A Marvel Movie Trio

In the midst of a busy summer, I have managed to explore some new (to me) Marvel cinematic creations.  Here are some of my impressions.

Thor: Ragnarok

Thor-ragnarok-920x518I had wanted to watch Thor: Ragnarok ever since it came out but only just saw it for the first time earlier this summer.  After hearing so many positive recommendations of this movie from friends, you might think my expectations would have been disappointed, but I found Thor: Ragnarok to be as much good fun as I had hoped.  From the opening to the closing shot, the movie is packed with hilarity and adventure.  I think the tone of Ragnarok is reminiscent of the first Thor movie with its comedic flair, in contrast to the more serious Dark World.  Plus, the rock music soundtrack perfectly complements the film and adds to the action sequences and overall humor of the movie.  If you haven’t already, be sure to look up the lyrics to the Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song” that the movie features as it is surprisingly suited to the characters and story.

Black Panther

Black Panther poster

Black Panther is another movie I had been meaning to watch and had heard positive comments about.  When I finally saw it for myself, I did like it, but I found the character development a bit lacking.  The movie spends too much time on Wakanda’s flashy technology at the expense of the characters and even the plot.  While I admit Wakandan culture and futuristic gadgets are interesting and worth exploring, I feel like focusing on these takes too much time and attention away from more important elements of the story.  Also, I think T’Challa’s antagonist could have been much more compelling; he has a lot of potential but fails to live up to it.  All that said, though, I do like Black Panther as a superhero and think he and Wakanda are a valuable addition to the Marvel cinematic universe.  I especially like the Wakandan “special forces” the Dora Milaje, and I enjoy how the movie pays homage to African culture and traditions.

X-Men: Apocalypse

https_blogs-images.forbes.comscottmendelsonfiles201605X-Men-Apocalypse-launch-quad-poster-1200x903Any movie with an ancient Egyptian villain automatically tempts me to laugh, but ancient mutant En Sabah Nur aside, I enjoyed X-Men: Apocalypse.  As always, the exploration of X-Men characters’ backstories is intriguing, and I appreciate the depth the latest film series has given characters like Raven (Mystique) and Erik (Magneto).  My favorite installations of the latest movies are still First Class and Days of Future Past (in that order), but I think this film shares some of the same worthwhile elements as the first two.  If you can endure the somewhat laughable villain, Apocalypse is another enjoyable and interesting addition to the latest X-Men series.

All in all, my Marvel movie summer has been fun, and I’m glad to have finally caught up on these three films.  Now, I’m ready to jump into the next one I have heard so much about:  Avengers: Infinity War (Bone’s review of this is available here).

Happy viewing!

arrietty pic


Thor: The Dark World


Last week, Flint, Bone, and Arrietty went to the movies. Here are their observations on the show.

Flint’s Focus

I will be quite frank: the character Loki makes what would otherwise be a mediocre superhero movie into a pretty good one. Villains these days (apart from the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight) seem to largely be one or two dimensional characters whose existence is justified simply so that the hero has someone to thump. However, the latest Thor movie turns this around. Loki is the most interesting character in the whole film. He has emotions and desires that constantly leave me guessing as to what is real and what is a hoax. He actually feels more genuinely human than any other character in the entire movie. In contrast, Thor himself, Jane Foster, and all of the other characters remain largely unchanged throughout the movie, running through their predictable lines and choices. If all you want in a movie is a buff Chris Hemsworth saving the world and his girlfriend, then you can enjoy the movie completely.  However, if you want intriguing characters, then you’ll have to watch the movie for the sake of Loki who almost makes the movie worth watching all by himself.

Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston)

Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston)

Bone’s Blurb

Though a good movie to see in theaters (good spectacle) and with friends or family (good company), this latest movie from the Marvel universe seemed very unremarkable–perhaps it was the movie itself, or perhaps it was the knowledge going into the movie that nothing climactic would happen since Thor and the other characters will have to be present for Avengers 2. That said, as Flint notes, the character Loki dominates Thor 2. This is the first time I’ve walked out of a theater saying to myself, “That movie wasn’t particularly good as a whole, but it was worth watching because that character (Loki) was really fascinating.” This, perhaps, is the one potential advantage to creating a string of serialized movies–there’s the opportunity to create more multi-faceted, three-dimensional characters that can carry movies with their personalities even when everything else about a movie is forgettable.

Arrietty’s Angle

I enjoyed Thor: The Dark World.  Although the film’s story is far from extraordinary, thanks to its characters, it makes a fun and worthwhile movie.  After watching more and more superhero movies, I have come to realize that an excellent villain is key to a good movie.  For example, Captain America has a great protagonist and a passable story, but because its villain is underdeveloped and flat, the movie was unremarkable.  The makers of Thor have managed to avoid this flaw, for they have crafted one of the greatest super-villains ever:  Loki.  With his double-sided nature, illusions, deceptions, slipperiness, and smiles, Loki captures the viewer’s attention and catches one off-guard almost all the time.  When the movie’s over, it’s Loki that keeps one wondering, “Why did he do that?”  Loki’s the most interesting character in the movie, and I’m always hoping he’ll reform.  Some movie-goers may watch this movie for the story, for Thor, for Jane Foster, for its CGI, or maybe just because they love superhero films, but I think Loki provides a better reason for seeing this movie than anything else.