It may shock and appall many to know that I am not a raving fanatic of the God of Thunder. Not because of anything HE did, but because I only have a limited amount of time to spend on superheroes and the X-Men usually dominate that realm (Thor reference!). Sooo – for a comic book fan of my tastes, what is there to love in a Thor flick?
How about almost everything? As “Iron Man” before it, “Thor” provided lots of fun. And in a comic book movie adaptation especially with content as light and fluffy as “Thor”, what more could you expect?
The special effects were well done, the action sequences spot-on for this type of hero. I hadn’t especially noted it, but Dan was quick to mention how the film had dispensed with the ubiquitous wire/John Woo/Matrix fighting scenes for punching, kicking and a good old-fashioned wrestle in the mud. Which is totes appropriate for a Viking. Good job fight choreographer. Your efforts were duly noted by the general public!
The cast exceeded my expectations having only glimpsed Chris Hemsworth in the Star Trek film (in arguably the most memorable/traumatic opening sequence to grace the screen in a while), wasn’t sure what he would have to offer up as this larger than life character. He managed it quite well and showed a pretty adept comedic timing. As did the always lovable Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgaard. And to some degree Natalie Portman. I’m still not convinced I like her in comedies. But she can hold her own with this cast. And she won an Oscar, so I guess that means automatic pass. She did have loads of chemistry with Hemsworth but unfortunately I never quite bought their relationship. Which wasn’t their fault – but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Maybe it’s just my baby hungry brain, but was anyone else speculating about whether or not she was pregnant during the filming of this movie? It’s post “Black Swan.” Just saying.
As for the Asgaardians – Anthony Hopkins was stellar as old Odin One Eye. He growled, howled and menaced as is appropriate to the All-Father. Renee Russo was his lovely wife Frigga. Blink and you probably missed her. Pretty sure she had one line and a weak-ass battle with an Ice Giant. Pretty lame for the All-Mother. Tom Hiddleston was a much more subdued Loki than I anticipated, especially after having encountered him in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance video game series. And part of me was secretly hoping they would cast him as a female. Lady Loki was smokin’ hot!
Even without all the showy aspects of Loki on display, Hiddleston’s performance was probably the most emotionally adept of anyone in this story. Thor is kind of a d-bag for most of it (but that’s his arch) and you JUST KNOW he’s never going to lose, so the tragedy really falls to Loki and I couldn’t help but sympathize with him.
RACE AND GENDER
The whole Ice Giants thing – I don’t know about you but there was this weird race thing happening there that I’m not sure about. It was pretty surface, so I don’t think there’s much more analyzing to do. The ice giants were people of color being slaughtered by the mostly white Asgaardians (save the sexy and a bit scary Heimdall played by Idris Elba and the asian dude who had one line). If the Skrulls ever make it to the screen, I have a feeling there will be a similar reaction as well.
Just finished watching the documentary about costumed folks making a living posing at the Chinese Mann Theatre in LA – “Confessions of a Superhero.” The film focuses on four particular characters – Superman, Batman, The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman, but the actual meat of the story is delving into the pasts of these folks and what drives them to this particular career choice.
As a comic book nerd, I felt a missing ingredient of the film was in WHY these people gravitated towards their characters. I would have been interested in a little more psycho-analyzing of the personas they put on every day and how they decided to become these people. Especially more details about how and why they chose their costumes. That kinda stuff is interesting – there is an entire cosplay community out there built around the shared experience of putting together a really fantastic costume. None of that was explored or even mentioned here. It’s a shame.
There was probably some wonderful insight to be had by exploring each persons connection to their costumed character, but it seemed squandered by a documentary film-making team more interested in the cheese factor of comic book characters and the desperation of “performance pan-handling” on the streets.
Sure, don’t get me wrong, there were some amusing sequences, and a few even aimed for uplifting. Mostly – I feel humbled by peering in on these insanely different lives. And not really in the mood to laugh at people who are TRYING to make their dreams a reality. Who are getting by the best they can.
There was also an implied message that these folks should feel ashamed about what they do. Maybe not overtly stated, but it seemed a covert message of the piece. As if dressing up like fictional characters on the street for the entertainment of tourists is a humiliating human low. People do worse things for money.
Which is funny, because on good days the performers make more money than the poor costumed suckers at Disneyland…and these independent contractors can swear, take a break or leave for the day when the spirit moves them. Hardly anyone talks about the humiliation of dressing up like Cinderella when it’s condoned by a theme park. No, it’s glamorous and adventurous then. Hmph.
As someone who attends comic cons – half the fun is in scouting out the few souls brave enough to put on a costume. It barely matters if the costume itself is crappy or amazing.
The documentary is worth viewing, if only to come to your own conclusions about it’s intentions. If you don’t believe me, check out the trailer:
Here are a few ladies, the “Sidewalk Superheroes” willing to document their experience on their own terms, which might give a different perspective.
Much Love, Mindy C
So – I’ve been a bit neglectful of my blogging duties, but all in the name of good fun..and making ridiculous fan vids.
Another reason is that I’ve sworn off graphic novels and tpb’s until something more interesting crossed my path. I was getting tired of scouring the library shelves for some semblance of a reasonable title, and coming up with books that weren’t really holding my attention. And just to reassure you all – I managed to find a few decent titles.
I’ve also wanted to get back to my regular old novel roots, and devour a few books I’ve had on my list for awhile. My latest conquest was Middlesex by author Jeffrey Eugenides. It was refreshing adult and literary content. And now I’m ready to return to the wonderful world of comic books.
Even though I’ve been “gone” for two weeks, since my world seems to revolve around comic books, and movies, and comic books – I stumbled across a few comic related tidbits I felt compelled to share.
My latest fan-vid (oh, the nerdosity temperature just rose a few degrees in here) is all about a tpb I picked up during my 25th birthday – Fray written by Joss Whedon with art by Karl Moline and Andy Owens. It follows the story of Melaka Fray – a slayer living in a future that is reminiscent of Firefly – with some similar phrasing – “rutting” being the best example.
However – Fray has no knowledge of how to be a slayer and instead leads the life of a hardened thief – running from a tragic past.
The art by Karl Moline is fantastic, and the coloring by Andy Owens is rich and bright – everything you would expect and want from a future with flying cars. Is there a future without flying cars? Where the hell are OUR flying cars!?
But I digress…I also stumbled across Tank Girl through ON Demand last week. Can I just take a moment to say that I love DVR? Having the power to record the shows that I love and watch them whenever I want, fast-forwarding through shit commercials…phew…it’s a TV revolution.
Right – back to Tank Girl. I dug the screwball antics of the main character and the randomness of the plot, but at the same time…it reminded me of all that had been so off-putting about comic book movies made in the last decade.
And what it is that has made comic book movies so distasteful in the past? The cheese factor. Since I’ve not read Tank Girl, I’m not sure how true the movie was to the comic, but the campiness was firing on all cylinders, and made it incredibly difficult to forget you were watching a movie based on a cheeseball comic book. Which was probably the intention. But it didn’t work all the time.
It felt like a 1.5 hour commercial for the series. And though I find myself intrigued, and considering taking a gander at the book…I’m not certain TankGirl will ever make any Top 10 comic movie lists I put together. And on that note – here’s a Top 10 List:
This review is going to be tempered with the admonishment that I consumed one shot of alcohol, an alcoholic beverage – and three slices of pizza JUST before seeing this movie.
So – I was a bit giddy and giggly as I entered the theatre, and may not have been in my right mind for much of the first half.
And as with Hellboy 2 – it might be a statement of the movie itself if one of my favorite aspects was “The Watchmen” trailer – which had me in AWE! I’m sorry, but this film has the potential to become my all-time favorite comic book movie. It’s finally a film that I know the source material well, and it looks visually stunning. There is so much meaty content to this picture, even Zak Snyder could not fuck it up.
Another fun aspect of TDK was going to a Friday night release in a packed theatre, with people who actually seemed genuinely excited to see the flick. As opposed to the last couple of screenings I’ve endured, where the general audience response was fairly lackluster.
Batman knows how to pack ’em in.
As for the film itself – I am going to say it is a worthy runner-up to Batman Begins. It’s following the trend of “serious” Comic Book film adaptations that don’t mince around too heavily in cheese-pot dialogue and too many shots of spandex.
In fact – remove the silly names like “Batman, Joker, Two Face” etc, and you pretty much have yourself a modern day action movie. There were heavy themes such as terrorism, and a commentary on heroes and villains that I thought was intriguing. I’m not very familiar with the Batman comic mythos, or even the TDK source material, but I felt like it was doing DC’s favorite caped crusader justice. Ah, justice was a theme too! How proper.
I will admit to liking the Villains better than the bat. Heath Ledger pulled off an amazingly eerie performance, with so many disturbing and somehow unique character ticks…I think his portrayal will probably be legendary.
Also notable – Morgan Freeman (when is he NOT good? Oh yeah, Wanted) as Lucius Fox, and Michael Caine as Alfred were charming. Together these characters had some of the meatier dialogue in the film. In fact, I would say they were almost scene stealing.
Thumbs up to Christopher Nolan for recognizing their potential to spice up these bit parts, and bringing real heart to a film that was overall very dark.
It was dark, insanely fast paced AND LONG. Holy crap – I had no idea this film was three hours going in, but it definitely felt like three hours coming out. Not that I would say three hours wasted. It was worth seeing, but it had a little bit of “Return of the King“-itis, in that I spotted at least three to four distinct endings that were not really endings.
I’m a bit bummed by the ACTUAL ending, which I won’t divulge here…but I was hoping for more screen time out of this particular character. Nuts to all that, I suppose.
Today is one of the happiest days o’ the year: Free Comic Book Day.
The only day of the year that you can wander into your local comic book store and pick up a free book. The idea is to get the kids hooked while receiving a free comic book. There are lots of choices available for the kiddies, but a few that the adults will like too.
And while I’ve never been a huge fan of Superman, this one doesn’t look half bad either.
Oh, and I watched “Iron Man” last night. It was pretty decent, and I don’t have too much bad to say about it. I wouldn’t say it’s my absolute favorite comic book movie ever (that privilege is saved for “Spiderman 2,” “Hellboy,” “Batman Begins” and “X-Men 2“), but I wouldn’t say it’s the worst comic book movie ever (that privilege is reserved for “Spiderman 3,” “X-Men 3” and some of the made for TV Movie ilk I’ve caught on youtube).
“Iron Man” was entertaining, but not emotionally edifying. I guess that might be my own issue – I’ve never followed the adventures of Tony Stark very thoroughly, and was really only introduced to the character through “Marvel Civil War.” So, it was hard to get truly excited about the origin story, or the creation of the suit. Though, I totally dug the glowy on his chest.
I was trying to get on board with the Pepper Potts character, but as a woman, was having a hard time understanding her motivation for hanging around with a dick-wad like Stark (at least, he was portrayed as a dick wad in the beginning). The dialogue between Pepper and Tony was decent enough, but she was relegated to the “his girl Friday” role and shrieking and running when things really got crazy. Though, she wasn’t a damsel in distress like Mary Jane OR a whiney biznatch like Sue Storm (movie version).
Pepper was a creation of the 60’s, and it’s obvious over the years that her character has not really been updated for society as women are currently portrayed. In the Earth-616 continuity, her biography could be compared to one of those “Women in Refrigerator” types, as she is tortured, experiences a miscarriage, and her husband is killed while in service to Stark Industries.
I could be wrong – and there could be something amazing coming in the next film (oh, there will be another) for this character. But judging from Marvel’s treatment of her, I’d say that could be a stretch.
There were positive aspects of their relationship though – I don’t want to be a total nay-sayer. I kinda dug the non-romance between the two. And Pepper never appeared to be “trying” to get Stark’s attention. Their relationship evolution was very natural, but still – does this chick have a life outside of fulfilling this dude’s needs?
Another issue in the movie: Stark’s character development was present, but didn’t move me as much as I thought it would. There was little sub-plot for me to sink my teeth into. “Batman Begins” had gritty layers of self-discovery, naughty villains, and moodiness. I guess I was kinda hoping for one of those. I don’t suppose there is anything really moody about Stark, at least not yet. They didn’t even bother capitalizing on his alcoholism for dramatic purposes – it was mostly there for amusement.
Dan and Jake really liked it. I have to say – I think it was mostly a “Boy Flick.”
Visually and technically it was exciting and sometimes, quite beautiful. The fluidity of Iron Man moving in the suit – and the colors. It was like watching a comic book come to life – which is the same feeling I got from “Superman Returns.” It was sumptuous and lovingly crafted. I do have to give thumbs up to Jon Favreau and the rest of the folks for putting a lot of love into this movie.
What I like about how Marvel is crafting their franchise – is that they are getting together an awesome group of actors to make a wicked cool “Avengers Movie.”
I’m just sad that we missed the “BEST BONUS SCENE EVER” after the end-credits. But in comic-dom, it’s hard to let a secret that exciting get away, so I’m pretty sure of what I missed. But I won’t spoil it here.
BTW – I’m watching Battlestar Galactica Season 3 right now, and loving every minute of it. I forgot how much I enjoyed this series. But, like every good series which has gone before it, it will end before it’s time – barely answering all the exciting questions and mysteries it posed, no doubt.
Much Love, Mindy C