Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer Movie Roundup -- So Far

Okay so between last weekend and this weekend I've been trying to get caught up on the big Summer blockbusters.

And here's what I think so far....


It was okay but I really wanted to love it… and I didn’t.

All the emotional beats felt rushed… or incomplete. I kept waiting to feel like I was getting to KNOW these characters and then, just when I was on the verge of it the scene was over!

Jane Foster played by Natalie Portman never came alive for the same reason. She talked passionately about her research but she never talked passionately about the WHY of her research. Why was she doing this? What did she hope to gain for herself? For humanity? What was her ultimate goal? Knowledge is good but knowledge for knowledge’s sake is empty and that’s all we ever got from her. Plus, while the movie tried to give us a romance between her and Thor it never felt that authentic because the two of them just didn't get to spend that much time around one another.

Also, while in the original comics Foster was a nurse there was really no reason to necessraily transform her into a physicist either. The story would have worked just as well and maybe even better if they had updated her and made her an EMT.

Hemsworth COULD emote it’s just that we’re never given enough scenes of him emoting. We never see the impact of being exiled really hit him. I mean, he had basically a good relationship with his father – they basically cared for one another – and then he does something that screws him up so bad he is not just turned out of the house he is sent somewhere where he has no friends, no family, no contacts, no support, no aid, and no way back home on his own… and that never seems to hurt him that badly. Where’s the anger? Where’s the righteous indignation? Where's the hot-head whose hot-headedness got himself into this mess in the first place?

Although I will say this... Shirtless Hemsworth with the low slung jeans... Oh, yeah, that was nearly hot enough to make the theatre catch on fire. Thank you movie makers for giving us a little beefcake for a change. Now.... more please. Because one scene like that just wasn't enough.

Loki… Geez, Loki is a mess. He goes through so many different motivations for why he does what he does that you get plot whiplash. In the end you STILL don’t really understand why he’s doing all this. It doesn’t even make sense if you accept the theory that he is clinically insane. As the villain of the piece he is seriously lacking.

SHIELD… Yeah, SHIELD are a bunch of stupid douchebags here. And they are that way because…. The plot says so apparently. I mean, they take Foster’s research and her equipment which she even states she built herself… and they leave Foster out of the loop. Which is just STUPID. Really, SHIELD just couldn’t approach her and co-opt her? It makes so much more sense because then they get the equipment AND her. As it is, SHIELD operatives have to waste precious time learning how to operate her equipment and going over her data and sorting it out. It would be faster and easier to tap her knowledge – it reduces the time on study so hey can hit the ground running AND they get her training their scientists. It’s a two-for-one sale! But no, according to plot tropes the government agency has to be stupid and heavy handed.

And that’s the other thing… the plot here was just too formulaic. I mean, yes, it’s a comic book movie and that means there will be a formula but unlike other comic book movies this one never seemed to be able to run the formula with enough charm and wit and occasional surprises that we don’t CARE about the formula. Even the jokes here are tired retreads that you just see coming a mile away.

And the special effects? Really not that crazy about them either. The scenes of Thor flying weren’t all that great and Asgard looked like the Emerald City of Oz and a lot of the scenes looked like models… and I don’t mean that in a good way. On top of that, while the imagery for Bifrost, the bridge to and from Asgard, wasn't bad it really didn't seem that imaginative to me either. And in the end, the whole thing boiled down to "dimensional cannon" -- although they didn't call it that. I couldn't help it, in the theatre I just thought to myself "It's a dimensional cannon like you might see in Doctor Who. Which is alright for Doctor Who but a little bit less than what I was expecting for a multi-million dollar movie. The armor wasn’t bad, the Destroyer was good and the helmets, when the characters wore them, added a nice Jack Kirby (original artist who co-created Thor) look to the proceedings.

I know, going by the above you might think I hated the movie but I didn't. It was just that it was merely "okay" and I wanted something I could walk out of the theatre going "Man, that blew me away!" I'll give the script this as well -- it gave us a "nice" ending but we didn't get the full-on happy-sappy ending -- and I kind of like that. It sets up for a sequel... or the Avengers film Marvel has waiting in the wings... but it also gives us just a little bittersweetness to give things some emotional weight which was lacking.

All in all, if you haven't seen this one yet... go ahead and wait for the Redbox rental.

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