it’s like revisiting old friends. To me the “Thor” movies are, by far, the best ones that Marvel has produced so far. “Captain America” I disliked – both the movie and the character – and the “Iron Man” movies I could take or leave. I only saw the first “Hulk” movie but that was a disaster – a tepid build-up to a wholly unsatisfying climax. But the “Thor” movies are actually really damn good. “Thor 2” does everything “Avengers: Assemble” does, but it does it FAR better. It has better characters, a better build-up, a better climax, a better use of Loki. And the final showdown… oh. my. God. Just pure exhilerating big-budget movie climaxes don’t get any better than that, guys.

    There is no way that “Thor 2” won’t be featured somewhere on my “best of 2013” list.

  190. Found this report about that mid-credits scene:

    “The Guardians of the Galaxy director also revealed that the Thor: The Dark World mid-credits stinger was “essentially” a daily right from set. “It was shot in two hours at the end of a 2nd unit day. We had just gotten the script (not by me). We thought it was more important to give people a link to Guardians, but weren’t able to do it until the last minute,”

    http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/MarvelFreshman/news/?a=89814#EDkcUwk3mziUMZx2.99

  191. “(And of course there’s the MASSIVE PLOT HOLE at the end. Thor teleports directly onto the London Underground, yet he doesn’t have a ticket. Look, I’ve been in the position of having lost a ticket in transit there, and let’s just say that they do NOT make things easy for you. I think the world would’ve been plunged into darkness about three times over before he would’ve escaped.)”

    Paul – YES! Of all the absurdity in the movie, that was the one that I actually had qualms with logically at the time which is kinda funny honestly. (If science has a hell, the science in this movie would probably doom it to burn for eternity.) I’ve been to London and the Tube, and yeah no way Thor could get there in under a minute or whatever it was.

    Honestly for a movie full of humor, that was the one moment when the film steered towards camp territory. I could’ve seen such a gag in Richard Donner’s SUPERMAN. Well that and “You just decapitated your grandfather!”

  192. I thought THOR 2 was solid entertainment. I liked the first one, but it always felt like the cheapest, smallest Marvel Studios film. Part 2 was much bigger,, weirder and better looking. Asgard felt like an actual place this time around and the action scenes worked pretty well. There’s way too much exposition in the first 30 minutess and Malekith is pretty inept, but I was never really bored.

    I have mixed feelings about the Guardians tease. On one hand, I like how Benicio had no idea where he was or what he was doing. On the other hand, it looked like a really cheap sci fi tv show and something most normal people wouldn’t be interested in? A bunch of people are saying this: They should have stuck the Collector scene at the very end and made “Thor returns to earth, Monster chases birds” the mid credits scene.

    But at the end of the day, it would be stupid to judge the actual Guardians movie on a rushed easter egg thing. AVENGERS would have been awful if the movie felt like that crappy post credits scene Whedon directed at the end of Thor 1.

  193. ” I liked the first one, but it always felt like the cheapest, smallest Marvel Studios film.”
    I don’t know how anybody can say that in a world where THE INCREDIBLE HULK exists.

  194. I remember Incredible Hulk having a lot more action than Thor. It also didn’t rely as much on cheap looking movie sets. Thor spent most of it’s time on fish out of water scenes in a small movie set town. Asgard was basically a couple of aluminum rooms and a cgi bridge.

  195. Maybe INCREDIHULK had more action, yet the whole movie looked like a DTV production, right down to a climactic fight scene, that was supposed to take place in Harlem, although the people behind it didn’t even try to hide that it was shot in Toronto.

    Now leaving the question which of the two we like more completely aside, at least THOR looked like everybody had fun making it and if it was made for a theatrical release.

  196. The Original... Paul

    November 10th, 2013 at 11:40 am

    RRA – yeah, it didn’t escape my notice that, as well as brazenly stealing major plot points from “GI Joe: Rise of Cobra”, Thor 2 basically lifted that joke directly out of “Galaxy Quest”. Ah well, there’s worse movies to crib from!

  197. Incredible Hulk’s Harlem finale didn’t look that great, but Thor still has more of a cheap backlot look overall.

    That being said, I like Thor more than Incredible Hulk. And yes, it has a lot to do with Thor having a much better cast.

  198. The Original... Paul

    November 10th, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Wadew – I didn’t think it looked cheap, honestly. The whole “Space Vikings invade small-town America” was always part of the charm of the original “Thor” for me. Bear in mind that I really like the original “Thor” one HELL of a lot. The things that I thought were wrong with it on first viewing seemed to matter less and less in repeated views. The only parts of it I really don’t like concerned the SHIELD assholes, who were thankfully absent from “Thor 2”.

  199. If THOR 2: MORE THOR was the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE movie I always wanted as a kid, THOR 1 was the Cannon MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE movie I actually got.

    I liked the GOTG teaser, as it seemed to be a bit of a break from Disney/Marvel’s house style. I thought it was funny that it looked like a crappy sci-fi tv show; I get a kick out the idea that James Gunn would spend a cool hundred mil of Disney’s money on a “shitty Charles Band production”. That said, I’m sure the finished product will be full of hugely expensive CG, costumes and sets etc.

    I was really looking forward to that SHIELD tv show, but I had to bail after a few episode because of terminal boredom. I don’t know if it’s because Disney has them on a tight leash or what, but it’s so rigidly formulaic and I just cannot engage with the characters. And I got real sick of everyone saying “Hey, remember the Battle of New York? That AVENGERS movie was pretty cool, right? Please don’t leave.” Apparently they are funnelling a lot of money into it, but you wouldn’t know it aside from the occasional CG sequence because it’s lit and shot like a teen soap opera.

    What does everyone think about the four(!!) new Netflix tv series Marvel are making? IRON FIST, LUKE CAGE, JESSICA JONES and DAREDEVIL and the subsequent DEFENDERS team-up movie. There goes my dream of a Scott Adkins/Michael Jai White HEROES FOR HIRE movie. The whole thing seems pretty insane, considering ratings for SHIELD have been dropping week on week.

  200. “But at the end of the day, it would be stupid to judge the actual Guardians movie on a rushed easter egg thing. AVENGERS would have been awful if the movie felt like that crappy post credits scene Whedon directed at the end of Thor 1.””

    wadew – *slaps table* THANK YOU! I’m just surprised by how much people are obsessing over something so irrelevant like that considering other such throwaway scenes in other movies of this ilk.

    I mean you know how artists and bands release deluxe versions of their albums with extra songs that usually were cut from the album for a good reason in the first place? Most people have no use for such extra tracks, but fans (especially collectors) eat them up. That’s how I view these mid/end credit scenes. They’re nerd porn. (Reminds me of Hawkeye’s cameo in the first THOR. I don’t remember them calling Renner “Hawkeye” in THOR. Masses didn’t know who he was or the significance of his appearance, but the fans did.)

    wadew/CJ Holden – I thought INCREDIBLE HULK and THOR were on par for big budget summer blockbusters? In fact the only recent blockbuster I sorta nickpicked for being cheap-looking was G.I. JOE: RETALIATION, and that one had a big CGI-flavored ninja fight on a mountain.

    Then again maybe I’m more tolerant generally of such things because I’m a nerd for something like DOCTOR WHO, especially the old school version where the same gravel pit was used for countless alien planets. It was notoriously cheap, and I find its bargain basement FX to be part of its charm for me. Not just a snicker here and there (“green parasite alien” really bubble wrap spraypainted green) but also just that what drove those old shows was intelligent stories, entertaining serial adventurism, that British sense of humor, etc.

    Its like video gamers who whine about graphics. Yeah good graphics would be nice, but ultimately if forced to choose I would rather have good controls and re-playability.

    Paul – First off, what about SHIELD in THOR annoys you so much?

    Second, I thought THOR 2 did that ending better than the first G.I. JOE film. Why?

    *SPOILERS!!!*

    (1) Loki tricked Thor and everybody, he outsmarted the bane of his existence that is his brother. His ego is pleased.
    (2) He finally gets to be King. The villain won.
    (3) Remember that he’s still in deep shit with Thanos for failing in THE AVENGERS. What better place to hide than in plain sight? Plus who knows if he’s responsible (and selfishly paranoid enough), he could prepare Asgard for the upcoming conflict with that purple mother fucker.

    *END SPOILERS!!!*

    CrustaceanHate – what annoys me about AGENTS OF SHIELD is that on another channel, you actually have an awesome superhero show in ARROW. I mean good cast and characters, a terrific notion of being a serial adventure in the spirit of comics (with some great episode-ending cliffhangers), and rarely are you waiting for something to happen. The only downside is the hero’s ex-girlfriend/current ADA, who’s a shitty annoying character and played by an actress with one facial expression.

    “What does everyone think about the four(!!) new Netflix tv series Marvel are making? IRON FIST, LUKE CAGE, JESSICA JONES and DAREDEVIL and the subsequent DEFENDERS team-up movie. There goes my dream of a Scott Adkins/Michael Jai White HEROES FOR HIRE movie. The whole thing seems pretty insane, considering ratings for SHIELD have been dropping week on week.”

    CrustaceanHate – DC has had flops on TV before. I mean BIRDS OF PREY didn’t stop WB from getting ARROW produced, did it? Playing the long game, Disney thinks Marvel has some potential winners for live-action TV. Doesn’t mean they’ll actually pan out or be good, but the creative potential is there. Plus Netflix willing to foot the bill for 60 episodes plus mini-series? Accountants like that.

    Take those 4 shows you mentioned. Each of them could totally fucking work.

    DAREDEVIL will be the first MCU project that’s actually about a secret identity (believe it or not.) I mean lawyer fights in the courtroom by day, fights crime at night. (Though I kinda fear that it could simply end up being Marvel’s ARROW, since it is about an urban vigilante.) JESSICA JONES is your P.I. program. LUKE CAGE is your FUGITIVE-ish show with the hero being a mercenary hero to pay the bills. IRON FIST is your martial arts program. (Personally I rather would have a HEROES FOR HIRE series, but we could still get that?)

    THE DEFENDERS module makes sense for those heroes have some connections to each other. Luke Cage ended up marrying Jessica Jones in the comics. Iron Fist and Luke Cage are best buds. Cage and Fist both traditionally worked in NYC, which is Daredevil’s turf.

  201. RRA: I’ve only seen a few episodes of ARROW, but with that show it seems like they aren’t constrained by continuity. They are free to put their own spin on characters and go nuts with the plot. With SHIELD it seems like they are trying to keep their distance from anything that might mess with the larger franchise, so it’s this awkward mix of spy show and superhero show, and really bad at building drama from week to week.

    Oh yeah, if they are going to cherry pick four Marvel superheroes for tv, they are seriously great choices. All very grounded characters that could comfortably live in the same tv-budget-friendly universe.

  202. CH – I believe the first season of ARROW is up on Netflix Instant. Its worth sitting through, especially the season finale when John Captain Jack Borrowman smashes the TV and a whole season’s emotions pent up explode in awesome fashion.

    Somebody online said that A.O.S. is an example of a program designed to be enjoyed by everyone but ends up not being enjoyed by anyone.

    Still one thing about A.O.S. I do like: that regardless of location or environment, Coulson wears that same damn office suit. It’s so charmingly stupid.

  203. …And here comes the “SHIELD” backlash. Personally speaking, it’s one of the few Joss Whedon shows that I have zero interest in, despite my endearing love for Whedon (and the fact that unless something very unexpected happens, one of his films will almost certainly be my “best film / experience of 2013”).

    RRA – well, for starters, they clearly should be the villains, given what they’ve done; but they’re never acknowledged as such, and if anything are given a positive portrayal that seems totally unjustified. (Mostly. I still think there’s a face-heel turn coming in one of the later films, maybe the new Cap movie.) I don’t think they add a single thing to “Thor”, and probably could’ve been left out completely without doing any damage to it.

    I particularly disliked Clark Gregg’s character though. His most notable actions in “Thor” are: interrogating the hero in a makeshift plastic Gitmo, blackmailing Natalie Portman’s character by stealing years of her research (which turns out to accomplish absolutely nothing), and getting a bunch of his own men killed by trying to face down a giant fire-spewing robot like a complete goddamned moron. (I think we’re supposed to view his fearless standing up to the robot as “badass” or “brave” or something, in much the same way as we’re supposed to view Cap’s throwing himself on the grenade in Captain America as “heroic”, or his girlfriend assaulting an enlisted marine who can’t hit back as “admirable” or at least “justified”. Yeah… I’m really, really not buying any of that.)

    What really baffled me was that when this guy dies in “The Avengers”, they tried to make it a sad moment. When and how was this earned?! In “The Avengers” I think he gets more dialogue when he’s dying than he does in the entire film up until that point. The Avengers seem to greet him like an old friend, which is bizarre enough in itself… was it ever established that he even KNEW them? Even in the previous films? The only one I can remember him having any kind of a major part in is “Thor”, and he was basically an incompetent asshole in that one.

    But mostly I dislike SHIELD because they’re basically the incompetent cop characters who won’t take John McClane’s advice in the “Die Hard” sequels. They’re an unnecessary obstacle, nothing more. Everything they do feels like filler. If I’m watching a film about a near-immortal Viking space God who fights giant robots and aliens, why the hell would I want a secondary plotline concerning these idiots?

  204. To be honest, I never noticed that Coulson existed until THE AVENGERS either. It wasn’t until I rewatched all these movies that I realized: “Hey, it’s always the same random SHIELD dude!”

    And his biggest role was in IRON MAN 2, which actually justifies at least his connection with Tony Stark/Pepper Potts.

  205. CJ – this shows how much impact the “Iron Man” movies had on me – I honestly couldn’t remember he was even in that one.

    God, I’m being hard on the “Iron Mens” of this world right now. I actually quite enjoyed all three movies. I just couldn’t remember a thing about them half an hour after leaving the cinema. I certainly didn’t think any one of them was particularly bad OR particularly good. If you asked me to pick between the three, I couldn’t do it. I can’t imagine myself watching any of them again (I’ve watched “Thor” four times thus far).

  206. I didn’t particularly care for THOR 2. I wasn’t looking forward to the first movie, despite really rating Branagh as a director, but I really enjoyed it. It felt like a breath of fresh air. When I heard they were using a TV guy for the sequel I thought we’d get a much blander, more homogenised film, and IMO we did. It’s still slick, accomplished entertainment that will be enjoyed by millions, but I doubt much of this will be remembered by the time THE WINTER SOLDIER comes out. I guess I’d agree with RRA that Marvel is like Bond now, and as Bond is more my cup of tea I enjoyed an autopilot Bond like OCTOPUSSY a lot more than an autopilot Marvel like THE DARK WORLD, your mileage may vary.

    I am looking forward to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY though. It might be terrible, but it almost certainly wouldn’t be bland.

  207. Paul – You have a god point about SHIELD being shown as more benevolent and heroic than (let’s be honest) they should be. It’s like 007, MI 6 are always the good guys saving the world at the last minute and not the guys who prop up dictators.

    “I guess I’d agree with RRA that Marvel is like Bond now, and as Bond is more my cup of tea I enjoyed an autopilot Bond like OCTOPUSSY a lot more than an autopilot Marvel like THE DARK WORLD, your mileage may vary.”

    Pacman – and that’s perfectly fine. I wasn’t comparing them in terms of quality, only objectively in cynical (if successful) popcorn design. It’s like Pixar has their formula, so does Disney historically, TRANSFORMERS also has theirs, STAR WARS, FAST & THE FURIOUS, etc. You may like some of those products more than others, but regardless they have blueprints they’ll repeat until it quits making money.

    (Ah OCTOPUSSY where a MILF like Maud Adams is a real Boner Alert.)

    “It’s still slick, accomplished entertainment that will be enjoyed by millions, but I doubt much of this will be remembered by the time THE WINTER SOLDIER comes out.”

    Pacman – I can’t disagree with this at all.

    One more Marvel/007 note: I’ve been loving that Marvel on some of their last few releases have been doing their own “James Bond will Return” text bumper at the end of the credits. Not important, but obviously you know which brand they ripped it off from.

    Off-topic, honestly I kinda wish the Bond films will go back like they used to for decades where they would announce the next installment’s title at the end of the credits. But those films don’t plan ahead anymore, simply because they ran out of Ian Fleming stories/titles to plunder.

  208. “I am looking forward to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY though. It might be terrible, but it almost certainly wouldn’t be bland.”

    Pacman -Agree. Its the one upcoming Marvel release that I just can’t picture in my head and that intrigues me. I mean I can figure out that THE WINTER SOLDIER is a Jason Bourne-ish thriller or that AVENGERS 2 is more Avenging or hell, I think I know what Edgar Wright is aiming for with his Ant-Man picture. (Superhero HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS, plus maybe retooling of INNERSPACE. Think about it.)

    But GOTG? I don’t know. What exactly is a James Gunn summer blockbuster? How will Rocket Raccoon work as a character? What’s the movie’s vibe? I don’t know the answer to any of this, though I did enjoy that Comic Con clip* when it leaked but even then that was clobbered together junk to excite the fans for a movie not out for another year. I’m rooting for GOTG hard.

    *=Somebody took a screencap from that footage showing the rapsheet, showing leader Peter Quill being arressted previously for 1 sex crime: “illegal manipulation of Gramosian Duchess.”

  209. Are SHIELD really shown as the good guys? I mean yeah, Nick Fury is a heroic leader who refuses to nuke NY, but after all the SHIELD guys above him WANTED to nuke NY! And Fury likes to manipulate people to get what he wants! Not to mention how they acted towards the Scientists in THOR 1. Or how they pretty much forced Tony Stark to work for them against his will in part 2.

    I think they come across as a pretty grey area institution, that can only considered as “good guys”, because they helped fighting some downright evil guys.

  210. CJ – see I’d buy that as the movie’s message as well, if they’d EVER faced any kind of serious consequence for something they’d done wrong. I don’t remember what happened in “Iron Man 2”, but in “Thor”, after doing all of the stuff I mentioned above, Thor’s reaction to Coulson – right before he flies off to confront his brother – is something along the lines of “We aren’t enemies, I will help you defend this world”. Then Natalie gets her shit back and a shiny new laboratory to boot, and everybody conveniently forgets all of the nasty things that SHIELD did.

    Personally I’d kinda love it if one of the later films suddenly had SHIELD as the outright villains, and as part of that went back over some of their more “ambiguous” moments from the previous films. But I doubt it’s gonna happen, although I do expect SHIELD to at least turn villainous for a while.

  211. I’m hoping WINTER SOLDIER will address some of that moral ambiguity. If not, at least you’ll be able to enjoy seeing their sweet flying aircraft carrier get demolished.

  212. Paul – you know that upcoming LUKE CAGE program, if indeed they play off the pseudo-FUGITIVE gimmick of a wrongfully condemned man given superpowers, breaks out, and with new alias becomes a mercenary superhero….you could have SHIELD be the Tommy Lee Jones guys always on his trail.

    Not that it was remarkable, but I do remember one element in the AGENTS OF SHIELD pilot where Coulson has a choice of either killing the metahuman or find a way to avoid that option. What if the asshole after Luke Cage doesn’t have patience for such pragmatism? I mean in a world where New York City got wrecked by aliens and Thor just saved the world (again) in the UK and other crazy shit, maybe he thinks its better to eliminate such dangerous freaks to keep the world safe? Not to mention the guy’s profile of breaking out of prison while on a life sentence, well he knows this freak is a guilty menace that needs to be stopped.

    Of course over the course of that show, he probably would over time change such black & white views and end up helping Cage prove his innocence. That’s what happened on the FUGITIVE movie and TV show.

  213. Guys, the moral ambiguity of SHIELD is already there. It’s clearly a very shady organization that just happens to have some very good individuals just barely keeping it from turning into a shadow government. It’s all very Whedonesque: People are good, systems are bad. You work hard within or without to help make things better. You never fully win but as long as you can keep fighting, you never fully lose, either. That’s how SHIELD works.

  214. Majestyk – I’d buy that, too, if the movies convinced me in any way that the people were good. Maybe you get that from the TV program, which I haven’t seen; but I sure as heck didn’t get it from “Thor”.

    I do recall that it was Sam L Jackson’s character (Fury?) who gave Iron Man the stuff he needed to fix his power source in IM2. So that’s a good thing. Can’t remember how many strings the offer had attached to it, but oh well.

  215. (There never was an official review of part 2 on here, right?)

    So…I finally caught up with HAMMERMAN 2 and I was seriously disappointed. MOSTLY BECAUSE YOU GUYS KEPT BITCHING ABOUT HOW GOOFY AND INAPROPRIATELY COMEDIC THAT MOVIE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE! And then it was not! It was pretty much the kind of movie, that its respective trailers made IRON MAN 3 look like (which then turned out to BE more of a light hearted action comedy)!

    I was expecting some kind of crazy fun romp, like y’know, pretty much every other MCU movie, only with the comedy cranked up to 11, when in reality it took one full hour until it developed any kind of entertainment value! And one hour is a LONG time in a 90 minutes movie! Seriously, until they got Loki out of jail, it felt like one of those joyless Nolan [redacted] movies!

    Come on guys, I know I have a higher endurance for all kind of silly silliness than most of you badasses here, but when you complain next time about stuff like how Kat Dennings “extended screen time” ruins the movie, you should pick one, where she is on screen for more than 10 minutes! (Like…y’know…part 1?) Or when you write long essays about how the final battle was ruined by silly slapstick gags, there should be more than one goofy scene of demigod-in-the-subway.

    I don’t get you guys sometimes. (Okay, to be fair, even with all the comedy and crazy shit that y’all apparently made up, it wouldn’t have been that much of a good movie. It will probably grow on me on 2nd viewing, but for now it was my least favourite MCU movie since NOT ANG LEE’S HULK.)

  216. CJ, I think the fact that Vern said somewhere he totally saw Thor 2 but didn’t bother writing a review says it all about the movie. It’s not terrible and is technically an “improvement” over the first one in many ways, but there’s something tiring and charmless about the whole thing – the first one had many flaws but there was a spunkiness and charm and almost naivety; this one is like Michael Bay’s Thor.

    Actually Bay is a good comparison – I think the reason people complained about the bad comic relief in Thor 2 so much even though as you said, it’s not really THAT prevalent, is that none of it works. I mean Mudflapp and Skiddz aren’t really in Transformers 2 that much (and that movie also has tons and tons of “dark” shit happening people forget about), but that’s all most people remember because they’re so terrible. Dennings and her assistant and wasted Chris O’Dowd and naked Skarsgaard aren’t anywhere close to being that off-putting, but they add bloat and heft to a movie that doesn’t need them. (I just imdb’d and Thor 2 is actually SHORTER than Part 1?? That must be some Asgardian space-time magic because I felt I was watching it for about 150 minutes, not 112.)

    It also hurts that Portman went from a nothing, forgettable character in Part 1 to a really, really annoying character in Part 2, and Hemsworth seems to have his natural charisma stilted. He’s not bad but he doesn’t seem like the same actor from Thor 1, Avengers, or Rush.

    Oh yeah, there’s tons of action but none of it is very memorable, the bad guy is forgettable, the end makes no sense, the credits stinger is AWFUL. The press kind of hyped up a Jaime Alexander/Thor/Portman love triangle that never materialized but that’s not the movie’s fault i guess. The only clear thing I liked more about Thor 2 over Thor 1 is the expanded role of Rene Russo who weirdly had no screen time in the first one and all her dialogue appeared to be ADR’d for some reason. Like CJ said, this is about on par with Incredible Hulk, (but above Iron Man 2, let’s be honest here)

  217. While I like the movie, I did come away wishing the direction this franchise went could commit way more to it’s source material and basically be about this space viking guy going around the 9 realms and fighting monsters and armies and “Game of Thrones, but with WMDs” type stuff, with a minimume of Earth and Earth-characters. I didn’t need the alignment or Earth coincidentally being the best place the villain could enact his plan, especially since this movie was sold on being very much more Asgard centric. I don’t mind Kat Dennings MUCH, but she’s a character who’s only in Thor 2 because she was in the first one, and this time her character comes with a smugness that I don’t see the supposed charm of.

  218. It’s why I like CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER so much. It feels very much like there wasn’t a whole lot of compromises to make it “fit” the overall MCU style. It’s an action/espionage movie that has outlandish sci-fi trappings at times, but those are true to the story elements and source material its focusing on.

  219. Whoa whoa Marvel haven’t done “Michael Bay humor” until we have a fight or conversation between two grown men that get misinterpreted by strangers as gay men having sex or talking about gay sex *Cue Humor over Misunderstanding!*

    Worth noting, TWS is currently tied with IRON MAN as the highest rated Marvel Studios release over at Rotten Tomatoes with I think 93%. (AVENGERS is at 92%.)

    Impressive.

  220. neal, IM2 might have been a mess in terms of script, but it’s so much fun, that I really don’t mind. I said it here several times before, but the joyless DTV-ness is what really makes NOT ANG LEE’S HULK my least favourite MCU movie.

  221. The Original... Paul

    April 1st, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    So… as somebody who put the 2012 “Captain America” movie as his worst of the year (admittedly I saw basically no really bad movies that year, I was lucky in that respect, but I still didn’t like it at all)… is it possible that I’d actually LIKE “The Winter Soldier”?

    Does Cap still veer schizophrenically between suicidal maniac and moralising douchebag? ‘Cause I don’t think I can take a third movie of that.

  222. Paul – according to the reviews, apparently yes.

    I mean when a gasbag like Jeffrey Wells shits on Variety’s critic for liking TWS but then sees it and admits its good after all…yeah there’s a chance you might like it. Who knows until you see it?

  223. The Original... Paul

    April 3rd, 2014 at 11:04 am

    RRA – a couple of people I know who disliked the first movie, for much the same reasons as I did, have said that they really liked this second one. So I’ll probably see it at some point.

  224. Paul – Oddly enough a few of the negative TWS reviews mention that they liked the first movie but the sequel lost its charm or something to that effect.

  225. Despite my contempt for Marvel movies. I decided to watch this one on Netflix and came to one good conclusion watching it: That I really like Chris Hemsworth. His rugged look makes him a future contender as Snake Plissken in a future unnecessary-but-unavoidable ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK remake.

  226. First THOR: RAGNAROK trailer:

    Thor: Ragnarok Teaser Trailer [HD]

    This November, Thor: Ragnarok. Watch the teaser trailer now! ► Subscribe to Marvel: http://bit.ly/WeO3YJ Follow Marvel on Twitter: ‪https://twitter.com/marve...

  227. I’ve always said women in skintight black leather suits (much like women in Cheerleader Costumes or Catholic Schoolgirl Outfits) is an idea better in concept than in execution – Kate Beckinsale and Milla Jovovich, even Carrie-Ann Moss and Scarlett Johannson all look nice, don’t get me wrong, but the look does nothing for me at all. But holy crap, Cate Blanchett is having me re-evaluate everything I know. I wonder if her look will be the next Harley Quinn of cosplay.

    As for the rest of the trailer, it looks like more of the same fun-yet-disposable Marvel formula, but Waititi’s last two movies didn’t sacrifice strong character-building and story in the course of getting laughs. I hope he can pull it off again.

  228. Will this be the mythical good THOR film they speak about in song and legend? The one I’ve long since given up all hope for?

  229. I see there’s a definite GOTG flavor added to this one and I’m really digging it.

    I noticed in there a shot taken directly from the NERD ALERT NORMS LOOK AWAY NOW legendary Walt Simonson run of the comic NORMS MAY LOOK AGAIN as well, which gladdens my heart.

    All said, yeah. I think we can both be hopeful for this one, GeoffreyJar.

  230. Looks so corny and Hemsworth sucks but it has the Hulk as a gladiator and Jeff Goldblum so I guess I’ll see it.

  231. Waititi has been on a roll lately, so I’m more excited for this film than I normally would be. Also, the shorts that he’s released suggest that he’s going to have a heavier imprint on this film than most directors have on their Marvel entries. (And sue me, but I think the first Thor movie is underrated).

  232. This looks great. I’m digging the FLASH GORDON/Jack Kirby vibe. Waititi’s the only reason I’m excited about this one, and it looks like he’s been given a lot of freedom to put his stamp on it.

    karlos: Skurge standing alone at Gjallerbru?

  233. CrustaceanLove – Correct, Sir!

  234. Broddie – I don’t hate the THOR movies but the one single solitary scientifically proven guaranteed or your money back clear and undeniable best thing about them no doubt about it no matter who you ask ever is obviously the casting of Hemsworth. It’s a miracle that they got a guy who could pump up like He-Man and yet be funny and charismatic and cool and never bland or meatheady.

    And anyway if you have any questions about him, I have a three word answer: Detective. John. Blackhat.

  235. I don´t like THOR at all, but I also like Hemsworth in it a lot. I also can see Hemsworth as a new Snake Plissken as he looks a bit like a young Kurt Russell

  236. I love the first Thor, was bored by the 2nd. Still, I appreciate that series’ hard Fantasy/Science Fiction approach, which might be the closest thing we will ever get to a real MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE movie.

    Also the Russo Bros set the bar for bad MCU movie pretty low (or high?), so this Thor movie must be a failure on at least the level of BATMAN FOREVER to disappoint me.

  237. I was really hoping someone would try to cast Guy Pearce as Snake Plissken.

  238. Borg9 — They did. It was called Lockout. And it got Luc Besson into a wee bit of trouble with Carpenter.

  239. That's the Joke

    ...that's the joke.

  240. Thanks Mr. Majestyk. And sorry RBatty024. It was a cheap and lazy joke anyway, but at least now its basis will be clear to internet archeologists when they unearth Outlawvern.com in millenia to come and try to understand our civilisation.

  241. I guess I’m the asshole. Sorry, Borg9. I should have realized what websight I’m on.

  242. That’s the thing Vern I did peep him as Det. John Blackhat after your enthusiastic review and Mouth’s praise of it and while I did like the movie because of it’s Michael Manness his performance left me unimpressed. Same with his turn as Johnny B. Rush in that Ron Howard racing picture. Also disliked how hammy (not in a good way) he was in THE AVENGERS. So I didn’t even bother with THOR TOO. Keep in mind that I loved him in THOR and thought he showed a lot of promise back then but to me he just has not delivered since.

    With that said I did smile at his childlike glee upon seeing The Hulk in this new trailer. If he comes through in THOR THE 3RD: THE HULK V THOR and puts in exceptional work with his reprise of George C. Kirk in STAR TREK XIV he could still win me over. I hope he does tbh cause I never like to see a lead actor help sink an otherwise dope film. That shit is wack.

  243. Look, I’ll let you guys in on a little secret. Here in Australia we’ve got a top secret Hunk Factory where we produce our Sams Worthington, our Jais Courtney etc. One day Jonno dropped a vegemite sandwich into the mix for Specimen 722B aka Chris Hemsworth and he came out all charming and funny. Normally we like to keep our export models relatively bland and flavourless, but he was a bit hit in the international market. Afterwards we tried pumping out a few more Hemsworths to see if we could replicate the results, but they just weren’t the same.

  244. Hey give Jai Courtney a break he was one of the better things about DCEU: EPISODE 3: SUICIDE SQUAD. Actually showed some personality using his native accent probably relaxed him more it was a pretty organic and genuinely charismatic performance.

    Sam Worthington still striking out though.

  245. Pardon the run on sentence btw. I meant to use a period.

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