As the MCU rolls into its 19th film, the franchise has gotten to the point where it is able to do one of the things that made Marvel Comics so successful when they first debuted in the 1960s. You have a feeling that any character can now show up in any movie at any time, and having built strong characters with deep foundations, you can have a ton of fun playing with new combinations. The third Thor film does this with both the Hulk and Doctor Strange (mostly Hulk), and even though I loved the first two Thor films a lot more than most, there’s not doubt that Ragnarok is the strongest of the three had the most impact on the overall MCU.
Planet Hulk is a storyline that fans have been clamoring for a film adaptation of for years, but Disney and Universal are bogged down in a lawsuit as to who actually owns the rights to make solo Hulk films. So Disney just went ahead and backdoored Planet Hulk into a Thor film. Watching the two most powerful Avengers have a knockdown drag-out fight is epic, and I’ve always been a fan of Gladiator Hulk. Both in the fight and in the almost-as-awesome sequence with Doctor Strange, you really have to admire Chris Hemsworth’s groove with Thor. The character was always the most troublesome of the original group to solo (he has a magic hammer, wears a winged helmet, speaks like a Shakespearean character, and lives in a magic realm with rainbow bridge….it wasn’t irrational to be worried). Hemsworth has managed to make the character noble and increasingly mature but also infuse him with a comedic goofiness about his self-importance and in his relationships with the other Avengers, that I can’t imagine anyone else being able to pull off.
Who knows what will happen to Thor over Avengers 3 and 4, but I’m hoping King Thor gets a chance to relocate Asgard when all is said and done on the other side. I think there are still more stories to tell with the character now that Ragnarok completely changed his entire character and supporting cast.
Mark Ruffalo has quietly put together one of the best resumes of any actor out there. He hasn’t just been in really good movies (which he has); he has been in some of the best movies made in the last 15 years. I would easily put both Zodiac and Spotlight on that list, The Brothers Bloom is and underrated classic, and Eternal Sunshine and Collateral are also both “perfect 10” films. That’s before you get to his contribution to the massive ensemble of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, stepping in for the fired Edward Norton and making the Hulk his own. He has great range and his characters have in common an earnestness to their own personal sense of what’s just or fair. He’s not flashy, he wouldn’t even be well-known without the MCU, but you’re lucky if he’s in your movie.
Continue reading Mark Ruffalo’s 10 Best Movies
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Thor and Hulk. The former left on a quest to discover what was going on with the Infinity Gems (as we know Thanos is collecting them for his gauntlet), and Hulk flew off in the Quinjet after Black Widow broke his big, green heart. Thor 3, entitled Thor: Ragnarok, returns us to Asgard and it is a changed place indeed. Loki deposed Odin at the end of Thor: The Dark World, and it seems he’s lost his own place to Hela (Cate Blanchett), the Queen of the Norse Underworld. If Marvel has a consistent criticism it’s that it has focused on its heroes nearly to the exclusion of developing iconic villains (Loki aside). Hela is on a very different level of power than Loki or Malekith and she demonstrates that about 20 seconds into this awesome first look at the Marvel fall film.
Continue reading Trailer Time: Thor Ragnarok Trailer #1 (2017) *Beaten, Broken, and Banished*
Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week. June 10th brings three new heavyweights to the party guaranteeing that at least one of them will bomb and that the Turtles reign atop the box office will be very short. The Conjuring 2 has the reviews, though lower that the original, while Now You See Me: The Second Act and Warcraft…..do not. Still, it’s a diverse group if you have cabin fever and want to get out there. Continue reading In Theaters This Week (6/10/2016) – The Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2, and Warcraft
Sunday night, Spotlight was named Best Picture of 2015 by the Academy, and I’m still blown away. It’s not often that the best picture is actually the best picture nominated. The film is powerful and well-done. It’s a story of journalistic investigation that can only be compared on film to All the President’s Men (click here for my review of Spotlight). The investigation into the Catholic Chuch priest abuse scandal could have been easily exploitative or anti-Christian, and the film is neither. It simply lays the facts out of a systematic, institutionalized streak of sin (no other word for it) in what is supposed to be a place of joy, comfort, solace and safety.
The most powerful scene, and I don’t think this will in any way ruin it for those who haven’t seen it, is the last one. After the publication of Spotlight’s investigation, The Boston Globe was anticipating picketers, crowds and a tsunami of calls to the front desk. The scene picks up with Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo arriving at the Globe’s offices and finishes with a gut punch that left everyone in my theater (including myself) dumbstruck.
Michael Keaton and director Tom McCarthy with the real Spotlight team.