Ultra-boring with an infuriatingly misleading advertising campaign, ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ will likely be one of the most disappointing action films of the year.
Avengers: Age of Ultron represents the zenith of Marvel Studios’ Phase 2, the culmination of all the films and television shows that represent the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the last two years. Like the first film, this superhero team up pulls out all the stops to astound, taking the audience on a thrill ride of almost unrelenting action.
The Avengers clicked with both Marvel fans and general audiences because we loved watching these massive egos clash for the first time. It was the perfect blend of action and attitude, and its mastermind, Joss Whedon, was handed the golden ticket to Marvel’s keystone franchise. The long-awaited sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, shows the strain of trying to be bigger-and-better while still indulging the subtle pleasures of its predecessor. It succeeds, just barely, on the strength of a talented cast and our fondness for these characters. Still, it’s a decidedly somber affair that will turn off casual fans, and it stands as the most impersonal, and arguable weakest installment of Marvel’s vaunted “Phase Two.”
Chris Hemsworth has played Thor in “four movies: Thor 1, Thor 2, The Avengers, and Gone Girl.” And seeing as how America pretty clearly rejected hacker Hemsworth in Blackhat, the public is going to associate his chiseled looks with the norse deity for the foreseeable future. While that certainly isn’t a bad thing because Hemsworth was more or less tailor made to play Thor, he has a perfect level of movie star charm on display tonight that he hopefully can one day transfer into a post Marvel career.
Blackhat is a cyber-thriller that starts out boring and ends dumb. It’s almost unimaginable that a gifted director like Michael Mann, responsible for, arguably, the best crime-thriller of the last 30 years in Heat, could helm a film so utterly bereft of tension or drama. Not even his signature hyper-stylized aesthetic can disguise what a lackluster film this is. From the unimaginative script to the indifferent editing, Blackhat needs a complete overhaul to escape the basement of Mann’s distinguished filmography.
Sometimes, it’s the small moments in which you find joy. So it goes with Thor: The Dark World, a movie that frequently botches the big-picture details but balances out the messiness on the whole with minute gags, throwaway lines, and offhand glances that are laid-back and assured. The returning cast members have enough built-in chemistry, and the script has enough moments of genuine wit and cleverness, that Thor: The Dark World doesn’t sink despite being weighed down with an enormously, unnecessarily convoluted story.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a movie being just OK. Given the sordid and often embarrassing history of comic book movies, being just OK could be seen as a victory. Of course, given that Thor: The Dark World is a Marvel Studios movie, and is therefore held to a higher standard of quality by fans of the genre, the fact that it is just OK could be seen as a step down, even a disappointment. Either way, The Dark World is a perfectly entertaining bit of sci-fi/fantasy/adventure fare, but it is also the most forgettable Marvel Studios movie to date.
Fitting, perhaps, that Rush has a script so obsessed with speed that it moves right past telling a fully developed story. There’s a lot in Ron Howard’s latest film that feels different, from the young, international dual leading men, to the overtly stylish cinematography. But even if Howard is using Rush as a moment at which to change things up as a director, Peter Morgan’s script is a detriment. Morgan’s writing is the equivalent of an anxious little boy on Christmas morning, waiting impatiently while the rest of his family open their presents, to the point where he rips through the wrapping paper on his own gifts so quickly that he inadvertently breaks what’s inside.
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