Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor the dark worldRoze-Rating: 3.5 / 5

Set after the attack on New York, Thor is busy restoring order within the Nine Realms whilst the Bifrost is being reconstructed. Having not seen Thor for two years, Jane Foster strives to find scientific anomalies which are similar to the time they found Thor in New Mexico. As a result of the convergence, a rare alignment of the Nine Realms, Foster is sucked into a portal which links these Realms together. She is teleported to a new world and gets infected by the Aether. A group of Dark elves awake once they feel the Aether’s release, the same dark elves who attempted to take over the Nine Realms using the same weapon.

There’s a moment during the film’s opening where we first see Thor appear, and that’s the moment where Chris Hemsworth truly feels like Thor. In the past two films he’s been in, he never really became anything more than an actor playing this character, but after this film it feels as if no one else could play this role but him. From that moment onward’s I felt pumped to be watching a Thor film.

This sequel is better than the first in many ways but it doesn’t feel as whole as it could have been. Firstly the improved CGI makes this film visually stunning as we get to see Asgard in more detail. It’s colourfully glossy which gives it that genuine comic book aesthetic. There’s a lot more emphasis on costume and set design. Thor’s costume looks polished and pristine, which no longer feels gimmicky. Asgard and the Nine Realms actually feel real now which reflects Jane Foster’s feelings as she follows Thor to Asgard for the first time.

It also feels a lot more like a Thor film, even though the Aether is a part of something Avengers related. The first film was an origin story but it was also as much an Avengers prequel. Thor: The Dark World has a much more interesting story driven by fantasy stories and fairy tale inspired characters. What I like about these Marvel films is that they all offer something different. Iron Man is pure comic book action, Captain America is a lot more political and Thor feels like Lord of The Rings in terms of the fantasy elements.

In terms of the film not feeling whole, I think what tarnished its potential is the fact that there’s too many characters which get such small screen time. Thor has an awesome group of warriors he fights with yet we hardly see them. I don’t know if the comics are the same way, if so fair enough, but I wanna see more of them. Maybe their teasing us for whats to come in the third Thor film, but there is definitely going to be some love triangle forming soon. It might have been hard incorporating it in this film but it was disappointing not seeing just a little bit of it. It’s going to be interesting to see how Sif and Jane Foster face off.

The theme that felt evident is inconsistency. When intended to be funny it was, but the jokes either come at inappropriate times (Thor getting on the tube) or don’t happen for long periods of time during more mellow scenes. Same goes for the tone, once scenes transition between Earth and Asgard there’s definitely a tonal change. Once at earth, the music is more comedic and light hearted which contrasts the dramatic orchestral music when in Asgard. It makes sense as it gives these locations different identities but the film was either funny at one point then dramatic in others.

The major highlight though is Loki, who Tom Hiddleston continues to play to perfection. It’s different seeing a villain stick around for once, and a villain that most people like, even if he is completely evil. Once Thor and Loki eventually team up, the film kicks into gear and it starts feeling like a Marvel film.

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Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron-Man-3Roze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

(Spoilers)

The third installment of the Iron-Man series directed by Shane Black gives us a vulnerable Tony Stark post Avengers. Still hung up on the New York attacks not too long ago, Stark suffers from anxiety attacks and insomnia. His obsession with the Iron Man suits hits new heights as he restlessly tinkers left with an excess of suits. Creating fear in the eyes of the American public is newly established villain The Mandarin, who has bombed countless locations with the aim of exposing America’s corruption. His next bomb puts Happy Hogan former Stark bodyguard into hospital. Rashly giving away his home address to the media and ultimately The Mandarin, Stark may have just created new demons.

What I like about the Iron Man series so far is that in each film Tony Stark grows as a person. We see him develop as the films pass which ultimately keeps him interesting and engaging as a character. No doubt he is probably the most popular Avengers character so far just because he fails to get boring. In the first film we see him experience a traumatic kidnapping which opens his eyes to the business he’s in. It pushes him to change his moral values and his business ethics in order to prevent world violence. Creating the Iron Man helps him make up for years of bad business but also to protect him from the villains he has. Iron Man 2 exposes an over confident Stark, he feels immortal to danger and is ignorant to the thought of others greater than him. He’s invented an even bigger rock star persona which leads him to alcoholism. The pain beneath that hard exterior. Once realizing that there are people with special abilities just as powerful as Iron Man he is brought back down to reality. To become a respectable hero he must put others in front of himself, which is concluded in The Avengers film.

In this third installment Tony Stark is in the process of having a fresh start but first he must overcome his anxiety. The alien attack has affected Stark more than you would expect as living in a world which he once knew is now absolute. He learns that the suit doesn’t define him but he defines the suit. It takes a while but his revelation helps rid of the anxiety and tackle his demons head on. Shane Black freshens up the Iron Man series with a much more engaging sequel where Stark is glorified and not the suit. The action is better and so is the comedy.

I think the prospect of having The Mandarin in this film was a huge turn on for all the fan boys out there since he is one of Iron Man’s main enemies. He is also one of the more interesting ones. In the comics he gets hold of these alien rings which he spends most of his early years trying to master. He eventually figures them out and is able to use each ring for different things, for example ice blasts, fire blasts, mind manipulation, electromagnetic rays, disintegration beam, black light, etc. Cool things like that. From the trailer, personally I was freaking excited at the idea of this villain, and I had no knowledge of him at all. He had a menacing voice, genuine look to him and he was being played by Ben Kingsley. I’ll be honest I didn’t do too much research into the villain before going in which is why when we see that Ben Kingsley is actually just a decoy for Guy Pearce’s character I wasn’t too disappointed since for most of the film we just see him sit and talk. He looked cool but we don’t see him do anything impressive. Of course this wouldn’t have been a good thing for any fanboys. For me it was quite a shock but also hilarious. After researching his abilities I think it’s a villain wasted but it didn’t harm the film in any way.

Guy Pearce is always a joy to watch on screen, he’s especially slick, coy and menacing as Aldrich Killian. He is of course the demon Stark makes 13 odd years ago when he ditches him at the roof of a hotel. Killian reinvents himself into successful business man at AIM. He invests into a human regrowth program called Extremis which is anything but stable. As a villain, he’s nothing new, we’ve all seen these pompous, well dressed villains on the screen before, which is another reason why decoying The Mandarin was a miss. But then again he does breath fire.

The lead up to the big boss showdown was great, we see Tony use his wits and mechanical brain to save the day with little help from the suits. Of course they come in handy at the end. What I thought the past films lacked was a good Iron Man vs Villain showdown. This film had a great build up, some good sequences but at the end of the day Iron Man didn’t have the last punch. It just felt off and annoyed me a little that Pepper was the one that ultimately finished Killian off. I mean I can get over it but I just didn’t see the appeal and any reason for it. We go to Iron Man films to see Iron Man beat the shit out of the villains not Pepper. Also when Killian reveals him self as the Mandarin, we don’t really believe in it. It’s not the awesome reveal that I think it intended to be.

For an action film this is definitely a must watch. The sequences may not be anything groundbreaking but they definitely get out hearts racing. From the destructive attack on Tony’s home to the Airplane explosion. Definitely the best action film you will see this year. We get to see heaps of different suits that Stark has made during his anxiety period, their utilized in new ways and have new tech which makes for entertaining sequences when they are on the screen.

One thing that I wont forget from this film is its great theme tune. Past marvel films really lack a good theme song or one that fits. Once the credits hit the screen and that tune started playing, it really gave Iron Man films a comic book film identity.

Overall for a comic book film its incredibly solid and rewatchable having seen it four times now. It has purpose, clear character growth, logical action sequences and enough destruction for us to be pleased with. It’s a great addition to the Iron Man series and would be an exceptional last.

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

the_avengers-wide

Roze-Rating: 5 / 5

Marvel sets the world alight with this ground breaking film which incorporate’s seven Marvel Comic heroes introduced from five previous films, illustrating their path into the S.H.I.E.L.D. Avengers initiative. The Avengers broke significant records during it’s release, namely the all-time domestic weekend record, taking an estimated $200.3 million, thankfully the financial success of the film did not go in vain.

To prepare myself for this well anticipated film, I spent some time getting a hold of the films leading up to it, and made sure it was in order, starting with “Ironman”, starring Robert Downey Jr. He fit into the role of Tony Stark so well that even during the film’s multiple premier’s, he exuded pure Tony Stark mannerism’s and style. The next film created quite a debate leading up to The Avengers. “The Incredible Hulk”, starring the experienced Ed Norton, who plays Bruce Banner with a likeable charm, resultantly winning the hearts of the Marvel fans. Of course, when the news got out that he had been replaced with Mark Ruffalo, this created quite a bit of negativity and doubt over the Bruce Banner character. He soon proved critics and pessimists wrong, taking a different direction with the character in the best way possible.  Ironman 2 sheds a lot more light on Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his intentions about introducing the S.H.I.E.L.D. initiative, which is why The Avengers film is present with us now. It also introduces Natasha Romanoff, known as Black Widow, who is played perfectly by Scarlett Johansson, showing the athleticism and no nonsense characteristics of her role. Following these films are Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans), which are generally Origin films, with exception to Thor, which introduces the space threat within the Marvel Universe, emphasizing the potential threats on earth.

The Avengers depicts the final stage of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Avenger initiative, which involves the process of assembling each character to triumph against Loki and his increasing army. Managing a cast of main characters, would prove to be a difficult task, but the thoroughness of the script, really finds the perfect balance between each characters screen time; leaving no room for an independent hero. That’s where the film flourishes, we are able to get to know each character that much more and how they all react in the presence of each other. It is normal for families to fall out every now and again, and this film really is about the ultimate group of heroes who have their differences uniting at a time of desperation to save the world. One particular scene, where they are all in the middle of battle back to back and the camera pans around them, really symbolizes that perfectly, and is sure to send shivers down your spine. Another great aspect of this film is the comedy it possesses. The moments which are intended to make you laugh will achieve that genuinely, but props must go to Robert Downey Jr. who uses his improv skills at it’s best. Finally, the action is great, filled with iconic comic moments, from the Hulk smash to the flawless archery skills of Hawkeye. There will be no let down towards that aspect of the film, and nor does the film on the whole. If you are looking to watch a film with masses of action, mixed with comedy, then this film will offer vast’s amount of fun, leaving you thinking of it for quite some time.

The best feature of Marvel film’s are the sneaky Easter eggs they subtly fit into the film, which only the hardcore fans are likely to find, but then they add the end credit addition for the less hardcore fans. This is where the fun continues, being able to anticipate future film plots, and debating with other fans, which is why the Marvel experience, is quite a special one to take part in.

Who do you guys think the villain during the end credits was? What impact do you reckon he will have on the future Marvel films? Which Marvel film are you looking forward to the most, Ironman 3, Thor: The Dark Wolrld, Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Ant-Man?