Thor (2011)

With The Avengers having recently been released, I thought it would be a great idea to look back on all the Marvel Cinematic Universe films that have been released (read: search engine optimization).  The only one that I’ve already reviewed is Captain America so feel free to go back and read that one after reading this stirring bit of literature I’m probably not going to provide you with here.

Of all the Marvel movies that have been made and were rumoured to be being made, I thought that Thor would have been the hardest sell to mainstream movie audiences.  I don’t know much about the comic book version of the character, other than he fucking bored me.  I didn’t expect the cinematic interpretation of the Norse mythology behind the character to be anything even remotely approaching interesting.  And then a funny thing happened: Kenneth Branagh was named as the director and I thought to myself that at the very least, it’s going to be high quality boredom.  I just wasn’t expecting a movie that was a fun popcorn summer blockbuster, but that’s exactly what Branagh delivered.

Of course, all the directing miracles in the world wouldn’t be able to save a Thor movie if the actor playing Thor was completely unsuited for the part (I’d use Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze from Batman & Robin as an example but fuck that, that movie had more problems than just one miscast).  Thankfully, Chris Hemsworth got the part (and doubly thankful that Triple H didn’t), and as a heterosexual male, even I had to admit that dude was ripped.  He was Thor.  He also had a weird Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You accent going on for the whole movie, which was somewhat disorienting, but whatever, he was great.

Honestly, the entire movie was pretty great all around, visually stunning, great casting, super performances and a surprising amount of fun.  I might have truly loved it if I was completely familiar with Asgaardian stories and such, but let me just give it a solid thumbs up mark.

4 / 5

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Punisher: War Zone (2008)

In this film, The Punisher kills 81 people, minus the two friendly fires.  EIGHTY ONE PEOPLE.  Most of the kills involve bullets, some fire, and in one particularly memorable instance, punching a coke head’s skull so hard that it explodes.  It is often dark, disgusting, violent, ridiculous, over-the-top and pretty much true to the Marvel Comics character.  I can’t argue with anything I see onscreen in a Punisher movie, because that’s pretty much exactly what the character would do.  To my knowledge, it was always very black and white with Frank Castle, and the film holds to that.

Ray Stevenson does a solid job as Castle, and lives up to the image of The Punisher admirably.  There’s some decent scenes throughout, and while it does feel very much like a comic book movie, it also feels a helluva lot like a video game.  Particularly the end sequence, which would make for an awesome Fallout level.  It’s not a great movie, hell it’s barely a good movie.  Actually, I read that Ebert said it was one of the best bad movies he’d seen.  So there’s that.

2.5 / 5

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009)

There’s not a lot for me to love in Cirque du Freak: The Unnecessarily Long Title.  It’s got some great actors in it (everyone that I tagged) that are for the most part decent in their performances.  The lead actor, hold on, I have to look up this up.  Ah, Chris Massoglia.  Who?  No idea.  The entire movie, I wanted to punch him in his Ashton Kutcher-looking face.  And that’s the protagonist of the film.  Hated him, terrible choice.  It’s like when you put Jamie Foxx in a movie, whereas it sucks out any potential desire I might have had to see it.  Which is really unfortunate because I avoided seeing The Kingdom for years just because of Foxx starring in it.

This movie was directed by one of the Weitz brothers, Paul.  Now one of my favourite movies of all time is About A Boy which was directed by the brothers Weitz, and I suggest that Paul go back to directing with his brother again.  Maybe it was just that there was so much in this movie, it was like they were trying to satisfy every one  of the fans of the book it was based upon.  The only reason I know that it was based off a book (a trilogy no less!) is because of the Wiki.  Never heard of it before.  Recommendation to avoid!

1.5 / 5