Thor: The Dark World (2013) Film Review

Rating 12
Length 1h52
Release 30.10.2013
Director Alan Taylor
About Thor sets out on a journey to defeat Malekith, the leader of the Dark Elves when he returns to Asgard to retrieve a dangerous weapon and fulfill his desire of destroying the Nine Realms.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Disney+
Trailer:

First Thoughts

I wish I’d been reviewing films around this time because of late, I was of the opinion that I absolutely hated this instalment, even when watching it that first time. However, upon watching it this time, I’m not so sure it was the case.

The Good

  • It is still a clunky start, however you don’t feel it so much because you know the characters.
  • This film keeps London looking grim. I love that. It would have been too easy to give the rest of the world this sunshine and glamour tint to the UK’s capital, however the clouds, the rain… that’s much more real and strangely makes me happy.
  • Darcy and Selvig are back and give the audience the biggest laughs. You know who needs to meet in this universe? Darcy and Luis! Seriously, their banter would be the best.
    Anyway, Darcy brings the one liners and kills it with the commentary. Stellan Skarsgard is a joy to watch playing Selvig as a man who has truly lost him mind because of Loki.
  • Loki, Loki, Loki. What a performance. We get everything in this film. We get playful Loki, charming Loki, angry Lo… you get the picture. Loki is such a complicated, layered, character. One which is perhaps going through an identity crisis. I’m not sure I could imagine anyone other than Tom Hiddleston playing him better.

The Bad

  • Watching the films so close together does point out some recycled plotlines. The method of destruction used by the dark elves is way too similar to the bad guys in Iron Man 3. It’s a shame, because it might not have seemed so obvious had they not followed each other directly.
  • Christopher Eccleston. Now, Christopher Eccleston is MY Doctor. I will watch anything and everything he is in (I’m talking Gone in 60 Seconds, G I Joe and even The Others, despite not liking other people in the cast.). However, he should never have taken this part. You can tell he’s phoning it in. With a role like this, if anyone it not committed the audience can tell, never mind when its Christopher Eccleston uncommitted. It’s truly heart breaking, because when he’s on form, he kills it.
  • Still not a fan of Natalie Portman as Jane. Cannot put my finger on it, because I do quite like Portman. I guess it’s that I don’t see someone who is so invested in her work would become so loopy over a guy she’s known for 72 hours, 2 years previous?! Feels very Disney fairy-tale to me and Jane Foster deserves better.

The Ugly

  • Gratuitous topless shot of Thor. Hey, I love it and I appreciate it as much as the next person who finds Hemsworth attractive. However, in the philosophy of equality, I have to call out all gratuity when I see it. There’s literally is no point to it other than showing the audience those beautiful rock hard abs.
  • Shipping Lady Sif and Thor. Why though? Lady Sif is this badass that the film decides to soften with the longing looks and unrequited pining.

Final Thoughts

Much better than I remembered it. Loved how the film gave the audience a non-shiny London and brought back all our favourites.

Iron Man 3 (2013) Film Review

Rating 12
Length 2h10
Release 18.4.2013
Director Shane Black
About Tony Stark encounters a formidable foe called the Mandarin. After failing to defeat his enemy, Tony embarks on a journey of self-discovery as he fights against the powerful Mandarin.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Disney+
Trailer:


First Thoughts

I’ve actually only seen this instalment once. I went with one of my best friends at the time, we went to the new cinema in Leeds and I remember getting told that I couldn’t have a packet of sweets in the screen. I could have them, but they had to be in their special boxes. Something that caused more noise than had I just been able to eat them out of the packet. Sigh.
I remember more about going with the friend than I did about the film itself. I remember really liking it and I remember we talked for ages after about what it meant for the franchise. Man, I miss him and our mate dates.


The Good

  • I love the framing of the film. Tony Stark’s voiceover is awesome. It pulls you in and makes you feel like he is addressing you. Which is made all the better if you hang out to the end of the credits. It’s not the audience he’s addressing, but one of his new Super friends.
  • The script is on point. From the subtly of “I had created demons and I didn’t even know it.” to the snigger inducing “I’m not trying to be a dick-” pause to allow the camera to pan to children within ear shot “-tator”.
  • The story, at first, seems to be struggling with a balancing act of bad guys. Almost in the same way as Spiderman 3. However, as it unravels its much more nuanced than that. How they all connect is a stroke of genius.
  • As for the Mandarin. I had major issues with both the fact that the Mandarin was a fake and that he was played by Brit Ben Kingsley. However, on this repeat I truly do like how it plays out and how Kingsley performs. While not being able to express my dislike at the time, it boiled down to appropriation and negative implications of this representation of terrorism. Now, appropriation is something that has come up before with Kingsley. He actually is of English and Indian decent and it does appear that his ethnicity does give him a chameleon quality that when you stop to think about, makes the casting choice so much deeper.
  • I love Harley and the relationship between him and Tony. Perhaps the films first foray at establishing the New Avengers. I guess that remains to be seen, but even from an isolated film point of view its a beautiful touch. Harley is able to ask questions and offer insights that no one else could. It also showed us that Stark really is a good mentor.
  • The best part of this film? How it addresses PTSD. Here we have a rich man who has escaped death many times. He’s Iron Man. Yet his own body is reacting to the trauma of New York. Okay, he’s not a God but he’s certainly privileged. Yet this is something he can’t throw money at, he can’t engineer a fix. He has to experience it, just like everyone else. I can only imagine how much this will have meant to fans. To boys, to men, who struggle to talk about these sort of experiences?! I absolutely love this exploration of mental health.

The Bad

  • I’m not sure how much I buy the history between Pepper and Aldrich. Not enough to believe that Aldrich has resentment towards Tony over her. The bit that perhaps is missing, is her involvement in the 1999 flashback.
  • Pepper screaming “Tonaaay!” got very old, very quickly.

The Ugly

  • The glossing over Pepper’s powers really saddens me. I think it was owing to the fact that there was not going to be another Iron Man movie in which to explore that story. However, it was too neat, to easy a fix and it was done off screen.
    She deserved much more. Both Pepper and Paltrow.
  • In fact, the end for me was a little too rushed and we didn’t get enough of a polished ending that did justice to many of the secondary characters; Happy and Rhodey included.

Final Thoughts

Quite possibly my new favourite of my rewatch. Watching it today has actually made sad that there isn’t another solo outing for us. I will also be adding this film to my Christmas watch list.

Film Review: The Mortal Instruments(2013)

Rating: 12A
Length: 2hr 10
Release: 21.8.2013
Dir: Harald Zwat
About: New York teenager Clary Fray learns a secret about herself, which leads her into an adventurous journey. Clary is one of the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of half-angel warriors who fight demons.


The Good

  • The film’s strongest aspect it the visual world building and the distinction between the Mundane and the Shadowhunters. There is an element of emo-Potter to it which makes complete sense when you know that the book franchise this movie is based on started life as Harry Potter fan fiction and Jace, with his blond hair, is actually Draco Malfoy.
  • There are some comic nods to other films, such as Simon’s ‘I’m the Key Master.’ quip when Jace reveals himself.
  • There are quite a number of well executed scenes, rescuing Simon for one. They play out well and on the most part, use physical and computer effects well.

The Bad

  • Clary isn’t fully established as a character in her own right before she’s thrown into the Shadowhunter world. It’s a little damaging to the character and the viewer as there’s no investment.
  • While Aiden Turner does an okay job when I watched this back in 2013, the tv show gave an adapted version of Luke to Isaiah Mustafa and it works so much better.
  • As I mentioned, individual scenes worked well but there’s something missing that ties it all together. The success (arguable) of the tv show does suggest it is more suited to the episodic approach.
  • The werewolves are totally shit. They are even worse than those seen in Twilight and those were neutered, tootless, bitches. These are just pathetic and the film ignores the complexity of their relationship with the Clave.

The Ugly

  • The film is about 30 minutes too long, yet its contents is incredibly shallow for what time they had to play with. Both Luke’s lycan reveal and Hodge’s betrayal have no impact because in one it’s hinted at too much and the latter has too little screen time with anyone to understand how much he means to the teens left in his care or Clary who is mentored by him in the books.
  • What was the choice behind Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ shockingly shit American shout?! Everyone else from the Shadowhunter world has British accents of varying quality, JRM is Irish.Surly is makes sense to allow him to keep his native accent?!
  • What the actual fuck is with Hollywood and incest? Why is it even a trope? I want to blame George Lucas, but I’m sure it dates further back than the galaxy far, far away. So,I guess this also isn’t the film’s fault given that it’s a massive plot in the books that evolves over the entire trilogy, but what the fuck?! So Clary, the bloke you like and have struggled to show any chemistry for is revealed to be your brother! Gross! What’s worse is that its not properly resolved and the film ends with the couple/siblings riding off on a motorcycle together.

Final Thoughts

I’m pissed off that I forgot how shit this movie was. I’m pissed off because I thought I’d yet to watch a film from 2013 this year, to discover after the fact that its actually 2012 that’s lacking a mark on my tracker.
Perhaps it’s much like that buzzing sound you stop hearing as you get older, you also lose your patience for really shit YA film adaptations. However, I’m more inclined to say it was the lacklustre performances that DOA’d this film.