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Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor: Love and Thunder 2022

It’s time for yet another new Marvel movie and while I did manage to get out to see this movie opening weekend, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write about it until now. I did however speak my thoughts on a recent Lambcast so you can hear more of my opinion along with 4 other Lamb members. I went into this movie hearing a fair mix of things, several people compared it negatively against Ragnarok so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to get into. For the most part, I loved this film in a similar manner as Ragnarok and while I do see the complaints, they didn’t detract from the film too much for me. Not only that, but I felt like this had a much better emotional throughline for several of the characters. And since this is a new release, I’m always compelled to issue a spoiler warning and there are several things to spoil that have been left out of the trailers so be warned.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness 2022

I keep telling myself that I’m not going to let this site lay fallow, and yet this is the second big release after The Batman that I’ve sat on. Of course not nearly as much as I’ve sat on The Batman as I still haven’t blocked out the three hour block of time to watch that at home on HBO Max. I managed to see this film in theaters on the second Sunday of release which as of writing this first paragraph was over a week ago. Meanwhile, I am hard at work on season 3 of It’s Time to Rewind and my new musical show Lyrical Innuendo. Despite all of this, I did enjoy the film. One of the biggest complaints that I had heard about the movie before I saw it was that it was “too Sam Raimi”. And while I can understand that argument, that’s honestly what I enjoyed the most about this film. It was that Sam Raimi horror with a little bit of comedy sensibility that permeated throughout the entire film along with some of that Spider-Man 2 pathos that helped endear us to the often self-important Doctor Strange. The new characters were nice, the Easter Eggs were occasionally surprising and I will be discussing them in the main portion of the review so if you somehow haven’t heard about them by now, you will be spoiled if you keep reading.

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Morbius

Morbius 2022

I’m honestly a little surprised that the first theatrical movie that I watched in 2022 was this one. Not only that, but it was this one despite the fact that the critically and fan acclaimed The Batman came out just a couple weeks ago and I let that one pass me by. It was for a couple reasons, one is that we do have an infant in the house so getting out to the theater is a little more difficult, even moreso for a nearly three hour movie. It was a little less guilt-inducing to pop out of the house by myself to watch a film that my wife had zero interest in that only ran for about 90 minutes. And I’m saying all of this because of how maligned this film was even years before release. It didn’t help that it was more or less supposed to come out sometime around 2020, was delayed six separate times and only half of those were delays due to covid. The trailers, the delays, and just starring Jared Leto himself were all plenty of potential turn-offs. But despite all of those, the movie still made a middling amount in the box office. Which by all accounts is more or less what the studio was expecting as it’s not an MCU movie or even a big name Spider-Man character. With all of this anti-hype surrounding the movie, I went in with fairly low expectations, and I must admit that I enjoyed my visit to the theater. I can’t sit here and call this film a good movie, but it hit some personal high marks and the low marks didn’t get too deep under my skin. And as is the case with new release movies, I will be discussing the story and end credits scene so beyond lays spoilers.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home 2021

I ended up missing the past couple movie releases due to the arrival of a little bundle of joy that’s taken up much of my time lately. But I just couldn’t miss out on the latest Spider-Man movie especially with the multiverse aspect coming into play. And I’m very glad that I was able to see it as soon as I did. I’m not big on the anti-spoiler culture that has permeated a lot of the nerd fandom lately, I was just excited to see it as soon as possible. Plus I signed up for the latest Lambcast discussing this and every other Spider-Man film so I had an extra reason to see it. I’ve enjoyed every Spider-Man movie to some degree or another with my least favorite: Amazing Spider-Man 2 still being ranked as a fun-but-very-flawed film so I was happy to see them all come together in this film. There was plenty of fanservice to be had, but for the most part, it was all done with a degree of reverence, plus it all made sense to further the story or the characters. There were some more changes to this MCU Spider-Man timeline to help differentiate Tom Holland’s Peter Parker even more from the others than they already have but I loved this entry in this long-running and varied franchise. And as there are plenty of spoiler fanservice elements, beyond this paragraph will definitely be spoilers.

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Shang-Chi

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 2021

This is only just the start of the squeezed MCU timeline as this is the second of four MCU films coming out this year that started with Black Widow just a couple months ago, Eternals in a couple more months, and Spider-Man: Far From Home to end out the year. Many of these MCU films are generally split down the middle more or less. Half of the film follows a more or less typical Marvel movie format with light comedy mixed throughout and a big end battle filled with explosions. The other half of the film gets to branch out into many different genres like spy thriller, war movie, sci-fi comedy, what have you. This does that to a certain extent, but it feels like the split was closer to 70-30 in favor of a martial arts/Wuxia film and I am all on board for that shift. After Black Widow’s moderate disappointment in that it followed the Marvel format a little too much, I absolutely loved every minute of this film from his audience surrogate friend slash potential love interest to the sympathetic villain to the fantastic-yet-still-unique CGI-filled climactic final battle sequence. And as this is a new release, as with all my reviews there may be spoilers ahead so if you want to go in fresh be warned.

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The New Mutants

The New Mutants 2020

Of all of the superhero movies of the past few years, this one was probably talked about more than it was actually watched whenever it eventually came out. It had a hugely trouble production as the studio seemingly didn’t have a lot of faith in it compared to Fox’s other mainline projects Deadpool 2 and Dark Phoenix so it got pushed back, they did some reshoots, Disney bought Fox so it got pushed further, the pandemic happened so it got pushed back even further, they wanted more reshoots but too much time had passed for their younger cast. And the articles around the project are confusing, as some say that the director wanted more horror, yet the first round of reshoots were supposedly to add more horror. And yet what the movie really could have used was, you guessed it, more horror. In the end, it didn’t fail at the levels of something like Fant4stic, but this was clearly a result of studio meddling that left us with a B- movie when there is the skeleton of an A movie.

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Black Widow

Black Widow 2021

First off I just have to start out with holy crap it’s good to be back in a movie theater. Granted things are very different than they were when I saw Birds of Prey which I’m pretty sure was the last movie that I saw in theaters. We just survived a pandemic, at least everyone who has decided to get vaccinated has survived a pandemic but I won’t go further down that discussion right now. I’m living in the Atlanta suburbs after spending the previous six years in the Chicago suburbs, and this is the first Marvel movie to come out since Spider-Man: Far From Home back in the summer of 2019. So yeah, things are quite a bit different. But kicking off the theater going with the latest MCU movie felt like falling back into old patterns. It was definitely enjoyable with great action beats and enjoyable humor, but the climax felt rather uninspired and I just wish they could have done something a little bit different than falling right back into the MCU formula that I often like to think doesn’t really exist. And as this is the latest MCU movie, if you haven’t seen it yet from here on out there may be spoilers so be warned.

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BlokeBusting The Essentials #39: Thor

Stop, Hammer Time!

#39: Thor

Or

The Day The Earth Stood A Little Still

This will be a fun one to discuss!

First Impressions

This film was one that I remember not really enjoying that much on the first viewing. I had no real knowledge of pretty much every character and actor/actress in the film and I couldn’t fully embrace the Thor character because I felt he was a little stiff. Have I changed my mind? Let’s find out!

The Characters

  • Chris Hemsworth: Thor

    As we all know now, Thor becomes one of the best characters in the entire MCU by Endgame. And that’s not an opinion, he’s genuinely one of the best characters with some of the best character arc bits. And knowing that when re-watching this film can give you some real perspective on how naive the character is. I still stand by my initial assessment that the Thor we get in this film is very stiff (calm down ladies and gentlemen!), I can now understand what I wasn’t getting before. Maybe I just wasn’t ready to think of Thor as a character who had actual character depth (even if his character at the time was as shallow as possible). Ah well, now I know!

  • Natalie Portman: Jane Foster

    Um. She’s…. ok? To be honest, I never liked her in this and on rewatching I still don’t really see her as anything to write home about. Or write an article about. Personally I think that Kat Dennings is way more fun to watch as Darcy Lewis, even though she’s relegated to “sidekick” status here. So yeah, kinda dull.

  • Tom Hiddleston: Loki

    There’s not many characters in the MCU who start as they mean to go on. The actors get comfortable in their roles and can make them come alive more. I think that Hiddleston hit the damn nail on the head here and gave us a Loki who we KNOW will go bad and we also know that he actually has good reason to. The fine line of humour, drama and madness is there from the start and only gets better down the line. Well done Hiddles!

  • Everyone Else: Everyone Else

    As you may guess, there’s waaay too many people to list even all the main characters here without taking 90% of the article length. So here’s the ones I found fun:

    – Odin: A good character for this film but I’m glad he wasn’t on screen more, if that makes sense.

    – Heimdall: Idris Elba. Fun! Next!

    – Sif & The Warriors Three: Kinda fun but basically end up being time wasters by the end. Not a huge criticism, given the run time there was no more room, but still valid.

The Setting

This film was our first introduction to Asgard, the realm of Thor and Norse Gods, within the MCU. And they actually did quite well spending time there, given that tradition would dictate that you get an intro, maybe 20 minutes max, before Thor gets stuck on Earth with minimal screen-time for Asgard after that. At least, that’s what most comic book films did back then, because audiences wouldn’t want to see lots of stuff in totally fantasy realms that they can’t relate to. Or so seemingly ever single studio thought. Not Marvel though. We got LOADS of time in Asgard and even a fair share of time in Jotunheim, the realm of the Frost Giants. I really do appreciate how different this film was to others that came before.

Now the flip side is that I actually get kinda bored with the Earth stuff. There’s a fairly boring location, not really much that happens outside of “Hey, I want my hammer back!” and “Hey, they took my research!” until The Destroyer arrives (though surely simply yelling “Klaatu Barada Nikto” would have ended that fight really quickly!). So funnily enough the exact opposite of what most studios had feared occurs where we get bored with the stuff that should make us connect with the characters on a subconscious personal level and we enjoy more the stuff that we cannot begin to connect with in the same way. Who’d have thought it?

Alrighty, we’ve heard a fair bit from me but my partner-in-crime has yet to chime in. Let’s fix that right now! Take it away Bubba!

It’s been a while since I’ve watched this. In fact, I think I watched it once during the first year of this site and I don’t think I’ve re-watched it since. I do enjoy Thor as a character and a setting as I’m a fan of high fantasy and Thor is a mix of high fantasy and superhero, and this first movie has a touch of fish out of water with Thor coming to Earth. It’s interesting to look back at this origin story for Thor considering how much he’s changed over the course of three solo movies and four Avengers movies. It’s a bit of a backlash to see where he started, but it also makes his transformation so interesting. Plus, the chemistry between Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston is evident right here from the beginning. The only downside is that Thor spends half of the movie being the pre-heroic Thor who is a complete arrogant jerk, and director Kenneth Branah has a bit of an overuse of Dutch tilts during most of the scenes on Earth. Otherwise, it’s a fun action origin with a touch of romance.

During the first phase of the MCU, Thor was actually the highest grossing origin behind Iron Man. It was also part of the MCU’s ongoing goal to bring in relatively big named directors not known for doing superhero movies like Kenneth Branagh who was best known for his Shakespearean tendencies. And as of 2020 based on currently announced titles, Thor will be the only Marvel hero to have a fourth solo movie unless Love and Thunder becomes more of an origin story for Jane-as-Thor. As far as the MCU goes, it’s important as the origin for one of the original Avengers though it’s possible that it might be replaced by Ragnarok which was a big turning point for the character to bring him more into the comedy realm. But as for the list as it stands. I’m sticking by this one, especially over the less well received the Dark World.

Danke Mr Wheat. And so, we bring ourselves to the big questions. The questions that we must all ask ourselves from time to time. And those questions are:

  1. Would I recommend this film to others?
  2. Does this film deserve to be on the list?
  3. If so, where does it appear on the list?

Given that I seem to have developed a pattern of following the usual order of numbers, let’s go for #1 first.

1) Yes. I’d even recommend doing as I did, watching the film again after seeing the others. You get the full appreciation of the arc of Thor (and his washboard progression) AND I feel like I understood more of the film once I had more knowledge of the world.

2) Yup. See above & it’s the origin of an amazing Superhero!

3) Let’s see. Carry the 2, cross out the 9 and add Pi. So that puts it….

  1. Hellboy
  2. Captain America: The First Avenger
  3. The Crow
  4. Men In Black
  5. Dr Strange
  6. Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  7. Megamind
  8. Thor
  9. Batman: The Killing Joke
  10. Superman 3
  11. The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
  12. The Meteor Man
  13. Supergirl
  14. Howard The Duck
  15. The Fantastic Four (1994)
  16. The Punisher
  17. Batman & Robin
  18. The Amazing Spider-Man
  19. Batman Forever
  20. BvS: Dawn Of Justice

    Potential Substitutions:

    Wonder Woman (replacing The Death Of The Hulk)
    X-Men: The Last Stand (replacing Catwoman)
    Turbo Kid (replacing The Incredible Hulk)
    The Incredibles 2 (replacing Fant4stic)

Maybe a bit of a surprise for you guys there, but I feel that’s about right. And now we must draw this review to a close. As the Bifrost Bridge begins to spin up, I shall bid you Adieu and…………

Oh bugger, it missed me. Ah well, I’ll walk then. Toodles!

The Best of the Decade pt. 3: Marvel & DC

And it’s finally time to finish off this giant best of the decade list with the biggest superhero movies to come out over the past ten years. The blockbuster live action movies from DC, Marvel, and the connected Marvel Cinematic Universe. And hopefully after this, I’ll get back to watching some more movies including the movie that won the Patreon poll so be on the lookout for that review coming up soon, plus the new releases will be starting very soon kicking things off with Birds of Prey, the sequel/spin-off for Suicide Squad. It’s been a great decade for Marvel, DC has been much more hit and miss with a strong finish. So, let’s get to the lists!

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BlokeBusting The Essentials #89: Fant4stic

Did NOBODY say anything about just how bad that title looks?

#49: Fant4stic

Or

Something tells me you might know how I feel about this film already. Let’s see…

First Impressions

Ok. I’m going to admit something here that I think you might be a little surprised by. I didn’t hate the 2005 Fantastic Four film. I know it’s not good, but I was alright with it. I went into this film knowing that it had a SOLID cast, a director who had done some good work and a studio with money behind it. So, all things considered, sounds like a great recipe! Then I saw the film in the cinema. And now you get to hear about it.

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