Movie – Thor: The Dark World: A-

thor dark worldA-
Very little of Thor 2 took place on Earth, and that pleased me very much. Despite my initial reluctance, I find myself totally on board with Movie Thor’s fantasy/sci-fi mashup and The Dark World offered that in heaping helpings. It has the humor the first Thor searched for but never quite found. The chaotic finale worked beautifully, and I found myself wanting to watch it again. Marvel has eschewed the grimdark superhero universe in favor of having fun, and it’s a winning strategy. People seem to like fun.

Bonus nerd rant: Why was Hogun essentially cut from the sequel? Asgard looked much better than before, looking less shiny and more Norse. Kurse looked like a Warcraft character which, astoundingly, is an improvement over the comics. Maleketh was equally improved. I liked the Dark Elves’ masks. Idris Heimdall finally got a moment of genuine badassery. Rant over.

TV – Wallander: Season 2: A+

wallander season 2A+
Wallander elevates the detective drama. Normally I prefer a focus on story rather than “character studies” but the series takes such genuine effort to make it’s characters seem real that it’s impossible not to enjoy. The first episode contains an authentic, and original look at racism that avoids cliche. Others show Wallander dealing with heavy issues surrounding death that I’ve rarely seen handled so well.

TV – Wallander: Season 1: A

wallander season 1A
I really enjoy British shows like this whose “season” consists of 3 hour-and-a-half episodes. Though at its heart its just another detective drama, Wallander just seem classier. Also more believable. The second episode, Firewall, featured the least ridiculous take on “hacking” I’ve seen in a crime show and the final episode really had the actors on the top of their game. It doesn’t hurt that it’s set in Sweden and I have a crush on Scandinavia.

Movie – The Avengers: A+

Avengers represents everything that is great about the summer blockbuster. It was witty, entertaining, and full of memorable moments. The characters were portrayed exactly as I’d hoped, with a surprising amount of depth given the limited amount of screen time available that comes from having such a large cast. My only real complaint was that the enemy aliens were fairly bland, though to counter that, their big snake ship things were fairly awesome.

Movie – War Horse: C+

It was like having to watch the boring openings of a half-dozen cliched war movies. Each story was coated in a layer of cheesiness and the attempt to unite them didn’t quite work. The protagonists changed so often you couldn’t care about them, and with no consistent antagonist there was no real sense of danger. What little it did show of WWI was mostly censored and non-committal. Trying to paint all sides of the war just distracted from the horrors it could’ve shown.

Movie – Midnight In Paris: C

Silly and full of unbelievable characters. The famous characters from the past were especially poorly acted. They were such charactarizations that the real people would be ashamed. Also, the movie villainized a character for being a “pedantic” know-it-all, yet flung around so many art and literary characters that the movie itself seemed a bit pedantic.

Movie – Thor: B

I watched this movie with conflicting biases. On one hand, I’ve enjoyed all the Avengers set-up films so far and devour Norse mythology like it’s ambrosia. On the other hand, the trailers lowered my expectations so far that I almost considered not seeing it opening weekend (shocking!) It seems those biases balanced each other out; I enjoyed, but didn’t love the film. I didn’t exactly relish the sci-fi-ifying of the mythology but understand that’s probably the best way to believably incorporate Thor into the Marvel movie universe. Thor’s sudden character change was also a little abrupt for my tastes. But I liked the battles with Destroyer and against the Frost Giants. I just wish the Asgardians didn’t look like Power Rangers Space Force.