Franchise Weekend – Thor: The Dark World (2013) Revisited

Director: Alan Taylor

Writer: Christopher L Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Don Payne, Robert Rodat (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Walter Simonson (Comics)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi

 

Plot: When Dr. Jane Foster gets cursed with a powerful entity known as the Aether, Thor is heralded of the cosmic event known as the Convergence and the genocidal Dark Elves.


Tagline – There was darkness.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Sequel

 

Story: Thor: The Dark World starts as Thor (Hemsworth) must restore the power in Asgard after Loki’s (Hiddleston) actions, this has made him in the position he should be, waiting to take over his father Odin’s (Hopkins) role. Meanwhile on Earth Jane (Portman) is trying to move with her life, but in London she discovers an unusual series of events which ends up taking her to Elf world.

When Jane becomes cursed, Thor takes her to Asgard to find a cure, which gives Malekith (Eccleston) a chance to lead his army back into combat so he can return the universe back to darkness. Thor must turn to Loki t help him defeat Malekith and save the universe.

 

Thoughts on Thor: The Dark World

 

Characters – Thor is once again preparing to take his throne in Asgard, he has restored faith in the nine realms, but he still misses Jane. When she becomes cursed, he returns to Earth to save her, which only brings back an ancient enemy to the Asgardians in the Dark Elves, he must disobey his father once again to end the threat and save the woman he loves. Jane is trying to get on with her life now, her research has taken her to London where she is trying to get over Thor, her investigation sees her cursed and taken to Asgard to learn about Thor’s home world. Loki is locked up for his actions, after his mother is murdered, Thor turns to him for help to get vengeance. Malekith is the leader of the Dark Elves, he has waited for his chance to bring the universe into darkness once again, killing Frigga the mother of Thor.

PerformancesChris Hemsworth continues to make Thor one of the most entertaining character in the universe. Natalie Portman was known to not be interested in being in the film, it does show in her performance which does disappoint. Tom Hiddleston brings another dimension to his character here which is only going to make him a more loved character. Christopher Eccleston does give us a basic villain, one that is only after power and is mostly under make up, making his performance harder to judge.

StoryThe story here follows Thor on his latest adventure, one where he must face an ancient enemy who wants to put the universe into darkness, while finally returning to Jane who has become cursed by the Dark Elves magic. This is another sequel that does address the previous films in the franchise by showing the hints the Thor and Loki could still rebuild their bond even after what Loki has done, we address forbidden relationships between Thor and Jane, have a villain that is obsessed with power, though isn’t the most three-dimensional and see Thor needing to learn more about his responsibilities as a potential king. This is everything you would expect a sequel to be in this universe.

Action/FantasyThe action involved in this film is mostly big CGI chases sequences between spacecrafts, we do get Thor doing the hammer routine which works well enough for the film. the fantasy side of the film continues to build on the idea that the worlds above have been fighting longer than people could imagine with fresh enemies waiting in the shadows.

SettingsThe film uses Asgard, the home world of the Dark Elves and London as the main settings, each has its own action sequences which also shows what Thor is fighting for.

Special EffectsThe effects are not as strong as previous films, but we do get some very impressive scenes none the less, the certain moments of weakness do hold the marks up though,


Scene of the Movie –
London battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain isn’t as interesting as previous ones.

Final ThoughtsThis is still an entertaining sequel, it might not be as strong as some of the previous films, but it entertains throughout.

 

Overall: Fantasy Filled Sequel.

Rating

 

 

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The Lone Ranger (2013)

Director: Gore Verbinski

Writer: Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, Terry Russo (Screenplay) Fran Striker, George W Trendle (Characters)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale

 

Plot: Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.


Tagline –  Never Take Off the Mask

Runtime: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, But Long

 

Story: The Lone Ranger starts with Tonto (Depp) telling the story of how he met the Lone Ranger John Reid (Hammer) the district attorney of Texas, we see how Butch Cavendish (Fichtner) killed John only for Tonto to bring him back from the dead to get their vengeance on the outlaws.

The journey takes the two men across the wild west to expose the truth behind everything that has been going on between the outlaws and the native Americans.

 

Thoughts on The Lone Ranger

 

Characters – John Reid is a district attorney in Texas, living in the shadow of his brother, but this time he gets to go on an adventure with his brother only to be murdered and bought back to life by Tonto. He must work with Tonto to get the people behind his brother’s death. Tonto is the native American that shows John the way as his own past makes him the colourful character that does things in his own direction. Butch Cavendish is the villainous outlaw not afraid to kill anyone who gets in the way of what he desires.

PerformancesArmie Hammer in this leading role is good through the film, he must play the straight-laced character and pulls this off. Johnny Depp is going on one of his stranger character missions again here and at times is fine, but at others gets annoying. William Fichtner as a villain is something we always want to see.

StoryThe story follows the origin of The Lone Ranger and Tonto as they faced their first enemy together in the wild west. The story plays out nicely just how you would imagine any Disney related material to, as an unlikely hero is born, even if it does follow elements of the Pirates beginning. This does have an adventure across the west feel which is nice to see and the twists and turns do seem to be easy to see unfolding, with a villain that knows the danger the two heroes pose to him.

Action/Adventure/WesternThe action sequences do come off feeling like the highlight of the movie, with an amazing opening train sequence. The adventure side of the film is written all over the idea of going across the wild west to stop the villainous characters. The western feel comes through strong too, while not the most serious we do see both sides of the law.

SettingsThe settings take us all over the wild west fitting into nearly ever typical location we know about.

Special EffectsThe effects are good too in the film while only being used to cover up certain moments of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Ladder trick.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a lot of fun even if it is too long in places, the cast do a good job and this one will be a film that you can switch off and enjoy.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action adventure.

Rating

 

 

ABC Challenge – Biopics – # – 42 (2013)

Director: Brian Helgeland

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay)

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Merriman, Lucas Black

 

Plot: This movie is about Jackie Robinson and his journey to becoming a Brooklyn Dodger and his life during that time.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Sports Biopic

 

Story: 42 starts with the history of baseball and how after World War II there was 400 players in the MLB and they were all white, the black players had their own league until 1947 when the number dropped to 399. Branch Rickey (Ford) wants to bring the first black man to the major leagues for the Brooklyn Dodgers against everything the world at the time suggests, that player is Jackie Robinson (Boseman).

Jackie must start in a feeder team and must put aside the segregation issues that is still going through America, Jackie and his wife Rachel (Beharie) must show they have the thick skin to deal with the abuse from the crowd, other players attitude and prejudices going through America to become a trailblazer for the African American Baseball players.

 

Thoughts on 42

 

Characters – Looking at the characters we are looking at real people this time and one Jackie Robinson who would stand up for what he believed in while making his name on the baseball field, he becomes the trailblazer given the chance to become the first black major league baseball player defining all the segregation problems going through America. Branch Rickey was a bible loving owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers who wants to make a difference in the game giving Jackie a chance to change the game so he could be owning a victorious team. Rachel is Jackie’s wife that stands by him through the discrimination he experiences.

PerformanceChadwick Boseman is fantastic in this role showing that he was going to be a huge name in the future. Harrison Ford gives us one of his best performances of his elder career that is outside his known franchises, with Nicole Beharie doing well with the character she has to work with.

StoryThe story of Jackie Robinson is the stuff of legends on America, the trailblazer for African America baseball players fight on and off the field against the discrimination he faces to become the star of the season. We get to see how the country of America was so far behind the times with their equality that is still happening without being as serious as it once was. This is an important history lesson if you are a fan of baseball, sport and history in general.

Biography/SportsJackie Robinson is an icon of the sport of baseball, this shows how he fought off everything to become that icon.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different worlds that Jackie must walk into with different opinions on the difference in race.

Scene of the Movie – The team standing up for Robinson against ben Chapman.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I don’t understand baseball.

Final ThoughtsWhen you look at sports biopics you will always see an icon born and this shows just how Jackie Robinson became the legend the game knows and is a must watch.

 

Overall: Must watch for sports fans.

Rating

 

 

Blue Jasmine (2013)

Director: Woody Allen

Writer: Woody Allen (Screenplay)

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard

 

Plot: A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn’t bringing money, peace, or love..

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Low Key Drama

 

Story: Blue Jasmine starts as we meet Jasmine (Blanchett) a New York socialite that’s life is falling apart after her husband Hal (Baldwin) has been found guilty of stealing millions from fake investments. Moving in with her sister Ginger (Hawkins) in San Francisco to try and build her life again.

As we see how Jasmine is remembering the memories with Hal we see how she is must learn to deal with everyday life and working for a living.

 

Thoughts on Blue Jasmine

 

Characters – Jasmine once had everything thanks to her husband, now she has lost everything and needs to learn about a new way of living. Seeing Jasmine learn to work an everyday job while trying to hold on to the class she believes she is from is what we see. Hal is the husband that cheated on and robbed the money from the investors, a full-on crook. Ginger is the sister of Jasmine, she has been working a normal life with a divorce and kids, she has the normal like of worries. We get to meet the generic people from different walks of life, the guys in Ginger’s life who are looked as overworked and slobby while Dwight is the man from a high class that makes it easy to see how things are going.

PerformancesCate Blanchett won an Oscar for her performance in this film, she is great to watch in this role fully committed to the idea of being socialite. Sally Hawkins for me is the complete star of this film as the normal life sister showing us just how difficult life can be and being so strong through each scene. The male actors in the film are good and let the actresses take the centre stage.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that needs to rebuild her life after her husband is found guilty of embezzlement ruining many lives. We flash between the two lives, the one which was falling apart and the one she is trying to rebuild. We try to get a message over about its never too late to start again and family will always be there for you. This story deals with the complications of relationships nicely as we see how people could look to hide the bad ones from the new people in their lives as well as being involved with people themselves not telling the truth. Outside of this we don’t get too much as Jasmine herself is not the most likeable character because of the entitlement she believes she has.

SettingsThe film uses two of the best location for cities in America New York and San Francisco.


Scene of the Movie –
Supermarket scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Doesn’t seem to have a real ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at how relationships can look strong as to how they can be great, bad and not work depending on how things can unfold.

 

Overall: Relationship based drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – B – Belle (2013)

Director: Amma Asante

Writer: Misan Sagay (Screenplay)

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Sarah Gadon, Tom Felton, Miranda Richardson, Sam Reid, Penelope Wilton

 

Plot: The mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in 18th century England.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Impressive Look a Historical Change

 

Story: Belle starts in 1769 when Captain Sir John Lindsay (Goode) father’s a child with a slave girl who has died. He begs his Uncle Lord Mansfield (Wilkinson) and Lady Mansfield (Watson) to care for Dido Elizabeth Belle. Facing the difficult decision Lord Mansfield accepts Belle into the household as a new friend for their other niece Elizabeth, but for the social order they must wait and see.

Belle (Mbatha-Raw) and Elizabeth (Gadon) grown up to their 20’s as Belle learns of her father’s death and potential suitors for Elizabeth with Dido staying away from visitors because of her skin colour. When Lord Mansfield agrees to take vicar’s son John Davinier (Reid) under his wing to defend the rights of the slaves after a tragic event led to the death of them on board a transport ship by the captain.

With the case running in the background Belle uses this to work with Davinier to bring down the slavery industry running through Britain while dealing with the society marriages she has found herself involved with.

 

Thoughts on Belle

 

Characters/PerformanceBelle is the black woman in higher society England, only she isn’t accepted in all the ways the white high society people are. She lives in the rich homes but not welcome to the dinners but doesn’t understand the difference until she comes of age, she is a strong minded woman whose short memories of her father motivate her into wanting to make a change to rid England of slavery. Lord Mansfield is drawn into how society is meant to be but also wants the best for his adopted daughter. John Davinier is the idealistic young man who is in search for the change in slavery who sees how Belle also wants to change.

Performance wise I do feel Mbatha-Raw gives her best performance of her career to date here with Tom Wilkinson always showing us his acting class. Sam Reid is also great throughout with the rest of the cast all performing their roles just how you need them to be.

StoryThe story is showing an important part of history as we see how England had it’s first case that could bring down slavery in the country. The story unfolds showing how difficult it was for Belle in this time because of her blood line, skin colour and social standing. I think this is an unknow and important part of history that should be known.

Biography/RomanceLooking into this woman’s history was fascinating because we get to see how her choice in love help change a nation look at slavery.

SettingsEach setting looks perfect for time the film is set showing how the upper class looked at the life they had.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film I wasn’t sure about but found myself enjoying from start to finish.

 

Overall: This is a good film for all history buffs to enjoy.

Rating