Tag Archives: tom hiddleston

Disney+ Launching November 12 for $6.99 a month or $69.99 per year

Disney+

The anticipation for Disney+, Disney‘s digital streaming service, has been growing. Rumors have been running rampant about shows that we might see, how much it will cost, and when will it launch. Now, we know the details as Disney has pulled back the curtain showing us what we can expect.

Disney+ launches November 12 costing $6.99 per month or an annual price of $69.99. It will include brand new original series exclusive to the ad-free subscription service. Here’s what they’ve announced.

The Technical

The service will allow downloading of content so it can be accessed offline. There will be individual profiles and that includes custom avatars.

It will launch over each major region of the world over a two year time frame due to expiring contracts in specific territories. The United States will be up first.

In the presentation, images of televisions, computers, Apple TV, Playstation, X-BOX, and the Switch were all shown indicating the service will be available to watch on those and more.

Disney and Pixar

The entire Signature Collection will be available on launch. Rumors had indicated Disney’s complete movie library would be available. All Pixar films will be available in the first year of launch. All Pixar theatrical shorts will be available at launch.

One of the original series to debut in the first year is Unknown: Making Frozen 2 which is a documentary series exploring the behind the scenes creation of the animated film.

The new Toy Story character Forky will get a series of Pixar shorts with Forky Asks a Question. Toy Story’s Bo Peep will also get a short entitled Lamp Life.

5,000 episodes of Disney Channel contet and 100 original movies will be available to stream on lucnh.

On top of that, more than 7,500 episodes and 500 films will come to the library.

Marvel

Captain Marvel will be available on the service on the first day. Disney announced two original series. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany will star as Wanda Maximoff and The Vision in the series WandaVision. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan will team up in The Falcon and Winter Soldier. Tom Hiddleston will play Loki in a series of the same name.

According to other reports, only four Marvel films will come to the service within the launch window.

Star Wars

All Star Wars films will be available on the platform within the first year of its launch. Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk will join forces for a series based on Cassian Andor. The Mandolorian, Jon Favreau‘s live-action series will premiere on launch.

More Originals

Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader will star in Noelle. Director Tom McCarthy will have an original film, Timmy Failure that will release in the first year. An adaptation of the best selling book Star Girl will come to the platform. William DaFoe will star in the original film Togo about a man’s real-life story about his and his sled dog’s journey through the Alaskan tundra. That will be out in the first year. A live-action Lady and the Tramp will come to the service.

The Phineas and Ferb Movie, a new animated adventure will come to the service.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is coming to the service.

And More!

More than 250 hours from National Geographic will come to the service and that includes the film Free Solo. The World According to Jeff Goldblum, from National Geographic, will premiere on the channel.

The Simpsons!

Disney+ will be the exclusive home for streaming The Simpsons starting at launch. That’s all 30 seasons on the first day of launch.

Disney+ Gets a Second Star Wars Live-Action Series Plus a Loki Live Action Series is Being Developed

Disney‘s much talked about digital service finally has a name, Disney+. Along with that announcement, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger has revealed new series that are being developed for it.

The service is getting a second live-action Star Wars series. This series will focus on Rebel spy Cassian Andor during the early years of the Rebellion and before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Diego Luna will reprise the role of Cassian Andor.

The service is also getting a live-action series centered around the Marvel character Loki and will star Tom Hiddleston.

This is on top of other new stories set in the worlds of Monster Inc. and High School Musical as well as another Star Wars set live-action series, The Mandalorian which takes place after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order.

Disney+ is scheduled to launch in the U.S. in late 2019.

Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok

Usually when films get around to their third, the quality dips… a lot, and we’re left with a shell of a franchise that tarnishes what’s come before. Thor: Ragnarok not only bucks that trend, but delivers a film that’s not only the best of the three Thor films released so far, but also one of the best in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Taika Waititi with a script by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost, Thor: Ragnarok is a visual treat of a film that feels like a comic come to life in many ways. This shouldn’t be surprising as both Kyle and Yost have written comics themselves and have a long history in animated comic based franchises. Pearson was part of the team behind Agent Carter, a television series focused on a kick-ass female lead, which in itself makes some of the film not surprising.

With Odin deposed from the throne the evil Hela returns to take over Asgard and the Nine Realms. Thor is sidetracked as he’s sent to the world Sakaar where he’s forced into a gladiator role and comic book Spartacus. That latter part is a new take on comic writer Greg Pak’s “World War Hulk” storyline that saw the Hulk in a similar role. But, here the Hulk is a companion Thor must win over as we find out where he’s been all these years.

What’s immediately noticeable about the film, beyond it’s different visual tone, is the comedic sense of it all. Waititi is the director behind the hilarious shorts featuring Thor and a roommate and that same humor is here. It’s a dry sense of humor where quips are given back and forth and visual jokes are few and far apart. Chris Hemsworth in the title role plays off the humor well delivering it all with a seriousness that makes it all even more entertaining. But, that humor is also mixed with lots of action that’s well paced and keeps things flowing through the end battle. An action film with comedic elements or is it a comedic action film? That’s a hard one but the laughs were enough that I missed dialogue either because I was laughing or the audience was, making the film one you’ll need to see multiple times to get everything.

But, back to Waititi and the visuals. With an energy about it that feels like Blade Runner, Fifth Element, and bubblegum pop mixed together, the worlds are bright and visually stunning each in their own way. Sakaar is a mixed of colors which enhance each scene and brought into the design of every character. Watching the film I couldn’t help think this was Jack Kirby’s brilliance brought to the screen for us to enjoy. Warriors for the Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum, look like the design of Kirby’s Celestials. The film is almost an homage to his brilliance, fitting for the year we celebrated his 100th birthday. All of it pops in the IMAX 3D I watched the film in.

The movie expands the cast too. Hemsworth is his usual entertaining self getting to up his comedic chops. Tom Hiddleston as Loki has his moments as well but generally plays the mischievous straight man to everyone else’s jokes. Mark Ruffalo, who is a newcomer to the Thor franchise, brings more interest to Bruce Banner and the Hulk, creating a neurotic man both lost and afraid of what might happen. But those newcomers are where things stand out. Idris Elba as Heimdall gets to step up and be a badass in the film, making me long for more Elba in the Marvel Universe. Goldblum brings a cosmic disco sense to it all in his Grandmaster making a villain fun. Karl Urban as Skurge is possibly the low point with just too little to do. But, Cate Blanchett as Hela and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie are the two real highlights.

Blanchett delivers a villain role that is badass and tragic and very intimidating. She is Thor’s better in every way and this is the first villain in a Marvel film I felt this. She’s not defeated in some battle, she kills unknown amounts of people, and she does it with her own hands. Thompson too rocks as Valkyrie a bounty hunter who has a history with Asgard and Hela. Her initial badassness is confirmed later as the real battle begins and again we get a character who is every bit Thor’s equal. The two women being such highlights makes me think Pearson’s role with Agent Carter might have helped. Two commanding women are not something we generally see in a Marvel film, let alone two that are better than the male lead in so many ways. Hela whips Thors as and Valkyrie gets the better of him again and again. The tide feels like it’s turning a bit when it comes to female characters in comic adaptations with the addition of DC’s Wonder Woman who herself rocked the big screen this year.

The story itself is solid with few flaws and a finale that actually doesn’t disappoint. Third acts generally have been letdowns when it comes to comic films and this is the exception to the rule.

IMAX 3D just immersed me in the movie with moments actually causing me to feel like I was falling and moving too, a fun addition to it all.

Is the film a must see? Yes, on the big screen and preferably in IMAX 3D. Then you can see it again when you realize you’ve missed a lot from laughing and being entertained. One of the best Marvel releases yet and one of the best and most entertaining films released this year.

Overall Rating: 9.35

Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok

Thor_Ragnarok_SDCC_PosterThor’s outings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been. . . uneven at best, to put it kindly. Indeed, Thor: The Dark World remains the unequivocal nadir of the MCU’s otherwise good track record. But given that and Avengers: Age of Ultron also being less than stellar — the last two times we saw our Asgardian hero — you might come in to this film with zero expectations.

Prepare to be blown away by one of the best movies in the MCU and certainly Thor’s best film appearance to date. 

Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as the Norse God of Thunder. Reunited with his presumed-dead brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), they track down their missing father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), who reveals a deep family secret — an older sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), the goddess of death who has her sights set on the Asgardian throne.

Various misadventures find Thor reunited with fellow Avenger The Hulk / Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), against whom he is pitted in gladiatorial combat reminiscent of the storyline in Planet Hulk. They must escape back to Asgard to take on Hela with the help of a recalcitrant Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) who is probably the best part of the movie and given some of the most fun action pieces and one of the best character arcs of any person in the film.

But don’t be fooled into thinking most of this is a Planet Hulk movie. Its roots go far deeper than the relatively recent storyline. But if you take one part Planet Hulk, plus equal amounts Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson classic Thor, that’s the comics cocktail from which this springs.

The ringmaster for this particular circus is director Taika Waititi, who delivers something truly unexpected: different kind of Marvel movie. One of the most common complaints against the MCU is how similar / unoriginal / mass produced they feel. Thor: Ragnarok defies that claim with its humor, characters, visuals, and soundtrack.

This movie is funny. Of course, that should be of no surprise to those who know Waititi for his time working on Flight of the Conchords or his previous films What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It’s a very specific humor which is undeniably Kiwi in its politeness, awkwardness, and wry sense of irony — and wholly different from Joss Whedon’s or James Gunn’s much broader humor in The Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy films.

Waititi also brings along some familiar faces to those who know his other films, including Rachel House, who plays a lackey of Jeff Goldblum‘s The Grandmaster in Ragnarok, is very similar to the character she played in Wilderpeople. And Waititi himself shows up (as he is wont to do in his own films) as Korg, a rock-person gladiator who ends up with some of the funniest lines in the film.

Waititi’s work has always been good before, but he’s never been given this big of a canvas to paint on. Wilderpeople especially felt like they spent the majority of the movie’s budget on a climactic, over-the-top car chase full of explosions that would make Michael Bay blush. With the ability to really cut loose — and decades of Kirby and Simonson art to draw from — Waititi gives us some of the most astounding visuals of the MCU so far.

While not quite as mind-blowing as last year’s Doctor Strange, the visuals Waititi seems to be trying to give us a late 70’s/early 80’s psychedelic trip of a sci-fi movie, complete with a soundtrack by Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh — heavy on the Devo and John Carpenter synth vibe. Oh, and a heaping helping of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song in case you couldn’t get enough of it from the trailer. Waititi also borrows (steals?) visually from fellow Marvel director Sam Raimi in fun and unexpected ways and includes perhaps the most interesting nod to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ever.

But a film always comes down to its characters and its themes. And this is where Thor: Ragnarok perhaps shines above many of its other MCU peers. Every character in this film goes on a journey. Their stories, interactions, and dialogue are incredibly well-woven together. Everything has a purpose and eventual payoff. It sits alongside its peer Logan this year for being so well-crafted from a storytelling perspective. One tiny complaint is that it gets a little too bogged down in its own exposition in the middle. It could stand to lose five or seven minutes, but not much more.

And at the end you ask yourself, “So what?”

One of the great joys of being able to analyze movies is to ask these questions. Is this just a cashgrab to get butts in seats, buy popcorn, and sell merchandising? There’s something unique in here, which requires going into very minor spoiler territory. Skip the next 5 paragraphs if you don’t want to know any more.

[Begin Minor Spoilers]

The title Thor: Ragnarok is instructive. Ragnarok — the Norse apocalypse — is the destruction of the world, and in the case of the film and the comics, of Asgard. But it often signifies a form of creative destruction or nihilism necessary for a new chapter.

Hela comes to Thor and Loki replacing their ideas of what Asgard was — a beautiful civilization that loves peace — with the true history that she once rode with Odin making war on the 9 Realms to capture their treasure and slay millions of innocents. Odin cast her out when he decided to switch brands from bloodthirsty warmonger to benevolent father-king, but he kept the gold and trinkets that made him powerful. But after a lifetime, Odin passes onto Thor the wisdom that Asgard is not a place– it’s people. You could just as easily insert for “Asgard” there the names America, Britain, Spain . . . New Zealand.

And so here we are in 2017. Maybe we’re looking at the world with fresh eyes, that the advances of “the West” are built on a bloody history of colonialism, slavery, and other forms of oppression. Perhaps we’re now seeing the chickens of our nationalism, jingoism, sexism, and quest for economic hegemony coming home to roost in the the rise of forces and ideals we long thought dead or outmoded. Perhaps Ragnarok — some creative nihilism — is what we need to wipe the vestiges of former power away to be replaced by a more pure, benevolent rule of law.

Or maybe it’s just a story about two brothers, one of whom has a magic hammer, and it gets smashed by their mean old sister, so they have to recruit a giant green monster to help beat her up. Could be that, too.

ONE OTHER THING (Is it a spoiler to reveal what isn’t in a movie?) If you’ve got your hopes up to see the final infinity stone, just tamp those expectations down. You do get a couple glances at the Tesseract (aka the Space Stone), but we already knew about that one anyway, right? Right. Just enjoy the movie without worrying about it moving that particular storyline forward.

But, of course, make sure you stay through the credits, because. . . well, you know the drill.

[End Spoilers]

It’s likely unfair to castigate the MCU for having movies that feel like they came off an assembly line. While it may have been true previously (again, looking at you, Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron), it’s worth noting how unique the Marvel Phase 3 films have been:

Captain America: Civil War is a philosophical political thriller and ethical Rorschach test with action set-pieces. (I still don’t trust anyone who is totally Team Iron Man)
Doctor Strange is a psychedelic mystic Hero’s Journey where the real enemy is ego.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a family drama where a reluctant patriarch has to lose the last vestiges of his mother and father to become the father he needs to be — and where a raccoon cries at the end as he wonders whether or not there is a god.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a John Hughes movie with superheroes.
Black Panther looks to be the most unique Marvel movie of all.

There is a theme running through all of these: the act of creative destruction. In all of these films, our characters have to give up something they love or thought defined them in order to take the next step in their hero’s journey.

Further, family looms large in Cap: Civil War, Guardians 2, and Spider-Man. Family is at the core of Thor: Ragnarok, as it’s essentially sibling rivalry writ large with intergalactic consequences. It’s almost like. . . they actually plan these things out and are trying to say something more broadly about the human condition.

Kudos, Marvel. And Kudos (or whatever the New Zealand equivalent) to Taika Waititi. You have created something unique that blends together some of the best parts of the history of the character of Thor, given us astounding visuals, great music, jokes to make us laugh, action to thrill us, and even some nuggets to ponder.

You’ve given us a film finally worthy of the God of Thunder. Go see this on the biggest, brightest screen you possibly can. And then hug your family and friends. Because even in an apocalypse, home is not just a place– it’s people.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Blanchett, Goldblum, Thompson, Urban, & Ruffalo Join Thor: Ragnarok

The cast of Thor: Ragnarok has gotten a dose of actors worthy of gods. Marvel has announced that Two-time Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett will be playing Hela, along with Jeff Goldblum who joins the cast as the eccentric Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson will bring Valkyrie to life, and Karl Urban will be playing Skurge.

Mark Ruffalo will also be in the film as Bruce Banner/Hulk which answers the question from Captain America: Civil War, where he’s been.

These new additions will join Chris Hemsworth returning as Thor; Tom Hiddleston as Loki; Idris Elba as Heimdall; and Sir Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Ruler of Asgard.

Thor: Ragnarok comes to theaters November 3, 2017.

Marvel also released some concept art showing off Hela.

Thor Ragnarok concept art

Tom Hiddleston added to Wizard World Philadelphia

Tom Hiddleston (“Loki”) has been added to the Wizard World Philadelphia roster. He will attend on Saturday, June 4, only.

Hiddleston, who appeared in Thor: The Dark World, The Avengers and Thor, will also be featured in the lead role this month’s I Saw the Light, about the life of country-western singer Hank Williams. The London-born star has top billing in the series “The Night Manager” and had a co-starring role in last year’s hit film Crimson Peak.

Tom Hiddleston

There’s No Escaping the Ghosts of the Past in Crimson Peak!

Crimson Peak, the latest cinematic adventure from Legendary Pictures and director Guillermo del Toro, is sure to cause a scare!

Starring Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska, the film follows a young author, Edith Cushing, as she falls in love with Sir Thomas Sharpe to the dismay of Dr. Alan McMichael, who is madly in love with Edith!

The story takes place in a weathered mansion fit for Mother Ghost!

Collect the whole set before the movie hits theaters on October 16th!

Pop! Movies: Crimson Peak are out from Funko in September.

 

 

 

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Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone getting?

Around the Tubes

Spinoff Online – Tom Hiddleston Confirms Loki Won’t Appear in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ – Huh. Now I wonder why they keep pushing him?

Graphic Novel Reporter – Comic Books and Graphic Novels as Literature: A Look at Columbia’s Course – Nice!

Bleeding Cool – Bryan Singer’s Conceit For Bringing Back Professor X And Other X-Men Bits – Ok then.

The Plain Dealer – ‘Captain America’ pays Cleveland more than $210,000 for movie shoot: Mark Naymik – I’ve always wondered how much they pay.

Bleeding Cool – Neil Gaiman Says A Black Actor Turned Down The Role Of Doctor Who – Any guesses who?

Bleeding Cool – All DC Comics 3D Covers Sold Out And Will Be Allocated. 2D Versions And Digital Versions Available For A Dollar Less. – Anyone shocked or didn’t see this coming?

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Injustice: Gods Among Us #30

Picture Me Reading – The Picture of Dorian Gray

Movie Review – The Avengers

Ron is Graphic Policy’s newest contributor…. WARNING SPOILERS!!!!

Hello all.   Brett has asked me to write up a review of The Avengers for you all, and I accepted the request with some cautious optimism.  As this is my first official review, I may ask you all to be kind in your criticism, as my writing can be confusing, and my opinions can sometimes be narrow (whether right or wrong).

As a quick background, Brett & I have been friends for the greater part of 14 years since college.   Our comic book geekdom knows no bounds when we get going, and I always graciously defer to his knowledge, as he (to me) is a far better authority when it comes to the subject matter.  But, without further adieu, on with the review.

To preface this, I made sure to see the movie twice to try and really hone what I am feeling about the movie.  My first experience was in IMAX 3D.  We sat about dead in the middle row, in the middle of that row.  The experience was overwhelming, as I’ve found in the past with some movie moments in IMAX (ask my wife about Quidditch matches during Harry Potter movies; hold onto your lunch!).  Initially I enjoyed the movie overall before really digesting it a second time.  There were highs & lows, but until I went a second time, I didn’t really gain true understanding of how I felt.

My second viewing was in Digital Real 3D, with the new D-Box experience.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to sit in these seats, allow me tell you what they are.

The corporate jargon:  http://www.d-box.com

Personal Opinion #1: D-Box are seats that move to the movements & actions of the movie you’re watching for a 4D experience.  The movie houses literally program the seats to move precisely by the frame, so it is virtually a way to feel part of the action as it happens.  The Pro: It is really neat at times.  You can feel helicopter blades pulsate, you can feel the banking of turns when Iron Man is flying, you can feel jarred when something spooks you, and you feel HULK SMASH.  It is definitely an experience.  The Con: It does take some getting used to.  It’s a bit jarring at first, as your body is not used to what is happening.  But by the end of this 2.5 hr epic, your body is one with the seat, and you enjoy it.  Oh, then there is the cost.  I shelled out $19+ for the seat.  Keep in mind this is Movie cost + Real 3D + D-Box experience.  I would only spend this on a movie you know will give you a rush.  Something with action, or a horror movie that you can feel nervous heartbeats & scary jolts.  For something with lots of dialogue, you’ll be sitting in a non-moving seat for a premium price, but I digress.

Personal Opinion #2:  After Real 3D and IMAX 3D experiences back-to-back, may I suggest you go to Real 3D 100% of the time vs the alternative.  I’m sure there will be backlash from this statement.  But let me tell you.  The glasses are better (you don’t get those crazy lines that distort the image if you turn your head that can get you all sorts of messed up).  The image is clearer (keep in mind movie houses film in HD formats that fit wide screens.  Now they have to digitally manipulate that image to a MUCH LARGER IMAGE… the result is more grainy due to the initial resolution getting stretched out) which makes the 3D more impactful.  And lastly, IMAX can be overwhelming if you don’t sit far enough away.  You make even miss subtle periphery things of note as your eyes can only absorb so much.  Trust me, you want Real 3D.

Haha, told you.  I rant.  I’m one page in, and NOW I’m getting to the movie.  WELL, I suck… and you’re along for the ride.  Just as The Avengers was 2.5 hrs, and you may have looked at your watch early, you’ll be here for the long haul and hopefully won’t look now until the end!

The movie is a sequel of sorts.  By that, I mean, the plot assumes the following:

  1. You’ve seen, at minimum, Captain America and Thor
  2. If you haven’t, these questions MAYplague you
    • Who are some of the pivotal characters?
    • Loki?
    • Dr. Selvig?
    • I’m assuming you can figure out the title characters from those movies
  • What is The Tesseract?

If you’ve done that homework, you can SORT OF get by.  Do yourself a favor and take in Iron Man 1 & 2, as well as The Incredible Hulk so that some of my rants make sense.

In any case, LONG story short: Loki shows up. He steals the Tesseract to bring an army from across the Universe to Earth to take over as its ruler.  The rest is putting the Avengers together, some minor battles, and the epic conclusion.  Seems pretty simple for such a long movie, right?  Well, before I get into the plot problems from a comic stance, how about from a directorial/producer stance.

  1. Explaining Loki, the Tesseract, & how Thor arrived are just some examples how the script and Joss Whedon (the director who has done such “fine” work as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV), Angel (TV), Firefly (TV), etc – lots of TELEVISION work, but minimal big-screen experience on his resume) tried to throw a bone to the unknowing portion of the audience, and explain away some things that were otherwise ignored.  Part of me thinks Jon Favreau (director on the Iron Man movies; executive producer for The Avengers) may have spoke up & said, “You may want to explain that a bit more,” and this is what we got.
  2. More holes from previous movies:
    • The Bifröst bridge was destroyed in Thor
      • Explain away his returning by a one liner: Loki – “Your father must have used a lot of dark energy to send you here to stop me”; it’s a plot-line cop-out
    • Um, Loki was tossed into the Abyss… how did he return?  How did he get out?  Is the abyss just another dimension where the Chitauri live and they helped him out so that is why they are doing this together?  That’s a pretty long assumption.
  3. Common frustrating action movie stereotypes:
    • The Loki chase seen in the beginning: REALLY?  I mean, could it be any more stereotypical?  A truck seen in a tunnel as the antagonist taunts from the back of his ride.
    • When Hawkeye is asked by Loki about what the Tesseract told him – the dramatic opening of his bow for no good reason… really?!
    • The team bursting at the seams with rivalries, only to come together when they’re needed most… really didn’t seem like they were apart that long… oh wait, it really was a few hours
    • Did you really need Agent Coulson to spell out his death as a rallying point?  We get it, they’re upset.  You could’ve spelled out some of the other plot portions than that one Joss
  4. Black Widow just did not feel right from the first scene on… not BAD, but not on.  I felt her character with Favreau at the helm in Iron Man 2 was far better, and suited as a secondary role.  As her role progressed in this movie, it never really grabbed me.  I mean, she’s scared after the Hulk confrontation… but shouldn’t she be a tough-as-nails spy who has experience everything?  Subtle detail, but really emphasizes a character flaw.
  5. Dr. Banner felt like he was directed to be overly UN-emotional, almost shy to a fault in his interactions, so as to not “unleash the fury”.  I really felt someone told Mark Ruffalo (the actor portraying Dr. Banner/The Hulk) to be different than Ed Norton’s version, who was more stressed about his condition and controlling it.  Mr. Ruffalo’s/Mr Whedon’s interpretation was so unemotional, it felt detached & uninterested.  There were some dialogue moments that were very good: in the lab with Tony Stark & then with everyone; oh wait, they wanted to show growing emotion (or did they want to show Loki having God-like influence on the situation?).  But that didn’t make up for the numerous interactions he had from about a ½ hour into the movie.
  6. Who the heck are the Chitauri and why do they want anything to do with Humanity? And how do they know Loki?  What is this all about???  Seriously, what is their motivation for helping him and coming here?!  More-so, why are the so hyper-focused on The Avengers and not the planet?  I mean, they weren’t even a team until recently, and Loki’s quarrel is with Thor and the planet he loves so much.  I digress, who are the Chitauri?!
  7. Oh, the Chitauri are a race of aliens who are helping Loki for complete Universe domination, so he can rule humanity… I guess.  They also have laser-shooting speedsters that fly, and their biggest part of their invasion is a large flying snake/eel that carriers regiments of ground troops on its side.  Otherwise it flies aimlessly destroying things and chomping on stuff.
    • This is where I need more Michael Bay and less small-screen Whedon thinking.  (Ok everyone groaning, I get that Bay really mucked up the Transformers battle scenes to the point of confusion, but you have to admit they are epic and world-destroying scenes).  We have THE AVENGERS fighting an alien race set to take over the world with lazer bikes and snakes…
    • Oh, when one snake dies, the idea of bigger is 3 snakes… Joss, you couldn’t come up with something bigger and more insurmountable by our heroes?
  8. Lastly, did anyone else figure out the Chitauri were nothing more than a race of Borg-like individuals electrically tied to a mother ship?  Borg meets Independence Day.  So the Chitauri can’t live without whatever energy is powering them… huh… weird way to stop the battle, but it makes Tony finally… OH (my ADD is kicking in!)
    • ANOTHER STEREOTYPE: Tony Stark (the character with the narcissus complex) actually (almost) lays his life on the line, flying the nuke through the portal to save the world.  Oh, sorry Pepper didn’t  take your call either. Don’t get me wrong, I liked this scene, just a pretty easy plotline to write
    • And another assumption moment for this point: The Chitauri used to have possession of the Tesseract, which has powered their Borg-like race, as well as the staff they give Loki, which allows him to find it as well as why the gamma signatures are the same… huh, another long stretch Mr. Whedon.

And while my rants are on the movie specifically right now, I’d like to bring up some geeky questions that seem odd.  I will not elaborate for those of you who aren’t familiar with the lore that has built up this franchise since the Silver Age of comics; I don’t have the time.  Feel free to do the comic industry a favor, and read up on this.  Your curiosity will be rewarded.

  1. Why is the Tesseract not “The Cosmic Cube”, which it looks like, and is minorly being used as
    • Loki really could’ve taken over the entire planet without an army with it; just saying
  2. The Chitauri:  Are they supposed to be the Skrulls?  Even comic book aficionados are perplexed by this… they look like them, act like them, but they are called something else and we weren’t really given much to work with

My other plotline inconsistencies would fit here too  (Bifröst Bridge, Abyss, Loki’s seemingly underutilized powers).

You may think I hated this movie with all these criticisms.  You would be wrong.  I think this was a “GOOD” movie.  It’s written as the first summer blockbuster.  It’s for enjoyment and less thinking.  Watch and enjoy.  To be honest, there were other moments that were cheesy, but added to the lightness of the movie:

  1. Hulk punching Thor in the last battle
  2. Black Widow stating that “That, in no way, resembles a party”
  3. Hawkeye stating to Black Widow “You and I remember Budapest very differently”
  4. Loki still listening to Thor after Iron Man knocks him off the hilltop
    • This was a little too cheesy, but it was made up for with the action that commenced, and Tony’ s  Shakespeare reference

On a quick aside, and take it for what it’s worth, but Samuel L. Jackson plays Nick Fury as one would suspect. His quick one-liners are humerous.  You will either laugh or be upset because it’s not original for him, other than the eye patch.

Speaking of character interpretation, I cannot imagine Tony’s smugness being portrayed any better than Robert Downey Jr.;  excellent character portrayal.  Also, Chris Hemsworth as Thor simply shines.  Another fine interpretation.   Chris Evans’ also does a fantastic job as Captain America.  These heroes make for the lion’s share of dialogue thankfully, with the exception of Scarlett Johansson’s lackluster performance in this rendition of Black Widow.   Lest I forget Tom Hiddleston as the archnemesis Loki.  He continues his dominating performance from Thor into this movie.  A jealous, conniving God of mischief who’s sadistic qualities knows no bounds; just an excellent job.

From a technical standpoint, the CGI used in creating The Hulk in his scenes was extraordinary.  The D-Box addition made for some amazing moments of smashing and destruction.  Probably the best use of the monster in film thus far.  I say that, in no way, to state that The Incredible Hulk was lesser.  I just state it because it is a highlight of the movie, and really they are engaging moments.  Whedon, to his credit, sets us up with so much non-emotion from Banner, that when he becomes “The Other Guy” it is impactful and you get a sense of how important his sheer strength is to the team.  That is something to be commended.

In conclusion, it is well worth seeing.  If you can handle some slow dialogue in the beginning as the team forms, as well as the gaping holes that, to the common viewer who is less critical, will not take away from the movie’s meaning, you are in for a treat.  I  encourage you to see the digital Real 3D, and if you can, try to experience the D-Box seating.  For the traditionalist, they’re just more gimmicks that allow a studio to be liberal when it comes to good plots & writing.  But for something more experiential, these add layers that enhance the movie just enough to get through the movie remembering more than a bad line here & there, but the fact you jumped from shock as Hulk jarred the seat as he threw something straight at you.   I encourage you enjoy this one, and I hope it’s soon. By the time The Dark Knight Rises arrives, this will feel less than what it could’ve been, but thoroughly enjoyable at the time.

Overall rating: 7.5

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