Tag Archives: Chris Hemsworth

Extraction (2020) Review

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Extraction

Time: 116 Minutes
Cast:
Chris Hemsworth as Tyler Rake
Rudhraksh Jaiswal as Ovi Mahajan
Randeep Hooda as Saju
Golshifteh Farahani as Nik Khan
Pankaj Tripathi as Ovi Mahajan Sr.
David Harbour as Gaspar
Director: Sam Hargrave

A black-market mercenary (Chris Hemsworth) who has nothing to lose is hired to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord. But in the murky underworld of weapons dealers and drug traffickers, an already deadly mission approaches the impossible.

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Extraction was a movie I heard about for a little bit. I knew it was an action movie from Netflix starring Chris Hemsworth and produced by the Russo Brothers. While I haven’t had a close look at it or seen any of the trailers, it didn’t interest me very much. With the brief glances I had of it, combined with the reactions, it looked like another throwaway Netflix movie that happened to star a big Hollywood actor. Nonetheless I checked it out, just out of curiosity, and it turned out better than I thought it would be, I enjoyed it despite there not really being a lot to it.

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Plot is simple enough and nothing you haven’t seen before. The script is written by Joe Russo, and it’s not really all that good. It’s pretty familiar to that of other action thrillers, and is fairly predictable. There isn’t much to the characters, it’s not that sort of movie. Even Chris Hemsworth as the lead is the typical mercenary character seen in action movies, one who starts off only being interested in the job of saving a drug lord’s child for the money, and you can probably predict where how he’ll be by the end of the movie. Some people have called Extraction yet another white saviour flick, and they’re not really wrong, it’s a valid criticism. Extraction is also one of those modern movies that occupies the weird space between thrillers that are dark, gritty and brutal, and those that are absurd and over the top. Extraction is a movie where the lead character called Tyler Rake kills two men in the same scene with a rake. At the same time though, it also exists in a movie which has a scene where a drug lord has a child thrown off a balcony, and tries to make another cut off their own fingers. I’m not really sure that the two approaches mesh all that well. Even the moments when they try to be serious don’t always work, and overall it probably would’ve been better to lean into the more over the top action side.

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Chris Hemsworth is very much the lead of this movie, and he is quite good on his part. As previously said, his character is very typical, but Hemsworth added a lot with his performance. He’s also very convincing physically in the action sections. The rest of the cast work well enough too. There is another person that Hemsworth’s character is up against played by Randeep Hooda (who’s also trying to get the kid that Hemsworth is looking to ‘extract’ too), and he does quite a lot in his screentime. Other cast members like Golshifteh Farahani and David Harbour also do well enough in their roles.

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This is Sam Hargrave’s first film as a director, previously he was an actor and a stunt coordinator. Extraction is a reasonably good debut for him. Now I honestly didn’t know what to expect with the action going in, this being a Netflix movie and all. However, the action is definitely the movie’s biggest strength. It’s well filmed, the stunt work is great, and you can see everything that’s happening on screen. It’s brutal too, for some it may be too much and indeed some had an issue with it, but I ate that all up. The highlight is a 12 minute sequence which is made to look like its filmed in one tracking shot. Yes you can probably figure that it was done with some trick photography and splicing shots together, but it is nonetheless impressive, and a real thrill to watch. Something that has been pointed out about the movie since Extraction’s release was the yellow filter put over the scenes in Bangladesh. Now the whole movie isn’t like this, but it is annoying, and I don’t know why Extraction or a lot of other movies do this.

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Extraction was better than I expected, the acting is good, and action is directed incredibly well and is very entertaining. It is still has an average script and is overall a pretty forgettable action flick that doesn’t do anything that you haven’t seen before. But if you’re up for a violent action movie, check out Extraction at some point.

Men in Black International (2019) Review

Time: 114 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Science fiction themes & violence
Cast:
Chris Hemsworth as Henry/Agent H
Tessa Thompson as Molly Wright/Agent M
Kumail Nanjiani as Pawny (voice)
Liam Neeson as High T
Rafe Spall as Agent C
Rebecca Ferguson as Riza Stavros
Laurent and Larry Bourgeois as The Twins
Emma Thompson as Agent O
Director: F. Gary Gray

The Men in Black have expanded to cover the globe but so have the villains of the universe. To keep everyone safe, decorated Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) and determined rookie M (Tessa Thompson) join forces — an unlikely pairing that just might work. When aliens that can take the form of any human arrive on Earth, H and M embark on a globe-trotting adventure to save the agency — and ultimately the world — from their mischievous plans.

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Men in Black International was a movie I was cautiously optimistic about. The idea of making a Men in Black movie and not having the iconic duo of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith seemed like a disaster. With that said, Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth were the leads, and they seemed to be a good pairing, especially as the two have worked together before. Additionally, the movie has Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson and more. On top of that, at least it was expanding on the Men in Black universe instead of flat out being a remake/reboot of the original movie. Even though the trailers looked a little generic and familiar, I was willing to give it a chance. Men in Black International is one of those movies that’s incredibly just above average in just about every aspect. There’s not a lot here that’s actually bad, but there’s not a lot here that’s good either.

The plot is reasonably easy to follow but you’re not really invested in it, or its characters despite their performances. It doesn’t even necessarily feel like a Men in Black movie, more like a modern blockbuster with a Men in Black skin. Much of the writing and especially the humour certainly feels like it’s from a passable sci-fi flick released today. As for the humour, it isn’t embarrassingly bad, but more often than not it misses than actually hits. It starts off a little rough too, jumping back a couple years for a scene with Chris Hemsworth and Liam Neeson, jumping back even further with Tessa Thompson’s character as a child, before then jumping back to the present. Then there’s the whole bit about Thompson finding the MIB and somehow convincing them to make her an agent which I didn’t completely buy. After that point the movie picks up a little. There’s also a twist that happened, and somehow I managed to figure it out months ago before learning that the movie actually had a twist at all. By the time the first act is over, it’s incredibly obvious what it is, it’s honestly kind of embarrassing how easy it is to figure it out. It’s not necessarily a major issue, but it goes to show how familiar the plot is. In terms of what it actually adds to the Men in Black universe, it’s in a new setting, and I guess you get some new gadgets/weapons in a couple scenes. However, it honestly feels like they did the bare minimum with the plot, kind of a wasted opportunity.

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth are the leads, and while they don’t rival Smith and Jones they are charismatic and likable, and among the better aspects of the movie. They really end up carrying much of the movie. Other cast members like Kumail Nanjiani (voicing an alien), Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson (reprising her role from the last movie), Rafe Spall and Rebecca Ferguson do alright in their roles. The villains aren’t really bad but nothing memorable either. Also I should probably mention that there’s no cameo from Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, so don’t wait through the credits expecting a scene with them, because that doesn’t happen.

After the opening credits and the movie starts, you can definitely tell this movie was not made by original Men in Black director Barry Sonnefeld. International is directed more as a much more modern and conventional action movie. F. Gary Gray directed The Italian Job remake, Law Abiding Citizen, Straight Outta Compton and The Fate of the Furious, and now it’s him who’s directing this movie. He’s a pretty good director and to be fair his work on Men in Black International isn’t necessarily bad, but it lacks style and personality. The visual effects are pretty good, again typical blockbuster effects but better than those in the previous movies. The alien designs are fine but at the same time they’re a little basic. There’s very little that’s impressive, just reasonably competent.

Men in Black International is just okay. Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth and the rest of the cast are pretty good, and the visual effects and action is decent, but outside of that there’s not much to really say about the movie. The plot is fine, the direction is fine, it’s competently made, it’s rather forgettable, and there are very little surprises. It’s a reasonably entertaining 2 hours of your time but nothing more than that. If you’re a fan of the movies, then maybe it’s worth a watch, but don’t expect a lot going in.

Avengers: Endgame (2019) Review

Time: 183 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man
Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Danai Gurira as Okoye
Benedict Wong as Wong
Jon Favreau as Harold “Happy” Hogan
Bradley Cooper as Rocket
Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts
Josh Brolin as Thanos
Director: Anthony and Joe Russo

Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) sends a message to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers – Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) — must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos (Josh Brolin) — the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe.

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Avengers: Endgame was not only one of my most anticipated movies of 2019, it was also one of the most anticipated movies of all time. It’s the conclusion of an 11 year long story arc and it had a lot it needed to pay off on. Infinity War surprised me with how much they pulled off considering all the hype, however I said back then that whether or not it’ll hold up will depend on the follow up, Endgame. It could easily just reverse the impact that Infinity War had, making so much of that movie feel inconsequential. However, Endgame not only makes some of the other MCU movies better, it is by far the best movie in the MCU to date, and a more than satisfying conclusion to the main MCU storyline.

There are a lot of surprises in Endgame, so I will keep my description of the movie very vague. It’s been said that the trailer footage would only show the first 15 minutes of the movie, and for the most part that is true, it does not go at all how you think it would be in the first half hour alone, and the marketing managed to hide a lot of the movie. The movie is 3 hours long and personally I was actually invested in the characters and story from start to finish. I also thought the pacing was actually really good, Infinity War’s pacing doesn’t give you a chance to breathe, for better or for worse. Endgame on the other hand takes its time with its story (it definitely helps that it doesn’t have to focus on as many characters all in one movie), but isn’t too slow either. Make no mistake, while there definitely are big action sequences, it takes its time with its story and characters. It’s surprisingly one of the most character driven MCU movies, with most of the major characters going through their own arcs, in fact there wasn’t any clear weak link with the characters. You also really feel the incredibly high stakes throughout. Most of the MCU movies feel like no major character is going to die or that there are going to be major repercussions, but with Endgame you are on edge the entire time. The first hour is very sombre, the pacing is going to not work for some but I still loved it. I might have a different opinion the next time I see it, but I felt like every scene was necessary and really did a good job at humanising our main characters, in some cases much more than previous MCU appearances have done. If you found the first act to be too slow, the second hour is when the movie really picks up. Yes, there is a lot of fanservice, but with it being the last movie, a lot of these moments are earned, and I really had fun with all of them. As this is a MCU movie you can expect quite a bit of comedy thrown in and most of it works in Endgame, not taking away too much from the seriousness of the situations. There are multiple story bits that might not entirely make sense and you can really nitpick certain plot details if you want to, but it’s the kind of thing you’ll just have to roll with. I know that some people will be taking issues with the ‘plot holes’ but personally I didn’t have too many issues with it.

The third hour is also one of the all time best comic book movie third acts. All I will say is that if you remembered how great Thor’s entrance in the Wakanda battle in Infinity War was, there are plenty of even better moments in Endgame. The third act and movie ends some characters’ story arcs, while leaving others for expansion, and it was all done very well. Yes, you do need to see all the other movies in order to get the full experience, however that’s what makes the MCU stand apart from other cinematic universes. Not many cinematic universes have over 10 films all building and tying into each other, let alone 22 of them. It even ties together little elements from other MCU movies, even making some of the previous movies even better. It may not be the last MCU movie, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping any time soon, however this really does feel like the conclusion to the main story arc, and you could easily stop watching the series here and be perfectly satisfied with how it ends. Since we are talking about endings, no, there aren’t any credits scenes. Nonetheless I do recommend sticking around for the credits of the cast before leaving at the very least.

The cast all bring their A game to their roles, most of whom give the best performances as their characters. First, with the main trio, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, giving possibly their best outings as their characters (certainly in the case of Downey and Evans), you really see how far each character has come from their first film appearance. Downey’s Tony Stark is particularly a standout from the case, it’s not really a surprise but he is truly great here. I was wondering what was going to happen with Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk. Pretty much everyone agrees that he was the weakest link in Infinity War, and I was very disappointed by his use in that film as most of the time he just felt like the butt of many jokes. Thankfully I can say that he is back to being really good in Endgame. It wasn’t quite what I initially expected and it will be initially jarring for some people but I really liked what they did with his character and was a logical enough next step for the character. Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner also give their best performances as Black Widow and Hawkeye respectively. One of the big surprises was Paul Rudd as Ant Man, he was one of the most natural players from the main group, especially with the humour but also with the emotion, he fit in so well into the group of Avengers. Don Cheadle’s War Machine is a character that’s always good in the movies he appears in but he’s often sidelined, here though he gets to play a significant part in one of the plotlines and they really gave him a lot to do. Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), who is the last of the Guardians of the Galaxy, also works well in the group, as does surprisingly Karen Gillan’s Nebula. With the exception of her villainous role in the first Guardians of the Galaxy, in her previous appearances she’s only been defined by her relationship with Thanos, and has come across as a bit weak as a character. In Endgame she’s given a lot more to her character and they develop her quite a bit. The newest addition to the MCU, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel is also here. Despite having a significant role, she’s actually not in the movie as much as you’d think she is. Still she does good in the scenes that she’s in. One of my worries about her is that she’d overshadow the rest of the Avengers and be the simple solution to Endgame since she’s significantly more powerful that them, thankfully the focus is still on the main Avengers while she gets to have her OP moments. As for Josh Brolin’s Thanos, unlike Infinity War it’s not really his movie so you don’t get as much of him, but he’s still just as powerful and menacing whenever he’s on screen, and once again the performance and visual effects are just as good. There is a take on a major character which I know is going to divide some people (I won’t say who it is, when you watch you’ll know who it is pretty quickly). All I can say without revealing too much is that it was played a little too much for comedy at certain points (however I get the feeling that my audience misinterpreted certain serious moments as being comedic instead), but his story arc still worked well enough for his character and I overall liked the direction they went in.

Infinity War was really well put together by The Russo Brothers and Endgame is no exception, everything feels like they’re on such a large and epic scale. The visual effects in Infinity War were stunning, but Endgame takes it to a whole other level. I’ll have to watch it again but I don’t remember any glaringly bad CGI moments like most comic book movies occasionally have. While there aren’t as many action sequences as you’d think there’d be, they are really great. The third act particularly is truly spectacular. The score by Alan Silvestri (who has now done ¾ of the scores for the Avengers movies) is really good as to be expected and elevated the movie even more.

Avengers: Endgame is an emotionally satisfying conclusion of a conclusion 22 films and 11 years in the making. The cast and characters all do fantastic work, with everyone’s story arcs executed in a very satisfying way, it’s a large scale epic yet character driven at the same time, it’s astounding that they managed to pull it off this well. It is legitimately one of the best comic book movies made, and I don’t say that too often. I feel like with so much in this movie, I’ll need to watch it again so I can fully process it fully. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid spoilers this long and not watched it yet, go into the movie knowing next to nothing. I’d be surprised if Endgame is still not one of my favourites of the year by the time 2019 is over.

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) Review

Time: 141 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Jeff Bridges as Daniel Flynn
Cynthia Erivo as Darlene Sweet
Dakota Johnson as Emily Summerspring
Jon Hamm as Seymour ‘Laramie’ Sullivan
Cailee Spaeny as Rose Summerspring
Lewis Pullman as Miles Miller
Chris Hemsworth as Billy Lee
Nick Offerman as Felix O’Kelly
Director: Drew Goddard

The El Royale is run-down hotel that sits on the border between California and Nevada. It soon becomes a seedy battleground when seven strangers — a cleric (Jeff Bridges), a soul singer (Cynthia Erivo), a traveling salesman (Jon Hamm), two sisters (Dakota Johnson, Cailee Spaeny), the manager and the mysterious Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth) — converge on a fateful night for one last shot at redemption before everything goes wrong.

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I had been hearing about Bad Times at the El Royale for a while. I heard of the cast, with Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm and Chris Hemsworth among others. However, what really got my interested was when I heard that Drew Goddard was writing and directing this. Goddard on top of writing Cloverfield and The Martian, also directed and co-wrote The Cabin in the Woods. I was interested to see how this movie would be with this cast and director. I actually ended up liking Bad Times at the El Royale a lot more than I thought I would. With its killer cast, twisty story and writing, I really dug it and I was on board with it from start to finish.

Like with The Cabin in the Woods, Bad Times at the El Royale is better experienced when you know as little as possible. The movie for a lot of it is split up into different sections, for example a title card saying ‘Room 1’ would come up and then it would focus on that character in that room and their backstory. Because of this structure, this will lead to some find the movie to drag and I can see why some people would feel that way. It’s just what comes from having this kind of structure, personally it didn’t bother me at all, the pacing was fine enough for me. Every character has their own story and the movie finds some way of tying it all together. There are some questions that aren’t entirely answered, some of them are purposely left ambiguous, but I feel like there are some other answers that I would’ve liked to have seen. I will say that it does get better more you think about it, as there are some connections in the movie that I didn’t pick up until the following day. Bad Times at the El Royale is a long movie at 2 hours and 20 minutes long but as I said I never felt bored throughout its running time.

As previously mentioned, this movie has a great cast and all of them bring their A game to their roles. We have Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Lewis Pulman, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, Cailee Spaeny and even a little bit of Nick Offerman, all great. With almost all of them we get to see things about their characters (although I would’ve liked to have seen a little more of Jon Hamm). Jeff Bridges gives a pretty great performance as a priest who doesn’t seem like much of a priest. Bad Times is Cynthia Erivo’s big screen debut and she’s a Tony Winning actress and singer, she’s really great here. She’s probably the most trustworthy and likable character out of the main cast and she does really well here. I can’t wait to see her in this year’s Widows. Lewis Pullman is also quite good, as someone who pretty much runs everything in the hotel. He doesn’t seem like much at first but he really ends up being a real surprise. You don’t see a massive amount of Chris Hemsworth till like the last act but he steals the show when he’s on screen, its quite a different role for him, with him being a cult leader and he absolutely pulls it off.

Drew Goddard’s direction is very stylish and great, really working for the movie. At the same time it’s not so stylish that it’s self indulgent or distracts from the rest of the movie, its just at the right level. The cinematography, lighting, the set design and the use of music is great, you really feel (for the most part) like you’re with these characters just around this hotel with a late 60s vibe.

I had a lot of fun with Bad Times at the El Royale. It’s an entertaining mystery thriller, with a talented cast delivering great performances and has some really nice surprises throughout. It might not end up being for everyone, it does have a slower pace and I kind of wished it had some more surprises and answers but it really worked well for me.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Review

Time: 149 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange
Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine
Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther
Paul Bettany as Vision
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon
Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/White Wolf
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Idris Elba as Heimdall
Peter Dinklage as Eitri the Dwarf King
Benedict Wong as Wong
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord
Pom Klementieff as Mantis
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer
Zoe Saldana as Gamora
Vin Diesel as Groot
Bradley Cooper as Rocket
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
Benicio del Toro as Taneleer Tivan/The Collector
Josh Brolin as Thanos
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet — the evil Thanos (Josh Brolin). On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

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Avengers: Infinity War wasn’t just one of the most anticipated films of 2018, it’s also one of the most anticipated films ever. I’ll admit that in the lead up to the release of this film, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, the Russo Brothers directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, one of the best films in the MCU. On the other hand, they also directed Captain America Civil War, and while it was decent it was rather underwhelming compared to what it could have been, and felt a bit disappointing. Even without taking into account their previous movie, there was still a lot they had to achieve: they have to handle so many characters, and this is the culmination of about a decade’s worth of films building up to it. It is easy for Infinity War to end up being a disappointment. So I went in with my expectations in check, expecting a decent and entertaining movie. However, Infinity War truly blew me away, The Russo Brothers have truly achieved something amazing here.

I need to preface that although there is a lot of things I want to say, there’s a lot about this movie that I can’t say. So I will do my best to avoid spoilers. First thing that is worth noting is that unless you are heavily into the MCU movies, you probably won’t enjoy this as much as other people. Not just because of the amount of backstory in the other movies, but also because of the characters and build up, it might not feel as impactful. As a fan of the MCU and someone who likes all of the movies, I was thoroughly satisfied with the story here. All the moments that were meant to be impactful, really was impactful. I wasn’t spoiled at all before watching Infinity War and there were a lot of surprises, I won’t reveal any of them here because they really were effective. This movie does jump around with places and characters and with that the tonal and style shift is very apparent and it actually works. When it jumps from Thor or any of the other Avengers characters to the Guardians of the Galaxy, it really feels like a Guardians of the Galaxy movie.Infinity War is around 2 hours and 30 minutes long, making it Marvel’s longest movie. The pacing was done very well, I never got bored once. It was actually hard to get bored because there was so much happening, so much to take in. Most of the characters get to do something but some get more focus and attention than others. While this means a lot of characters not getting as much development despite the long running time, that is of no fault to the Russos, it’s a very difficult task to balance out all these characters, and what they have done here is truly commendable.

There is something I know that will concern some and that is the use of humour here. The MCU has recently been having a lot of humour, and sometimes that humour kind of diffuses some of the drama, and for Infinity War, it seemed like it would negatively affect a lot of the emotional moments. There is a lot of comedy here, and it really does work, it worked for me at least. If you’re worried about the humour ruining some of the drama or not, don’t worry, it doesn’t. During the truly impactful moments, no humour is playing during that scene. Besides, the tonal shifts, the jumping from different places is jarring already so it wouldn’t be too much of an issue. Speaking of impactful moments, there are a lot of them here, some of the most memorable in the entire MCU. I’ll just say that if you were disappointed by the lack of things happening in Civil War, you will be pleased by what happens here. And the ending…. I’m not even sure I can describe it. All I will say is that it is a very bold decision and I applaud the Russos for going in this direction. Now make no mistake, this movie isn’t called Infinity War Part 1, but it is a part 1 of 2 movies. Some of this movie’s quality and ambitious quality could change depending on the decisions made in part 2. On a side note, there is one (not two) end credits scene, I won’t say what it’s about but it does get me really hyped. It also (unlike some other MCU films) really feels like it belongs after the credits as a teaser instead of being easily insertable into the end of the actual film.

The cast to Infinity War is absolutely massive, I could probably take up a whole paragraph just listing the entire cast list and who they play. One thing that The Russo Brothers had said was that Thanos, the big villain of Infinity War, was the main character of Infinity War and I didn’t really believe it. I have to say that they were completely right, he has the most screentime of all the characters and the entire film is surrounding him. Thanos has been built up for 6 years, ever since The Avengers in 2012, he seemed like he wouldn’t live up to all the hype that has been built all around him. However he absolutely delivers. Josh Brolin delivers an incredible motion capture performance (the motion capture on him is amazing, more on that later) and really makes this character work. Something I wasn’t expecting from him is that they don’t treat him like a villain, he has reasons for doing what he does. From what I heard his motives differ from the comics but it worked in this movie at least. Thanos not only might just be the best villain in the MCU, but he’s also one of the best comic book movie villains. Threatening, powerful, interesting to watch and surprisingly full of depth, Thanos more than lives up to the hype. All the other actors do quite great in their roles. Most of the other main characters get to have at least one moment to shine. However, some characters are more utilised than others. It’s quite possible that the characters that you expect or want to have a lot of screentime or things to do doesn’t really end up doing that a lot. Stand outs include Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Zoe Saldana as Gamora.

The action sequences are really great, Infinity War has some of the best action sequences of the entire MCU. In the Captain America movies, the Russo Brothers’ often used some jump cuts in their action scenes, and while most of them worked well, it was a little too much. That was cut down a little bit in Infinity War, there’s still a little cutting in the fight scenes but the jump cutting was lessened. Most of the special effects looked good. There are occasionally parts that didn’t look so great, one of the big large action sequences in the third act had some minor CGI issues (mostly in the background), and certain things like occasionally Iron Man’s suit look a little fakish. One impressive CGI aspect however is the motion capture work on Josh Brolin to create Thanos, motion captured and CGI comic book villains are rather common nowadays but the effects here make him among the best, every expression on Brolin’s face is translated by the motion capture, it really enhanced his performance.

Avengers: Infinity War was more than a good movie, it was a great movie. I don’t know where I would rank it among the MCU, but I can say with certainty that it’s top tier Marvel, top 3 at least. I will need to rewatch it so I can be absolutely sure about my thoughts because there is a lot to take in (plus, the quality of this movie will depend on how part 2 fares). What I can say is that it’s entertaining, funny, impactful, shocking and ambitious, and I was more than satisfied with what I got. Stay away from all spoilers, there are so many surprises that you don’t want to have ruined for you. I can’t wait till Avengers 4.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Review

Time: 130 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast
Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Cate Blanchett as Hela
Idris Elba as Heimdall
Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster
Tessa Thompson as Scrapper 142/Valkyrie
Karl Urban as Skurge
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk
Anthony Hopkins as Odin
Taika Waititi as Korg
Director: Taika Waititi

Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization.

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Thor Ragnarok was one of my most anticipated films of 2017, it seemed to be a very unique entry into the MCU. The addition of actors like Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban, Jeff Goldblum had me interested. But the aspect that intrigued me most of all was that Taika Waititi of Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We do in the Shadows fame was directing, it was certainly an odd choice for presumably the final Thor movie. Ragnarok from everything that we’ve been seeing looked like a weird 80s action sci-fi comedy, it looked so bizarre and off from whatever we were expecting that I just had to know what it was like. Overall, Thor Ragnarok is a fun time, Taika’s direction and writing definitely made this a very unique film that is undoubtedly entertaining.

The first act has some pacing issues, it moves quite slow until Hela shows up for the first time, then the pacing starts sorting itself out. Most of the film is focussing on Thor on Sakaar, then occasionally it will cut back to Asgard with Hela (the main villain), almost out of obligation to show that she is still in this movie. The second half however was more consistently solid. Yes there is a lot of comedy but don’t just mistake it as being just Guardians of the Galaxy with Thor in it. If you’ve seen Taika’s other movies, you can tell that is definitely a Taika Watiti film. The comedy here is not the same as the comedy in the other Marvel movies, its self deprecating, it’s not afraid to make fun of itself, it goes full bonkers at times, so its not just something you usually see. This is actually the most funny of the MCU film, some of the jokes were quite simply hysterical. The question is, does Taika’s tone and direction work for the movie? For the most part.

First thing I want to get out of the way is that this is not a Thor movie, even Thor: The Dark World, arguably the worst Thor movie (as well as the worst MCU film) felt more like a Thor movie than Ragnarok. It feels like Taika Waititi doing this bizarre sci-fi action comedy, that just so happens to be starring Thor and featuring the potential threat of Asgard. To be honest, I’m not really sure those two aspects work well together, especially as the cutting back to Hela in Asgard felt out of place seemed (like I said) out of obligation to briefly show what was going on there. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the tone was misplaced. One thing I can praise Ragnarok for doing is that it separates the dramatic scenes from the comedic scenes, it doesn’t ruin an emotional scene with some misplaced joke (which has become a problem with many of the MCU films as of late). So its not that the comedy ruined the emotional scenes, its that I just didn’t feel that personally connected to the story. I just feel like I should really be caring much more about what’s going on than I actually end up doing, even most scenes that were meant to be emotional didn’t really hit. Aside from that, there’s nothing really here storywise that I have a major issue with. For what Taika was going for, he did a great job with it.

Chris Hemsworth looks like he’s having a blast playing Thor and Tom Hiddleston is once again great as Loki, they work off each other great. Mark Ruffalo was also good, we see the Hulk more than we see Bruce Banner, we actually have The Hulk speaking and interacting and it was an interesting angle to take on him. The supporting cast was also good with actors like Karl Urban and Anthony Hopkins. Idris Elba gets the most to do as Heimdall in any of the Thor movies. Jeff Goldblum is in this movie and this is the most Jeff Goldblum that Jeff Goldblum has ever been. It felt like Taika just wanted Jeff Goldblum to be all Jeff Goldblumy, he doesn’t play a very significant or threatening character. I didn’t mind that, he was undoubtedly fun to watch. Taika Waititi himself plays (motion captures/voices) a character named Korg, who was definitely one of the stand out characters. He was so hilarious and Taika’s voice performance played a big part in that. But the stand out character to me was Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, such a welcome addition to the MCU. I can’t wait to see more of her in future MCU films. Cate Blanchett is Hela, the main villain here. Is she great? Yes and no. She is undoubtedly one of the better MCU villains, and Blanchett’s performance is fantastic, making the character even better. However, to put it simply, we didn’t get enough of her. As I said, the first half of the movie mostly takes place where Thor is and every so often we get a brief scene with Hela. By the second half we start getting the appropriate number of scenes with her but we really didn’t get to see Hela doing a lot. She is great in the scenes that she’s in however, she feels like a threat, was acted very well and wasn’t as one dimensional as I thought she may end up being. She was also better than most MCU villains, so that’s always nice to see. There are also some hilarious cameos.

The action was generally well filmed. Most of the CGI looks fantastic and some of the shots are absolutely beautiful. Other times it looks really fake looking. When the film is set in practical locations it is great, a loft of the time the production design, costumes, makeup all work to give a unique look. It really does embrace the world of Sakaar and make it something truly different. However Asgard just looks okay, really Kenneth Branagh is the only director who has managed to make Asgard look like something special. The score by Mark Mothersbaugh is pretty good, slightly more memorable than most of the other MCU scores.

I had a fun time with Thor Ragnarok and it’s probably the best MCU film this year. With entertaining characters and most of all Taika’s writing, Thor Ragnarok was a very unique comic book movie. I’m not really sure if Thor was the best character or series for Taika to use for his crazy ideas, and some of the emotional scenes don’t hit as hard as they should’ve but for the most part Ragnarok gets it right. So I do recommend watching it, its at the very least entertaining.

Ghostbusters (2016) Review

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Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Coarse language & some scenes may scare very young children.
Cast:
Melissa McCarthy as Dr. Abigail “Abby” Yates
Kristen Wiig as Dr. Erin Gilbert
Kate McKinnon as Dr. Jillian “Holtz” Holtzmann
Leslie Jones as Patricia “Patty” Tolan
Chris Hemsworth as Kevin Beckman
Neil Casey as Rowan North
Director: Paul Feig

Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) band together to stop the otherworldly threat.

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The Ghostbusters reboot had been a divisive film upon its trailer’s release. I had no idea how this film would be, it looked honestly horrendous from the marketing. In the end I finally watched the movie, to see for myself what it is like. Ghostbusters 2016 wasn’t good but it wasn’t a disaster either. It wasn’t really that funny, the characters are poorly written and the script overall wasn’t good. At the same time though, it wasn’t painful to watch. Very disappointing however.

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The movie isn’t really boring, it’s very easy to follow and it doesn’t get dull. However the story is still not that well written. The characters are clichéd, the story is so basic (it’s impossible to spoil this movie), there’s nothing really great about the movie. The comedy is very different from the original. The original’s comedy was a lot more sarcastic and the characters played it more straight, this movie however was more out there and over the top. A lot of the comedy is Adam Sandler comedy, and that’s never a good thing. There were some mildly amusing moments but that was it. It’s frustrating, the movie had a lot of talent but it’s not used well at all.

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There isn’t any chemistry between the Ghostbusters. These actresses are talented but the film may as well have had Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Kevin James and Tyler Perry in their roles (it’s not quite that bad though). The actresses aren’t really bad in this movie, it’s just that they are only as good as their writing. All of them are extremely over the top. The person who comes across as the funniest between the 4 is Kate McKinnon. Chris Hemsworth is the only other actor who manages to produce some comedy. However he plays literally the dumbest character I’ve ever seen in a movie. Like, mental condition level. It was a weird decision. Maybe it was because they needed to make the Ghostbusters look less dumb in comparison, because honestly they do some really stupid things throughout the movie, I don’t buy for a moment that they are even close to being competent, no matter how hard the script tries to make it seem that way. Also the villain is terrible, it’s literally a janitor who in his first scene says his motivation and plan, which is to destroy the world because he hates everyone. The actor (Neil Casey) does his best but he’s got nothing to work with. Also as for the cameos of the cast from the original, absolutely forced and painful.

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The special effects for this movie were hit or miss. Sometimes it was fine, other times it was really bad and odd looking. The third act had horrendous green screen, it was kind of embarrassing. The colours also are really bright and neon like, I’m not sure if that was a good decision or not. Also I want to add that the remixed new version of the Ghostbusters is absolute garbage.

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Ghostbusters 2016 is not one of the worst things ever made. The film wasn’t boring and some of the jokes worked (mostly from McKinnon and Hemsworth). However this is still disappointing. It could’ve been a lot better, they had a great comedic cast and a great comedic director, this should’ve worked perfectly. However it just ended up being a mediocre movie. This instalment is planning on having sequels and I don’t think I’m that interested in sequels if it’s going to be anything like this film. However, if you are curious enough, check it out.

Thor: The Dark World (2013) Review

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Thor The Dark World

Time: 112 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Natalie Portman as Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Anthony Hopkins as Odin
Christopher Eccleston as Malekith
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Algrim/Kurse
Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
Ray Stevenson as Volstagg
Zachary Levi as Fandral
Tadanobu Asano as Hogun
Rene Russo as Frigga
Director: Alan Taylor

In ancient times, the gods of Asgard fought and won a war against an evil race known as the Dark Elves. The survivors were neutralized, and their ultimate weapon — the Aether — was buried in a secret location. Hundreds of years later, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) finds the Aether and becomes its host, forcing Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to bring her to Asgard before Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) captures her and uses the weapon to destroy the Nine Realms — including Earth.

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In some ways this film is better and worse than the first film. It does show more of Asgard and this movie also is starting to set up for Avengers: Inifinity Wars with an Infinity Stone playing a part in the story. However at the same time it has worse comic relief, a generic villain and not particularly any interesting style. The Dark World is still worth watching but when all things are considered, it is lesser as a movie compared to its superior predecessor.

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One of the biggest flaws of Thor was the film succeeded most when it was taking place on Asgard, but it was mostly set on Earth, which was fine was fine but it wasn’t as strong. Now, there is more of Asgard which I liked. The problem is while that’s good, the scenes that would cut back to Earth are often pointless and a lot of the time it was for comedic purposes, which leads me to the next flaw. The comic relief was worse and it’s starting to get a little annoying. The comic relief in the previous film wasn’t great but it was fine and didn’t distract too much from the movie. The Dark World however has more comic relief, more Kat Dennings and it gets very distracting from time to time.

FILE - This publicity photo released by Walt Disney Studios and Marvel shows Natalie Portman, left, as Jane Foster and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, in Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World." Disney is previewing several of the studio's upcoming live-action films for fans at the D23 Expo, Aug. 9-11, 2013, a three-day Disney extravaganza at the Anaheim Convention Center. "Thor: The Dark World," "Captain America: Winter Soldier," "Muppets Most Wanted," "Saving Mr. Banks" and "Tomorrowland" are just some of the movies that will be teased at a Saturday morning presentation. (AP Photo/Walt Disney Studios/Copyright Marvel, Jay Maidment, File)

Chris Hemsworth is Thor again and as usual he is great. Natalie Portman is once again good but I did feel like her character here was a little flat compared to her in the previous movie, which is saying a lot because she didn’t play a big part in that movie either. Tom Hiddleston returns as Loki and was by far the best part of the movie, Loki really does get much better as a character as the movies go on. It’s just a shame that he wasn’t in the movie that much. The weakest aspect for me is by far the villain Malekith, I’ve watched this movie 3 times now and I can’t remember you exactly he is. He’s just some guy who wants to destroy the world, making him one of the most forgettable villains I’ve seen in a movie.

"Marvel's Thor: The Dark World" L to R: Kurse (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) Ph: Film Frame © 2013 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2013 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

The action scenes were quite good and it’s worth noting that they are different from the original Thor. I liked the action in both of the movies but I did feel like something was missing from The Dark World, which I’ll get to in a second. An action scene I really liked was at the end, which involved a lot of portals. One complaint I have is that Asgard doesn’t look as grand as Kenneth Branagh did with the previous Thor. That movie looked massive and fascinating. Here, Asgard looked good but it wasn’t anything really special, it felt just like another Fantasy world. This also played a part in the action scenes, it looked good but not particularly special like how the original’s was.

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Thor: The Dark World does make some improvements over the original but it also gains some flaws at the same time. Although it was initially hard to say whether this movie or the original was the best Thor movie as both aren’t flawless movies which come with their positives, The Dark World did seem more flawed in comparison. Thor: Ragnarok, the third instalment in the Thor trilogy will be coming out in 2017 and I hope it manages to surpass its previous sequels because while these movies are decent and worth watching, they aren’t at the level of Iron Man or the solo Captain America movies.

The Avengers (2012) Review

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The Avengers

Time: 143 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Erik Selvig
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Director: Joss Wheddon

When Thor’s evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), gains access to the unlimited power of the energy cube called the Tesseract, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of S.H.I.E.L.D., initiates a superhero recruitment effort to defeat the unprecedented threat to Earth. Joining Fury’s “dream team” are Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

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This is the first combining of a superhero team on the big screen. Everything could have gone wrong, nothing like this has ever been done before. Yet with Joss Whedon’s direction The Avengers have now successfully been integrated and just seeing all these characters on screen at the same time is a real joy to watch. Although it’s by no means a perfect movie, its pros more than make up for the cons and is for me one of the most enjoyable movies to watch.

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Joss Whedon is great at writing dialogue and The Avengers is no exception. The dialogue is very well written, there is a lot of great back and forth between the characters. Even though a lot of people love this movie more than Age of Ultron I will say the plot isn’t particularly strong. It’s thinly strung together and its fine but I think that people that disliked Age of Ultron’s plot forgot that the original didn’t have a great plot. It does the job fine but it wasn’t as well done as it could have been. However it does give convincing reasons why all the superheroes work together. The main reason to watch the movie is to see all these superheroes together. The entire third act is nonstop action and is by far the best part of the movie, seeing all of these superheroes in action was a joy to watch.

“Marvel's The Avengers” Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) join forces in “Marvel’s The Avengers,” opening in theaters on May 4, 2012. The Joss Whedon–directed action-adventure is presented by Marvel Studios in association with Paramount Pictures and also stars Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson. © 2011 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2011 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

All the actors do play each other really well and they have great writing to support them as well. The film establishes clear differences between characters, especially between Steve Rodgers and Tony Stark. Mark Ruffalo replaces Edward Norton as the Hulk and he did as well as Norton, he probably worked better as an Avenger Hulk than Norton, which is probably why the recasting happened in the first place. Tom Hiddleston returns as Loki and he is having a lot of fun in the role. The one character that felt a little weak was Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, Renner does well in the movie it’s just that the film doesn’t really go much into detail in who he is (Age of Ultron fixed that though).

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The special effects and action scenes are as usual great. Many of the fights are great, from Thor vs Iron Man, to Hulk vs Thor and of course the final battle scene in New York, which is one of the best action climaxes in any superhero movie. The costumes for all the characters as usual look good, except for Captain America. His look in The First Avenger (and The Winter Soldier) looked great, but his new outfit here looked a little ridiculous and it was a little hard to take him seriously, even if it looked more accurate to the comic book.

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The Avengers isn’t a perfect movie. The reason why Age of Ultron wasn’t received as well was because it wasn’t as much of a surprise the second time round, and audiences could pick up on the issues more. The Avengers’ plot isn’t particularly strong and not all of the characters are fully developed yet (Hawkeye) but even if it’s not a perfect movie, it’s still one of the most entertaining movies I’ve ever watched. It’s one of those movies I can watch again and again and never get tired of. This film should at the very least be commended for actually putting 6 superheroes on the screen at the same time and made it work. We’ll have to see if DC can do that with the Justice League.

Thor (2011) Review

Photo credit: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures / Marvel Studios
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in THOR, from Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment. 

© 2011 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2011 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Thor

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Natalie Portman as Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig
Colm Feore as Laufey:
Ray Stevenson as Volstagg
Idris Elba as Heimdall:
Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
Rene Russo as Frigga
Anthony Hopkins as Odin:
Director: Kenneth Branagh

As the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), king of the Norse gods, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will soon inherit the throne of Asgard from his aging father. However, on the day that he is to be crowned, Thor reacts with brutality when the gods’ enemies, the Frost Giants, enter the palace in violation of their treaty. As punishment, Odin banishes Thor to Earth. While Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s brother, plots mischief in Asgard, Thor, now stripped of his powers, faces his greatest threat.

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Some people might be able to see Iron Man and Captain America on the big screen but they couldn’t have seen how they would’ve done Thor. He is so larger than life and he’s a superhero character based in a different type of universe. However this movie introduced Thor in a pretty good way and by the time The Avengers came around, we were all onboard for seeing Thor play a part. It’s not one of the best movies in the Marvel Universe but considering that director Kenneth Branagh had to introduce Thor, it’s impressive how well he did it.

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As I said before, this film does well at introducing Thor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I don’t think that having a fish out of water tale was the best way to introduce him but the movie still worked well and was lots better than you would initially think. One thing that I noticed is that the film succeeded most when it was taking place on Asgard. When it took place on Earth it was fine but it didn’t feel as strong. I will say at least all the Earth scenes served a purpose, it wasn’t just for bad comic relief (that would be saved for Thor: The Dark World). Speaking of comic relief, there’s quite a little bit of it, particularly with Kat Dennings and although it wasn’t great it wasn’t really bad either and didn’t distract much.

Photo credit: Zade Rosenthal / Marvel Studiosâ€(R)Left to right: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) in THOR, from Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment.â€(R)â€(R)© 2011 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2011 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Chris Hemsworth nails the role of Thor, I personally think that out of all of the Avengers this is the toughest role to pull off. He needed to be larger than life but yet be three dimensional at the same time. Natalie Portman is quite good and does share good chemistry with Hemsworth. Tom Hiddleston does quite well as Loki, even though he’s not as strong as in later movies he is pretty effective as a villain here. Anthony Hopkins is also great as Odin, even though you don’t see much of him in the movie, he is really believable as this character.

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As I said previously, the best scenes of the movie are once again when in Asgard but it’s not just because it’s more interesting, everything there looks grand and exciting. This is probably why I really liked the action in this movie, everything feels on a grand scale and although there isn’t a lot of it, when it was happening it looked great. This grand style would be sadly missing from Thor: The Dark World. That style really elevated the movie and made everything much more epic. This is a little bit of a nitpick but I should mention that there were a little too many dutch angles for my taste and sometimes it got distracting but it was fine for the most part.

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Thor expanded the Marvel Universe and showed that they could go into many areas of the comic book universe. It’s not one of the best movies in the MCU but it is good and it is definitely worth watching. Even if there were some parts that could’ve been improved, I think that Kenneth Branagh did pretty well at putting Thor on the big screen and I do think that he was a good pick for this movie. Thor: The Dark World would be a decent sequel but commit as many mistakes as the previous movie.