July 29, 2019

The MCU Project: Guardians Of The Galaxy [2014]

A camping weekend had to be cut short due to poor weather, which meant an extra Saturday night at home, which meant an unexpected opportunity to watch a film together! And it’s time for Guardians Of The Galaxy, which is a film that Karen and I have definitely seen before, and Bernard, I’m almost certain, has not.

The MCU films exist on a humour continuum. So far, we’ve had the near-humourlessness of the Captain America and Hulk films, and the slightly more jocular nature of the Iron Man and Thor submissions. At some point, someone clearly looked at this collection and said “no, no, no, no, no, we’re getting this all wrong!”

This film is a bit of a tease. It starts off all serious, like, with a dying mum scene and tears and shouting, and then a mean-looking guy in a vaguely Iron-Man-esque helmet appears out of the gloom. He presses the button to retract the helmet, and then boom, there’s Andy Dwyer, and before you know it he’s punting rodents across the cave, and grabbing one of them and singing into it as if it were a microphone, and it’s all exactly as ridiculous as it sounds. The character that Chris Pratt plays in this film shares a lot of comedic stylings with his character in Parks and Recreation, though he’s nowhere near as unintelligent, and far less podgy. There’s one brief, gratuitous shirtless scene, hilarious in its incongruity.

So while the other MCU films have been set either entirely on Earth, or partly on Earth and partly in spaaaaace, this is the first film to be set entirely in spaaaaaaace. There are people of all different skin colours, pinks and blues and greens and yellows, so they’re aliens, but they are all basically human-shaped, so… not aliens? Dunno.

Our bad guy for this film is Ronan, and like most bad guys his lair is very poorly illuminated. Remember that TV show, Through The Keyhole, where Loyd Grossman would poke around a celebrity’s house, and you had to try and guess who lived there? I’m imagining him rooting around in a damp, dark cave, with no furniture except for a huge fuck-off stone throne in the middle, and the viewers are screaming at the TV screen “it’s a supervillain, of course it’s a bloody supervillain!”

We are then introduced to the main protagonists of the film, who start off as adversaries. Peter “Star Lord” Quill has got a bounty on his head, which Rocket and his pal Groot want to cash in on. He also is carrying a curious orb, which Gamora wants, so the four of them end up in a bit of a three-way fight. But it ends in disappointment for all, as they get arrested, and agree to form a temporary alliance to escape, along with the help of Drax, who is just the coolest. His inability to detect nuance in the English language and take everything at face value results in predictable hilarity.

Some other longer-running plot threads are also established in this film. We are introduced to Thanos, who is Gamora’s adopted father, and he is shown on screen for a couple of short scenes. We also eventually discover that the orb contains one of the infinity stones, which turn out to be very important later on in the series.

The sequences covering the escape from the prison are absolutely brilliant. Imagine a cup – it’s a metaphorical cup. You have a jug labelled “excitement and peril” so you pour some of the powder from that into the cup. Then you have a jug labelled “hilarity and jokes” so you pour some of that powder into the cup too. Finally you have a jug labelled “shite and filler” but your cup is already full to the brim, so you have no room to add anything else. This is a very roundabout way of saying that these scenes are so packed with laughs and action that they represent spectacularly good value for money.

After leaving the prison, an entirely-predictable romance begins to develop between Quill and Gamora. It becomes vaguely relevant later on, but honestly the film could have worked just as well without it. There’s also a slightly amusing sequence where the gang, having just escaped from the prison, get into a big argument with each other in a gambling den. The five of them are yelling pretty much their complete life histories at each other, as well as detailing what they’re going to do next, while all the gambler low-life types are stood around, presumably writing all this down for future reference. At one point Quill shouts something like “calm down! If you can keep it together for another 24 hours then we’ll all be millionaires and none of this will matter” and I refuse to believe that the isn’t some skeevy dude stood round thinking “mmmm, I should keep an eye on these chumps.”

Ronan shows up soon after. It was established earlier that Drax seeks revenge on Ronan for the murder of his family, and at this point Drax throws himself at Ronan in fury, but his attacks cause about as much impact as throwing a small knob of butter at the back of a Ferrari F40. Ronan leaves Drax for dead, and Gamora’s also in a bad way, and the McGuffin is in the hands of the enemy, and this is clearly the bit in the middle of the film where the viewers are supposed to be at their lowest ebb. All hope is lost. But with a bit of luck and a bit of heroic sacrifice, the team are reunited, and they set themselves the goal of retrieving the orb, and you sense that a Title Drop is incoming but not yet, my chums, not yet.

There then follows a very Star Wars-esque aerial battle over Xandar, with lots of dogfighting and manual pew-pew-pewing, despite the fact that it’s ridiculous that in a technologically advanced, spacefaring society, you’d entrust such critical functions to a fallible living being, when computers are clearly far better suited to the tasks of target identification and the precision timing required for aiming and shooting. Peter Serafinowicz (29 points in Scrabble, in case you’re curious) gets an awesome heroic death, and in the end it comes down to a simple face off between our heroes and the despicable Ronan. Now, what happens next isn’t completely clear, but the heroes held hands with each other and this caused… something… to happen. Whatever it was, it went well, all things considered. But then you knew that it would. There’s a moment between Drax and Rocket which I consider to be an absolute triumph in cinema, in that it is simultaneously hilarious yet emotional – a combination which is quite, quite rare. The ending of the film is a little bit of a tease, in that it indicates sacrifices being made by our heroes, but then it immediately cancels them out so that you don’t feel too down. Which feels like a cop-out, but then I’m also aware that it’s a very funny film, and it would be a shame to kill that buzz.

The next film on our agenda will be the sequel to this film, the imaginatively-titled Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, and this time it will be the Bernadious one’s turn to write the review. I think, but I’m not 100% sure, that Karen and I have also seen this one before. Let’s see.

Pete
  • Comments: 1
  • No proper nouns. Surely you know this. - Karen
July 27, 2019

Alcohol-Free Beers (Part Five)

(View previous instalments here)

Loads of new alcohol-free beer experiences to report from the last month and a bit, a new review post is long overdue.

Pistonhead Flat Tyre

Another lager here. I wasn’t so impressed with this one. There does seem to be a little hint of a pleasant flavour snuggled away back there, but it’s drowned out an abrasive sourness. I suspect that the flavour goal with this one was more of a hoppy IPA than a traditional lager, but it doesn’t really succeed due to an overall lack of smoothness. The head is initially very buoyant indeed, as you see in the photo, but it faded very quickly.

San Miguel 0.0

Another one that claims to be a lager but doesn’t really taste much like one. This one has a fair bit of that sweet maltiness that we’ve seen in a few beers – not to the extent of the undrinkable St Peter’s Original, but more akin to the Old Speckled Hen. It’s something that you get used to, and so, like the OSH, this is one that I’ll gladly drink if it’s what the pub’s got going, but in situations where there is a wider variety on offer, it probably won’t be my preferred choice.

Ghost Ship (draft)

I know I’ve reviewed Ghost Ship before, but this time it was on draft in a pub so I felt like it deserved a second outing. The venue in question was Soho Theatre. Given the Ghost Ship was one of the first alcohol-free beers I tried, I’ve always wondered if I was judging it from a different perspective, that of a normal beer drinker rather than an alcohol-free beer drinker, and if this meant that my review was unnecessarily harsh. I’m always someone who likes to try to acknowledge and challenge their own prejudices. So, with an open mind and an open mouth, I sampled this pint, ready to find lots of great things to say about it. Disappointingly, it tasted much the same as it did that first time, so the Ghost Ship remains mired in the leagues with all the other alcohol-free beers which I consider to be not awful but not really very good either.

Patronus

Wingardium leviosa! etc etc. Now that that’s out of the way, this stuff was bought for me by Karen from… I think it was Lidl. Or maybe it was Aldi. Is there a difference? Who knows. This stuff is a wheat beer, it comes in pints, which seems to be pretty common for the alcohol free wheat beers. It’s a fantastic chunky little beer, feels really thick in the mouth and the flavour is no slouch either, a really dense biscuity fruity gobful. It also doesn’t seem to have that medicinal quality that you get in some wheat beers. Good stuff, would definitely drink again. And yes, it is as cloudy as it looks in the photo.

Budweiser Prohibition

Another “out and about” alcohol free beer experience here, I was in Kew Gardens with Karen and Bernard and my sister. My sister is also, coincidentally, not drinking alcohol at the moment, owing to her own health issues which are unrelated to mine. We stopped off for a small and terrifically expensive cake in the cafe, and decided to also give this beer a try, hence the reason why there are two cans on the table.

Alcohol-free? Everything-free more like. This just tastes like it’s been watered down. In fact, if you put this into a can labelled “soda water” and gave it to me to try, I wouldn’t say “hey, someone’s put beer into this soda water can!” I’d say “engh, this soda water tastes a bit mingin.” In future I will steer clear of this abject piss with every fibre of my being.

Cobra Zero

This time we’re in Thespian’s indian restaurant in Stratford-on-Avon. The beer is a bit disappointing – another one of those ones that’s got way too much of the sweet unfermented malt thing going on. Unlike the San Miguel, this one just pushes it too far, and when the waiter came round to ask if we wanted any more drinks, I declined a second and plumped for a lime and soda instead. So that probably tells you all you need to know. In the lager rankings, while this one isn’t the absolutely bottom of the pile (the Budweiser Prohibition wins that by a country mile) it’s pretty close.

Peroni Libera

Back when I first extended this blog series to include lagers, in part three, I mentioned some of the situations in which I would always consider drinking lager, one of which was a Peroni with a pizza. And today, in the Zizzi in Stratford-on-Avon, I had a chance to do exactly that, and sample Peroni’s effort at an alcohol-free beer. On the whole, I’d say it is a success! I wouldn’t go so far as to say that in a blind taste test between this and the regular Peroni, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, however I would say that this is, like the Free Damm and the Brooklyn Special Effects and the Clausthaler, not just “nice for an alcohol-free beer” but “nice for a lager”.

The cumulative effect of drinking some of these beers, and I suppose that the Peroni is the straw that broke the camel’s back, is that I now find myself entertaining a hypothetical scenario: say my health issues disappeared overnight, and I was now back in the situation of being able to drink whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted – would I go back to drinking alcoholic beers? There are a few factors at play. Obviously there are some great alcohol free beers available, and when you’re drinking the good ones, it doesn’t feel like a compromise at all. There are all-round health benefits. And when you’re in the situation where you can pick and choose, like when you’re at a well-stocked supermarket picking up some beer for drinking at home, there’s the opportunity to bring home some drinks that taste just as good as their alcoholic counterparts. But the big sticking point, as far as I can see, is that pubs and restaurants still have such a limited range on offer. In my experience, the majority have one alcohol-free lager on offer, and that’s it. It might be one of the good ones, but then again it might not. So, going back to my hypothetical situation, I have to say that I probably would go back to drinking alcoholic beer again in pubs and restaurants, just because that would be the only way of having any choice in the matter. The offering that pubs and restaurants make to people who want alcohol free beer is basically “here’s a lager, and be glad that we’re even giving you that.” whereas for people who want alcoholic beer it’s “ooh, you can have any of these lagers or these ales orĀ theseĀ ciders and there’s Guinness too.” Sadly I don’t see this changing any time soon, but we can dream.

Right, that was a long one. I was worried that this project would slow down as I exhausted the options available on the shelves at the supermarket, but if anything, it’s accelerating!

Pete
July 3, 2019

The MCU Project: Captain America A Winter Soldier [2014]

This whole project was my idea, so I shouldn’t really moan, but the general tone of Bernard’s last review seems applicable here as well. Another standard superhero movie with lots of explosions. With having a recurring cast of characters, there is plenty of opportunity for those characters to grow and develop, but what you see of that is forced and fake.

We watched this on Friday night with home made pizza. Making pizza has long been a tradition in Casa Uborka, and it is notable that this was the first time young Bernard has really got stuck into helping with it. He made the bespoke tomato sauce, with herbs from the garden, and also did the topping design. It could probably have done with a slightly hotter oven, but was satisfying all the same.

Unlike this movie, which is mainly about some sort of ocean-based crisis with very large flying weapons. As you may have figured out from the title, this movie is about Captain America, whose chemical-based superpowers make him really good at jumping. He is accompanied, prettily, by Black Widow, who kills people with cartwheels kind of like me in a Les Mills Body Combat class but considerably more graceful and more effective. BW stands in for all the girly girls in this movie, and therefore has to be rescued a couple of times.

The main theme of the movie is trust. It’s subtle, but if you watch carefully you will pick up on this. Who can you trust? Trust nobody. Seriously. We didn’t.

The evil baddie in this movie is a Herr Flic type played by that lovely guy from The Detectorists, and something to do with an algorithm, which they don’t expect you to understand. You know this because all descriptions of what it is and what it does are utterly garbled nonsense. In the end, of course, it fails to do what it was supposed to do, however I gather there is some foreshadowing of a successful attempt to commit similar genocide in a future movie. So that’s something to look forward to.

CAAWS has less cgi in it than the other films we’ve seen so far, a lot of stormtrooper shooting, and at least one highly implausible car chase. There is not one single witty line in the entire script, and the best thing about it was when my knitting took a turn for the interesting. What’s up next? Who knows, but I predict there will be a great deal of shooting and white men saving the earth.

Karen
June 28, 2019

The MCU Project: Thor The Dark World [2013]

Thor The Dark World seemed much less objectifying than the last Thor and I didn’t really seem to get what the Dark World was but that probably doesn’t matter, the Dark World doesn’t seem too major in this film.

It starts off with Thor’s crew fighting in a battle field, they seem completely outnumbered but thanks to Movie Logic they still win, no points why because Thor comes flying in, hits his hammer on the ground and makes a very large earthquake which is extremely powerful but only spreads out around 50 yards. He fights a few more times, this time more of a fighting montage cutting between different fights.

Then we cut back to girls in their early 20s who are exploring some sort of abandoned building which has powers to move stuff around and into other dimensions. Jane (Main early 20s girl) is there with another girl called Darcie who is by some chance the other early 20s girl from Thor. Darcie and some other people they find are having fun with a portal which just leads to another portal above it but weirdly, sometimes when they go through, they don’t come out the top portal but that is probably just RNG. Jane goes exploring and finds a weird doorway in a weird building which seems to have other weird things. That’s the power of 3 there. There is a strange power generator on the other side. Elon Musk should try that for unlimited energy. It takes control of her. oOoOoOhHhH SpOoOoOkYyYyY.

Thor takes her back to Asgard then sets off into the ice enemy world which has been around a while and they have always been enemies. Thor gets betrayed by Loki and Loki hands Thor over to the ice enemies DUN DUN DUNNNN but then when the ice leader reaches for Loki, Loki kills him! DUN DUN DUNNNN and it turns out Loki just double-crossed the ice creatures.The ice enemies are back in Earth but Thor is stuck in the ice creatures world!!!!!

Thor finds the other side of the portal which is a big yay for everyone. This seems to be the destination from where the thingys come through if they don’t come back through the top. He heads back and saves the day regular Superhero Style.

It wasn’t a particularly special film, there wasn’t much which differed it from other films inside the MCU series so far and other similar style films as well.

Bernard
June 18, 2019

Alcohol-Free Beers (Part Four)

(Follows on from Part One and Part Two and Part Three)

The situation has changed slightly since my previous review post. Until recently, I was replacing the majority of my beer consumption at home with alcohol-free alternatives, but still generally drinking regular beer when out on the town. But this is no longer the case, and it turns things on its head. No longer am I scouring the shelves of supermarkets, comparing the range on offer in Tesco compared to Morrisons etc, but I am now at the mercy of pub landlords and what they choose to carry. The rules of the game have changed.

Thanks to a busy week of socialising, I have a few things to report. Sadly it didn’t occur to me to take photos of these beers at the time. Probably not a huge loss, as a photo of a green bottle doesn’t really tell you much, and the lighting in pubs is generally poor. But let’s begin.

Heineken 0.0

I was in The Golden Fleece (London ) with my sister and a friend of hers on Wednesday evening and this was the only alcohol-free beer in their fridge. It’s been a while since I’ve had Heineken, but I recall that it was one of my preferred lagers back when I used to drink lager sometimes in my late teens and early twenties. This stuff didn’t taste too bad at all, and I’ll be honest that by the end of the evening I had forgotten that I was even drinking alcohol-free beer at all. We were scrolling through the dating app on my sister’s phone, helping her to filter out the weirdos, give a second look to some chaps who were maybe not classically good looking but seemed to have other redeeming qualities, and compose the perfect introductory message to a very tasty-looking chap called Mark. To all those who think that they need alcohol to have a good time, I say piffle!

Budweiser Budvar B:Free

The following night I was in the Greyfriar in Reading, meeting up with a friend who I haven’t seen in a year but was in the area. I recommended this pub because it’s near the station and carries a great selection of interesting beers, however sadly it does not seem to extend that same service to those who don’t want alcohol. Again, just the one alcohol-free beer, and it’s Budvar. Now, Budvar is another of those lagers that I was quite keen on back in my late teens. One thing you should be aware of, if you’re not already, is that Budweiser Budvar and Budweiser have very little in common. The former is a Czech brewery, the latter American. The Czech one is the original, and best. Sadly, I was disappointed by the alcohol-free version. It’s an awful long time since I’ve had a Budvar, so it’s hard to know whether my tastes have changed or if the alcohol-free one simply doesn’t match up to the original. After a couple of these, I was strongly considering going to The Nag’s Head or The Castle Tap, both of which are within a 10 minute walk and reportedly have a much better selection of alcohol-free beers. However, my friend had a train to catch in about half an hour, so it made more sense to stay put and have one more. Next time, I think I’ll bypass the Greyfriar and go straight to one of those instead.

Clausthaler Unfiltered Non-alcoholic

Back home on Saturday evening, I cracked open a bottle of this lager that I had had in the fridge since I found in the supermarket the other week. And it’s very nice stuff – similar to the Free Damm that I sampled in the last batch, this has got a pleasant sweetness to it, though whereas the Free Damm has a “delicate honeyed florality” as I described it at the time, this one has more of a citrusy tang to it. Very refreshing, and another really great showing by Team Lager. In a cage match between it and the Free Damm, I’d probably give the latter the victory, if only because it comes in cans so they occupy less space on the shelf and in the fridge.

Beck’s Blue

This week’s socalising bonanza comes to a close with Father’s Day lunch at Tang in Bracknell. Again, only one alcohol-free beer behind the counter here, and it’s Beck’s Blue. Now I’ve never been a fan of Beck’s, so this one is like the biggest challenge of all. Of all the alcohol-free beers in the supermarket, this is the one that I’ve avoided purchasing most of all, but now that I’m drinking alcohol-free beers in pubs, it was only a matter of time until I found myself in this situation.

How did it go? Not bad, actually. Only had the one, and to be honest, I would take it over the Budvar. Maybe it’s because my expectations were very low, who knows. But on the whole, I don’t think it deserves the prejudice that I’ve shown against it, and if we were ranking all these alcohol-free beers (now up to 15!), there’d be definitely at least 3, and maybe even 5, beers that I’d put below it.

It’s been a very lagery sort of week, hasn’t it?

Pete
  • Comments: 1
  • I've started drinking a lot more alcohol free beer too, and I've been genuinely delighted ... - Swisslet
June 16, 2019

The MCU Project: Iron Man 3 [2013]

Well, would you look at that. Thanks to the fact that, in this watch sequence, there are two films between Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3, it falls to me to review the Iron Man film again. I feel a bit silly for using up all my good jokes in the last one now.

After all the ensemblitude of The Avengers (or Avengers Assemble depending upon which country you’re in) we’re now back to the good old formula where it’s basically all about Robert Downey Jr. And in this film, even more so than before, because in this one he spends a lot of time out of his Iron Man suit, reflecting on what it all means to be Tony Stark and so on and so on.

The cast in this isn’t quite as mind-boggling as the previous Iron Man film. Whereas last time I was saying things like “Oh cool, Sam Rockwell” and “hey, is that Mickey Rourke?” this time it’s “Is that… Guy… Thing?” (the correct answer was, of course, Pearce). Ben Kingsley’s also present – fairly early on in the film I made a note “No idea what accent Ben Kingsley is supposed to be doing” and wondered if maybe the guy had forgotten how to act, but I should have had more faith, as it actually turns out that Ben Kingsley’s dubious accent is instrumental to the plot, and I was startlingly astute to remark upon it! One point for Pete! Unlike earlier films, Jon Favreau doesn’t direct this one. However, that frees him up to give himself a much bigger acting role. To me, he’ll always be Monica’s rich playboy boyfriend.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an Iron Man film without Tony Stark also having to grapple with some threat to his health. In the first film, it was the shrapnel trying to move into his heart. In the second, palladium poisoning. This time, it’s good old-fashioned anxiety attacks. If I may tentatively offer an observation, it’s that these films might be getting a teensy bit formulaic.

Given that the previous film’s climactic battle involved Iron Man facing down a huge army of autonomous military robots which had been hacked to follow the whims of an evil villain, you may be somewhat surprised to discover fairly early on in this movie that Tony Stark has been hard at work building a huge army of autonomous military robots. Nothing could possibly go wrong. Indeed, I had barely finished making a note in my notepad to this end, that we are treated to a scene of Tony and Pepper being woken up in their sleep by one of them going haywire and attacking Pepper. We all roll our eyes in unison.

The first act of the film ends with Tony addressing the television cameras, and through them, the evil bad guy for this film, and giving out his home address. “Come get some” he says, to which evil bad guy does exactly that, and Tony’s home is reduced to a smouldering ruin, with Iron Man suits and sports cars alike tumbling off of the hillside and into the Pacific Ocean. Welp, there goes the R8. Tony sneaks off into Tennessee with the whole world (but for a plucky young lad) thinking he’s dead.

So this is where the extended Iron Manless section of the film begins. It’s like that bit in a computer game where, after having accumulated a huge arsenal of weapons and health potions, they get briefly taken away from you, and you have to learn to survive with only your acquired skills for a little while. Tony bodges up some new tools, the snow falls, and a totally gratuitous and unexplained bikini pageant just appears out of nowhere for about five seconds. This section of the film plods along at a steady pace, but there are some very nice scenes in here.

There’s a twist! The bad guy isn’t who you were supposed to think he was, and was in fact, the person who you actually thought he was going to be, because you’ve seen all this kind of shit before and writers are just awful at telegraphing this sort of thing. Tony gets reunited with his Iron Manses, and performs one of the most spectacular and ridiculous rescue sequences in the history of cinema, leaving me trying to figure out whether the spectacularness justifies the ridiculousness or not. It’s a difficult one to call.

Now I should warn you that this final paragraph contains some spoilers for the ending of the film. It also contains some red herrings and decoys, so I’m hoping that by the end of this blog post you will be equal parts infuriated and confused, whether you’ve seen the film or not. Here we go.

Big final battle sequence is under way, and so far Tony’s army of autonomous Iron Man suits seem to be behaving themselves. The fact that each of these suits can in an instant switch between being suit or robot soldier does lend itself to some very cute moments. As always, Tony has to save Pepper Potts, but this time it seems that he has failed. The wise film-watcher knows that something is going to be up with this, and indeed it turns out that she’s turned into an awesome immortal fire-based being who kicks some serious ass. “Don’t worry darling, I’ll be able to turn you back” says Tony once all the baddies have been defeated. Pepper says “fuck that noise, this is brilliant, I’m feeling empowered for the first time in my life.” Nah, not really. What she really says is “I need you to make a grand gesture that demonstrates your commitment to me.” Tony says “you mean like this?” and then proceeds to destroy the entirety of his Iron Man army that just saved his life, her life, Rhodes’ life, and POTUS’ life to boot, and she says “oh darling it’s just what I always wanted. Do you think that the viewers have taken the hint that this is the last Iron Man film?” and Tony says “no, I think we should be more explicit. Let’s show clips from the last 3 films over the end credits” and Pepper says “hang on, end credits? Are we in a film?” and they both turn towards the camera and wink.

Pete
June 15, 2019

The MCU Project: The Avengers [2012]

As you can see, we are working hard on this project, the wintry weather assisting us in our urge to snuggle under blankets of an evening. I even had a hot water bottle one night this week; a far cry from that June heatwave 13 years ago, when the Small Boy first put in an appearance.

Anyhoo, you want to hear about this film, I suppose. I think we can call this the first Avengers ensemble movie, featuring exotic superheroes of both mythical and scientific origin, and also Hawkeye who is basically just a fancy sniper. The film is directed by Joss Whedon, scores a surprising 8.1 on IMDB, and we watched it while eating a delicious if slightly on the dry side home-made lamb biryani.

The film opens in some sort of military place where everyone is having a bit of a panic because of the energy surge from the tesseract. At this point we don’t know what those words mean, but fortunately Nick Fury does, and he sets about assembling the team. We retrieve Black Widow, who I suspect is Pete’s favourite because she kicks ass and her outfit fits her like an anime porn star, from a situation where she is required to kick ass and then pick up her stillettos before she leaves. She then fetches Bruce Banner, now played with lovely dry delivery of some of the wittiest lines in the film by Mark Rufalo. Captain “Cap” America shows up with all his muscles, and Tony “Iron Man” Stark brings his Boris Johnson levels of self-belief.

Our villain, nay supervillain, for the evening is Loki, complete with reindeer horns and a pointy stick, which he uses to brainwash some of the good guys to beef up his team. He sets about doing various megalomaniac odds and ends, in league with the Night King and a range of otherworldly baddies. It turns out that this tesseract thing is the door between the worlds, and the energy surge is what opens it. Quite pleased that I figured that out.

Thor shows up. He and Iron Man flirt a bit. There’s quite a lot of fighting. Loki gets put in a cage. The superheroes have philosophical moments, meant to illustrate them coming to terms, in their different ways, with their dark origin stories and the sources of their power. So let’s say the theme of this one is that they are all discovering their value, except for Iron Man who is already fully convinced of his own value, but still has room to grow, which he does, resulting in the further boosting of his own ego. The other theme is fighting and things exploding.

Bechdel-wise, the women in this movie don’t have the opportunity to speak to each other about anything. In Gwyneth Paltrow’s scenes with RDJ, she is barefoot while he wears platform soles, so we don’t notice that they are the same height, because clearly that would be an implausible aspect of their characters. I’ve mentioned the outfits. I’ve mentioned the ass kicking. I’m not sure they balance each other out. As Bernard says, they’ve got to make the movie interesting somehow.

Karen
June 13, 2019

The MCU Project: Thor [2011]

Thor is the fifth film in the MCU, it seems to be the least ‘male is amazing, us females should all talk about that male’ film so far so I’m hoping it carries on in this train.

The starter seems to be quite, I am your king and I am dying, you will be king, my son but there has to be something which happens to disrupt it. After becoming King of Asgard, Thor decides instantly start a war with a weird ice creature species who have been enemies for a while. His father banishes him which seems about over-dramatic but films have to be interesting somehow. He gets banished to Earth where he meets a crew of an old man and two teenage girls, probably in their early 20s. They suddenly set about finding out about Thor and why he is here using children’s books from a library instead of asking him which sounds pretty stupid but Thor didn’t seem that willing to talk.

During this search, the overhear someone in an old-style Mexico City fast-food restaurant where some people are talking about a crashed meteor, a.k.a Thor’s Hammer so Thor sets out about finding the Hammer and taking it back but the old king seems to have enchanted it to only be able to be lifted by someone worthy, seems a bit Merlin Sword in the Stone but it’s a film, it HAS to be original, I mean, who has ever heard of a non-original film, certainly not me, that’s for sure.

Mean whilst, Loki seems to be getting his own back at Asgard, don’t see why he needs to do that but anything for entertainment, huh. He lets some of the weird ice creature in through the Observatory Portal (a portal which allows you to go to any of the 9 realms ( Earth seems to be something called Jotunheim)).

Loki controls some sort of metal creature which shoots flames out of it’s mouth and I personally think it is some sort of Iron Man clone which Loki obviously copied from another movie *COUGH COUGH* Iron Man *COUGH COUGH*.

Thor says ‘These people have done nothing wrong, take me’ and whatever else he said after that which probably isn’t relevant because we all get the sad romantic ‘TAKE ME’ which Thor was obviously going for and that seems to make him worthy and the Hammer comes flying back to him, he knocks the weird metal creature senseless which we never expected and is allowed back into Asgard where he has to fight Loki and the weird ice creatures because Loki seems to be threatening his own kingdom, I think he is a worse leader than Thor.

After Thor OBVIOUSLY beat them senseless as well, he destroys the Observatory Portal so no one can go between realms anymore, all ends well which we never expected either and Asgard is in peace. YAY! Never Expected!

Bernard