Posts Tagged ‘Hulk’

Thor Ragnarok is the third Thor solo outing, the subtitle being Viking mythology’s word for the apocalypse. In this entry Hela, the Goddess of death, has returned from banishment to conquer Asgard, with sites on the rest of the universe.

Ragnarok’s basic plot is pretty simple, but the strength of the movie is it’s humor and offbeat feel. Even the titular character himself cracks jokes adding to a vibe of almost parodying the often serious tone of the fantasy genre. It also continues the trilogy’s theme of family, exploring the relationships between Thor, his half brother Loki, and their father Odin.

At this point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe it certainly helps to be caught up on most of the movies. The last Thor ended with Loki impersonating Odin and therefore being the counterfeit ruler of Asgard. Ragnarok does attempt to bring the audience up to speed with Thor’s opening monologue (as opposed to Odin’s like the first two films), as well as a hilarious play which Loki/false Odin has commissioned, showing Asgardians a glorified version of his death from the last movie. It’s amusing that no one seemed to notice Odin acting completely different. Thor, who’d been away from Asgard for a time, immediately realizes what’s up.

A large chunk of the narrative involves Thor and Loki getting accidentally sent to the world of Sakaar, where Thor is captured, his hair cut, and forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena. It’s too bad the Hulk’s inclusion was advertised, because if you can watch this movie and pretend not to know Hulk is in it, the identity of the gladiatorial champion is built up quite nicely.

Sakaar and its gladiator games are run by actor Jeff Goldblum, who seems to channel an amped up version of himself to play the character the Grandmaster. On Sakaar, Loki has warmed himself up to the Grandmaster, while Thor rots in the gladiator pits. One complaint I had is it was a lot to believe that the Grandmaster never caught on that Loki and Thor know each other, especially after the two brothers are seen talking right in front of him.

Visually, Sakaar and its inhabitants look great, and are a clear homage to legendary comic artist Jack Kirby. There’s also the usual Easter eggs to various things from comics, like when Thor was once a frog. Another Avenger makes a brief appearance, and there is one scene with Dr. Strange that is humorous but felt tacked on. The Infinity Gauntlet’s brief appearance in the first Thor movie is also explained in a way that’s pretty funny.

Aside from the humor what I liked best about this movie is that, more than any other MCU movie to date, it has real consequences to it. Things on the Thor end of this universe are changed unequivocally. Supporting characters have met permanent deaths, Thor himself has gone through a significant transformation, and the status quo for these characters has changed for good and will not be going back.

 

 

 

 

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I was going to do before, but changed my mind for some reason, but then decided to just go ahead. This is my personal ranking of the films from Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Let me say upfront that I did enjoy all of the movies; there aren’t any of them that I disliked. Here goes.

6 Iron Man 2.

The least critically acclaimed of the 6, but amusingly enough the second most successful behind Avengers. While some complained it was just an advertisement for the Avengers, I thought Black Widow fit in just fine, and the meeting about the Avengers Initiative was the last scene/happened after the main narrative anyway.

To me the weakness of this movie was its climax. Iron Man and War Machine spend a lot of film time fighting mindless drones, but the main villain Whiplash is defeated quickly (after almost beating them for a few seconds at least). Also I didn’t like Pepper Potts stepping down as the CEO of Stark Industries. Putting her there was a gutsy move and would have fit for the narrative of Avengers, but instead things went back to the status quo, which is itself a common criticism of the comic book world.

Still Mickey Rourke made a fantastic villain and it was still a fun movie overall.

5 Hulk

Not much to say about Hulk. Good chase scene movie. Gutsy move to not really focus on origin, although that could be partly because this was sort of a reboot. Nice cameo from Tony Stark to cement that this is a shared universe, along with the vague Captain America references. Can’t quite put my finger on why this doesn’t rank higher, it should.

4 Avengers

“OH MY GOD AVENGERS WAS THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER!!!!” Well…no. Avengers was an incredible achievement in filmmaking, and it did have a lot on its plate. All the other movies did a great job of explaining who everyone was and things seemed to make sense. During the first 20 minutes of this I actually thought “Uh oh this might not be a good movie,” but it was. Still I wondered at one point how Thor knew what he did. No one wondered why Loki didn’t run away while Iron Man fought Thor. The helicarrier scene had a lot going on and I felt at first they kind of forgot about the bad soldiers that were, you know, invading the helicarrier. Plus during that sequence it was really hard to believe that Iron Man didn’t die or at least pass out from what he did.

Still this movie was spot on with character beats. It definitely captured that sense of overwhelming odds in the third act, and the falling action/denouement is one of the best on film.

3 Captain America

Great period piece action and great introduction to Steve Rogers in the first act before he becomes the Super Solider. It also captures the tragedy of the man lost out of time. However I must confess I was one of those people that didn’t like the downplaying of the Nazis. I don’t object to the presence of Hydra, that was a nice touch actually. It was just too much for me to believe that Hitler would have allowed the Red Skull to do his own thing. Dictatorships don’t work like that. You either fall in with the party line or you’re dead. They tried in one scene to justify/explain this but I still didn’t buy it. Otherwise this was a great movie that I might have put at #2.

2 Thor

Although much more predictable than Captain America, it’s done well enough that you don’t mind. Out of all the movies, it is Thor that goes though the strongest transformation during the course of his arc. Plus Asgard and the Destroyer look amazing, it has good action and humor beats. (Thor in the pet store is classic) You can pretty much guess everything that’s going to happen but with all these elements it works.

1 Iron Man

Phase One peaks out at its first movie with a perfect introduction to the new film universe and the man that is Tony Stark. Second only to Thor in the strength of its character arc, (Though in Tony’s defense his arc continues through IM2 and Avengers) we get the rotten scoundrel that is Tony Stark transformed during a near fatal incident, and alone tries to right his past wrongs. The humor, action, and character beats are pitch perfect. That and “Just call us SHIELD made me giddy.

Not to mention it has the best Phase One post title sequence, admittedly partly because it had the luxury of being first/you didn’t know to expect it. Think back to early 2008. There were rumors/hopes that an Avengers movie would come someday, but nothing definite.

Then all of a sudden, if you happen to stay after the credits for some reason, there’s this extra scene. Tony comes home, and Samuel L. Jackson is in his house! Who the hell is he, Nick Fury! “I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative” is one of the most shocking moments in nerd history. It’s this generations “I am your Father.”

So there we have it. Now on to Phase Two!

Marvel Studio’s upcoming film slate of Iron Man II, (2010) Thor (2011) and Captain America (2011) will lead up to the Avengers (Featuring all three characters and probably the Hulk) in 2012.

Marvel’s movie universe began in 2008 with Iron Man and the Hulk. The Marvel spy group SHIELD appeared in both movies. “The Avengers Initiative” was mentioned in Iron Man’s post credit scene. Hulk had references to Captain America, and Tony Stark/Iron Man appeared at the end. This is the first time a shared film universe was made from the ground up. There are other shared film worlds, but they werent initially designed to be such. The four I know of are;

Universal Monsters

Universal Studios was famous for its Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), and Wolfman (1941) movies. 1943 saw the movie Frankenstein meets Wolfman, and the two met Dracula in 1944s House of Frankenstein and 1945s House of Dracula. Universal made other movies like the Invisible Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Mummy, and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. They are also considered Universal monsters, but during that time never met Dracula, Wolfman, or Franksenstein.

The three monsters met in various media throughout the decades, including a failed attempt to start a franchise with 2004s Van Helsing movie. In 2010 a remake of Wolfman also flopped. No further re-makes have been announced. A horror based film universe with these characters would have been cool.

Godzilla

The Godzilla franchise started in 1954. He once fought King Kong, and met Rodan and Mothra, prior to which both monsters had their own movies.

Also included in the Godzilla-verse are characters from the following Japanese monster/science fiction movies;

Atragon
Battle in Outer Space
Dogora
Frankenstein Conquers the World
Gorath
The Mysterians
Space Amoeba
Varan the Unbelievable
The War in Space

Friday the 13th/Nightmare on Elm Street.

In the 80s the Friday the 13th  and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises were developed by Paramount and New Line. The two companies actually planned a crossover at the time, but plans fell through. New Line acquired the F13 rights and made Jason Goes to Hell in 1993. At the end of that movie Freddys gloved hand is seen reaching out of the ground, and his laugh is heard. The two officially met in 2003s Freddy vs Jason. The timelines from both films are presumed to have merged. Two comic book mini-series served as sequels and included Ash from the Evil Dead series. Also of note is that various supporting characters from F13 and NOES films appear in the second comic book crossover.

Aliens vs Predator

Though they fought in comics and video games for years, the two monsters didnt meet on the silver screen until 2004. A sequel followed in 2007, but since then its been announced that both creatures are each getting another solo movie. Again, like Freddy vs Jason, it can be assumed that both timelines are one. That doesnt matter too much as the Alien series took place in the future, and the Predator movies were in the present. AVP was the first movie where Aliens appeared in the present day.

Now lets take a look at the three shared film worlds I think could be possible.

Hasbro-verse.

Hasbro, between its own properties, and the properties of other companies it bought since the 80s, owns a large number of franchises. These franchises cover many genres from military action, to hard science fiction, fantasy, etc. It’s most famous properties are Transformers and G.I. Joe. Lesser known characters that could fit with those two include Inhumanoids, Go-bots, and M.A.S.K. Other properties they own that wouldnt fit as well, but could be whole film series themselves include Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering,  and Alternity. They also own more obscure 80’s toy properties like Sectaurs, Visionaries, and Silverhawks.

Transformers and G. I. Joe of course have their own films now, but they all could have, or could still meet in the future.

The Slasher-verse.

Take Freddy vs Jason up a notch. New Line also owns Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If they got the rights to Halloween, (which was rumored at one point) there could be one cool fright filled world. Throw in others like Pumpkinhead, Chucky, and something to tie them together like Hellraiser and you’ve got a truly disturbing universe.

DC Comics film world.

Weve all spent years wondering why this hasnt happened yet. No point in rehashing it again.