Review: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

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Taika Waititi breathes life – and plentiful humour – into Thor: Ragnarok, a fun, yet patchy entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Hemsworth returns as Thor, who must make peace with brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in order to stop Hela (Cate Blanchett), their evil, long lost sister who’s sent them packing from Asgard in the hopes of wreaking destruction. Continue reading “Review: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)”

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Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

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This reboot of the beloved 1984 comedy ticks a lot of the right boxes. It’s fun, spooky (a haunted house tour makes for an effective intro) and the ideal amount of silly. But above all else it proves the premature naysayers wrong. The cast, made up of Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones own every inch of the film as four women, each with their own quirks (the scientist, the inventor, the subway worker with an expert knowledge of the city), who team up after a pale madman (Neil Casey) unleashes malevolent paranormal entities upon New York. Continue reading “Review: Ghostbusters (2016)”

Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016)

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Kristen Stewart is out and the A-list duo of Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt are in for The Huntsman: Winter’s War, the prequel-cum-sequel to Snow White And The Huntsman that no one asked for. Save for the talent, this is in no way an improvement on what came before – if anything, it’s a duller and more muddled affair that quickly loses attention. Continue reading “Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016)”

Review: Rush (2013)

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Keen to capitalise on the overwhelming success of Asif Kapadia’s sensational documentary Senna, director Ron Howard, whose responsible for some of Hollywood’s biggest commercial successes, reteams with Frost/Nixon screenwriter Peter Morgan for Rush. What could have been a compelling character expose set in and around the high-octane world of Formula One is, in the end, disappointingly bloated and mild on dramatic thrills. Continue reading “Review: Rush (2013)”

Review: The Avengers (2012)

After laying hands on “the Tesseract” (a cube shaped source of energy capable of opening portals between worlds), Asgardian demi-God Loki (Tom Hiddleston) becomes hell bent on conquering Earth once and for all. Realising they don’t have a human army resilient enough to check his wrath, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) calls upon six individuals with superhuman abilities – Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) – in a plan codenamed the “Avengers Initiative”, to Continue reading “Review: The Avengers (2012)”

Review: The Cabin In The Woods (2011)

Five unsuspecting college friends – Dana (Kristen Connolly), Jules (Anna Hutchison), Curt (Chris Hemsworth), Holden (Jesse Williams) and Marty (Fran Kranz) – head off to a ramshackle cabin in the woods for a weekend of alcohol-fuelled frolics. However, when Dana stumbles upon a cellar filled with thousand-year-old trinkets and relics, all hell breaks loose as she inadvertently seals their fate.

Both a reverential love letter to and parody of the oft-told cabin in the woods scenario, The Cabin In The Woods takes the expectations derived from an easily Continue reading “Review: The Cabin In The Woods (2011)”

Review: Thor (2011)

Directed by Kenneth Branagh, Thor is the latest comic-book adaptation from Marvel, and stars Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgård.

The film centres on Thor (Hemsworth), a powerful but arrogant warrior, who is cast down to Earth by his father Odin (Hopkins) and is forced to live among humans. A beautiful young scientist, Jane Foster (Portman), has a profound effect on Thor, awakening romantic feelings for the first time.

It’s while on Earth that Thor must learn what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

Branagh, who seemed at first like an odd choice for director, succeeds in making the fantastical elements feel grounded and realistic: something which was always going to be tricky to achieve. He employs plenty of sweeping cinematography to fully explore the intricately detailed environments, never letting the epic scale get out of hand.

This is aided in no small part by a strong, humorous and consistent screenplay – full of snappy dialogue, subtle references and nifty cameos – which improves the somewhat predictable morality tale. Moreover, he has elicited convincing, enthusiastic performances from his eclectic cast.

Hemsworth truly embodies Thor, proving himself more than capable both in terms of action and humour, stepping up from minor supporting actor to a leading Hollywood star.

He stands out amongst a heavy-weight supporting cast, including ditzy and on-fire Portman, a hilarious and shamefully understated Dennings and an ever-solid Skarsgård.

Hiddleston delivers an effective, and wholly opposing, performance as Thor’s twisted brother Loki – a far cry from his recent low-key turn in Archipelago. Hopkins, as is to be expected, adds a touch of cinematic class as the patriarchal Odin.

It’s a shame the supporting characters aren’t further explored, but it’s a minor issue and understandable considering the circumstances. It’s encouraging to hear that various roles were beefed up after test-screening reactions.

There are, like many big-budget productions, a number of visual and narrative flaws, but Thor manages to be a superbly grounded, infectiously gratifying and valiantly executed summer blockbuster, completely defying mediocre expectations.

All involved in production have done a commendable job in making this superhero movie feel as seasoned and entertaining as possible, embracing the absurd in a way that entirely proves Branagh a sensible choice in director, and Hemsworth a fantastic Thor.

Poster: Thor

Director – Kenneth Branagh

Starring – Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman