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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Franchise Weekend – Thor (2011) Revisited

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings

 

Plot: The powerful, but arrogant god Thor, is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.


Tagline – Two worlds. One hero.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Highly Entertaining

 

Story: Thor starts when astrophysicist Jane Foster (Portman) discovering a cosmic event in the New Mexico desert with her team Erik Selvig (Skarsgard) and Darcy (Dennings). We head up to Asgard next as Odin (Hopkins) tells the history of his people, the battle with the frost giants, his two sons Thor (Hemsworth) and Loki (Hiddleston) that will one day replace him as King.

When the Frost Giants try to enter Asgard, Thor decides to lead a team to retaliate, which sees Odin banish him to Earth. Thor must learn his place in the universe, with Jane helping him, while Loki takes his place as King of Asgard even if his past sees him wanting the events of the film to happen.

 

Thoughts on Thor

 

Characters – Thor is the son of Odin, he is soon to become King, but his over confrontational nature sees him disobeying his father’s orders, he is a fearless warrior who is banished to Earth, without his powers. This is a lesson for him to learn about fighting the right wars, not starting them, until he learns this, his powers won’t return to him. Janes Foster is an astrophysicist that has been searching for answers in the cosmos, her research has seen her finding unexplained answers in the universe, she could finally get answers with Thor’s appearance, she is willing risk her career for answers. Loki is the brother of Thor, he has been planning on taking over Asgard instead of his brother, he knows his past and has been waiting for his moment to become King. Odin is the king of Asgard, he has kept the peace for centuries and is running short on patience for his son’s action, he wants to teach Thor a lesson, while needing to tell Loki about his own past.

PerformancesChris Hemsworth is fantastic in the leading role, he has the look and shows the comic timing which has become the staple of his character. Natalie Portman is strong enough even if the character is disappointing, Tim Hiddleston shows us his calm persona behind his character, with Anthony Hopkins doing everything you would imagine he would bring to a father figure.

StoryThe story here follows Thor as he must learn his truth strength when it comes to one day become King of Asgard, this will see him losing his powers and learning to control his desires while his brother is positioning himself for power. Thor is yet another character we knew very little about going in (unless you read the comics), we get to see his past, how the world he is from is created, the dynamics behind the characters involved, even before we get to Earth. On Earth we learn more about the SHIELD and how they are still investigating the bigger picture of unexplained weapons. This does show us just how important waiting for power is more important than being given power, we get to see how another hero is introduced to us for the bigger picture.

Action/Fantasy The action is at the large scale here with the battles being hordes of enemies for Thor at times, we do get the giant battle against the enemy physically bigger and stronger that Thor must learn to defeat as well as the traditional final fight which shows us the sacrifice a king must make. The fantasy world created shows us the world of Gods being real, being one away from our own, while still being connected in folk lore.

SettingsThe vision of Asgard is beautiful, with towering buildings, a place where you would imagine Gods living. The second settings takes us to New Mexico which plans into the fish out of water scenario.

Special EffectsThe effects are the best in the franchise to date, the pure scale of the enemies involved, the worlds created and fight sequences makes this look beautiful to watch even with the CGI heavy usage.


Scene of the Movie –
Bifrost fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts of Loki’s plan seem confusing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the enjoyable comic book movies you will see, we get the big action sequences, we get some laughs and we see the star of Chris Hemsworth take full advantage of his opportunity.

 

Overall: Great Fun.

Rating

 

 

The Avengers (2012) Revisited

Director: Joss Whedon

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Zak Penn, Joss Whedon (Story)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr,  Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson

 

Plot: Earth’s mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantastic

 

Story: The Avengers starts as Nick Fury (Jackson) is leading the investigation on how to operate the tesseract, which ends up summoning Loki (Hiddleston) who steals it, taking Hawkeye (Renner) and Dr Selvig (Skarsgard) under his control. This leads to Nick Fury bringing the Avengers Tony Stark (Downey Jr), Steve Rogers (Evans), Bruce Banner (Raffalo) and Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) for their first mission together.

When Thor (Hemsworth) joins the group, they must learn why Loki is on Earth this time and stop is master plan of unleashing an alien invader on Earth.

 

Thoughts on The Avengers

 

Characters – Steve Rogers is till adapting to the modern day, he is still as patriotic as he was, he will provide the middle ground between Thor and Tony as he is looking to solve the problem in the simplest possible outcome. Tony Stark is reluctant at help to start with, but learning he could get more information from SHIELD he steps up to help defeat Loki. Thor arrives in hope of bringing Loki back to Asgard to face punishment for his action, he must learn about the other Avengers and how to become closer to the humans he is meant to be protecting. Bruce Banner comes out of hiding to help with the scientific side, only he will need to unleash the Hulk to stay in the fight. Natasha Romanoff will show more of her skills as the agent of SHIELD, we see how she can play people to get the answers required. Nick Fury brings the heroes together to fight Loki after his own experiment goes wrong, he isn’t honest with them which only drives them away. Loki has returned to Earth for the tesseract which he will use to bring an alien invading army to take over Earth. Hawkeye is an agent of SHIELD who gets turns by Loki’s power, he is turned into one of his super soldiers with his deadly accuracy with an arrow.

PerformancesWe have the returning cast from the origin films, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L Jackson all return continuing to grow into their roles, Mark Ruffalo does make for a great replacement as Bruce, with his more human feel to the character and Jeremy Renner brings us another agent of SHIELD we want to get behind.

StoryThe story here brings the characters from their solo movies together to fight Loki who is planning on taking over the Earth with his alien invaders. This story works wonderfully because we have seen the major heroes Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk have their own movies to introduce us to them, show their strengths and weaknesses, so, stepping into this world we know how each hero knows of to use their strengths to their advantage to help each other in the battle and learn just how far they would go to save the world when the time comes. The bigger inclusion of SHIELD is great too, because we see how the mortal side of the people in the battle will do, what they can to help. Loki as the villain does work well, he always desired power and to rule which is the reason behind his appearance. To achieve the story telling that can reference previous films and eras, to give us a way to bring the superhero unit together for the first time is done to perfection here.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is the large scale battle sequences which include the jet base and the New York battle which shows each of the heroes using their strengths to win. We have the sci-fi side of the world by having the idea of aliens coming to invade Earth at the control of a high power.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we have the scattered intro, the base which seems undetectable and New York being the key to the final battle, yes, we have seen New York used in a lot of movies, but it still works for impact and the worlds eyes to see.

Special EffectsThe effects seem flawless through the film, the pure scale of the battles makes this even more impressive, when we see just how all the different powers are used to fight the good fight.


Scene of the Movie –
New York battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You might miss certain references if you have seen the other films.

Final ThoughtsThis is the benchmark for any superhero team up movie now, this film showed us just how it can be done and how done correctly you will be left wanting more.

 

Overall: Must watch superhero movie.

Rating

 

 

Tom Hiddleston Weekend – War Horse (2011)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Lee Hall, Richard Curtis (Screenplay) Michael Morpurgo (Novel)

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Niels Arestrup, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert’s hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.


Tagline – Separated by war. Tested by battle. Bound by friendship.

Runtime: 2 Hours 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible Story

 

Story: War Horse starts as the poor farming family Narracotts, former war veteran Ted (Mullan), wife Rose (Watson) and son Albert (Irvine) end up with a horse that shouldn’t be able to work on a farm that Albert manages to teach how to plough, being the only one Joey will listen to.

When the latest crop fails, Ted is forced to sale Joey to the military once the first World War breaks outs, Captain Nicholls (Hiddleston) takes him promising to bring him back safely, however much it breaks Albert’s heart. When Captain Nicholls is killed in action, we see Joey’s next chapter in the war, as Albert enlists in an attempt to become reunited with Joey on the front lines.

 

Thoughts on War Horse

 

Characters – Albert is the farmers boy that proves he will never give up and shows us when it comes to training the horse, which will achieving things it should never get through, he has bonded with Joey who is taken away from him, determined to be reunited with Joey, he enlists in the British army heading off to World War I to fight and find his horse. Ted is the war veteran father, who drinks to get over his problems with what happened in his own battle, reckless in his behaviour, he must make the difficult decision to sell the horse. Rose is the ever-supporting wife and mother that sees the good in both her husband and son, knowing while they might clash they will forever be doing the right thing. Lyons is the landlord that is making the life of the Narracotts difficult forcing him into the decisions that could take the family out of their home. Captain Nicholls is the man that buys Joey, taking him to the war promising to keep him safe and return him after the war with Major Jamie Stewart being the one that naively going into battle underprepared.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are impacted by the number of characters involved in the film, with the likes of Hiddleston and Cumberbatch left with only supporting roles where they make an impact with their limited time. The two main stars of the film would be Jeremy Irvine and the horses themselves that go through the biggest struggles through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the incredible journey through the first World War that a horse endured being forced to work for both the British and the Germans, somehow surviving through the difficulties both sides were facing. We see how one young farmer’s boy risks his life to head to war in hopes o finding his horse in a battle which would take millions of lives. The story itself is incredible, the pacing of the story however does feel inconsistent because we spend ten to fifteen minutes with each chapter, which never gives us enough time for the impact of those scenes.

History/WarThe history involved in the First World War is a moment that changed everyone involved, this is clear from the characters we see, each war scene does feel realistic even if it is more focused on the less graphic moments involved.

SettingsThe film uses the settings wonderfully to make us feel like we are involved in the scenes with the war scenes showing us how difficult the moments were for the men and horses.


Scene of the Movie –
Running free in no man’s land.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not getting enough time with each of the characters we meet.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story showing the journey of one horse through the first World War, this creates the shocking truth of war, while it does lack the time spent on each character.

 

Overall: Incredible story of one horses journey through war.

Rating

 

 

Tom Hiddleston Weekend – I Saw the Light (2015)

Director: Marc Abraham

Writer: Marc Abraham (Screenplay) Colin Escott, George Merritt, William MacEwen (Book)

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Bradley Whitford, Cherry Jones, Maddie Hasson, Wrenn Schmidt, David Krumholtz

 

Plot: The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks That Interest Factor

 

Story: I Saw the Light starts as we see Hank Williams (Hiddleston) slowly making his name in the music industry in the mid 40’s, his new marriage to Audrey (Olsen) does get questioned because she doesn’t have the singing voice he does and this shows early on when he must decide whether to supporting her singing or make his own career.

We follow how Hank continued to rise in fame but struggled with his own alcohol problems, his rocky marriage and his womanising, which led to his early death.

 

Thoughts on I Saw the Light

 

Characters/PerformanceHank is the famous country singer who rose to fame in the late 40s to become an icon, he has his own personal demons of drinking, womanising and rocky marriage. Audrey is the wife of Hank, she does want to be part of the singing but she doesn’t have the talent Hank has with brings a strain to their marriage.

Performance wise, well where do we start? Hiddleston is fine in this role as is Olsen and do the best with what they can with the story.

StoryNow I like watching bio-pics even if I don’t know who the film is centred around. I don’t know who Hank Williams is or what his most famous song was which I am not using as an excuse for not enjoying this film. I found the story way too long with very little happening and no focus on the music Hank has been making.

Biography/MusicThe story telling takes away from where the bio-pic side of the film should be focusing on where the music is all fine without being anything special.

SettingsThe settings are all fine for the time period in question which is all we need from the story of late 40s early 50s.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very weak bio-pic that doesn’t give us enough to like about the musician Hank Williams to look back and go, he was an interesting guy. The storytelling side of the film comes off confusing and doesn’t give us enough time on the music side of the film.

 

Overall: Weak bio-pic that lacks everything that is needed.

Rating