Thor: Ragnarok

What is the movie about? :: Two years have passed after the Battle of Sokovia which happened in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has allowed himself to be imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur (Clancy Brown) in his dark lair. The demon warns him about what is to happen to Asgard in the absence of its ruler, Thor’s father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) after he will be able to combine his crown of fire with the eternal flame that burns beneath the city. The prophecy about Ragnarok which was to be the terrible fate of Asgard in the twilight of the gods, seems to be getting close to becoming true, and Thor fights him to prevent the same. After defeating him and taking his crown, Thor believes that he has prevented Ragnarok only to find his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) on the throne, taking the form of Odin, after feigning his own demise. Getting his statues built, and having theatre performances about his own heroic sacrifice, Loki’s fun ends with Thor’s demand to find their father.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: With the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), they find Odin in Norway, only to be notified about what is to happen next, with his first-born, the Goddess of Death, Hela (Cate Blanchett) returning from exile following his weakening and death. The powerful warrior goddess who had conquered the nine realms with Odin, was imprisoned and her tales of battle erased after her ambition grew rather too high. As they come across each other, Hela destroys Thor’s hammer, and leaves the two brothers outside the bridge between the two realms to die as if in a void, but they end up on a planet called Sakaar. Meanwhile, Hela who has arrived in Asgard destroys everyone who stands against her, including the military. After appointing the demoted Asgardian Skurge (Karl Urban) as her executioner, and with her army revived from the tombs, her plan is to begin again from where Odin decided to stop the bloodshed, and conquer more realms.

And what else is to come? :: Hela and her newly recruited undead army are temporarily stopped though, by Heimdall (Idris Elba) who takes away the sword that controls the passage to the other realms. Meanwhile, Thor is captured by Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson), who takes him to Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who rules the planet, and conducts a competition of gladiators in a grand arena where he has his own champion who he expects to win every time. After agreeing to participating in the competition, Thor is surprised to find that it is his old friend, the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) whom he has to fight. So, the question remains if he can find his freedom by winning the battle against his Avengers team-mate, or get the same done in some other way. With Hela continuing her hunt for the missing Asgardians who might have blocked her way to conquest of all realms, it seems that time is running out.

The defence of Thor: Ragnarok :: There is no shortage of fun in this third movie about the god of lightning – the action is too good, with those stylish sequences which are supported by some wonderful music; then there are the jokes, which are many, and most of them are certain to work without any trouble. We have been missing both Thor and the Hulk, and their absence in Captain America: Civil War was noticed a lot more than one would have thought. The arena battle between Thor and Hulk is among the best of battles, and so is the final battle which is powered by lightning and all things of wonder. The use of Norse mythology can never get any better, and this is surely one of those movies in which gets the eminence back to Marvel, rising over the challenge which Wonder Woman had created, and continuing the humour-action entertainment that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had brought earlier this year with ease.

Positives and negatives :: One can find it easy to claim that Thor: Ragnarok is never really serious, as even with those problems which can cause extinction and end of worlds, there is humour coming in so often. There is no serious feeling about terror coming all the way here, and the possible death and destruction won’t make anyone too scared or disappointed – it can’t be related with the lack of moral side though. The dark humour is more suitable for Iron Man considering his bourgeoisie scientist attitude which makes him the millionaire which Batman would never want to be – The Dark Knight would surely choose “Iron Man sucks” as his password, like in The Lego Batman Movie if they were part of the same universe. The action could have focused a lot more on the villain, as she has the power to do a lot more every time. Unlike what one would have thought, Thor no longer provides that many morality messages like Captain America would have done if he was a God of Thunder, Lightning or Strength, not necessarily the Lord of Moral Science.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Hemsworth has come a long way from being Thor in that first movie, and it is evident in each moment, as we keep identifying him with this role, and vice versa more often. He has a fine combination with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, as the green monster as well as the scientist has been successful in making things better for this movie which is clearly the Thor movie, with Hulk having rather too less in that category. Tom Hiddleston is at his usual best as Loki, while Tessa Thompson gets to have some of the glory too, being a very welcome addition to this franchise – one can’t help noticing a little bit of Michelle Rodriguez in the Resident Evil, Fast and Furious model. Cate Blanchett shines as the unusual female villain that Marvel needed, but one can be sure that Charlize Theron would have been a great option to be the Goddess of Death too. Karl Urban plays a different role in this one, and it is definitely stylish. Idris Elba nicely suits in his character again, and Jeff Goldblum brings more fun.

How it finishes :: This third movie of Thor has so much of what you might have only dreamed about. Following more of the model of Guardians of the Galaxy with the Avengers touch rather than what would have been the usual Thor style, Thor: Ragnarok becomes a treat to watch in more than one level, rising above many other superhero movies, easily establishing its domination over DC as it did with so many movies, as we see them waiting to retaliate with Justice League. As the Norse gods of Asgard can’t skip the Ragnarok, it is also not appropriate for you to decide to miss Thor: Ragnarok – after all, there is more than one prophecy to be fulfilled, and there is also Avengers: Infinity War coming up in 2018, and its untitled sequel in 2019, which are going to be two of the biggest among them all. If you have read about these two movies, you will know how many of our heroes, we are expecting there. It might be the biggest comics based superhero thing of all-time. But for now, this movie is something that all of you would love a lot, no matter whom you choose as your favourite superhero – it is just pure gratification.

Release date: 3rd November 2017
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Tadanobu Asano, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Benedict Cumberbatch (cameo)

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thor II

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***The first three paragraphs have details of a few Indian superhero movies; skip if you are not interested – I had to say this before the review as it was something I owed to real movies and true movie fans; I was asked to write about a ridiculous Hindi movie, not something I am ready for. Well, as I begin here, I dedicate this review to all of my friends who suffered with a painful poison which was sent into the theatres of India packed inside a horrible catastrophe which is commonly called Krrish 3. There were too many of them to be named here, and I am glad that most of my friends are sensible ones. But that was more of a movie for Hritik Roshan fans and little kids which is the only reason it could be forgiven despite of copying from too many Hollywood movies and adding horrible melodrama and pathetic graphics to it. From my friends and the internet, I could collect the names of a number of movies from which it copied. X-Men, Man of Steel, The Avengers, Iron Man and The Matrix are the major ones. Toad, Mystique, Sabretooth, Professor X – Magneto Hybrid they are all there; and Jean Grey you are always there! Okay, do copy; I have known a good number of nice copied movies in Hindi, but this kind of copying is absurd. Why lift from this many movies and why even copy when you have so much scope for great ideas right in our nation!

Now the others, who will never be my friends – the ones who liked this movie, and coming up with the typical lie that “they at least they tried” – to be frank, they didn’t try; they copied and instead of concentrating on what is Indian, and on the values and traditions that the nation has, they concentrated on style, glamour and pathetic graphics, to make it interesting for no sensible person. Don’t try what you can’t do right and show off your weaknesses, stick to the strengths instead! These people who come up with such pathetic excuses of “trying” for a third movie of a cent percent copied series, don’t deserve to be talked to. Please don’t like a movie just because your favourite actor is in there or the characters talk your language or as it is from your state or nation, but look at the merits. Ever heard about a romantic comedy in Malayalam called Amen? See how CGI is used to perfection in that low budget movie which could have done fine without it, but it contributed immensely and really well. May be the movie makers could learn from Shaktimaan, India’s only real superhero who is rooted in its rich traditions and teaches something good to its citizens and children. There was actually a lot original about it, even as it is not a flawless or a pure innovation. It was a great thing for its age, but Krrish 3 is outdated for this age just like its two predecessors which copied from E.T. and Superman. Please, my dear movie makers, stop making bad movies just because you need to make a lot of money – you owe something to the viewers, or come up with a notice “stupid, retarded movie”.

Krrish 3 has succeeded though, with high scores at the box-office, and it shows our inability to accept the good and reject the bad, and I have decided to skip all the Hritik Roshan movies until there is redemption. I actually had enough of him with that horrible Agneepath itself, and it is a shame that the talent is wasted. His first movie, Kaho Naa Pyar Hai will always be his best. Even as some of my friends said that Shaktimaan was better, the rest told me about the stories in some of the Malayalam books for children, Balarama, Poombaatta and Balamangalam were better. There were a few superheroes there – two of them were monkeys, one of them a little devil and another a rat. All of these were better superheroes in heart and also in the brain. My question is about why people go for movies which has trailers like this one? This movie is a curse on the Indian movie industry and I shall not watch such nonsense even for bashing it. I shall stick to those movies which doesn’t bring shame when there is a lot of potential for greatness. See innovation in the form of Go Goa Gone and Madras Cafe. They could have made a good innovative sequel to Krrish, but they spoiled it, and congratulations to all who are making it a blockbuster, and thanks to the paid reviews. Just don’t copy from Thor for Krrish 4 – it is a humble request.***

So we know that why the world is going to end and why my hope in humanity is fading. Now lets leave the movie of kids and fans which came to existence to destroy good movies. Lets get to the movie which has become my second favourite Marvel movie ever, and also become my favourite superhero movie of the year 2013. Yes, lets back to this wonderful sequel of Thor which has restored our hope in superhero movies. Let me deal with the first question that comes to the mind of any viewer. Is it better than its predecessor? The answer is surely yes. There is a lot about this movie which does a great job in fitting not only into the Norse mythology, but also into the Marvel universe. There is a lot of great graphics and special effects which beautify this movie which is a treat to watch in 3D even as the 3D possibilities could have been developed even further. Its visual beauty is comparable to not many movies. There is a little more needed from the story-line too, but not much. There is a good flow of the plot, and there is nothing lost, and Thor: The Dark World is a real good addition to the Marvel cinematic universe. The only good Avenger hero movie I like better would be Captain America: The First Avenger.

The story beings with talks about the legendary story of Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), the leader of the Dark Elves who are on a mission to destroy the world with a weapon known as the Aether, but were defeated by Odin (Anthony Hopkins)’s father, Bor. But our leader and a group of Dark Elves escape from their home world of Svartalfheim, and knowing not about the same, Bor hides the weapon deep in an unknown world. During the present day, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is imprisoned for his crimes on humans, and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is on a mission to restore peace in the nine realms with his friends, and is haunted by the memories of the one human he loved, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Meanwhile, Jane makes attempts to contact Thor and in the process, gets teleported to another world where Aether was hidden, and is infected with the same. Seeing the trouble, Thor takes her to Asgard, but doesn’t succeed in taking the thing out of her as it defends itself and the story of Aether and Dark Elves were too long forgotten too.

The Dark Elves come to know about it and attacks the city both from inside and outside in an effort to get to Jane and get their dark material. They end up killing Thor’s mother, Frigga (Rene Russo) and escape before help arrives. Asgard is left without its shields, most of its soldiers and a good number of turrets after the surprise attack by the Dark Elves who used brutal dark energy as well as stealth as their weapons. But striken by grief over the death of his wife, Odin decides to wait for the Darl Elves at Asgard and strike with all he got and fight until death. But seeing the devastation of their capital city, Thor decides to take the attack to the Dark Elves with the help of Loki who also agrees in order to avenge their mother. They decide to take Jane with them and get rid of the Aether, even as Odin had completely prohibited it and it would be treason. It is obvious that the Dark Elves would also target Earth, and as Jane found signs of it in London, it would surely be there. Can Thor and Loki work together to save more than one world or will the trickster take his own side? Now there are some good surprises in wait right there. The talks about them not being gods, and still living five thousand years is interesting.

Chris Hemsworth saves the day again as Thor, as if he is custom made for that role. We love this character, and we see the man again in good form after that great performance in Rush. Natalie Portman contributes significantly, and I would wonder if I can resist any of her movies. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is as good as ever, but needed more screentime. Anthony Hopkins is good as usual, and Jaimie Alexander could have had more to do. I have to say that I loved the comic releief Kat Dennings and her intern provided when Loki is not around. Christopher Eccleston’s villain is also a wonderful pure evil creature, who will come to our minds, every time we play a computer game involving mythical creatures and races. I used to choose Dark Elves in most of them. Another thing I loved was the way they showed the hypocrisy of the people who had chosen not to believe the man who spoke the truth – it is true, for science has indeed become the modern man’s superstition, and we will be force fed by many things which are supposed to have proven, but are actually not. Actually, what all are really experimented and proven, is something that common man will never know. They will tell us that they landed on Moon, Mars and everything, and we will just believe them because scientists are the new kings and clergy of the medieval ages, and the only thing we will know for sure is that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Release date: 8th November 2013
Running time: 112 minutes
Directed by: Alan Taylor
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

The Avengers

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This is a flashback into what was pure entertainment. In the movie, Nick Fury, the director of the fictional intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D recruits Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor to form a group of talented superheroes to stop Thor’s adoptive brother Loki and his army from capturing Earth. Well, even one of these heroes usually proved enough in most of their movies, and having them together was nothing less than classic entertainment at its best. It did beat the other two superhero movies of the year by the box-office collection, an achievement which one have to doubt if it deserved in the case of The Dark Knight Rises, even as it is debatable in the case of The Amazing Spider-Man. Staying at the top of the highest of grossing movies of 2013 list and being the third highest grossing movie of all-time with no intention to be overtaken any time soon, this movie makes regular visits to Star Movies as if it is a home. As Marvel’s Iron Man 3 makes it to the all-time top five grossers list, one has to wonder how good a universe has been created by Marvel using these few lesser known superheroes who were always considered inferior to Spider-Man, Superman, He-Man and The Phantom in this part of the world, Batman being a more recent phenomenon of awesomeness.

Loki has made a pact with the alien race known as the Chitauri as they promise Loki a huge army to capture Earth in exchange for Tesseract, an incredible energy source of unlimited power. In what would seem an ambush, Loki takes the Tesseract from where it is safely secured, and also gain control over several of the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D before escaping. Feeling that the only way of getting it back and saving the world is the Avengers initiative, he brings together the superheroes, and even manages to capture Loki before he escapes later when the group becomes divided somewhat due to Loki’s own manipulative powers and also due to their own lack of admiration towards each other, when Loki’s minions attack the place. It even suggests that Loki’s capture was rather a surrender which was meant to manipulate the Avengers initiative and also weaken S.H.I.E.L.D. Loki’s plane is to use the Tesseract, to open a wormhole above Stark Tower, thus creating the portal for his army to come in and conquer the planet. The Avengers stay divided and fallen, but it is upto Nick Fury to make them that one superhero team again without the pride and prejudice which they seemed to show earlier which had lead to the first victory of Loki.

So, the question remains – who is Loki (Tom Hiddleston)? He is Thor’s adoptive brother and still always the enemy who wishes to rule Asgard as well as most of the worlds which are out there, a character based on the deity of the same name in Norse mythology; the same person we encountered in the game Age of Mythology where he was not this bad, manipulative or close to evil. He continues to be more than what he was in the mythology, and the old Norse poems as he is the super-villain around here on Earth for a change, rather than being Asgard’s trouble during the early times. That should be Marvel’s Loki without whom this movie would not have been possible, thus making him the true unsung hero and the true protagonist. Found by Odin and the biological son of a fallen frost giant king, this god is torn between his double identity between two kingdoms of Asgard and the Frost Giants, still trying to conquer more and more world as possible, and denying his existence of frost for living a god’s life in Asgard. Loki has always lacked the pure strength and bravery of Thor as he went on to become the manipulator and the master of illusion nothing less than a sorcerer who lived on lies, cheating and mischief, this aligning himself to evil from just being a trickster.

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark a.k.a Iron Man; that arrogant superhero who always gets more attention that he really deserves, and has become a crowd favourite these due to the one-liners. But due to the repetitions and the lack of innovation other than coming up with new suits and facing everything with that inherent arrogance which is the result of being a billionaire and a superhero at the same time, this is not the kind of role-model of a superhero that one should have. If it wasn’t for Robert Downey, this hero should have been dead and buried even before it came into existence in the Marvel movie world; still, this one is no match for his own Sherlock Holmes which will remain his best role for me. The Stark Industries would remain an evil entity run by the arrogance of Tony Stark. Well, without that suit, we know what Tony Stark is; a selfish, arrogant not-so-young character who lacks in goodness comapred to the other superheroes of the team, a quality of evil which he has surely attained with too much spent immersed in science and technology – a lesson for most of those people who are plugged into the internet posting stupid things and spreading hatred of the next level; also applicable to mindless fans, especially those of fixed games like cricket. Well, this guy still saves the world even as he is might be having a torture session with Satan at hell – what good have you done?

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers a.k.a Captain America; probably the best of the team, as a man with values, a modern day knight who knows honour and chivalry. This Chris Evans character is just the opposite of the Johnny Storm or Human Torch which he did in Fantastic Four and its sequel, for this one knows how to align to goodness. Human Torch might have been interesting as a character, but he was still more of the league of Iron Man in his extremity of arrogance and lack of respect for his fellow human beings. While we hope that that series would have a better Human Torch in its possible reboot releasing in 2015, it can be seen that Captain America is the undisputed leader, a deserving one. Captain America: The First Avenger was surely among the best superhero movies ever released, or the only true superhero movie in which the protagonist could be admired for being extremely righteous right from the beginning. We can hope that the 2014 release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier would also make one say the same. He didn’t begin with billions or physical supremacy, and knows what it means to be at the bottom of the pyramid, and this knowledge would help him to keep him from being carried away in the glory, as he is still that weak kid who committed the act of self-sacrificing bravery inside.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor (better known to many as Loki’s “adopted” brother); The next prince of Asgard for as many centuries as possible, as the king will always be Odin; he is based on the deity from the Norse mythology of the same name. He has that great advantage of having good practice at home, as it is his brother who creates all the mischief. He might have been acquainted with Loki from his childhood itself, but as he has tranformed into the god of muscle with special emphasis on the hammer carrying biceps from the controller of thunder and lightning, he might have had the lack of brain not only in this movie, but also in Thor. We can only hope that this character would have his lost brain back on November 8, 2013, when Thor: The Dark World releases. But in the movie, he is shown as the only person who can stand of his own against the Incredible Hulk even when he is on his mentally retarded rampage. That should be a good thing, as Hulk smashes even gods even while belonging to the same green alien race of the Lizardman of The Amazing Spider-Man. Thor’s presence is still the most wonderful thing to be seen, as he is an imposing figure with that hammer, and also brings variety from another world, as the outsider who fights for another world which doesn’t belong to him.

Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner a.k.a Hulk; this character is considered a genius scientist who can’t even control himself – such a waste, but still funny in stupidity adding lots of fun to the movie by being a mentally retarded green monster. Still, it is the original form of the doctor who makes the right impact on the movie. Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff a.k.a Black Widow steals the show even without any super powers, and same is the case of Clint Barton a.k.a Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), both having their moments in the movie. Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) is just there for the job. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury co-ordinates the whole thing. As this one has turned into more of a plot summary and character analysis, the fact remains that it is what the whole movie is about. These superheroes joined by a story of alien invasion and all the powerful 3D, special effects and CGI that supports it superbly. It is a visual treat like no superhero movie has ever given before. It is something which raised the bar, as it was taken to the extreme low with Transformers: Dark of the Moon when the robots turned stupid enough to ruin the movie with a similar alien invasion.

Release date: 4th May 2012
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgård

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.