Sunday!

So we saw Thor: Ragnarok and I, personally, was somewhat surprised that it worked.

I mean, I don’t mean that it was a particularly *GOOD* movie. Nobody is going to be talking about it in the same breath as Godfather II or anything. That said, it was a charming, funny, and inoffensive movie that came out and told you what it was going to do and then it went and did it.

You had a handful of fun action scenes with likable (and absurdly good-looking) characters, a bad guy (er, gal) who had a lot of interesting things going on underneath the surface, Loki (a surprisingly strong character), Chekov’s Demon, and Jeff Goldblum playing Jeff Goldblum.

Much like everything else coming out of the Marvel Universe these days, it was perfectly competent, visually gorgeous, and the plot was better than you’d expect (I mean, as I said, you’re not going to be comparing it to Godfather II but if you were hoping to, you probably should have looked at the poster a second time before buying the ticket).

The plot was simple and straightforward: Thor is doing what he can to keep Asgard safe and comes back to Asgard to reunite with Loki and they go off to find Odin. After a brief cameo with Dr. Strange, we meet up with Odin who warns the boys that Hela (their sister) is coming back and she’s pretty ticked off. Hela then comes back and she’s pretty ticked off. Thor and Loki are cast away into some distant world where gladiator fights happen and we reunite with The Hulk (the current champion of the games). The movie shifts into the mode where we see Hela wreaking havoc on Asgard while Thor and Loki are at odds trying to leave the gladiator planet to get back to Asgard just in time to confront Hela, resolve the story, and tie everything together with a nice bow.

A handful of supporting characters to keep things spicy and we’ve got ourselves yet another surprisingly not-bad Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.

And given that DC is currently in freakout mode following the disappointment that was Justice League, the surprise is that Marvel so consistently provides a pleasant super-hero branded experience while other folks seem to be unable to wrap their heads around the whole idea of making a movie that everybody can enjoy.

You’d think that this wouldn’t be *THAT* difficult. Hey, even Thor: Ragnarok pulled it off.

So… what are you reading and/or watching?


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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10 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. Thor (specifically) works because of the Thor/Loki dynamic coupled to the fact that those two actors clearly enjoy playing off each other.

    Marvel movies work because almost all of the principle actors are obviously having fun playing superhero. Only Gal Gadot has managed to really convey how much fun she is having being Wonder Woman (although I haven’t seen JL yet, so it’s possible Ezra and Jason are also having fun, but Henry, Ben, and Ray all look like they are just going through the motions).

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    • Saw Thor & it confirmed my belief that every involved in the Marvel movies is just having a hella lot of fun making those movies, and when everyone involved in making a fun movie is obviously having fun doing it, that covers a multitude of shortcomings such movies often have.

      Honestly, this is why people like Dwayne Johnson are a draw, not because they are great actors, but because the have fun making fun movies and it shows and it’s just fun to watch them do it.

      Also, the Marvel movies assume the audience is smart and paying attention. Like in the big climax, when Thor tells Loki to go do something, there was no flashback, just a quick cut away to Loki doing the deed and the movie assumes the audience is smart enough to add things together.

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  2. Ragnarok was far and away the best of the three Thor movies. I still maintain that The Winter Soldier is the best of the bunch, though.

    I’m reading The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Struggle for Media Supremacy by Stephanie Gutmann. I bought this book shortly after it was published in 2005 and it sat unread on my bookshelf until now. It’s amazingly prescient in what it has to say about how media can shape a story, and while social media was a thing in 2005, it wasn’t quite the…er…Hulk…that it is now.

    I’m catching up on the current season of The Walking Dead. I haven’t kept pace this season because I’ve sort of gotten tired of the story, but I have to admit the episodes I’ve seen so far have been pretty good.

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  3. I agree Thor was a fine movie. There were some opportunities missed that might have made it a really good movie but it was excellent. The special effects were spectacular and I agree that the actors seemed to be having a blast.

    Hela was a very strong villain character and was the area where more could have been done. Had they clipped down the gladiator world elements by say, 10%, and added in some material with Thor wrestling with the revelations of his Father and Hela’s background and coming to the same basic realization that Asgaard/Asgaardians don’t need to be prisoners of their past I think that would have elevated the movie further.

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      • Yup. But over all I’m mightily pleased with Ragnarock. The flip with Sutr’s role from the beginning of the film to the end? I really enjoyed it. The visuals had me slack jawed with glee and the humor was fantastic though- I grant- that they may be going overboard with it.
        I’m really interested in how Black Panther is going to turn out. I am hoping it’s a bit more serious though.

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  4. I’m watching a ridiculous Australian teen show called Dance Academy, which is exactly the sort of thing my brain needs right now.

    Been getting into the Great Courses stuff which is what my brain needs from a different angle. Watching a series called The Power of Mathematical Visualization, which was pitched at people who are visual thinkers and feel turned off by maths. As someone who thinks mathematically as an intuitive thing and has to work to think visually, I’m finding wrapping my head around things (from more or less backwards starting points) to be quite delightful. I can only imagine this will get even more so as he gets to more and more advanced mathematics.

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  5. Ragarok was the best of the thor movies, but still a notch below the avengers or iron man movies. One thing I liked is how Hela notes that Loki sounds more like Odin than Thor does. It shows that while Loki might have been adopted, Loki owes his personality (good and bad) to Odin more than to some half assed villain designation due to being a frost giant.

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  6. I think that film making is actually hard and “having fun” while doing it doesn’t guarantee success.

    Justice League was pretty much doomed by the circumstance of Snyder and his wife having to leave the production because of their family issues (and my thoughts and prayers really are with them on this one). I’m still a Joss Whedon lover, but that’s too much to overcome. I also think that the Iron Age of comics, as much as I loved it is over. My daughter the aspiring comics artist hates the Iron Age and wants to be done with it. But Snyder grew up with it and loves it and this gives his films a very serious tone to them. It’s a tone I like, but I think audiences want something different now. Also Steppenwolf is a terrible villain, a C-list villain. What makes him bad is that he’s so unrelatable. We don’t really get why he wants to destroy everything. In contrast, we understand all too well the feelings of Hela. Also, Cate Blanchett is awesome.

    I was very surprised by the jokey-fun tone of Thor, which is, after all, about the end of the world. But that’s what audiences seem to want now.

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