Category Archives: thor

Thor The Dark World

Thor The Dark World ~ Any Marvel movie at this point is an event, not just a promised blockbuster, but a legitimate mainstream event. Everyone wants to see the next big Marvel movie, and with the news this past week of Netflix’s picking up five different Marvel Comics projects as live action additions to their streaming own line-up that includes “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black,” and “Arrested Development,” the next Marvel movie is big, and that movie is Thor The Dark World, a movie so big, it opened alone this weekend.

One thing I was happy to see, that even though the Marvel superheroes are now part of everyday pop culture and even your grandmom is aware of Thor, the powers that be aren’t afraid to mine the source material for ideas rather than going off on a weird Hollywood tangent. One of the best Thor runs in the comics, other than the classic Stan Lee/Jack Kirby originals, would be the Walt Simonson run in the 1980s. Simonson did so much in his short run. He brought the character back to his roots, removed Don Blake from the equation, turned our hero into a frog, froze the planet, brought on both Surtur and the Midgard Serpent – and he also created Malekith and Kurse.

These two new characters were among the most powerful and dangerous the god of thunder had ever fought in the comics, making them more than adequate fodder for movie villains. I was more than pleased with former Doctor Christopher Eccleston as Malekith and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje from HBO’s “Oz” as Kurse, but I just wish they had had more to do and less make-up, as they’re both terrific actors. In both cases, Kurse more so, the make up hindered their performances.

Sadly, what I said about source material goes by the wayside quite quickly. In the comics, Malekith releases Surtur and opens the Cask of Ancient Winters amongst other evils, but here, it is a mysterious aether that is the MacGuffin and magical weapon of choice. I really got the sense, especially when seeing that a different group of folks wrote the screenplay than wrote the story, that this was a plot from something else that had been transplanted into this Thor movie – sort of like how 1987’s Masters of the Universe flick was a rewritten abandoned New Gods script.

Nevertheless, I like Thor The Dark World quite a bit. The cast was back in full force, and Chris Hemsworth seemed more comfortable in the title role this time, Natalie Portman was not as annoying, and as always Tom Hiddleston steals the show as Loki. I did think Anthony Hopkins looked a bit tired, and I was glad to see Idris Elba getting more screen time as Heimdall. I like Kat Dennings more every time I see her, sigh, I guess I’ll have to break down and watch that “2 Broke Girls” show. I was also delighted to see Chris O’Dowd, as well as (spoilers) Chris Evans.

I really enjoyed the movie, despite it sorta taking a lighter, more Avengers tone than the first Kenneth Branaugh directed film. I liked the new language of the Dark Elves, I liked their spaceships, and their weapons, especially the space warp bombs. It was a bit of a distraction to have guns going ‘pew-pew’ and I freely admit to saying out loud at one point, “Coruscant is under attack, where’re the Jedis?” Now, that said, the first movie made a concerted effort to explain that Asgard was not magic, but technology so advanced it appeared to be magic, so this does fit the Marvel Cinematic continuity.

Thor The Dark World was really cool, I’d see it again, and I’ll definitely get it for home viewing when it comes out. I didn’t think it needed much improvement, but female friends we ran into after the flick, as well as The Bride, all commented on the same thing regarding Chris Hemsworth. More bare chest. And butt, more butt. On that note, don’t forget to stay for the after credits stingers, this time there are two.

The Potato That Slices You!

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for the Week of 7-25-2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the area’s best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (Black Hand) Evans, Allison (Hit-Girl) Eckel, and Glenn (Bad Hair) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week’s special costume and cover episode includes: Superman #11, Teen Titans #11, The Flash #11, Savage Hawkman #11, Aquaman #11, Firestorm #11, obscure comics trivia, Green Lantern and Batman this week, Justice League Dark #11, Avengers and X-Men this week, X-Treme X-Men #1, Mighty Thor #17, Incredible Hulk #11, Deadpool #58, Hit-Girl #2 (well used), Angel and Faith #12, media tie-in comics, Axe Cop President of the World #1, Zenescope bad-girls-o-rama, Allison’s kids comics including the Super Pets, Adventure Time toys, and trades.

Be sure to check out the wacky new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

Special thanks go to Dina Evans who keeps us all in line, and on the straight and narrow, as well as running the show from behind the scenes.

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Get off my lawn!

Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman ~ I was really unsure what to expect when I went to see this flick. What I did not expect was to be one of the few males in the audience. Much like when I saw Wolverine, this was a chick flick judging by the audience. I don’t want to be sexist, but I’m guessing it was all about Chris Hemsworth, especially based on the number of negative comments I heard leaving the theater by women angry that he did not take his shirt off. He was pretty good in the film although he didn’t really have much to do with Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart eating up the scenery the way they did.

Theron rocks the house as Ravenna the Evil Queen in this reimagining of the Snow White story. This is her film, no doubt, even though it really should be Stewart’s or Hemsworth’s. And I know it’s early, but wait until Oscar time, I think we’ll see a nod for costumes and make-up for this flick. Charlize wears some outfits in this flick, she’s like Cher from hell. I loved it.

Kristen Stewart is a major problem for me here. She’s never impressed me, even in the Twilight flicks where she is supposed to rule. My major problem here? The whole idea of the Queen asking the mirror who the prettiest, and the mirror picking Snow White over the Evil Queen. I don’t buy it even for a second. I’m not being subjective here, but there is just no way Stewart beats Theron in this movie in the looks department. It’s just not believable.

I liked the dwarves, in that they were played by well-known actors. Cool to see Nick Frost, Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, and Toby Jones among them. They were CGIed into dwarven bodies a la Lord of the Rings, which some of this movie resembles, and not in a good way. On the other hand, part of me kinda wishes however they would have gone with little people actors like they did in Mirror Mirror than doing it this way. Seems like they’re putting little people out of work, and in a worse light, it kinda feels like white folks putting on black face, ya know?

There are a great many things to enjoy about this film. One of them is the dark forest which is scarier by far than any depiction of any dark forest I’ve seen cinematically ever. And of course I loved the song over the closing credits, “Breath of Life” by Florence + The Machine, for once a perfect song matched to a flick.

But then there are things that infuriate me as well, like the loose ends and unanswered questions, regarding the troll and the mirror for instance. There was more to tell, perhaps we’ll see it in the deleted scenes of the DVD maybe. I also disliked the big LotR battle at the end, this didn’t seem to be that kind of movie. And that’s the problem, I don’t think the folks behind the scenes knew what kind of movie they wanted to make.

In the end, it’s visually stunning, but otherwise meh. Definitely worth seeing, but maybe more worth waiting for video release or OnDemand.

The Avengers

Marvel’s The Avengers ~ I think I need to inform folks where I’m coming from on this one. One could say I’ve been waiting for this movie for over forty years easily. I learned to read on comic books, thanks to my cool big sister. First there was Batman, obviously influenced by the 1960s TV show, then I started reading my brother’s Flash and Justice League. I was solidly a DC Comics guy as you can see, and then I discovered the Avengers. It would be quite some time before I became a regular Marvel reader but I knew instantly this was a different kind of comic. Avengers became one of my favorite comics, even today. So much so did I love the Avengers that for almost a decade I regularly reviewed the title online. Yeah, I’m a hardcore Avenger-phile. This movie is a little kid’s dream come true.

In another sense, you could say I’ve been waiting for this movie realistically, and hopefully, since the end credits of Iron Man. Can I express my elation the first time I saw those few seconds when Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury wanted to talk to Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man about the ‘Avengers Initiative’? No, I can’t. I am as speechless now as I was in 2008.

Who would have thought Marvel Comics/Marvel Studios could have pulled this off? Not only have they created a cinematic continuity, a movie universe as tight and intriguing as their comics universe, they also changed the way we watch movies. Does anyone (at least anyone who knows) not stay until the final credits any more. This is something that John Hughes used to do for a gag. It’s something the James Bond films used to do to reveal the title of the next installment. Marvel has made it a genre-wide trick of the trade. You stay until the screen has no more light, period.

Speaking of James Bond, the other achievement Marvel has taken on is the building of a successful movie franchise – the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of which The Avengers is the seventh, or the sixth, depending on whether you count Ang Lee’s Hulk or not. I think all of this would have been impossible without Iron Man, and especially Robert Downey Jr. Downey is the secret weapon, the gateway drug, if you will. Without Downey, I doubt that this film would be as mainstream as it is. It’s not just comic book folks who are seeing this movie, it’s everybody. Comics aren’t just for nerds anymore, or at least comic book movies aren’t. This weekend’s box office, threatening to become the biggest opening ever, is proof of that.

Besides Downey as Iron Man, and Jackson as super spy Nick Fury, Chris Evans returns as the title role from Captain America The First Avenger, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, along with Oscar winner Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye from that same film, and Scarlet Johansson returns in her role as the Black Widow from Iron Man 2. Unfortunately, negotiations broke down with The Incredible Hulk‘s Ed Norton, so the role of Doctor Bruce Banner is more than adequately filled by Mark Ruffalo. As much as I like and liked Norton in the role, I like Ruffalo even more. This is a good thing.

Also returning from the previous Marvel Cinematic Universe flicks are Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, Stellan Skarsgard as Erik Selvig from Thor, Gwenyth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Paul Bettany as Jarvis in the Iron Man films, and of course the big bad, Thor’s brother Loki, as played by Tom Hiddleston. Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster from Thor is mentioned but unseen. Cobie Smoulders is the perfect Maria Hill and although uncredited and only doing one very funny and wonderful line of dialogue, Lou Ferrigno voices the completely CGI Hulk. It is a stellar cast, top notch all the way, and all of the primaries – the Avengers, Fury, Loki, and the rest shine like stars when on screen. All are skillfully performed.

If I had to find fault, if I absolutely had to find a flaw in the film (other than characters or storylines I would want to see) it would be the lack of character development. But even that’s not a flaw. The four majors have had at least one movie each to explore that before we got to this point. We get sweet spotlights on the two Avengers without movies, Hawkeye and the Black Widow, displaying their talents and personalities, and Nick Fury will have his own film upcoming for us to delve more into his character. So really, on that point I can’t complain. What is really great about this is all of them come to this film fully formed. Especially in the cases of Captain America and Thor, their movies were essentially origin stories, now, here in Avengers we get to see what they can really do. These are not flaws.

I will try not to give away plot points, or any of the Easter eggs found in the film, but I will give director and co-writer Joss Whedon and his co-writer Zak Penn all the props possible for creating what is, without a doubt, the best superhero movie ever made, period. Let’s see Whedon have a Wonder Woman script or a “Firefly” sequel turned down in Hollywood now. The man, to borrow the line from Titanic, is the king of the world today. Everything was perfect, from the characters to the dialogue, the special effects, the humor, right down to the two (count ’em, two) after-credits scenes, one of which will be having fanboys and girls squeeing with delight. Marvel’s The Avengers is awesome.

The little kid in me who was mesmerized by his first Avengers comic book more than forty years ago was spellbound in the theatre. From Project Pegasus to the Black Forest to the SHIELD Helicarrier to downtown Manhattan, the Avengers were truly Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on the big screen. The first confrontations between the heroes, and the heroes and the villains, are well done and believable, not just slugfest for the fun of slugfest. When Captain America confronts Loki in Germany, I had a lump in my throat, I was like, “It’s the real Captain America.” The scene is that good.

The special effects are stunning. I love the way Thor’s hammer always returns to him, and his effects are perfect. Cap’s superhero costume, which I initially thought would look silly works wonderfully. If there’s anything cooler than the SHIELD Helicarrier, it’s the battle on board the SHIELD Helicarrier. Non-believers will see why Hawkeye is one of the coolest Avengers. The interaction between the characters is priceless, and in the final battle, their teamwork whether all together or in smaller teams is right out of the comics. It’s beautiful.

I will probably see Marvel’s The Avengers again a few more times in the theatre before it comes to Blu-Ray and DVD. Yeah, it’s that good. The 3D effects are good, but let’s keep in mind it still looks amazing in 2D, so you don’t have to sell blood to see it. Highly recommended. A definite must see for comics and non-comics fans alike. This is the movie of 2012.

Avengers Assemble!

Apparently the Superbowl was last night. Some folks were excited about the commercials. Some folks were excited about Madonna. Rumor has it there was even a pretty good football game last night. I didn’t notice, especially seeing how neither the Philadelphia Eagles nor the Dallas Cowboys were involved. But I watched last night’s Super Bowl too, but for none of the above – I watched it for The Avengers!

Yeah, baby! I absolutely can not wait until May fourth! Avengers Assemble!

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The Office-Bound Pokemon Tournament Allison-less Final 2011 Edition of the All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for 12-28-2011

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live in a real comics and gaming store in West Berlin, NJ – All Things Fun! – co-hosts Ed (X-Man) Evans, Allison (she’ll be back next week) Eckel and Glenn (Avenger) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in two fun video segments, now in high definition, and also available on YouTube. See it here!

The first segment includes discussion of the following topics: Trapped in the backroom, Green Lantern New Guardians #4, Teen Titans #4, Flash # by Francis Manapul, Savage Hawkman #4, Voodoo #4, Batman Dark Knight #4, Aquaman #4, DC Universe Legends #20, Vertigo, the X-Men titles, the Avengers books of the week including Young, Secret and Solo, and more Captain America than you can swing a shield at.

The discussion continues in segment two including: Forever Lazy, Black Panther #527, Matt Fraction’s Mighty Thor #9, Archie meets KISS part two, Dungeons & Dragons #14, Star Trek #4, Buffy season 9 Angel and Faith #5, Max Damage vs. Plutonian is coming, Kirby Genesis Captain Victory #2 by Sterling Gates, Crossed Badlands Opening Salvo, booty of Mars, Mice Templar Book 6, Kick-Ass 2 #6, Sonic the Hedgehog #232, TMNT Micro-series Michelangelo #2, and awesome goodies I wish I’d gotten for Christmas.

Be sure to check out the terrific new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

And be back here every Wednesday morning at 11:30 AM EST to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

And don’t forget to check out highlights from our live Christmas Eve Eve vidcast here!

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Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers

Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers ~ This Marvel Knights motion comics disc production is based on the miniseries of the same name written by Robert Rodi and beautifully rendered by Esad Ribic. It’s an amazing comic, perhaps Rodi’s best, and he’s a man who not only knows comics but is a terrific talent as well. The words and images are pure brilliance on the page, however, unfortunately, it does not translate well to this format in my opinion.

What works on the static page doesn’t come across in the same way in motion. Loki’s monologues are long and tedious here, some of the art almost ugly in movement as it was beautiful still. What was a luxurious and entertaining read is a slow and boring watch. So much so that after a while all I wanted was for Thor to hit something, anything, as long as it made Loki shut up.

Two thumbs down on this motion comic, but two solidly thumbs up for the real comic. This is proof that sometimes the source material in its original form is superior. Check out the comic, forget the motion.

The motion comic is nowhere near as cool as the above trailer…

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Fear Itself at Biff Bam Pop!

Today I’m guest-blogging over at Biff Bam Pop! about the latest big crossover event to come from Marvel Comics – Fear Itself.

You can check out “Fear Itself, Or Why I Don’t Like Crossovers” by clicking here. And please feel free to peruse the rest of the site while you’re there. Biff Bam Pop! has all the latest and coolest in movies, music, comics and pop culture.

And special thanks to Andrew Burns for putting this together, thanks, man!

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Thor

Thor ~ This Marvel Comics film is one of conflicts and contrasts, most of them terrific. If you loved the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby comics, and even the Lee and John Buscema comics, you will be swept up in a world conjured by those stories. Some of the themes and explanations have changed, but unlike a lot of things the DC Comics have done, these changes are for story logic.

There’s a rough beginning where astrophysicist Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster (an odd job change for her character but it works in the context) is looking for an anomaly and ends up hitting Thor with her car. When we’re hooked, we’re hit with the real beginning. The wonderfully cast Anthony Hopkins as Odin clues us in to the origins of the Norse gods as beings of superior science and technology, which we perceive as gods and magic. We meet the family, his sons Thor, about to ascend the throne, and his darker brother Loki.

More great casting comes with their friends the Warriors Three. I love Josh Dallas who is the de facto substitute for Cary Elwes in parts the original is too old and chunky for. The main roles of Loki and Thor are also perfect cast. Tom Hiddleston has the correct slinkiness and sneakiness in his voice and physical stature. And nobody else could ever have played Thor better than Chris Hemsworth in my opinion.

There is one bit of casting that seems to have caused a controversy in some dark corners of our world, and that is Idris Elba as Heimdall. Some racists have made a big fuss about the character being African-American. Now if these were truly Norse gods, one could make the argument that the Norse would perceive their gods as like themselves, as in white skin. But it should be noted in the context of the movie, the Asgardians are not Norse, they may not even be human, and can be of whatever race. Just because the Norse thought Heimdall was white doesn’t mean he is. Add to this Elba’s amazing performance, and I have no problems at all.

It’s just like Lawrence Fishbourne being cast as Perry White in The Man of Steel. There’s nothing that says he isn’t, or can’t be. I think there are a small handful of characters who are definitely of one race or another. Established African-American characters can’t really be white. For instance you just couldn’t do it with the Black Panther or Black Lightning (and not just because of the names), but Blade could very well be portrayed as white. Of course you will get an argument from me on Wonder Woman. Sorry, Beyonce, but Wonder Woman is Greek. But enough on this sidetrack, suffice it to say, Idris Elba’s Heimdall is one of the highpoints of the flick.

Once Odin’s explanation of the universe is over we move to a very special occasion – Thor becoming his replacement as king of Asgard. The ceremony is ruined by a break-in by some Frost Giants trying to steal back the Casket of Ancient Winters. Thor wants to attack the Frost Giants and start a war, and his father disagrees, seeing this as a bad kingly decision. Like a good spoiled brat prince, Thor gets his brother and his friends together, and off they go to Jotunheim to rumble with the Frost Giants.

This is Lee/Kirby/Buscema made live on the big screen. This sequence is among the best of the flick. I love it and can watch it over and over again. I know the story of Thor is him on Earth, but man oh man, what I wouldn’t give for a Thor in Asgard chilling and killing with his friends movie. Note should be made of the movie Asgard. The realm Eternal is a glorious place, not necessarily that of the comics, but a beautiful vision of futuristic and mythic society. Comparisons could be made to the cityscapes of the first Star Wars trilogy (one of the few things I liked about those movies). And take note, DC Comics, the awe inspired by Asgard is what viewers should have felt when they saw Oa in the Green Lantern film.

After attacking the Frost Giants, Odin has had it with his spoiled brat of a son, and banishes him to Earth to learn humility, just like in the comics, and we come full circle in our movie story. Following a weird light anomaly in the sky, Jane Foster – along with her scientist friend Erik played by Stellan Skarsgard and her intern Darcy (Kat Dennings) – whacks our exiled thunder god with her car. Some great fish out of water scenes follow, and we soon learn that the first anomaly Jane detected was Thor’s hammer falling from the sky as shown in the post-credits scene in Iron Man 2. Nice continuity there, Marvel.

Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster is a bit of an anomaly herself, going from nurse in the comics to astrophysicist here. The job change needed for both story logic and because Thor’s human alter-ego of Dr. Donald Blake doesn’t really exist in this tale, although the name does pop up as an Easter egg for comics fans. Jane really only exists here as a romantic foil for Thor. Her mentor has all the keys and her intern does all the work. I would have rather had Jane have all the answers and the intern be her sounding board. Skarsgard wasn’t really needed here. Please give me strong women in the movies made from the comics, if not the comics, ya know? Jane Foster could have been that character.

There are great scenes at the hammer drop site of folks trying to lift it, including one with creator Stan Lee. While Thor plays fish out of water on Earth, and SHIELD takes over the hammer site, Loki takes over the throne of Asgard. Loki also sets his sights on bringing all the realms to their knees, and sends the Destroyer to, what else, destroy Thor. Also, Avengers fans, don’t miss the fifteen second cameo by Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye the Marksman. When the Warriors Three come to Earth, it’s total coolness, though I wish more had been made of it. The same goes with the battle with the Destroyer. When the only real complaint one can have is that I wish there was more of it, that’s a good thing. When is Thor 2 again? And, geekgasm, how about a Lady Sif and the Warriors Three movie?

Things are beginning to resemble a Thor comic at this point, and that’s a good thing – because it works. Director Kenneth Branagh has succeeded in repeating the magic with which Jon Favreau brought Iron Man to the big screen. He brings what made the comics special to the screen. Thor is near perfect. Along with the original Iron Man and Captain America which followed Thor in July, it’s a perfect trinity of Marvel’s greatest characters.

This bodes well for 2012’s Avengers movie. And speaking of which, don’t forget, as with all Marvel movies, don’t forget to watch the post-credits sequence with more foreshadowing of the Avengers film. Thor is easily one of the top ten, perhaps top five, superhero movies of all time, do not miss.

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