After reading that Thor: The Dark World had not been especially well received by critics (66% on RottenTomatoes.com is not a universal panning, but also not a ringing endorsement), I dialed my already lowered expectations down. Although I think Chris Hemsworth is the new charismatic movie super star we desperately needed in the wake of the aging of Schwarzenegger, Willis and Stalone, the first Thor installment wasn’t exactly great and the trailer for this flick didn’t get me excited for the flick. So, perhaps this is why I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and I think my blurb for Thor: The Dark World might have to be something along the lines of “non-stop action thrill ride.” Read the rest of this entry
I don’t have a baby of my own, but I have been around babies… Nevertheless, I may not be the right person to weigh in on this. I’ll put aside the debate concerning, “The baby wants my phone, so I got him a toy phone,” (ie, the baby should play with baby toys or we should fool the baby into thinking they are playing with my toy) and instead just concentrate on the idea that the baby is playing with an Iron Man phone.
This… This just doesn’t seem right to me for a reason I can’t put my finger on. I am very curious about the phone as it appears to be one of those call the characters deals. What do they say?
“This Hulk. HULK SMASH!!! … Why baby cry?”
“I am Thor, God of Thunder! My enemies and the enemies of earth shall feel mjolnir’s wrath! I will smite all those that threaten peace, justice and afternoon nap time!”
“Hey, it’s Iron Tony! I mean… Sorry, I’m already drunk.”
You get the idea.
I’ve always thought that kissing under the mistletoe was a mysterious (but worthwhile) tradition, and I’ve done some research to try to better understand this plant and why it demands we make out. As it turns out, mistletoe didn’t always insist we hang it and hook up underneath it.
So where did this mistletoe thing come from? Those who have glanced through the Bible may be familiar with Matthew 16:19 (which includes some of Jesus’ parting words before going to heaven after the Resurrection) which goes a lil somethin’ like dis: “I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven; and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven.” The next sentence wasn’t, “Oh, and thou should hang mistletoe above thy door and get sloppy under it.” Didn’t happen. So why do Christians do it? I’m sorry to say that I don’t have the answer, but here is a bit of mistletoe’s journey through history.
1. Mistletoe was once regarded as a symbol of fertility
Way back when, mistletoe was seen as a symbol of fertility and whatnot, so one can easily understand why people started tacking it up on door jams and getting hickies under it.
2. Mistletoe is poisonous
Huh. Referencing Batman Returns a lot lately…
Mistletoe is not the sort of thing I’d keep around the house, but then, I could always use a kiss from the Dr. Girlfriend. It’s not like you can eat mistletoe, so the only reason to keep it around is to get your freak on. I’m pretty sure it will make you sick and if you eat too much, it could even kill you. Ironically, the ancient Celts considered mistletoe to be an antidote to poison. I guess when it didn’t work, they’d just shook their head and remarked, “If only we’d given him the mistletoe tea sooner!” They should have contacted Batman – Batman knows mistletoe is poisonous!
3. Mistletoe pops up all over the place in Greek Mythology
Here’s just one instance: In the Greek epic The Golden Bough, the hero must journey to the underworld to see his father, but first, he must get the golden bough (which folks believe is actually mistletoe) to give as a gift to the queen of the underworld, because she presumably wants to make out with her husband, Pluto.
4. Mistletoe pops up in Norse Mythology, too
If you’ve seen the movies Thorand The Avengers, then you’re familiar with Loki, the Norse God of mischief. Not to be outdone by the Greeks, Loki somehow arranges the death of another god via mistletoe, but whether he’s killed by a mistletoe arrow or a mistletoe sword is unclear to me. So did they just scratch the dude and let the poison do the work, or did they straight up kill him and use poisonous wood just to make sure they got the job done? Loki knows…
5. Mistletoe is only a tradition with English-speaking Christians
The earliest documented case of kissing under the mistletoe dates back to the 16th century in England. The tradition has spread throughout the English-speaking world, but non-English speaking cultures rarely practice the kissing under the mistletoe tradition. I guess non-English speaking Christians don’t like having poisonous plants around the house.
6. There are at least two types of Mistletoe
Depending on where you live, you’ll be able to buy one species of mistletoe or another – but there are at least two: Viscum album is found in Europe and Phoradendron serotinum is found in North America. So at least two ways to die via Christmas on two continents – AWESOME!
I finally got around to seeing The Avengers this weekend, and a good time was had by all. At least half of the audience clapped at the end, which doesn’t usually happen in a movie theater, but it was that kind of flick – people wanted to stand up and cheer. After living with these characters for five movies, maybe this is what the audience always wanted; but if you didn’t see Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America, I don’t blame you if you were thoroughly confused. Read the rest of this entry
I have to wonder if Sir Anthony Hopkins ever thought that a day would come in his career where he’d find himself rendered as an Action Figure.
The world is a strange and wonderful place!
Oh yeah, you can check out my review of the Thor movie here.
more Comic Book Reviews at creativejamie.com/category/comic-book-reviews/
I’m ready to explain my feelings on the Thor movie, and it’s all spoilers from here. Also, I’m going to smash it into tiny pieces – yet, I liked this film.
I think the trailer actually did a better job of setting up the story; it would have been more interesting to have the movie continue on with the story on earth and then tell how Thor ended up on earth in flashback, but whatever. Like Daredevil, maybe I’ll re-edit this movie someday.
I’m sure there is a way to review this movie without spoiling it for you, but I’m a big fan of comic books, so that’s just not going to work for me.
Much like the Incredible Hulk, Thor is a gigantic setup for The Avengers movie at it’s core. Sure, it may look like this movie has interesting things to say, but I feel like I just sat through something that could have been summarized in five minutes during the first act of The Avengers – yet I was never bored. I don’t have any explanation for that contradiction.
So who is Thor? He’s the Norse God of Thunder. If you need more background information on Thor, then I suggest you consult your local library, because this movie is not going to supply you with a lesson in mythology. Still, it’s hard for me to separate in my mind a perceived flaw in the story telling because Marvel Comics has given me a lesson the inhabitants of Asgard, but I will say this; it would have been helpful to mention that Loki is the god of mischief.
The best thing I can say about this movie is that Chris Hemsworth is great – I never doubted he was Thor for a second and I look forward to seeing him in this role and others for a long time to come. On and Idris Elba as Heimdall was great – well portrayed, well written – awesome. The worst thing I can say about this movie is, couldn’t you develop [insert various characters/sub plots here] a little further?
Loki did what now? I felt like the movie was trying to throw us a curve ball, like, “Oh… it was Loki who was behind it all! Almost like he’s a trickster or something!” His end of the plot (which kinda drives the whole movie) didn’t feel clear… his motivations seemed ill defined or weak – I can’t believe Loki let the Frost Giants into Asgard just to ruin his brother’s big day; but I suppose you could argue he did that because he knew The Destroyer could handle the situation and it would win him some favor with the Frost Giant King… eh.
Thor learned what now? I think we can all agree that Odin sent Thor to earth so he’d learn some humility, but the moment when he goes from the guy who smashes mugs on the ground of diners to the hero who helps make breakfast and sacrifices his life for his friends is a bit unclear.
The “Odin Sleep” is what now? If you thought Odin was having a stroke or something when he laid down on the steps, raise your hands. It’s OK, it’s not your fault – the movie didn’t explain what was happening until after it happened. Couldn’t Odin had said that he was making Thor king because he had to do his “Odin Sleep” thing at the beginning of movie, thereby creating a power vacuum that would have provided more than ample motivation for Loki to get his treason on? Not only would one sentence at the botched coronation fixed this problem, it would have made the entire movie a lot stronger.
The Love Story – Was I in the bathroom when Thor and Natalie Portman fell in love? No, I wasn’t – I just don’t know when it happened in the movie. Obviously, Natalie Portman is very lovely, so I’m not giving Thor a hard time… and I guess Thor is jacked, so we can’t get too mad at Natalie Portman, so I guess I’ll have to let this go.
The Warriors Three – have three characters ever been more under utilized? Especially Volstagg, who is the only member of the group I can name. I guess the movie made it clear that Thor was close with all of these characters, but who are they? Seriously, what are their names? I just happen to know that the beard guy is Volstagg because I wasted my time and money reading Siege: Embedded which prominently featured Volstagg.
Female characters – no Enchantress? I would have liked to see The Enchantress in this movie – she could have been flying her usual “I love Thor” flag and after he rejected her like he usually does, she could have teamed up with Loki, blah blah blah, hilarious antics ensue. Instead we get Sif? Who the hell is Sif? I guess she hangs out with The Warriors Three, and she does seem kinda familiar… but whatever.
Are there any female characters for women to relate to in this movie? I’m pretty sure there aren’t. Well, Chris Hemsworth has his shirt off; hopefully that does something for the ladies. But let’s see… Sif was at least in the mix and doing things; the Queen was useless, Natalie Portman was just sorta there, but it was nice that they snuck Kat Dennings into the movie as the wise cracking intern.
Clint Barton – what a tease. My dork radar went crazy when Agent Coulson asked for a SHIELD agent to get up high with a gun and we saw a plethora of gun options, but the reaching hand grabbed a bow – DORK ALERT! It’s Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye! I didn’t know he was going to be in this movie! Yeah… he’s not – we never see him again. What a bunch of shiz!
Technical stuff - Kenneth Branagh, who I know better as a brilliant actor, made some odd choices when it came time to put the camera somewhere. Why did he do so many oddly framed, crooked angles? Even in closeups, there are these shots where the camera is totally sideways… I don’t get what he was trying to convey. Was I supposed to feel uncomfortable? I didn’t get it – it just looked weird. Also, many of the action scenes suffer from First Transformers Movie/Batman Begins syndrome, where the camera is too close to the action and you can’t tell what’s going on – I just assume that shots get framed in that matter to hide something, like an unfinished special effect. I guess it’s supposed to create intimacy, and in Batman Begins, I think they were trying to convey the way Batman just jumps in on his opponent before they knew what hit them, but it didn’t work there, and it doesn’t work here.
The Standard Marvel Tease After the Credits – [THE FOLLOWING COULD SPOIL THE AVENGERS AND CAPTAIN AMERICA MOVIE, SO BE WARNED] I guarantee you that device Nick Fury shows us is something the Red Skull invented during World War II to import monsters from one of the other realms that he wanted to unleash on the allies – Captain America stops him before he does it… then it turns up again in The Avengers, Loki teams up with the Red Skull and in the second act, they bring some horror to earth for The Avengers to fight… that’s my guess. (For dorks like myself, this is the movie version of the Cosmic Cube, I guess… Pretty far departure from the comic book version… you know, because it’s not a cube.)
Some final thoughts – I don’t know if this movie needed to be made, but one thing is for sure: it’s out now, and they aren’t going to explain any of this stuff again, so if you intend on seeing The Avengers, you pretty much have to see this movie. It’s certainly not a bad film, and I’m sure I”ll see it again someday, but Thor didn’t exactly blow my mind. If not for the performance of Chris Hemsworth, this would be a below average movie.
My Rating: 3 out of 5
NOTE: for the rest of my Disney World posts, click here.
Since I was a kid, the improvements to EPCOT have been drastic. Think about it from a child’s perspective (or anyone under the age of 21, for that matter); what was there to do in EPCOT as recently as the 1990s? Not a whole lot. The Disney Imagineers or whoever the hell obviously figured this out, because they went to work: they added Test Track, Mission Space and they imported Soarin’ from California Adventure, as well as adding character meeting places, Turtle Talk with Crush, and that Nemo thingy that used to be educational. However, they still have that one farming thingy where they’re like, “See those fish we’re farming? You can eat some of their brethren later!” That always rubbed me the wrong way. Read the rest of this entry
Given that Iron Man 2 is coming to DVD and Blu Ray on September 28, I thought it was as good a time as any to take a critical look at Robert Downey Jr. as the Armored Avenger. Be warned: the following review contains spoilers (yeah, spoilers for a movie that made $128,122,480 in its opening weekend at 4,380 theaters) and is a giant ‘whatever’ fest. But read on…
You can’t talk about Iron Man without gushing over its star, so let me get that out of the way. Robert Downey Jr. is the man, and he’s great in the Iron Man movies; whatever you think about the Iron Man films, you can’t deny that. The man has talent, and I can’t think of another instance where an actor had the opportunity to play a character he had so much in common with. Maybe the movie version is a bit sillier than the comic book version, but it works.
I was surprised to see negative reviews for the film; sure, I agree it’s not as good as the first one, but I don’t think there is a tremendous gap. Check this out:
Really? Spider-Man 2? The standard that we’re holding comic book movie sequels up to is Spider-Man 2? Spider-Man 2 has its moments, but its not great even for a comic book movie; I think we can all agree that The Dark Knight and X-Men 2 are probably two of the best comic book movies of all time. Oh, and the end of Spider-Man 2 is awful: Maryjane is the worst character ever, only acceded by the lame death of Doctor Octopus. And Superman II, while great, has some really silly moments, but should never, ever be mentioned in the same sentence as Spider-Man 2, or worse still, Spider-Man 3. (I know, it wraps everything up nicely, but come on, the movie is moronic at best. Talk about two people who seriously need to visit the couples therapist.)
Getting back to Iron Man 2: I thought the final battle with Ivan Vanko/Whiplash (Crimson Dynamo? Whatever.) ended a bit too quickly, and the Ununoctium sequence (that’s the element he builds/discovers/whatever – which is a real thingy, by the way – see the link) was kinda… well, shitty. But hey, a prototype for Captain America’s shield was in that scene, so I’m down. But that’s pretty much my entire list of complaints. Knowing the Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) character as I do, I was surprised she didn’t kill anybody during her action sequence, but whatever. Oh, and they never refer to her as the Black Widow, but that’s become a bit of a staple of the current Marvel movies.
I know the whole Don Cheadle vs Terrence Howard thing got a lot of attention, but that’s the movie business for you, and I’m not going to talk about it here. Its not great to have two actors play the same character, but whatever; they both did a fine job as Lt. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes. I think they actually referred to him as War Machine once during the movie, so cheers!
I was particularly pleased with Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts and Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer – they stole the show a bit. Vanko could have been in the movie more, but given that he’s not going to be in any of the other movies, whatever. It was nice to get Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in there, and I know this is the ‘Ultimate Comics‘ version of Fury, but Samuel L. Jackson, for the most part, plays Samuel L. Jackson. It’s not bad, but it’s not what I was looking for.
On the whole, I enjoyed this movie; and I’ve seen it twice already, so that says something. The performances and effects are great, and the aforementioned more than make up for minor story faults. They were trying to do a lot with this movie: an Iron Man sequel, an Avengers prequel, a Thor prequel, a Captain America… prequel, I guess. Maybe that’s too much, but I think it all worked out well enough. I’ll probably see it again soon. But if you didn’t like Iron Man 2…
NOTE: Isn’t it strange that the scene with Pepper kissing Tony’s helmet before he jumps out of the plane was so prominently featured in the advertising campaign but didn’t make it into the movie?