Thor: The Dark World marks Marvel Studios‘ biggest cinematic disappointment since Iron Man 2 (2010). It is a goofy, clunky film more interested in fitting with the rest of the Marvel Universe than in telling its own fully developed story. While I was not a fan of the first Thor (2011), I do give it credit for being self-contained, where this is concerned with what came before it and certainly with what’s coming down the pipeline. It’s less a standalone film and more a segue point in this rapidly increasing universe. Marvel often includes little hints referencing other characters and events in their movies, but this is the first time I felt I was watching a two-hour advertisement. They could’ve just put up a title card reading “Hey kids! Make sure to go see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, coming to theaters next year!”
It is amazing to think that in the last five years, Iron Man has gone from being just another character on the comic page to the crown jewel in Marvel’s movie stable. In large part this success has been achieved by the iconic title performance by Robert Downey Jr., but the series has also produced some of the most consistently fun comic movies to come out in the last few years. This all reached a fever pitch with last year’s release of The Avengers, so it only feels logical that the first film to try to pick up the mantle after that would be the latest adventure in the Iron Man saga, Iron Man 3.
Movie clusters are a bizarre phenomenon. That two studios would execute similar ideas at the same time speaks to the quirkiness of Hollywood. Usually one film ends up being much stronger than the other, but sometimes both are bad. The latest example of this in action is Snow White and the Huntsman, which is an improvement over Mirror Mirror, but is also not great.
It is one of the most anticipated films of the year. The build-up to it has been almost without precedent. But The Avengers finally opens today, and proves to be an excellent start to what looks to be one of the most prolific summer movie seasons in recent years.
In honor of the release of The Avengers, Spencer and Greg look back on Marvel’s road to its release.
When I heard that Morgan Spurlock was making a documentary about Comic-Con, I was excited. He is one of my favorite documentary filmmakers for his ability to pinpoint a topic and question it from all sides. For the making of the film, Spurlock had a crew of 150 people with backstage access, so I expected no stone to be left unturned—but when I finally watched Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, I was sadly underwhelmed. It felt like it was a shadow of his former work.
In honor of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Spencer and Greg discuss Idris Elba. Then they look at cinematic rivalries, before giving DVD picks of the week.
Spencer and Greg share some of the foreign films that have influenced them, suggest some early 2011 releases worth revisiting and give DVD picks of the week.