• Tag Archives Thor
  • Canister X Movie Review #96: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
    Written by Joss Whedon
    Directed by Joss Whedon
    Runtime 141 min.
    5 out of 5

    In an effort to protect the world from future alien attacks, Tony Stark uses the artificial intelligence inside the gem of Loki’s scepter to complete his Ultron program. It works but, unfortunately, the now-sentient Ultron AI has taken it upon itself to destroy the human race.

     

    Time for the Avengers to assemble.

     

    Recruiting the Maximoff twins, Ultron uses them to take on the Avengers while he attends to building a robot army. Soon the Avengers are taken out and must re-assemble if there is any hope they can stop Ultron before his plan of global destruction comes to pass.

     

    With the fate of the planet hanging in the balance, can the Avengers stand against a seemingly unstoppable foe?

     

    Sequels are tricky business, especially when creating a sequel to not only a quality film, but one that was a hit at the box office. Usually, sequels pale in comparison to their predecessors, but now and then—and more often than not in the superhero genre—the sequels outshine the original and Avengers: Age of Ultron did just that. As good as the first Avengers was, Age of Ultron is better.

     

    I don’t want to give away any plot points to those who haven’t seen it yet, so these are more my thoughts instead of notions on specifics of the film.

     

    One of my greatest fears for this movie was its giant cast. Not only did the standard Avengers team return—Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, Nick Fury, Maria Hill—but it was greatly added to with the addition of War Machine, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Vision and, sorta, Falcon. All these characters could have quickly made the movie go the way of Spider-Man 3, but instead more or less equal screen time was given to the majority of the cast, with supporting roles coming in to do their job without making the film feel overly crowded.

     

    On the acting front, the main Avengers team have really come into their own, the actors having now portrayed their characters a minimum of three times prior to this movie and it really shows through. There’s an air of comfort about who they’re playing and each one has made the character their own while also staying true to that character’s comic book roots. Even the humor in the movie was fitting and not once did it feel forced or cheesy or slapstick. Most of the humor was off-the-cuff comments, which made the team more human and relatable.

     

    Ultron was a terrific bad guy. He was smart, dangerous, evil, but at the same time had a humanity to him that helped connect him with the audience. He wasn’t just some evil robot and that’s it. He was also a formidable foe for the Avengers and it did take the entire team to take him down.

     

    The addition of Vision worked well and was a good progression of the Jarvis character. He had a specific purpose in this movie and fulfilled it to a T. I’m curious to see what role he plays either in the stand-alone Marvel movies or in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War flicks.

     

    On a fanboy note, there were some amazing iconic superhero action shots in this flick, the kind that makes you gush and squeal (yes, I’m that nerdy). There is one particular moment—you’ll know it when you see it—where I was just, like, “Wow, oh wow.” And the action on the whole was well done, with each character fighting according to their skillset.

     

    Going to have go back for a second outing to the theatre on this one and, of course, will be adding it to my personal movie collection when it comes out.

     

    Highly recommended.


  • Canister X Movie Review #88: Ultimate Avengers: The Movie (2006)

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Ultimate Avengers: The Movie (2006)
    Written by Greg Johnson
    Directed by Curt Geda and Steven E. Gordon
    Runtime 71 min.
    4 out of 5

    In World War II, the Nazis tried to launch an intercontinental missile and was thwarted by Captain America, but at great cost: Captain America fell into icy waters and was presumed dead. Some sixty years later, he was found and revived by S.H.I.E.L.D., who ends up convincing him to join their fight against the alien Chitauri. When the Chitauri attack, S.H.I.E.L.D. implements Project Avenger and begins assembling together Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to take on the Chitauri and put a stop to them once and for all.

     

    This ensemble flick is one of the greats and is a solid introduction for the uninitiated to the Avengers—Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Giant Man, Wasp and Hulk—all led by Nick Fury.

    It’s evenly paced, exciting, and gives each member of the team enough screen time to give them a chance to lock in with the viewer and make that viewer-character connection before moving on to the next guy.

    Marvel’s direct-to-video efforts have been lacking and haven’t been that great because they’ve been very busy—albeit very successfully—focusing their efforts on bringing their heroes to the big screen. Ultimate Avengers and its sequel are the major exceptions to their animated shortcomings and this movie is every bit as good as their live action counterparts. I also think that’s the secret to making a good animated movie: treat it with the same care and seriousness as a live action film and you’ll hit it out of the ballpark every time. It works in Japanese animation. No reason why it wouldn’t work here in the West.

    This movie was good start to finish. Had a story that spanned decades, and made you care about what was going on from first frame to last.

    You have multiple plotlines going on, ranging from the Avengers dealing with the Chitauri to Bruce Banner trying to find a cure for the Hulk, to Captain America trying to find his place in the world. The amazing thing is they fit all these plotlines into a very short runtime (just over an hour).

    The art direction was superb and I enjoyed how everyone looked in this, especially Hulk. (For me, he’s one of those guys that don’t always come out well.)

    While there’s a pretty good dose of violence in this movie, it’s much more kid-friendly than the majority of DC’s animated features and is safe for kids (depending on your household rules for this sort of thing). Personally, I let my kids watch it but don’t let them watch the DC movies.

    Whether a Marvel fan, an Avengers fan, or a superhero fan in general, Ultimate Avengers is a fantastic flick worth watching many times over. What’s cool is it’s basically part one of two and goes right into its sequel, Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther, without missing a beat, so if you have both, you’re in for a doubly-good time.

    Recommended.


  • Canister X Movie Review #87: Thor (2011)

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Thor (2011)
    Written by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz and Don Payne
    Directed by Kenneth Branagh
    Runtime 115 min.
    5 out of 5

    Long ago Odin (Anthony Hopkins) led Asgard to victory against the Jotunheim Frost Giants and captured the source of their power, the Casket of Ancient Warriors. Over a thousand years later, Odin is about to crown his son, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), as King of Asgard, but the coronation ceremony is interrupted when the Front Giants find a way into the weapons vault and try to steal back the Casket. Fortunately, it wasn’t stolen as the giants fell before they could take it. Wanting to make an example of them, Thor and some of his loyal companions travel to Jotunheim against his father’s wishes and start a war with the giants. Odin rescues them but not without grave consequences: upon returning to Asgard, Thor is banished to Earth for his actions, powerless and alone. Only his hammer, Mjolnir, is sent with him, but now with an enchantment that only the worthy can wield it—and Thor is not.

    On Earth, Thor meets Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), an astrophysicist who was there along with her mentor, Dr. Erik Selvig, the night Thor came through the wormhole.

    Meanwhile, Thor’s brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), finds out that his own heritage is not what he was told and, upon finding out his true origin, seeks to ensure his brother never returns to Asgard so he could become the king instead.

    While on Earth, Thor must learn what it means to be humble, care for others, and thus earn his place as the proper king of Asgard, all in time to stop his brother from leading the Frost Giants into Asgard and destroying Odin’s kingdom.

     

    This flick was Marvel’s fourth film in its Phase One plan leading up to The Avengers.

    I love this movie. It’s down-to-earth, fun, has a good story and enough action to keep things exciting but not so much that it bogs down the entire movie.

    Up until this flick, Thor was basically an unknown character to the movie-going public, and Thor does its job on giving the character a rich history, making you care about him, and making you cheer him on on his path to redemption.

    The scenes on Asgard were breathtaking—heavenly, even—the size and scope of the city enough to inspire awe. The stuff on Earth, well, it’s just the stuff on Earth and this is the first I’ve personally seen the realms of fantasy and reality merge so well. There was a bit of that in the Harry Potter movies, but those kids never went to another world where it’s fantasy-type stuff 24/7.

    The special effects were awesome and, to me, were a kind of unintentional preview to an exciting live action Superman movie, with Thor being the one in the red cape this time. The flying sequences were powerful, the strength, the lightning blasts—all good stuff, and with The Avengers on the horizon, the climatic fight scene between Thor and the Destroyer was well-paced and well done, saving Thor’s best for the ensemble film to come a year later.

    The relationship between Thor and Loki was done especially well because most siblings feel that their parents favor one above the other. There’s always going to be some sibling rivalry, jealousy and competitiveness. This flick nailed that, in my opinion, especially on Loki’s side of things. I mean, at times you can’t help but feel bad for the guy and sympathize with his motives (that’s the mark of a good villain, by the way).

    Thor is a sweet introduction to the character, sets him up really well for The Avengers, and this reviewer can’t wait to check out Thor: The Dark World and see how the Mighty Thor grows as a hero and as Asgard’s king.


  • Canister X Movie Review #41: Hulk vs (2009)

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Hulk vs (2009)
    Written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost
    Directed by Frank Paur and Sam Liu
    Runtime 78 min.
    4.5 out of 5

    Two short films, one explosive movie!

     

    Hulk vs Wolverine: Logan (Wolverine) is called in to a small town that the Hulk just ravaged in an effort to track down the beast and stop him for good. However, once the two meet, they go head-to-head and battle to the finish. Different phases of the fight trigger certain flashbacks for Wolverine and he remembers bits and pieces of how he came to be and his history with Weapon X (who also shows up).

     

    This part of the movie is all-out-hey-bub-come-get-some craziness. Wolverine lets it rip and him and Hulk go at it like no one’s business, definitely making this segment the more exciting of the two in terms of action. I mean, Hulk really smashes and showcases his raw power and strength and, I’m telling you, there’s no holding back.

    Putting Wolverine up against Hulk was a smart move because here you got this guy who’s tough as nails, has a healing factor, and has an adamantium skeleton—and claws!—that make him near invincible. On the I-can-take-some-serious-damage level, Wolverine is right up there.

    I also appreciated how they had him slice into Hulk versus just having the two slug it out. Frankly, Wolverine’s punches against the Hulk wouldn’t him take him far, if anywhere at all. Have him start cutting the Hulk with his claws—and with them being adamantium, they can do that—now Hulk finds himself in some serious jeopardy if he’s not careful.

    Storywise, this one was the weaker of the two, but getting a brief overview of the Weapon X program and Wolverine’s creation is a plus for fans. Besides, Deadpool is in this and who doesn’t love that?

     

    Onto . . .

     

    Hulk vs Thor: Loki transports Hulk to Asgard while the city is no longer under Odin’s protection thanks to his annual Odinsleep. By separating Bruce Banner from the Hulk, Loki removes the restraint on the Hulk and unleashes the green beast against the unsuspecting Asgardians. Thor steps in to stop the Hulk from breaking in and destroying the city. The two battle it out in the realm eternal and only one can be the victor.

     

    Straight off, the storytelling of this one was much more complex than the Hulk vs Wolverine segment. I appreciated that and liked how Thor was dragged into this battle as opposed to him just trying to get back at Hulk for something or simply seeing who is the strongest.

    Sticking Hulk in the realm of Asgard as opposed to having the story take place on Earth changes things up for those of us not used to Hulk fighting in that kind of arena. Throw some complex emotions and Hulk’s inner turmoil into the mix by way of honing in on Bruce Banner, and you got a good Hulk story.

    This one focused more on Hulk in that regard whereas the other one seemed to focus more on Wolverine despite this movie titled as being Hulk-centric.

    The battles on Asgard were almost as good as the Hulk vs Wolverine ones, but not as awe-inspiring. I did like, however, Hulk going up against multiple opponents in this as he took on the Asgardians.

     

    The movie as a whole—I wish they’d do a live action version or something similar if they ever do a follow up to The Incredible Hulk. To have Hulk not just have the army on his tail but also other powerful superheroes would make for an exciting flick.

    You never know.

    Hulk smash!


  • Canister X Movie Review #3: The Avengers (2012)

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    The Avengers (2012)
    Written by Joss Whedon
    Directed by Joss Whedon
    Runtime 143 min.
    4 out of 5

    When Thor’s mischievous brother, Loki, makes a deal with the alien race the Chitauri to help them secure the Tesseract Cube so they can conquer the galaxy, the Earth suddenly falls into great peril. With even the powerful top secret agency S.H.I.E.L.D. having difficulty containing Loki, there is only one call S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury can make: Avengers Assemble!

    The team is gathered—Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye—and they set out to do battle with Loki and his alien cohorts. If they don’t overcome their differences and learn to work together as a team, the Earth will fall and Loki will rule the planet.

    The Avengers brings together Earth’s mightiest heroes to combat a force of evil so great they either stand together or fall together, with the fate of the planet—even the galaxy—hanging in the balance.

     

    The Avengers is a difficult movie to review, more so, give a proper rating to because this movie is very much black and white between its story and its presentation, so that said, I’m going to quickly go over both and you’ll see where I’m coming from at the end.

    The story: This is a single-plot movie, very much an A-to-B narrative and incredibly simple—too simple. Aliens are coming, we need to stop them so we’ll get the Avengers to do it. That’s it. From a storytelling perspective, it’s too simple and too predictable. Big bad guy, big good guy(s), let’s fight, good guys win. The end.

    However, if you view The Avengers as an end cap/final act to all the movies leading up to it: Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America—then you have something that definitely serves its purpose and more or less lets each character shine for the same amount of time. In this case, a simple story works despite, um, the many continuity flaws from the previous movies (i.e. Thor is somehow now able to come to Earth, which renders the ending of Thor’s movie moot; Tony Stark called upon to be Iron Man in The Avengers despite being banned from doing so in Iron Man 2; the characters communicating to each other without earpieces or any communication devices. Maybe they’re telepathic?).

    The presentation: this movie is a nerd’s dream come true from start to finish. Assemble your favorite superheroes—of which each were spotlighted in their own movies, almost—put them together and have them go toe-to-toe with a larger-than-life threat that will squash the planet if they don’t come through.

    From an eye candy perspective, this movie nailed it. Huge battles, lots of explosions, combat action, hammer throwing, Hulk smashing, shield boomeranging, repulsors firing, arrows shooting, girl fists punching—yeah, it has it all.

    It’s also very important to point out that the casting of Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk was an amazing choice. I honestly wasn’t too thrilled with the news when I first heard it, with Ruffalo being more of a chick-flick romance guy, but he got the role done so well that if there’s a spin-off, I hope he gets the job. He’s definitely earned it.

    Chris Evans as Captain America—a Superman performance, which is good and brought a traditional superhero element to the team. As the running joke was throughout the movie, a little “old-fashioned” was what was needed.

    Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man—do I really need to talk about this? He’s the same Tony Stark from the first two Iron Man movies, the only difference being he’s mellowed out a bit because, despite his arrogance, he understands life isn’t all about him and there are other people out there, too. This bit really comes through in this movie.

    Chris Hemsworth as Thor—bold, poetic, commanding, everything his character is supposed to be so kudos to him for carrying on with a great performance from the stand-alone movie.

    Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye—I don’t know much about the comic character other than he’s like Green Arrow, but perhaps with a more military-mind-set, so I can’t comment. Renner did sell me on Hawkeye though, but why couldn’t they give him that awesome mask? Maybe in the sequel.

    Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow—she really comes into her own in this flick because in Iron Man 2, it was more a back-up appearance so we didn’t know much about her. I’m glad she got the screen time she deserved and, come on, her fight scenes were fantastic.

    Tom Hiddleston as Loki—he’s the bad guy you love to hate, the one that, even just looking at him, you want to punch in the face. I appreciated how Loki, to a degree, was a villain to sympathize with because of his exile, but you also get mad at him for being such a jerk about it.

    Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury—an excellent portrayal of Samuel L. Jackson being Samuel L. Jackson—but under a fictitious alias. Yeah.

    The Avengers is a solid good-times-turn-your-brain-off-action-fest that is great for escape and is recommended for that reason. As a spoiler warning, if you want just the action parts, start the movie around thirty minutes in.

    Honest assessment is 3.5 out of 5, but because it’s the first movie of its kind and because of all the building up to it that has been going on since 2008, I’ll give it a 4.


  • Look, Up on the Screen! The Big Book of Superhero Movie Reviews

    Superheroes have invaded film more in the past decade and a half than they have in their entire history. From major blockbusters like Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Trilogy, to DC Entertainment’s line of fantastic direct-to-video animated films, to other super-flicks like The Incredibles, superheroes are enjoying a major resurgence in popular culture and fans have now entered a golden era of superhero cinema.

    Lifelong superhero fan and author A.P. Fuchs has made it his mission to see every superhero movie that’s been brought to screen. Collected here are his first one hundred reviews, covering the major blockbusters of today to the lesser-known super flicks of yesterday along with everything in between.

    Reviewing such classics as the original Christopher Reeve Superman films to the jaw-dropping Marvel Phase One series that include Iron Man 1 and 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, to the movies that arguably started the current age of superhero cinema: The X-Men franchise, he’s got this amazing genre covered. Also included are a multitude of animated features, superhero movies that didn’t quite hit at the box office, pulp heroes and more.

    Look, Up on the Screen! is a collection of reviews for the serious superhero filmgoer from a diehard fan who’s seen nearly all of what the superhero motion picture field has to offer. Whether your theatre is at the cineplex or in your own home, this is one collection that’s a must-add to your bookshelf of behind-the-scenes goodies, movie guides, superhero film novelizations and graphic novels.

    Available as a paperback at:

    Amazon.com
    Amazon.ca
    Amazon.co.uk
    Barnes and Noble
    Other On-line Retailers

    Available as an eBook at:

    Amazon Kindle
    Drivethru Fiction
    Smashwords