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Thor Ragnarok – ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ Theatrical Review

Baby Driver  

Wow, I haven’t posted anything since February?  Okay, I get it, I’m really behind in my reviews, and I did see Thor in theatres… back in probably December…  It was great!  I loved it.  There was maybe a bit too much humour to it for some, but I still loved it.

Now, there were lots of trailers, and lots of clips, I have to say that Marvel knows how to put those together.  The trailers left me wanting more and put more questions in my mind as to how things got to where they were, even though the trailer pretty much plays out the same order of events as they happen in the film.

Thor returns to Asgard with the helm/skull of Surtur, a fire demon who according to prophecy will bring about Ragnarok, the Asgardian apocalypse.  With Surtur defeated, Thor sets about finding his father Odin, who Loki hypnotized and left on Earth at the end of Thor 2: The Dark World.   At least that’s what I think happened, I can’t honestly remember, as it’s been quite a while since I saw that one.  All I know is that Loki (Tom Hiddleston) took the throne, impersonating Odin (Anthony Hopkins).  Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has figured this out, and once he publicly unmasks Loki, the two brothers set off to find their father, making a side trip to the Sanctum Sanctorum where Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) sends Thor and Loki to Odin.  Nice bits of comedy here, and nice to see Doctor Strange, but the scene really just seemed like an extension of the “after the credits scene” from his own movie.  The sons of Odin meet up with Odin in Norway one last time, as he surrenders his life force and moves on, freeing his trapped first born child, Hela, the Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett) who breaks Thor’s hammer (as we saw in the trailers) and sends he and Loki through space via the Bifrost, where they become trapped on a planet run by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum).  Loki arrived several weeks earlier than Thor and has aligned himself with the Grandmaster, leaving  to be captured by a woman known as “Scrapper 142” (Tessa Thompson) to be thrown into the arena to fight for the Grandmaster’s amusement.  Thor’s first opponent is the reigning champion, the incredible… Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).  Fighting and fun, the two heroes eventually bury their differences and escape the planet with Loki and Scrapper 142, who is in fact an Asgardian Valkyrie.  Returning to Asgard to stop Hela who has killed and enslaved much of the population, Thor and his team set out to free their people, but can the Prince of Asgard win without his hammer?

Okay, that was a rather long-winded summary, and I left out a lot of key things.  The story was great fun, and it was full of great comic-book action.  It worked in a lot of great new characters from the comics, and I think it laid some very important groundwork for Avengers Infinity War, and the future of the entire MCU.  The scene after the credits leads directly to the opening scene of Infinity War (I know because I saw it the other day).

As I mentioned earlier, there was a lot of humour in the film.  I personally loved it, but I can see where some fans of comic book movies might be a little put off by it.  Thor Ragnarok still had some rather serious plot points and undertones, but I think director Taika Waititi (What We Do In The Shadows, Flight of the Conchords) balanced the humour and the darkness masterfully.  I think that is something that Marvel does better than DC does in their movies, and that can be very divisive in the comic book and comic book movie fandoms.  I like my heroes to be powerful and fun, not dark and brooding all the time, but that’s just me.  To each their own.  Check it out, it was fun.

Bottom Line: My favourite Marvel movie was the first Thor for the longest time, but then Doctor Strange came out quickly becoming my favourite, but now….Ragnarok may have put Thor back into first place again….at least until there’s a Doctor Strange 2…


What We Do In The Shadows – ★ ★ ★ ★ DVD Review

What We Do in the Shadows4.0 Stars

I’m not sure what genre this falls into, it’s partially a “mockumentary” and partially a reality TV show…kind of?  A camera crew follows around four vampires who are also flatmates in current day New Zealand.  Whatever it was, I quite enjoyed it and laughed quite a bit.  Essentially that’s it; a very funny film, with a very unusual premise.

Our vampires are Viago (Taika Waititi), a spirited and romantic vampire who serves as escort for the camera crew; Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), a wild medieval vampire once known as “Vlad the Poker”; Deacon (Jonny Brugh), a younger vampire who likes to knit; and the ancient Nosferatu-like Petyr (Ben Fransham), who never talks.  As the four are now agelessly immortal, they have become rather indifferent to things such as doing the dishes, folding the laundry or dusting, which is a fine squabbling point for our film to begin with.  The “film crew” is allowed to follow the four (though Petyr doesn’t really leave his crypt in the basement to “hang out” with the other three) and see how these roommates deal with these common problems given their very uncommon situation.  Eventually a new vampire is introduced to the crew, who opens up new avenues for the group.  No longer waiting to be invited in to clubs because Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) knows the bouncers who invite them in with open arms, the group has fun, but of course that can’t last for the children of the night, as newbie Nick starts shooting his mouth off and drawing attention to them, as though a documentary film crew wouldn’t.

From dealings with a vampire hunter, the local police, Nick’s IT consultant friend Stu (Stuart Rutherford), and even a run in with a pack of werewolves, we get unlimited access to the unseen aspects of vampire life…or un-life.  The film really knew what it was doing with the humour, it played up all the classic vampire tropes and myths, and spun them beautifully.  “When you can’t see your reflection in the mirror it’s hard to get dressed to go out” one quips, as another sketches him to show him if his hair is to his liking for the evening.  I found the character of Stu to be one of the funniest things in the movie.  Here is this mortal guy, who is kind of quiet, and just hanging out because his best friend Nick is now a vampire.  Nick tries hard to fit in only to have the other vampires like Stu even more.  We get bat fights, and hypnosis and even an encounter with “the beast”, an ancient evil known to Vladislav.  All said and done, we get a lot of fun, and the documentary format was the perfect way to showcase all the points without having to have the story be overly structured.

Bottom Line:  Jemaine Clement was one half of Flight of the Conchords, which I watched some of and really enjoyed, I guess now I’ll have to watch the rest, and I’m also quite intrigued by Taika Waititi’s Eagle vs Shark.

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