Thor: Love and Thunder (2022): Taika Waititi’s Second, and Slightly Less Worthy, Thor Outing

“Thor: Love and Thunder” is directed by Taika Waititi, who also directed the franchise’s previous installment, “Thor: Ragnarok.” This film stars Chris Hemsworth (Men in Black: International, Rush), Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari, Batman Begins), Tessa Thompson (Men in Black: International, Annihilation), Jaimie Alexander (Nurse Jackie, Blindspot), Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe (Gladiator, Cinderella Man), and Natalie Portman (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, V For Vendetta). This is the fourth installment to the “Thor” franchise, the 29th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the first instance where a character in said universe gets a fourth standalone movie. In this… THORth installment, Thor reunites with Jane Foster, who is now worthy. The two join forces with Valkyrie and Korg to defeat Gorr the God Butcher, a white being whose aspiration is literally in his namesake, the widespread elimination of all gods.

MCU phase 4 is like having a demanding girlfriend. You love her, but you also want to get away from her. Although when you think you are about to leave, you just keep coming back because you cannot see yourself attached to something else. I am not saying I hate the MCU right now. I thoroughly enjoy the MCU, but as I’ve said in my reviews for “Black Widow” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the whole universe, while still entertaining, is almost homework in disguise. When I was watching “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” I had fun, but I felt like I was being tested on how much I remembered “WandaVision.” You could almost make an argument that “Spider-Man: No Way Home” tests your memory on seven different “Spider-Man” movies at once across three different universes. To be fair though, I am not of this demographic, but I would imagine the general audience would not need to watch all of those other shows and movies in order to understand what comes after. However, their experience would only be enhanced if they did.

There is a notable audience that tends to enjoy “Thor: Ragnarok.” I consider myself a fan of the film after a couple watches. It is not up there with the original “Thor,” but anything is better than “Thor: The Dark World.” If you liked “Thor: Ragnarok,” there is a solid chance you might find joy in “Thor: Love and Thunder.” This should not come as a surprise, as Taika Waititi helmed both pictures.

Waititi may be most responsible for Thor’s current success. If we did not have “Ragnarok,” his arc in followup “Avengers” titles “Infinity War” and “Endgame” may have slightly less meaning. But the best thing about his storytelling abilities is his tendency to perfectly balance light and darkness. I saw “Thor: Love and Thunder” with my dad. When we walked out of the theater, he affirmed, grinningly, that the movie had “something for everyone.” He may be right. After all, this film has comedy, action, drama, and even horror. Without going into specifics, Christian Bale is, on occasion, utterly terrifying as Gorr the God Butcher. The MCU is often criticized for its lackluster antagonists, and phase 4 is no exception to the rule with Taskmaster from “Black Widow” being a prime example of how movies are only as good as their villains. Gorr the God Butcher is not quite Thanos, and if we are judging “Thor” villains, I even think I have a softer spot for Hela in “Ragnarok.” But when you take a character like Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher and place him in a story where Zeus strips gods in public and threatens others by not allowing them to come to an orgy, it is an odd combination. But somehow they make it work.

Speaking of things that work, let’s talk about Chris Hemsworth as Thor. While it took awhile for me to warm up to Thor kind of being the butt of a joke sometimes, I have come to learn that Chris Hemsworth has tremendous comedic chops. Even when the script does him no favors like in “Ghostbusters” (2016), he still manages to give the performance his all. He will practically do anything to make the character of Thor come off as fun. It’s almost like what they are trying to do with Aquaman in the DCEU where he has a somewhat godly presence, but at the end of the day, you might want to flock to the bar with him. It is why I consider Party Thor to be one of the standout characters in the Disney+ series “What If…?”. At the same time though, this movie can be used as an example in regard to jokes going too far. And I do not mean offensive, I mean the joke tries too hard or it goes on longer than it should.

This movie has some weird, but also simultaneously hypnotizing comedy gags. Thor literally talks to his weapons. There’s even a love triangle between them. Not what I would have written but… Okay. Jane Foster spends a portion of the film trying to come up with an epic one-liner that was somewhat hit or miss. There are these goats in the film that feel less like an attempt at comedy and more so a homage to outdated Internet memes. Sure, when they were first introduced, I laughed. But as the movie went along, they became progressively less funny.

One of the biggest surprises in “Thor: Love and Thunder” prior to its release was the return of the recently mentioned Jane Foster. Natalie Portman is a great actress between her work in movies like “Black Swan” and “Annihilation.” Despite the shortcomings of the dialogue, she also did her best in the “Star Wars” prequels. Speaking of shortcomings, one of the flaws of the first two “Thor” films is that her character did not have a ton to do. I liked her better than Kat Dennings’s character, most specifically in “Thor: The Dark World,” but nevertheless. Mostly, she was almost just there to be the love interest, and that was the character’s biggest service to the story. This time, she is an equal to Thor, or Mighty Thor, as she calls herself. That is, if Thor really is the Thor he once was in say “Thor: Ragnarok” or “Avengers: Infinity War,” because he has evolved, slowly but surely, into one of the MCU’s goto gags in recent years. When he was not fighting in “Avengers: Endgame,” the movie focuses on him in a dad bod, playing “Fortnite,” and drinking heavily. That movie’s humor adds substance to its story, much like some of the jokes in “Thor: Love and Thunder.” It is weird to think how much this character has tonally evolved since 2011.

“Thor: Love and Thunder” has some good humor here and there, but I think of all the Marvel Studios films so far, this is the one I think feels the most kiddy out of them all. It is weird to say because the film has a butt shot of Chris Hemsworth and an ongoing orgy-related threat, but this was one of the first times I can remember watching an MCU film and having it feel this much like a Saturday morning cartoon. I am not saying I did not experience Saturday morning cartoon vibes in the MCU before. “Thor: Ragnarok,” the “Spider-Man” movies, and “Guardians of the Galaxy” are all great examples of this vibe. But in the case of those films, the Saturday morning cartoon vibe, minus say “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” was presented more effectively, perhaps more maturely.

While this fourth “Thor” movie flashes back to its predecessors and revisits multiple characters across various stories, I can say that a notable positive I can give to “Thor: Love and Thunder” is that it does not require any prerequisites. You can go into this movie not having seen a single “Thor,” “Avengers,” or MCU installment and have a good time. Yes, the Guardians of the Galaxy show up, but it is not like they are going to test you on the complexities of Groot’s language or something. This is a contained story from start to finish and while it may be referenced later in the MCU, it does not come off as a tale told by gatekeepers. Ultimately, “Thor: Love and Thunder” may be the most stupid fun movie the MCU has given us so far.

If have to be real though, despite this movie being stupid fun, it kind of comes with a caveat. Before “Thor: Ragnarok” came out, the “Thor” movies were comparatively serious. They had their jokey moments. The first film is a fish out of water story that lends itself to tons of humor, and it worked. The second movie had many comedy attempts, but I can only recall one or two that stuck the landing. With “Ragnarok” and now “Love and Thunder,” we have Taika Waititi’s zany touch. I was not particularly fond of the humor in “Ragnarok” when I first saw it, but after rewatching the film, I warmed up to it. Therefore, during this movie, I was looking forward to seeing what the attempts at humor could be. Compared to “Ragnarok,” they’re a bit flat. Once again, some work, but the ones that do not happen to stand out. The goats were funny the first time, but maybe not the fifth or sixth time.

When I think of “Ragnarok,” certain hysterical moments come to mind. “Get help” is one of the funniest gags in recent action movies. The chemistry between Thor and Banner, Hulked up or not, is worthy of my attention. Stan Lee’s cameo where he cuts Thor’s hair is not only crucial to the plot, but gutbusting. So, what does Taika have in mind for this movie? A rock n’ roll-infused opening action sequence where Thor, almost egomaniacally, saves the day. There’s literally a moment where he stops two vehicles from running into him by doing a split. The image is still in my mind. In the moment, I thought that split was hilarious. But it also makes me realize how dramatic of a shift these movies have taken over the years. The first two movies are mature, with the original almost successfully capturing Shakespearean drama vibes. “Thor: Ragnarok,” while still having maturity in it, contains many comedy gags that nearly conflict with some of the movie’s darker moments. The same can be said for “Love and Thunder,” but the comedy is a bigger star than before.

Note how I said bigger, not better. There’s a difference.

“Thor: Love and Thunder” reminds me of “The Fate of the Furious.” I say so because like “Love and Thunder,” I had fun with “The Fate of the Furious,” but there is a certain amount of absurdity in that film that feels more leveled up than say “Fast Five” which jumped the shark, but was comparatively believable. “Thor: Ragnarok” was a ridiculous fun time with great humor and some logic-defying, but still entertaining moments. As the saying in Hollywood goes, bigger is better. Or is it? Because if you liked “Thor: Ragnarok,” chances are that this movie has twice the silliness. While laughter is the best medicine, this movie shows that comedic overdoses may be possible.

Before we dive into the final verdict, I want to talk about the visual effects of “Thor: Love and Thunder.” I am not going to dive into the recent news regarding visual effects employees struggling to work for Marvel. That is another issue, perhaps for another time. But on the surface, most of the visual effects in this film matches the recently mentioned Saturday morning cartoon vibe. Everything is bright, colorful, vivid, and sometimes gargantuan. I do want to note though that there have been some concerns about Marvel’s visual effects as of late in movies like “Black Widow.” I think if you are in the general audience, you might not care. I will admit, it has been awhile since I have seen “Black Widow” to give a detailed comment. However, I remember some of the effects in that film are surprisingly inferior to say “Captain America: Civil War,” which came out five years before. “Thor: Love and Thunder,” for the most part, looks great. But as far as “Thor” movies go, it might be the worst looking one yet if you pinpoint select shots.

While I said I will not dive too deep into the struggles of working in visual effects, I think we are seeing a sign that the MCU is becoming too crowded and overstuffed with content. I am enjoying phase 4 of the MCU. I have yet to see a completely terrible film. One or two series were hit or miss, but others were good. “WandaVision” was a fantastic debut for the MCU on Disney+, and “Ms. Marvel” was also really charming. The MCU has so many shows and movies now that it also has so many deadlines to consider. This year we have already seen two shows that ran for six-episodes and a couple movies. That is a lot of work, and it is not over yet because “She-Hulk” quickly approaching to Disney+ and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is scheduled to hit theaters this fall. I had fun with “Thor: Love and Thunder,” but by the standards of the MCU, this is not as good as I would hope for. Although the MCU has its occasional off day with movies like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” or “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” I just hope this is a slight bump in the road. But the MCU also did not have this much content going on at once at those times. I know some would disagree, but I would happily sacrifice all the upcoming Disney+ shows if it meant we were going to get a few consistently great MCU movies. I am sure Marvel has a plan, but is it too big of a plan? I hope not. But my worry is that the further along we go down the MCU timeline, the more signs we will get that this whole conveyer belt will unveil itself. Let’s hope that this does not happen.

In the end, “Thor: Love and Thunder” was good, but it is also my least favorite film of MCU’s phase 4. While not the worst of the “Thor” films, “Love and Thunder” nevertheless fails on arguably the same mission in which “Ragnarok” succeeded. Sure, there were a couple laughs here and there, and as far as “summer blockbusters” go, you could do far worse. Just look at “Jurassic World: Dominion.” Although “Love and Thunder” has quite a few negatives that stand out significantly. Natalie Portman was badass enough that I might want to buy a Mighty Thor Hot Toy. But I just wish I could see more of her. I wish I could have seen more of Gorr the God Butcher. This is one of the shortest Marvel movies yet, which could be beneficial to your bladder, but that’s were the benefits stop. Overall, the film feels rushed. I heard they shot some extra footage that never made it into the film, and Taika Waititi does not want to make an alternate cut with said footage, but for all I know, that could give some much needed fleshing out to certain aspects of the story. I would never want to put pressure on a filmmaker into making something they do not want to make, but as a viewer, I would be intrigued to see some of what I originally couldn’t see in some fashion. Maybe as a Blu-ray bonus feature. I am going to give “Thor: Love and Thunder” a 6/10.

“Thor: Love and Thunder” is now playing in theaters including large formats like IMAX and Dolby Cinema. Tickets are available now.

Thanks for reading this review! If you enjoyed my review for “Thor: Love and Thunder,” then be on the lookout because I have more reviews coming soon! Stay tuned for my thoughts on “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” and “The Gray Man.” If you want to see this and more from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Thor: Love and Thunder?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite of the “Thor” movies? I’m a purist, I would have to go with the 2011 “Thor” directed by Kenneth Branagh. Leave your opinions down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Marvel Cinematic Universe PHASE 4 Plans Announced

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Hey everyone! Jack Drees here! You thought we were in the endgame? Think again, because, to my lack of surprise, as well as others perhaps, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not going anywhere, and as part of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Feige and crew have officially announced their gameplan going forward in regards to movies and television. While I could not make it to San Diego this year (just like every other year), I had the pleasure of receiving a number of these announcements through social media, which is something Captain Marvel should have brushed up on by now.

This first announcement, doesn’t relate to what some would call “phase 4,” but it happens around that certain timeline and takes place in the same universe, so why not leave it in? Anyway, as you may or may not know, Marvel is finishing up their series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..” It’s a series that I tried watching when it first started, but for one reason or another, I just couldn’t latch onto it. It just didn’t work for me. The show will begin its seventh season during the 2019-20 television season, and will air for 13 episodes. However, if you are caught up with the series, you’d know that season 6 is still in progress, so the show still has time left before ABC dusts it away from its current lineup.

Speaking of television, Marvel in general is seemingly changing the norm of how they release their television programming. Before now, they would release various MCU-related content on ABC such as the recently mentioned “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Agent Carter,” and the short-lived “Inhumans.” Netflix also had a fair share of content, all of which was recently cancelled such as “Iron Fist,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and to what I believe is to a lot of people’s surprise, “Daredevil.” These platforms, for all I know, could lose the ability to air new Marvel content for awhile whereas the TV channel Freeform, and streaming services Hulu and the yet to be released Disney+ are going to be the big three for some time. Speaking of Disney+, Marvel announced a plethora of shows to be exclusively released on the upcoming service.

For the record, Disney+ is expected to be released during the fall. So just a reminder, none of these shows will be available on day one.

The first show to premiere on Disney+ is going to be “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” As you can tell by the title, the series revolves around the known characters played by actors Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. It is expected to start filming October 2019 and premiere in August 2020. While there are not many details about the series just yet, Mackie and Stan have previously wanted to do their own spinoff film at some point, particularly in the style of a buddy cop story. So who knows? Maybe this series could have some sort of comedic buddy vibe. But only time will tell.

Moving onto 2021 programming, up next we have “WandaVision,” which is short for the characters Wanda Maximoff and Vision meshed together. This series is going to star actors Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as the characters we have previously come to know throughout the Infinity Saga. Although I must point out. This takes place after “Avengers: Endgame,” and Vision died in “Infinity War” only to never come back to life. So my question is… How will they allow him to return? Let me guess, time travel. Because now if the Marvel universe has a problem. Boop! You got a time machine! Want to save Nick Fury from losing an eye? Boom! You got a a time machine! Want to stop Tony Stark’s home from being destroyed like it was in “Iron Man 3?” Boom! You got a time machine! Want to give Captain America the most advanced pop culture lessons of his life? Boom! You got a time machine! Granted, there’s probably more to it, but a time travel element would not be surprising. The show will hit Disney+ in Spring 2021.

Also coming in Spring 2021 is a “Loki” series. Without going into much detail, because this does involve a spoiler for “Avengers: Endgame,” which as of writing this, is still in theaters, it will involve a Loki of the past. That’s all I’ll say. The series will of course star Tom Hiddleston. I don’t know if I am going to watch any of these series, but I think out of all the series on this list, I feel like this is the one I’d be least likely to watch. It almost seems like an idea from a think tank meeting (even though a number of these shows feel the same way). “Remember that mysterious guy from ‘Thor’ who keeps dying and coming back to life? Nobody knows if he’s good or evil? Let’s not deal with any new characters, let’s use this guy some more! Yay!” The way I wrote that sounds generous, but when I imagine it, it sounds like a business meeting all involving out of shape guys in suits smoking cigars.

OK… I take my last statement back, this is a series I’d probably watch. Granted, I don’t want to pay for Disney+, I don’t see any reason to. Plus, as someone who wants to avoid witnessing Disney’s plan for world domination put into action, I want to spend as little money towards them as possible. Although I kinda do want to go to Disneyland to see Galaxy’s Edge the more I think about it. Nevertheless, the next series is “What If…?” For those of you who don’t know, “What If…?” is a franchise that creates and realizes perhaps unlikely or alternate scenarios related to Marvel characters. Some examples from comics include: “What if the Fantastic Four all had the same power?,” “What if Captain America had been elected president?,” and “What if Jane Foster had found the hammer of Thor?.” While I’m not getting Disney+, if they are ever to release any of these shows on DVD or Blu-ray I am very likely to pick up “What If…?” simply for the concept. The stories presented in the show will not affect the MCU’s timeline, but merely exist just to answer questions through the power of imagination. It is simply something that just provides a unique take of some sort.

Hawkeye in the MCU is an “interesting” character to say the least, because just about every time he appeared in an MCU movie when he first started, I did not care about him as much as the other characters. Then I saw “Endgame” and thought he was one of the best characters of the whole thing. Coincidentally, of the upcoming shows on Disney+, “Hawkeye” is one of them. Also, according to what I have gathered, this series will introduce Kate Bishop, who in the comics is the first woman to earn the Hawkeye title. She’s also a member of the Young Avengers. Here, this show will seemingly spend some time on allowing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye to pass the torch to this younger character. The question is… Will I care about her? Or will she just be another boring bow and arrow fetishist?

That’s it for TV shows. I’ll probably watch NONE of them. Mainly because I feel that the way that everyone is trying to push streaming service upon streaming service towards the consumers is going to eventually make streaming as a whole a significantly worse deal than cable. My family and I have not cut the cord, and honestly, I’m happy. Especially considering how I still have my game shows (streaming IS NOT a good alternative if you are a game show fan for the most part), plus it’s nice to watch a new episode of a show and have it feel like an event, whereas an episode or two of a show, or a whole season, drops on Amazon or Hulu and it’s almost like you unintentionally DVRed something. Plus, I enjoy my livetweeting. It makes me feel like I am part of a community. Another reason why I’ll probably miss out on all these shows is because I REVIEW MOVIES DAMMIT! Movies are a top priority of mine and because I watch and review them excessively, I barely have time for TV. And speaking of movies, let’s reveal what Marvel has planned for that realm of entertainment in phase 4.

First up for movies is a project that I think a good number of people know has been in full swing, “Black Widow.” The plot and details are mostly unknown at this time, but Scarlett Johansson, the woman that I have a crush on who says she should be allowed to play trees, well then, if that’s the case… Vin Diesel? Watch out, you might be fired soon! She is returning as the title character who we have seen in several parts of the MCU such as the “Iron Man,” “Avengers,” and “Captain America” franchises. From speculation, I would imagine this would take place long before the main events of the MCU, kind of like in “Captain Marvel.” I am also willing to bet this will be a grittier film in the franchise (even though they aren’t going for an R rating), while also trying to be fun. After all, Black Widow isn’t really a superhero, kind of like Iron Man, she just plays with toys. And based on what we have seen from her character in comics and movies, this is very likely to be a spy flick. If you ask me, this is not my most anticipated spy-related film of next year, I’d reserve that spot to “Tenet,” directed by Christopher Nolan, but I’ve been eager to see a “Black Widow” solo film for quite some time, so I’m excited!

Plus, ScarJo is a dream girl. Just saying. The film will be released on May 1st, 2020.

Up next is a newcomer to the MCU, specifically, “Eternals.” Some big name actors in the film include Salma Hayek (Grown Ups, Desparado), Kumail Nanjiani (Stuber, Silicon Valley), Angelina Jolie (Kung Fu Panda, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), Richard Madden (Rocketman, Game of Thrones), among others. It is going to be about a bunch of eternally living beings who have spent infinite portions of their lives fighting a force of evil referred to as The Deviants. One character, Makkari, played by Lauren Ridloff is going to be the MCU’s first deaf hero. The film will be released on November 6th, 2020.

The third movie is one that I personally think will be a mega hit at the box office. It’s not to say the others won’t be, but if “Black Panther” from phase 3 has proven anything, it’s that if you put a “visually different” person at the forefront of a superhero project, people will see it. That’s because this movie we’re talking about is “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” I don’t know if the final product will have a title this long, but only time will tell. Then again, it’s not as much of a mouthful as say “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” The main reason why I’d say this film has a bonkers chance of success is because Shang-Chi is Chinese, and in this film, he is going to be played by Chinese Canadian actor Simu Liu. Not to mention, based on comic-related images I have seen, this movie could be a visual treat. Another thing to consider is the Chinese movie market. If this movie is as visually impressive as I think it will be, not to mention as honorable to the Chinese culture as I think some would want it to be, I think a lot of people will go see this in the theater. China, at least to my knowledge, seems to go to a lot of spectacle type films. Some historical examples that come to mind include “Transformers; Age of Extinction,” which to be fair, was partially shot in China, and “Warcraft.” While “Transformers” is popular in the United States, “Warcraft’s” domestic returns led to its underwhelming final box office total despite making more than twice its budget. But it couldn’t reach the total $450 million needed to completely break even. But if anything has been proven, Marvel is an automatic success in the United States. In the US and Canada, “Black Panther,” a culturally significant film for the African community, managed to make over $700 million, which for those countries specifically, is actually more than “Infinity War.” But with the massive potential for winning over China and perhaps other somewhat related Asian communities, plus Marvel’s domestic success, it has a chance of being possibly a bigger success than “Black Panther.” The movie is scheduled for a February 12th, 2021 release.

Another film I saw coming was “Doctor Strange 2,” and we got it! But it technically has a more specific title, “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.” Based on what I’ve heard, Scott Derrickson could be coming back to direct this sequel. It is also suggested that Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong, or in this case, just for fun, I’ll call them Team Benedict, will be returning to reprise their roles. One thing that I found interesting though is that Wanda Maximoff will be in the be in the movie as well, and it will be tied directly to the Disney+ series “WandaVision.”

OK… You gotta be kidding me. I know people give flak to DC for how they do their movies, but at least you don’t have to watch a freaking TV show to perhaps understand or comprehend what is happening in one of the DCEU’s films! Guess I’ll just read the Wikipedia entries for the WandaVision episodes, because I ain’t paying for Disney+. But one thing that does intrigue me, is the notion that this is going to be a more horror-esque movie compared to a lot of the other MCU installments. So who knows? Maybe this could have a wacky funhouse vibe, or maybe be the MCU’s version of “The New Mutants.” Although now that I think about it, “The New Mutants” could possibly end up being another version of this movie depending on how many more times it gets pushed back. Man, that movie premiere is gonna be one big realistic version of a FaceApp demo. This is definitely a movie I would want to see on an IMAX screen, maybe in 3D. Because I saw the original “Doctor Strange” in IMAX 3D, which made for one of the best visual trips of 2016. This film is expected to drop into theaters May 7th, 2021.

But my one request for this movie. JUST GIVE A MORE MEMORABLE VILLAIN. Then again, it’s Marvel, it’s not their strong suit.

When 2015 first started, the YouTube channel RedLetterMedia made a video where they jokingly predicted that we’d eventually get a fourth “Thor” movie called “Thor 4: More Thor.” Believe it or not, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” used that title in their show. Unfortunately, we’re not getting “Thor 4: More Thor.” But we are getting a fourth “Thor” movie titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” I have mixed thoughts on this movie, because I REALLY enjoy 2011’s “Thor,” probably more than I should. I know some people don’t like it, but I enjoyed Thor’s character arch and Loki was a solid villain. Granted, the followup in 2013, “Thor: The Dark World,” is in the conversation to be my least favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. And even though “Thor: Ragnarok” was… “better,” it’s not what I wanted. I thought it was too comedic, and some of the jokes didn’t land. While it is visually stunning, somewhat appealing from a story perspective, the tone just didn’t work. Basically, Asgard is in a state beyond repair in this film. It could have been dark, gritty, maybe a little funny, but not like it was “Deadpool” for kids. I don’t think Taika Waititi is a bad director, in fact, I thought he would be a better suit for something like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but he did a “Thor” film instead. It just didn’t stick the landing for me. I’m hoping “Thor: Love and Lightning” will be better, but from what I can imagine, it could be tonally similar to the previous “Thor” installment, which if that’s the case, I’m just hoping that the story actually fits the tone.

One thing that could be interesting is that Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, is making a comeback. And similar to a comics storyline, Foster is going to be taking on the mantle of Thor. And based on visuals presented from San Diego Comic-Con, it looks like her character will be holding Mjölnir at some point during the film. As long as Kat Dennings doesn’t show up to play her character from “2 Broke Girls” everything should be rather fine and dandy. The film is predicted to be out November 5th, 2021, so I demand there should be at least one reference to “V For Vendetta,” ESPECIALLY since Natalie Portman is returning!

Now let me just say, I have no idea when these next films are going to be released, part of me is willing to bet that one or two of them, are not even in phase 4, but Marvel Studios chairman Kevin Feige has confirmed that these movies are in development, therefore we are going to cover them. So let’s continue!

Remember the 1998 film “Blade?” Guess what? Marvel is getting to do another project with the character. I personally can’t say I have seen “Blade,” but part of me is willing to imagine that this will be a somewhat different take on the character because the original trilogy was rated R, whereas all the MCU films so far have gotten a PG-13. If you ask me, I would not mind seeing an R version of the character in the MCU, kind of like with Black Widow, but you cannot have everything. One thing that does intrigue me though is that Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Green Book) is attached to playing the lead role. He’s a fantastic actor who has a ton of range, and he actually pitched this sort of idea to Marvel Studios through a call. Coincidentally, Ali has been attached to a couple of alternate recent comic book-based products including Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Netflix’s own MCU show, “Luke Cage.”

There’s not much to say on this next film, but I KNEW this was gonna be made at some point, perhaps soon. Why? Because again, it made SO MUCH money. I guess this is what happens when Disney remakes “The Lion King” for a new generation. Wait… I’m talking about “Black Panther 2.” There’s not much to say about this movie yet, but Ryan Coogler suggested that he’d write and direct this film, which does intrigue me because I thought he did a rather decent job with the first one despite its flaws. So… what Disney movie are they gonna retread next? Are they gonna do “Dumbo” because Black Panther is learning to fly for some reason? Are they gonna do a film in the style of “Wreck-It Ralph” where it is revealed that Wakanda is in an arcade cabinet? Are they gonna do one like “Frozen” where Shuri or Okoye just breaks out into an annoying catchy tune? By the way, screw “Frozen,” that movie can rot in hell!

Up next is a film that was supposed to come out in 2020, but based on recent controversy, that’s not happening anymore. Specifically, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” This is a film that I am honestly curious to see, because while I imagine this could potentially be a capper for a trilogy, director James Gunn has previously exposed that this installment is not meant to be a powerhouse of emotion. It is still going to be fun and lively. But if you have been following the news in terms of film recently, you’d know that Gunn was fired by Disney/Marvel over the resurfacing of less than family friendly tweets. Tweets that even he admits, he’s not proud of. If you ask me, I believe James Gunn is a competent director, who may have deserved the criticism that he received, but I’m not sure if Disney should have gone as far as firing him, especially when you consider how much he has changed over the years in terms of his outlook. Nevertheless, I am quite curious to see how this upcoming “Guardians” film turns out, and I do have a shortlist of soundtrack ideas, but I think I should save that for another time. The movie is not expected to begin filming until 2020, but that’s because James Gunn is currently doing a DC movie, specifically “The Suicide Squad.”

Here’s another no-brainer, “Captain Marvel 2.” When your film has the sixth biggest opening of all time, you know you have to make a followup. I’ll be honest, the first “Captain Marvel” did not work for me. I thought the chemistry between Fury and Danvers was kind of hit and miss. The scene where “Just a Girl” plays honestly, while I guess it was trying to be empowering, felt really off for an action scene that was most likely trying to be kick-ass. The final fight, which I imagine was trying to be funny, just ended up being questionable to me. And don’t even get me started on Goose the Cat! But, we are getting another movie, and I’m honestly hoping it is better than this one, but only time will tell. I like Brie Larson as an actress, but when she plays Captain Marvel, she honestly sounds like she’s only been in straight to DVD content. Come on, Brie! You won an Oscar for “Room!” Show me the magic! She did alright in “Endgame,” but she was not in the movie that much so there is that to consider. Then again, I’m a straight white male. So is my opinion even valid to begin with?

Another film on the list of “in development” is a third “Spider-Man” movie. By the way, by the time you finish reading this post, five more “Spider-Man” movies will be released, because they keep cranking them out! I finally saw “Spider-Man: Far From Home” the other day, and honestly, after seeing that film, I’d say a third one HAS to be made. And without going into detail, Kevin Feige suggested that the mid-credits scene from that film implies the third film will involve “a Peter Parker story that has never been done before on film.” And it does not surprise me that this is happening. I believe Sony is already satisfied with making their own “Spider-Man” movies in their universe and still enjoys the success they can get from spinning their webs in the MCU. Nevertheless, can’t wait. But if I had any requests, make sure the word “home” is in the title. That way I don’t have to end up confusing “Spider-Man” trilogies and can refer to this as the “Home” trilogy. Seriously! Even if it simply means that there is a minute of the two of the film where we find Peter Parker watching a Mets game, and for that reason it is called “Home Run,” it would still work because the other two movies have the word “home” in their titles too!

The next two films are a couple of projects that I think a lot of people have been asking for. Why? Because Disney just acquired 21st Century Fox recently, meaning they have retained the rights to a couple of big name franchises. One example is “X-Men.” I have no idea how the film will present itself. If anything, it is definitely going to be a complete reboot, staying away from the timeline Fox originally showcased to audiences since the early 2000s. After all, while I didn’t go see “Dark Phoenix,” probably just like everyone else in the world, maybe that movie tarnished the franchise enough to say, “Screw it, it’s over.” But some movie franchises or IPs are like Jenga, you can end the game by collapsing the tower, but you can always start a new one by rebuilding it. Maybe “X-Men” has a place in the MCU. And honestly, if a couple of the phase 1 heroes are going away, I think this is the perfect time to add in new heroes, because if they were still there, I’d honestly worry about clutter in the MCU. Granted, even with them showing up now, that is still a worry. But I also have a slight intrigue as to what this mega franchise can bring to the cinematic universe.

Speaking of Fox, one other franchise they once had, not to mention wasted, is “Fantastic Four.” Since Marvel has the rights to them, they can now possibly… NOT screw it up this time… Hopefully? I imagine it’ll be good, but I’m keeping experience in my back pocket. It’s in different hands, but for all I know, despite its popularity in the comic book world, maybe “Fantastic Four” is simply cursed as a movie franchise. But I am curious about this film and how it’ll turn out, and perhaps a little more excited about this than “X-Men.” Will Dr. Doom be the main villain again? Will the movie have the four in the middle of its title? Or… How about this? How about we get Chris Evans to play Johnny Storm again? Do it just to get some other character in the movie for a second. Maybe the group will be going around New York City grabbing lunch or something and they run into Peter Parker walking with Ned, which leads to Peter pointing at Johnny saying, “Hey! You look like someone I know!” I highly doubt that will happen, but it certainly would make for a proper more realistic “What If…?” scenario. Plus, with Stan Lee gone we’re gonna need new cameo ideas.

That’ll probably do it for all of the MCU-related announcements for phase 4, and again, a lot of these films and TV shows are in development. So who knows? One could get pushed back, maybe one gets cancelled. Perhaps it ends up being a part of an eventual phase 5. Nevertheless, I’m excited for a large number of these projects, and hopefully they will all end up being good! Also, James Gunn, I know it is a little late, but welcome back. I want to know, is there something I’m missing from this list? I think I’ve covered all the ground, after all I have 4,000 words inserted into this thing! Or, what is something that you want to see from the MCU as a TV series, as a movie, as a concept? It doesn’t even have to be for phase 4 if you want it someplace else. Let me know down below! Thanks for reading this post! Pretty soon I am going to be reviewing Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which is out this upcoming weekend. I’m going to one of my local theaters for their first screening of the film in 35mm, can’t wait! Also, speaking of Tarantino, be sure to stay tuned for my final installment in my Quentin Tarantino review series, “The Hateful Eight.” Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, if you could do me a favor, like this post, share it around with those you know, it really helps me out. And speaking of that, like my Facebook Page! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): A Small Step Into the Ant Hill of Mediocrity

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“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is directed by Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Bring It On) and stars Paul Rudd (Dinner For Schmucks, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Michael Peña (American Hustle, End of Watch), Walton Goggins (The Shield, The Hateful Eight), Hannah John-Kamen (Ready Player One, Killjoys), with Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns, What Lies Beneath), Laurence Fishburne (John Wick: Chapter 2, The Matrix), and Michael Douglas (Fatal Attraction, Wall Street). After the epic, destructive, game-changing events audiences have witnessed in “Avengers: Infinity War,” we might as well ask ourselves, what is next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe??? The answer… something much smaller. Take that last sentence in whatever way you want. In this newest addition to the series, we once again see Scott Lang, otherwise known as Ant-Man, having to deal with home life on house arrest, not to mention his own daughter. At the same time, he is recruited on a new mission alongside Hope van Dyne, who is also referred to as the Wasp, that requires an uncovering of secrets involving the past.

This movie is the sequel to 2015’s “Ant-Man,” one of my personal favorite movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As much as I might complain that some of the more recent Marvel movies try too hard with comedy to the point where it gets annoying, “Ant-Man” is quite possibly the funniest movie in its universe. Speaking of the MCU, this movie is the twentieth installment in the saga. Just a year ago I said there were fifteen of these since “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” came out. WOW. When it comes to “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” I honestly had low expectations for it. If you asked me where my expectations were in 2017, I would probably told you I’m really looking forward to “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” especially when you consider how much I enjoyed the first movie. And after seeing this movie, I’d say I had fun throughout my experience. Although I wouldn’t say I had enough fun to go see the movie again. While this is not my least favorite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it certainly isn’t my pick to watch on a Friday night at home.

I kind of had a similar experience during this movie to what I had during my time watching “Uncle Drew.” I had a few laughs here and there, but it wasn’t enough. Granted, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” isn’t really a comedy, but those numerous laughs may have been one of the few highlights of my experience. Now with what I just said, I will state, with an enormous smile on my face, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is FAR SUPERIOR to “Uncle Drew.” “Uncle Drew” is not even a movie. To call “Uncle Drew” a movie is pretty much the same as calling Pizza Hut a restaurant. I’d even say calling “Uncle Drew” a movie is pretty much the same as calling Pizza Hut a fast-food restaurant! By the way, drink Pepsi! The Movie Reviewing Moron says that Pepsi is good for you and will help you live longer! Therefore, it just makes sense that Pepsi is good for you and will help you live longer! Also, be sure to enjoy that nice, cool, refreshing Pepsi, while reading my review for “Uncle Drew,” the most ambitious Pepsi commercial of all motherf*cking time!

UNCLE DREW REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/uncle-drew-2018-worst-pepsi-commercial-ever/

In all seriousness, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” qualifies to me as a movie. I never said however that it qualifies as a good movie. There are elements of goodness sprinkled throughout. It has some decent performances for the most part, especially from Michael Douglas. Some of the action is rather creative and fun, although personally it can’t beat the climactic fight during the first “Ant-Man.” The effects in this movie are really good, and you get to see a lot of them, especially when you consider how big of a role the quantum realm plays. All of the positive elements however are unfortunately clashing with another side of negative elements, ultimately leading to what I would consider a relatively average or mediocre experience.

I know that in comic book movies, suspending your disbelief is not only natural, but expected to the tenth degree. There were many moments where I was able to do that. I almost lost it on a building having wheels, but OK, it could be stranger. There is one moment however towards the end involving Ant-Man trying to jump over a vehicle, that almost looked fake as hell that some student who hasn’t even graduated high school could have created it!

I won’t get too much deeper into that, although I do want to talk about the characterization here. For the most part, everyone on the hero side seems to have some sort of dimension to them. There aren’t many complaints I can point out as far as that side is concerned, but when it comes to our villain side, you have multiple plot lines going on including one involving the security that’s supposed to keep Ant-Man inside his house, and another involving the main antagonist of Ghost. When it comes to Ghost, there wasn’t really much to her character (at first), she came off to me more like a bad guy who just wanted to do bad guy things. She didn’t have the depth or charisma that some of the other recent Marvel villains had. And just when I thought we were starting to get an epic streak of fantastic MCU villains (starting with Guardians 2), we’re suddenly back to this bulls*it. I know a good number of people weren’t particularly fond of Yellow Jacket from the first “Ant-Man,” but to me, Ghost made Yellow Jacket look amazing. I will say towards the end of the film, Ghost improves slightly, but for the most part, she was a lackluster villain.

Let’s talk about Ant-Man here. When it comes to his story, he is placed on house arrest. That is because his actions during the events of “Captain America: Civil War” was enough to be considered a crime. This prevents Ant-Man from exploring the outside world, which allows him to spend more time trying to entertain his daughter in creative ways, and master songs in “Guitar Hero.” I gotta say one of the biggest positives I’ll give Paul Rudd when it comes to his interpretation of Ant-Man, and maybe I should give kudos to the writing and directing as well, is how well encapsulated the chemistry between him and his daughter is. I think that is definitely one of the best parts of this entire movie. Seeing the two go through a cardboard maze at the start of the film seemed to capture that needed sense of togetherness. When it comes to Rudd’s overall performance, I thought it was good for the most part, but there is one scene in particular, where he was rather mother-like, which kind of felt out of place.

Alongside Ant-Man, you of course have the Wasp, played by Evangeline Lilly. I think most of the cool stuff you see with her character, maybe except a few lines of dialogue some might find funny, is already revealed in the promotional material, which ultimately diminishes her character in a sense. Although she was fun to watch in certain action scenes and I totally buy Evangeline Lilly as her character. Her chemistry with Ant-Man, while not exactly a shining star in the movie, doesn’t exactly disappoint.

I already talked about the main antagonist and I do consider her to be one of the major flaws of the movie. When it comes to other problems, I’m gonna blame it on the pacing. I am eighteen years old. Once I walked out of the theater, entered my house, and proceeded to my bedroom to start cranking out this review, I imagined myself as if I were a ten year old kid going to see this movie. After all, a lot of ten year kids probably like superheroes, and maybe if I were that ten year old kid, I might walk out of the movie saying I enjoyed myself, but that’s most likely to be due to seeing superheros on moving pictures projected onto a giant screen. Even if I wanted to fall asleep, I’ll still say I had a good time. My brain can’t process what a bad movie is. Heck, I went to see three live-action “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies in theaters as a kid and enjoyed them. What kind of person was I? Hint, it rhymes with stupid! When breaking down this movie, I couldn’t help but think to myself that maybe all the pieces in there made sense. But maybe it was a tad more convoluted than it should have been. The pacing overall just felt like speed bumps, and I especially say this specifically when it comes to the halfway point. At one moment you’re kinda sorta enjoying yourself… maybe. Then boom! The boredom kicks in.

And honestly, part of me feels like this movie is not going to be stuck in my memory as much as some of the other Marvel movies unless I watch it again. This might actually be the most forgettable Marvel movie I’ve seen since “Thor: The Dark World,” and that is saying something because that movie is S*IT. This film is nowhere near as objectively terrible as “Thor: The Dark World.” Sure, the villain here is pretty bad, but I still think the villain from “The Dark World” is probably the worst in the MCU. Let’s also not forget (no pun intended) how hard this film tried to be funny. When I watched that movie for review purposes, I might have only laughed twice. Here, I laughed a lot more than I did there. In fact, one thing that surprises me about “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is how much funnier I found it to be than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” And as I think to myself, I believe the reasoning comes down to one word I had going into “Guardians 2” but lacked for “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Expectations.

If it were the beginning of 2017, I would have watched the first trailer (not the teaser, but the trailer) to “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” multiple times. I was really looking forward to that film, and part of me thought it was actually going to surpass the original movie because it looked HILARIOUS. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t even that fun. I mean, it was trying to be, but I didn’t feel like I was having fun. I was instead feeling like I was going through a two and a half hour long toy commercial for Baby Groot with attempts at humor that seemed to land with most of the audience, but not me. I will have you know, I watched that movie twice, and the second time I laughed more than the first one. Maybe I was in a better mood the second time because I wasn’t sitting towards the end of the front row of a crowded IMAX, but it just didn’t impress me. Also, my original 6/10 score went down to a 5/10. The first “Ant-Man” was a movie that I thought was one of the funnier ones in the MCU, but the thing about the first “Ant-Man” is that it’s not really marketed to be comedic. OK, maybe it technically is, but it’s more focused on delivering action than anything else. It’s not the full scale balls to the wall action-comedy that “Guardians of the Galaxy” is. Both “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” are pretty hilarious at times, and you do get the light vibe you might find in certain comedies in the marketing for both films. Although for both films, I didn’t exactly come for the comedy, I came for the action and superhero stuff. This might make the comedy somewhat funnier because you as an audience member don’t expect humor all that much. In fact, this may be why I find “Avengers: Infinity War” to be one of the funniest movies in the MCU and possibly the funniest comic book movie ever made. In a movie that is advertised to be super dark and the exact opposite of happy-go-lucky, a part of you might come in and expect some lightheartedness or comedy to take a back seat. No way hosay! When it’s delivered in that movie, it totally blends in with the moment despite having a story that is meant to be dark. Maybe it’s also because I as an audience member have been following the storyline for the MCU for a long time therefore allowing me to care more about everyone in the film, but it’s just an interesting blend of light and dark. Also, sticking to “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and expectations, let me just remind you that those were something which I lacked prior to and during my experience of watching the movie.

Before we get into my verdict there is one thing I want to go over, and that is the end credits. There is a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene. The mid-credits scene is more important if you’re a follower of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its overall story. In fact the post-credit scene is probably so pointless that it only exists for the sake of putting on that “Such and such will return” thing at the end of every Marvel movie, but in case you feel that end credits scenes are a necessity to sit through, this is your notification to stay for them. One more thing, I think personally that the mid-credits scene might be better than the entirety of this movie. I felt more emotion (maybe for the most part) for everyone in that scene than I did during “Ant-Man and the Wasp” itself, so that says something right there.

In the end, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is not really up to the quality I would expect for a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. It’s not to say that “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an abomination, but it’s certainly not a movie I would think about for days. I thought it was more fun than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” but keep in mind, I had high expectations for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” While there are definitely movies that I thought would blow more than “Ant-Man and the Wasp” would this year, I didn’t think this particular film would be all that great. The trailers underwhelmed me, and it just didn’t have the same epic feel that the first movie’s trailers provided at various points. Would I recommend “Ant-Man and the Wasp?” Despite having some fun here and there, I wouldn’t say rush out immediately, but I do recommend the mid-credits scene. That’s just me though. I’m gonna give “Ant-Man and the Wasp” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m gonna have my review up for “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation,” I just watched the movie for the second time and I’m gonna be going over my thoughts on it in preparation for the franchise’s new movie coming out on July 27th, “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Ant-Man and the Wasp?” What did you think about it? Or, which of the two “Ant-Man” movies do you like better? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Thor: The Dark World (2013): Why Is Kat Dennings In This Movie? *SPOILERS*

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This week is a pretty big week for movies as far as this year goes because “Thor: Ragnarok” comes out this Friday, November 3. If you have seen my reviews for the other films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be released this year, you may know I wasn’t a huge fan of those. Hopefully things will turn around with “Thor: Ragnarok,” but only time will tell. Although before I go see “Thor: Ragnarok,” I wanted to go back, watch the other “Thor” movies the MCU has to offer, and review them here. Last week, I reviewed the movie with Thor’s first MCU appearance, “Thor.” This week, we’ll be looking at the sequel, which is “Thor: The Dark World.” So let’s get going people!

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“Thor: The Dark World” is directed by Alan Taylor, who directed various episodes of TV shows including “The Sopranos” and “Game of Thrones.” The movie stars Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek, Rush), Natalie Portman (V For Vendetta, Black Swan), Tom Hiddleston (Midnight in Paris, War Horse), Anthony Hopkins (Beowulf, Hannibal), and Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who, G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra). When it comes to the story of the film, Dr. Jane Foster, who you may remember as the love interest to Thor if you’ve seen the first movie, has been cursed by an entity known as the Aether. Thor is also heralded by a cosmic event called the Convergence, which is simpler of way saying that nine realms will collide with each other.

As far as the movie leading up to this one goes, I think it’s probably the most underrated of the MCU movies. Like every movie in the MCU’s first phase, I don’t think it’s perfect, although at the same time I wouldn’t say it’s all that bad. In fact, it’s actually my personal favorite in the first phase. It contains a solid story, most of the characters are completely admirable, and the visual effects are stunning. As far as this sequel goes, do I think it’s as good as the first movie? No. This is a movie that has been doing what the MCU has usually been doing, but has grown tremendously in recent years, which is making several attempts at humor throughout the script. Now, are a lot of the MCU movies funny? Sure, but in recent films I think they’ve been trying way too hard with it, which is something I’m worrying about when it comes to “Thor: Ragnarok.” There are movies in the MCU that use humor as a signature part of the vibe, specifically “Guardians of the Galaxy.” This movie came out before that, and this is funny but also feels like it’s trying a little harder than it should. Although since we’re on the topic of humor, I have to say the one of most hysterical parts of the movie is probably the moment when Loki turns into Captain America for some time.

 

LOKI: (TURNS THOR INTO SIF) Mmm, brother, you look ravishing!

THOR: It will hurt no less when I kill you in this form.

LOKI: Very well. Perhaps you prefer one of your new companions, given that you seem to like them so much. (TURNS INTO CAPTAIN AMERICA) Oh, this is much better. Costume’s a bit much… so tight. But the confidence, I can feel the righteousness surging. Hey, you wanna have a rousing discussion about truth, honor, patriotism? God bless America…

 

The only thing I have to say about this, is… Why can’t we get more moments as funny as that?! Whenever a line that was uttered that was supposed to be funny I was as silent as I was during “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and the case I have here with “Thor: The Dark World” may have been worse than that movie because I laughed more while watching that! Not to mention, that movie even had more entertainment value, plus a better villain. Speaking of which…

The main villain of “Thor: The Dark World” goes by the name of Malekith the Accursed. What can I tell you about him? Not much. Upon rewatch of this movie, I’m starting to wonder if I was wrong when I said Ronan’s the absolute worst of the Marvel villains, because at least Ronan was a tad menacing. This guy here, he was kept mysterious in ways throughout the picture, but the mystery of the man was super uninteresting! He comes off as a very cliche “thing,” not the one from “Fantastic Four,” instead he comes off one that just wants to destroy the universe for the sake of destroying it. If you want to make a motivation like that work, make the villain worth appreciating! At least after watching “Guardians of the Galaxy,” I remember the name Ronan. I don’t think I’ll remember the name Malekith in t-minus a couple days.

Let’s talk about Thor in this movie. His character is a bit different than the previous movie now that he’s experienced Earth for awhile. He’s also currently in a relationship with Natalie Portman’s character who you may recall from the first movie. We’ll get to her in a few seconds. Thor is very charismatic in this movie, but based on how much I wasn’t really able to care about the movie as a whole, I can’t really remember much about Thor himself. He just had a job to do and he was supposed to do it. I’m sorry, but Thor from the last movie, was a thousand miles better than Thor in this movie.

Natalie Portman returns as Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster. Her character was, alright, I guess. If you recall my review for the first “Thor,” I said it basically forced the relationship between Thor and Jane. I don’t mind them being together, but it was ultimately forced. In fact, Thor left her alone for two years, which lead to a scene that I don’t think was as funny as it was trying to be. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it involves slapping. She was in a good portion of the movie, and she even goes with Thor to Asgard which took up a lot of the runtime. Regardless of whether Jane went to Asgard or not, there is one character I’m glad didn’t go with them, but am still disappointed that they put her in this movie.

Who am I talking about here? Well ladies and gentlemen, that would be Kat Dennings. Let me just say this first as a positive, if she wasn’t in the movie, it would have probably been different, so I wouldn’t call her character useless, but MY GOSH! She is annoying! If you don’t know who Kat Dennings plays she plays Darcy Lewis. She was also in the first movie and she displays a similar attitude here to how she displays herself in that movie, but come on, this is bulls*it! She’s basically the same annoying character that we saw in the last movie, except in that film, she was slightly annoying. Here, she is, if not almost, extremely annoying! This movie came out a couple years after the CBS sitcom “2 Broke Girls” premiered. That show began in 2011 months after the release of the original “Thor.” I say this considering the fact that Kat Dennings is one of the two stars on the show. The show was recently canceled after six seasons, but I once talked with my mother and she said this is probably the worst sitcom she’s ever watched. I honestly imagine that Kat Dennings might be funnier on “2 Broke Girls” because here the writing basically suggests she’s trying to do stuff in order to be hilarious, but it just comes off as ridiculous.

Loki returns in this movie, which makes this the third MCU movie which he appears. Although there’s something different about him here than the other times you see his character in these movies. Unlike “Thor” and “The Avengers,” he’s not the main antagonist. As mentioned recently, Malekith, AKA What’s His Name, is the antagonist of the film. But if you have seen the film’s marketing, you’d know going in, that Loki isn’t like that. He’s a character that is more than just that, and watching this movie, you’d realize that. That’s pretty much all I have to say. Also another character that returns here is Odin, but he’s not really worth talking about.

A big positive for this movie is one that to me, was also enormous for the last movie, and I’m talking about the visual effects. Everything just had a huge scope, it was bright, colorful, neat looking, whatever positive connotation you can put in for them. In fact, you might even say that the visual effects have improved for me since the last movie because I didn’t really notice any bad ones. Although at the same time, I will say my favorite visual effects from the “Thor” movies have to be in the first one, so deciding which movie is ultimately better from a visual perspective is kind of a challenge.

Now this movie is called “Thor: The Dark World,” and yes, there are moments in this movie which do live up to the name. There are Dark Elves for one thing, but that’s not the point. There’s one moment where something happens that is supposed to be this dark moment, but guess what? I DIDN’T CARE ABOUT IT! I’m gonna spoil this and I don’t freaking give a crap, Thor’s mother dies! She goes by the name of Frigga, and apparently she appeared in the original “Thor” but the main question I had about her when she died was this: WHAT THE F*CK DID SHE DO AND WHO THE FLYING S*IT IS HER CHARACTER?! We barely even seen this character, and I don’t even remember her from the first movie. If Odin died, I would have cared! He had a major role in “Thor!” He was the one that cast Thor out of Asgard! He told Thor and Loki that both are worthy to rule but one would rise to the Throne! What did Thor’s mother do?! Throughout her funeral, I just yelled at my screen saying “We get it! Thor’s mother died!”

Also, speaking of things that are forgettable, the scenes don’t really have much of anything to say that’s outstanding about them. Sure, they look nice, the ships shown on screen are rather unique, and seeing Thor flying around with his hammer can be considered a treat. Although there was nothing that kept me wanting more. I was just like, oh yeah, fight scenes, they’re here. The first movie shows Thor occasionally kicking some ass, but not as much as this. However the first movie played their cards right when it came to the fight scenes. The fight scenes were played out when it was needed for storytelling, here it was also necessary at times, but at least the first movie kept me glued to the screen. The first “Thor” was like the first “Star Wars” whereas “Thor: The Dark World” was like “The Phantom Menace.”

In the end, “Thor: The Dark World” is one of the MCU’s worst movies. When I first saw this movie, I gave it a 7/10. That’s not the case anymore. The comedy is shoved down your throat harder than pills inside an angry hospital patient, the action was well shot and fun at times, but ultimately rather bland and forgettable, and f*cking Kat Dennings. Just… WHY IS SHE HERE?! It’s really hard to decide whether or not this is the worst movie in the MCU, but this was a bad movie according to my recent watch. I’m gonna give “Thor: The Dark World” a 4/10. This is one of the hardest movies I ever had to rate in my life. I’m not even sure if the 4/10 will stick. It might increase as time goes on, but I’ll remind you, it’ll be a 6/10 at most, 4/10 at least. If you enjoy this blog but usually hate reading, I have a solution for you. Watching videos. No, I don’t post on YouTube, but I do post somewhere else, and that somewhere else is Stardust.

Stardust is an app where you can post short reaction videos to movies and TV shows. Let’s say you just went to the movies and went to see “Jigsaw” or just want to talk about other movies in the “Saw” franchise you watched in the past, you can post a video where you state some thoughts on the movie, what you liked or didn’t like about what you witnessed, all of that in a bag of chips. You can even do this with TV shows. Let’s say that a new episode of show such as “The Orville” comes out, you can sum up your thoughts on it, and it’ll then be shown to everyone on the app. You don’t even have to see the episode, because there is an option suggesting that you don’t have to see it, the same goes for movies too! There’s also a community of users on Stardust, so you can follow them to get updates on their latest reactions to movies and TV. If you want to follow me, my handle is JackDrees. Go download the app now on wherever its available and enjoy! Also, follow me!

Thanks for reading this review, I hope to have my review for “Thor: Ragnarok” as soon as possible, and if I see any other relevant movies, I’ll review those too. If you want to get more preparation for “Thor: Ragnarok” unleashed from your system, click the link below and that’ll take you to my review for the first “Thor” movie. Stay tuned for more reviews! Also, I want to ask, is Marvel trying to hard with comedy nowadays? or does it work? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“THOR” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/thor-2011-you-wont-need-to-be-hammered-to-watch-this-spoilers-for-the-marvel-cinematic-universe-movies/

Marvel Cinematic Universe Will Continue For Decades, Not Surprising, Although Slightly Concerning

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I have to say right now, this week may be the craziest I’ve ever witnessed when it comes to comic book movie news. Nothing new is coming out this weekend, however when it comes to news, it’s absolutely insane. I’m actually gonna cover multiple segments here, however only one portion here matters more than others. I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s an idea, when introduced at the time, seemed original by the standards of film. It has now inspired other cinematic universes such as the “Dark Universe” from Universal, the DCEU (Detective Comics Extended Universe), and the Monsterverse Warner is focusing on at the moment. “Thor: Ragnarok,” which will be released in November, is going to be the seventeenth movie in the universe. That’s not the only future movie planned, there’s gonna be a couple of “Avengers” sequels coming up, “Ant-Man” is getting another standalone film, Captain Marvel is gonna have a movie, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is gonna have a sequel, and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” will be happening. Speaking of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” let’s talk about that.

If you don’t know me personally, I enjoyed the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie. The vibe worked perfectly, the comedy landed for the most part, and it took characters that not many people, including some people who read comic books out of enthusiasm, didn’t know much about. Not many folks, until 2014, heard about Starlord, not many people knew about Gamora, they weren’t aware of Groot, they didn’t ever think about Drax, nobody traditionally thought of Rocket as a badass raccoon. What Marvel was able to do with these characters kind of amazes me. As far as their movies go, this might be their most family friendly one yet.

As much as I enjoyed the first “Guardians,” the sequel was big letdown for me. It may have been due to my hype for the film, but then again, I anticipated “Wonder Woman” and “Dunkirk” to death and look how those movies turned out. It’s by no means a bad movie, nor is it the worst in the MCU, but it is not a great movie either, it’s just passable. The humor didn’t land as much, although some worked, like the Taserface gag and the Mary Poppins joke. Some of the characters were not as cool as they were in the first movie, although the movie did get a better villain and they did improve the character of Drax in some ways.

*UNPOPULAR OPINION WARNING, FLAME SHIELD READY*

Baby Groot is by far one of the single most annoying characters I’ve seen in anything! I get he’s small, and supposed to be cute, but this film literally tries to force it down your throat! It almost reminds me of the stupid kid the lead characters have from the piece of crap they call “Sharknado!” It’s like watching YouTube, you’re watching cat videos, and the person taking the video is constantly saying look at this cat playing the piano! YOU MADE YOUR F*CKING POINT! YOU SAID IT ONCE! YOU ALREADY TOLD ME! I ALREADY KNOW! It’s like if BB-8 from “Star Wars Episode VII” was constantly shoved into random scenes just because he’s cute. And granted, the cuteness factor was there, and a lot of people see him as a cute droid, but he’s there when the plot needs him, he’s not randomly in shots just shoving jelly beans down his gullet. Wait a minute that makes no sense, droids can’t eat or drink. Also now that I think about it, trees don’t eat jelly beans either. Whatever, you probably get my point! I’m sorry if you hate me, but this is how I feel.

If you are a mega fan of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, both 1 & 2, and you don’t know the main man to thank, I’ll have you know the man you probably should be thanking is James Gunn, he directed and wrote the first and second films which are out right now, and he’s also working on the third one. The man definitely knows how to direct and write these movies based on how the actors deliver their lines and how well the humor plays out. Recently, he did a stream on Facebook Live, and something… …interesting came up. When he was on the livestream, a bunch of users asked some questions, and one user asked if Richard Rider/Nova would ever be put in the MCU films. At one point when answering the question, Gunn uttered this: “One of the things I’m doing with creating “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” it will take place after the next two “Avengers” movies and it will help to set up the next 10, 20 years of Marvel movies. It’s going to really expand the cosmic universe.”

That’s right, you’re probably getting at least a decade’s worth of Marvel Cinematic Universe films. How do I feel about this? While I love Marvel and I’m excited to what they have in store, I’m simultaneously worried. The Marvel Cinematic Universe began back in 2008 with “Iron Man,” since then it has expanded with many films loved by audiences everywhere. Some people still say they prefer superhero films outside the MCU such as the older “Spider-Man” films, Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy, Donner’s “Superman,” or movies in the “X-Men” franchise. We’ve had film franchises go on longer than the MCU, such as the “Bourne” series, “James Bond,” “Fast & Furious,” and “Star Wars.” Although I’m noticing that compared to these franchises, the MCU is producing movies more rapidly and when it is compared to a franchise like “Bourne,” you can tell that “Bourne” might have an intended stopping point. The MCU is basically the cinematic universe version of “The Neverending Story.” Me personally, if I had a cinematic universe, and I actually do have one in mind if I ever have the opportunity to make films in Hollywood, I would end it at a point. I’d give it a sense of finality, but I only wonder if the folks behind the MCU will ever feel the same way.

While I am concerned about the franchise going on forever and ever, allow me to address some positives. Starting off the positives, this isn’t Michael Bay’s “Transformers” nor is it “Sharknado.” Also, Marvel has clearly shown how it can make stellar movies that people want to see. A lot of their flicks have been well received by both average moviegoers and critics. When it comes to comic book fans, they do a fine job appreciating that particular audience for the most part. Some notable mistakes they made over the years has usually been with the villains. With the exception of villains like Ego from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” or the Vulture from “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” the MCU hasn’t really featured terrific villains in their films. This is why I love “Captain America: Civil War” so much, it didn’t have a villain, it had sides, neither good or evil. Another notable flaw many people have with the MCU is in “Doctor Strange.” You may remember the Ancient One in that movie, she was played by Tilda Swinton because it’s an example of whitewashing. While the MCU may not be perfect, it certainly has a lot of likability to it. Despite saying that, I wonder how much it has left.

The MCU has been around for nine years and people still enjoy it, but what if it goes on forever and ever to a point where people begin to become tired of it? If you ask me, I’m not exactly tired of it, but I am starting to think the series might go on longer than it should. Keep in mind, Marvel is owned by Disney, the Bill Gates of movie studios. Disney basically owns us now since they have Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and their own animations along with those animations that are being remade into live-action form. The top 5 films of 2016 in terms of box office performance are all Disney films. “Captain America: Civil War,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Finding Dory,” “Zootopia,” and “The Jungle Book.” Right now, three of this year’s films owned by Disney are in the top 10 in terms of box office performance. Those films are “Beauty and the Beast,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” I’m not counting “Spider-Man: Homecoming” here because despite how it is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony distributed the movie. Disney has also had successes with 2015 films like “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and “Inside Out.” If you look at what Disney is doing, you may see that they’re making buttloads of money. They now own all of these things we, as viewers, know about. Although I want to make a comparison to this and a popular video game franchise you guys may know about.

Have you guys ever played the “Call of Duty” games? I don’t play as much as other people do, but I know people who play the games. If you know a bit about them, you may know that they do this thing where they release a new game every year. We’re getting Marvel movies, quicker than we’re getting “Call of Duty” games. Keep in mind, many people say that some of the older games like “Modern Warfare” and “Modern Warfare 2” rock whereas newer games like “Advanced Warfare” and “Infinite Warfare” suck. If there’s one thing I noticed, personally, it’s that I thought Marvel movies got better as they went on. the oldest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie I currently have a 10/10 for is “Iron Man 3” which was released on May 3, 2013. Then there was “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Ant-Man,” and “Captain America: Civil War,” which is currently my favorite movie in the MCU. Also, you have to keep in mind, I don’t witness many people talking about the first “Call of Duty,” the second “Call of Duty,” anything along those lines. While it seems that a lot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films are widely talked about today, I could tell you that when “The Avengers” came out, this is when a majority of people flocked to the theater to see these movies. Also keep in mind, this came out in 2012, the same year that “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises” came out. Both “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises” were successful at the box office, in fact in some cases, “The Dark Knight Rises” may have gotten more positive reception than “The Avengers,” the case isn’t really the same for “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Spider-Man and Batman are both argued among nerds all over the world between which is the better hero, they both get their own movie in the same year, and they are beat by “The Avengers.” Although when you think about it, it makes sense, you get more superheroes, some you may know, some you may not know, and the idea of “The Avengers,” unlike “Batman” and “Spider-Man,” hasn’t really been done much on screen. Although the “Fantastic Four” movies have more than one superhero and look how those movies turned out. However when you look back before and realize what “Spider-Man” did in terms of box office performance in 2002, such as being the only film to make $100 million in its opening weekend at the time, and how “The Dark Knight” not only won the box office in 2008, but avoided a comic book movie from having the slightest bit of childishness, this is kind of interesting to think about. The Marvel Cinematic Universe did have some successes before “The Avengers” like with the first two “Iron Man” films, and while 2011 brought “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” they didn’t quite reach the top 10, making them get a lower score in the box office than “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1…” (sigh). Right now, if you can’t tell already, the box office isn’t a problem for the MCU, and I don’t think it will be in the future. However, I wonder about their movies in terms of quality.

There’s a saying that all good things come to an end. We all know we are going to die one day. OK, I’m not saying all people are good, just look at Adolf Hitler! You know movie franchises that have technically come to conclusions in the past? Just look at “Back to the Future,” “Jaws,” or “Revenge of the Nerds.” The people behind these movies knew when to stop, “Back to the Future” stopped at three movies suggesting that the characters’ futures are what they make them, and all three franchises according to popular opinion have never made a movie better than their first installment. You know what’s still going today? “Transformers,” “Sharknado,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and “Fifty Shades.” Traditionally, these movies are not well received, however they are popular over a certain demographic. “Transformers” continues to make lots of money even though people are literally paying to see the same thing every time, “Sharknado” is on TV, but people watch it because it’s “so bad it’s good,” which I thought at first with the original, but upon rewatch it became worse, and the later installments are just plain awful, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is popular among families and kids, including some who know about the books, and while it was fun to watch as a kid, it became worse the more I thought about it. Not to mention their newest installment, if you haven’t heard about it, may be one of the most forced sequels in movie history, and for “Fifty Shades,” while it may be popular among women and those who have read the books, it wasn’t well received because of its characters, along with the fact that it is technically “porn” and yet the movie fails to deliver on that for a lot of people. Also ladies, for those of you crushing on Jamie Dornan, who plays Christian Grey in the series, the actor says he didn’t want himself nude in the movie. If you’re gonna make a movie for women, that’s technically a porno, KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE! If you ask me, I haven’t seen any of the “Fifty Shades” movies, nor have I read the books, so I can’t really say my true thoughts about it, but I honestly don’t want to see or read it unless I have a girlfriend who wants to watch it and she feels like watching it with me, if it means I get to go to a free screening, or if someone is paying me to watch the movie. With Marvel, I can enjoy myself throughout the process of watching one of their movies, but how much longer will it take for me to not enjoy myself?

So far, two movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been released this year, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” While I enjoyed parts of both movies, I thought both needed improvement. I said what I needed to about “Guardians 2,” but I didn’t really say much about “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” I thought they aced Peter Parker and Spider-Man for the most part, it could have been funnier, they had Iron Man in the movie but they played their cards right and kept the movie from turning into “Iron Man 4,” the AI annoyed me, and the villain was cool. I gave the movie a 7/10 in my review, and I said it would probably drop to a 6. For the record, I gave “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” a 6/10, which I also gave to “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which was fun at times, but ultimately a disappointment. The only film I gave a lower score to in the MCU was for “Captain America: The First Avenger,” which was a 5/10. Based on this you can tell that Marvel is capable of making good movies, but every year since 2013, I’ve seen one Marvel film that is worthy of a 10/10 for me. In my top 10 MCU films, I have only one movie that is a 7/10 in my book, all the others are 8/10 at minimum. If “Thor: Ragnarok” isn’t a 10/10, then the streak I’m talking about is officially over. If you ask me, I’m somewhat excited as a Marvel movie lover for “Thor: Ragnarok,” but at the same time, worried. It looks like it could be a good movie, but the marketing makes it look like “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Now, I like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but for a movie like this, I want a darker tone. You have Planet Hulk in this movie, it looks like there’s gonna be a lot of destruction on Asgard, and yet in the trailer they’re playing “Immigrant” by Led Zeppelin. Good song, but it makes me worried here. You can still have humor in the movie, you can still have flashy effects, and granted the effects look stunning in the trailers, but I want a darker vibe than what I’m getting when this movie comes out. Now, I’ll say if “Thor: Ragnarok” is a 9/10 or 8/10, that’d still be cool. Although if it’s a 7/10 or lower, I’d start to worry.

Also, you have to consider the fact that these movies are based on comic books, so they might be taking material from the comic books, and turning that into movie material. That’s fine, but part of me wonders, will we ever run out of good material to copy? I don’t read comic books all that much, but this is something I wonder similarly as a movie watcher. I wonder if we will stop seeing original material and start always seeing unoriginal material. Although comic books have been going on for years and we are still getting lots of new stuff, but they always do unoriginal stuff. They do stuff based on other sources, they do a new series or a spinoff with certain characters, or they might do gender or race swaps. If we want to keep these movies going, we either need to introduce new characters that haven’t been written in comic form or we need to get people writing new comic book material. This has been done before though, you guys know Harley Quinn? Her first appearance was actually in “Batman: The Animated Series.”

And if you think that comic book movies are stopping anytime soon, you’re completely under a rock. People continue to watch those movies, people keep making them, and they’re even making movies on villains, kind of like they did with “Suicide Squad.” That’s not all, Sony is coming out with a “Venom” movie in 2018 with Tom Hardy as the lead actor, and there’s also gonna be a “Joker” movie that I hear is gonna be in a different universe than the DCEU. In fact tonight, just when I thought I covered everything in this post, I took a break, thought I’d add some finishing touches a little later, ONLY TO FIND OUT MATT REEVES’S “BATMAN” MOVIE ISN’T GOING TO BE PART OF THE DCEU EITHER! What is happening? It’s becoming like “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” only instead of running out of food on an Island in the Atlantic, we’re running out of new and fresh movies quite possibly throughout the world, and instead of just having sardines to eliminate our hunger, we just have comic book films to fulfill our movie watching desires!

I love movies. I love comic book movies. I love Marvel Studios. Although at the same time, I’m concerned about its future. Maybe they’ll continue on creating original content and keep rocking it not only at the box office, not only on home video, but also in the minds of the viewers. As much as Marvel Studios makes good movies, there may be a day where it goes the way of McDonald’s, by that I mean there will be a MCU movie on every corner, and it may just be processed as opposed to crafted. Guys, I don’t think “Thor: Ragnarok” will be great, admittedly I’m excited for “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” If “Thor: Ragnarok” is good, there’s less of a chance I have of going into these MCU films in the future with a bit of skepticism. So I want to know, what are your thoughts on this? Also, what is a movie you want to see from Marvel Studios, but hasn’t happened yet?

Also I want to break a little announcement to you all, while I still plan to do reviews of new movies, I also want to tackle some older ones too. If you recall me doing my “Spider-Man” review series along with my Christopher Nolan review series, I’d like to let you know I’m doing another one. If you think about big action stars, I’d traditionally think about Liam Neeson (Taken, Non-Stop), Jason Statham (The Transporter, Death Race), Keanu Reeves (John Wick, The Matrix), and Vin Diesel (xXx, The Fast and the Furious). Another one I think of is someone who I’m starting a series on, that my friends is Tom Cruise. Over the years, Cruise has proven himself to be a very talented actor in many ways, and I’m gonna talk about three movies he stars in. I’m gonna be starting off with “The Last Samurai.” At some point I will include a review for “Risky Business,” I’m not sure where I’ll put it, either as my second or third review, but that will be an intention in the future. I will also be reviewing another movie Cruise is in, but I’m not sure what it is yet, you’ll find out when the review comes around! Stay tuned for those reviews, and Marvel Studios, if you are planning on continuing the universe for another 10 or 20 years, focus on the movies first, and focus on the money later. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!