Bad Boys for Life
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'Thor: Ragnarok' is the best 'Thor' film so far, and one of Marvel's best overall - up there with 'Guardians of the Galaxy' for laughter and excitement. Thor (Hemsworth) has full licence from director Waititi ('Boy', 'Hunt For The Wilderpeople') to unleash all his humour and charm, which starts very early on, but still allowing big action/battle scenes to unfurl. Loki (Hiddleston) & Odin (Hopkins) are back, but so is their sister, Hela (Blanchett), Goddess of Death, intent on unleashing "Ragnarok" on Asgard - the end of days.
It's not all doom and gloom though, as Thor and Loki get trapped on a literal dump-planet, where we meet the Grandmaster (Goldblum) - basically an eccentric Roman emperor, who hosts Gladiator duels. Goldblum gets some great lines and steals almost every scene he's in. This is where Hulk (Ruffalo) comes in and is apparently where he's been since 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'. Some great moments shared between Hulk and Thor, as Thor is trying to escape so he can rescue the people of Asgard from Hela. He's helped by a fallen Valkyrie (Thompson), who eventually comes around.
The score is great, and while 80s-synth-ish, is mostly understated. What does stand out is the colour and vibrancy of almost every set - plenty to catch the eye in every shot. But what sets this film apart is it's humour and pacing. Korg, a rock-monster (voiced by Waititi himself) has some great moments, especially since his Kiwi accent stands out so strongly against the rest of the cast. There's a strong Antipodean slant to proceedings, with Waititi, Hemsworth, Blanchett, Karl Urban, Rachel House and Sam Neill all having an impact. A great fight scene at the end, but still plenty of quips and slapstick thrown in. End credit scene sets up 'Avengers: Infinity War' nicely.
An interesting life story, but a bit of a trudge to get through most of the film, unfortunately, as it's a bit slow & doesn't do a great job explaining what/why Ramanujan (Patel)'s working on, or the impact it could/would have - nor does it convey time well: just seems like it's always cold in England! Irons is great as Hardy, the mentor and Patel's believable, but it all comes off as a lackluster 'A Beautiful Mind'.
Pretty fun, mostly tongue-in-cheek giant-monster-out-to-kill-us film. Doesn't overstay it's welcome and has a few deaths to keep things interesting - love the puppet 'graboids', rather than bad CGI. Bacon's as good as ever. Not quite a classic, but still dumb & enjoyable.
Flimsy plot (body-swap, but turns out the new body is someone else, & not lab-grown). Reynolds is fine, but not enough time to get acquainted to any of the characters - Kingsley, Goode, Martinez or Garber. Some decent action scenes, especially the car chase, but not enough to maintain interest for almost 2 hours.
'Blade Runner 2049' comes 35 years after the original - and you have to ask, "why?" Directed by Villeneuve ('Arrival') and only produced by Ridley Scott (why is he involved in his own sequel, but not directing?), it doesn't even attempt to answer the main question of the first film - is Deckard (Ford) a replicant? Why is it always raining? Why do Ford & Leto only have a total of about four scenes between them? Why does it go for over 2 & a half hours?
There is some plot, with K (Gosling) being a replicant Blade Runner, tasked by Joshi (Wright) to track down runaway replicants, which leads to uncovering a mystery surrounding Deckard & Rachael. It takes 100min for Ford to even appear. In the meantime, Hans Zimmer tries to recreate the original's iconic score, but not as synth-y and sometimes a bit too overwrought. There's a lot of K interacting with Joi (de Armas), his 'Her'-like holographic maid. Most of this is handled quite well, with the CGI of Joi interacting with the light and her surroundings done excellently. But, it doesn't help move the film along at all.
There is occasional bits of action/violence, mostly thanks to Luv (Hoeks), but not enough to sustain the first two hours, with the clues slowly unravelling and not much excitement. It does pick up in the final 45min and has a passable ending, but mostly I'm left with the feeling of "it looks cool, but why do I care?" Good to see heaps more of the flying cars, and like 'Star Wars', everything looks realistic and "lived-in", but most of the concepts have now been explored better by 'Terminator' and 'Mad Max'.