For today’s installment of my 31 days of Halloween I made a top 5 list of my personal choices for film, book, etc. These are stories that not only have entertained me, but inspired me to continuously try exceeding what I did and topping each previous book I write. I tried to keep them as Halloween related as possible, and even though some aren’t horror, they fall into the thriller category and have spooky elements. What are your personal choices? Feel free to comment below.
TOP 5 NOVELS: The “Area 51” series by Bob Mayer (writing as Robert Doherty), Dan Brown’s “Robert Langdon” series, Thomas Harris’ “Hannibal Lecter” series, The “Atlantis” series by Bob Mayer (writing as Greg Donegan), Dean Koontz’ “Frankenstein” series (please don’t watch the movie because it’s terrible the books are great though. *Bonus All novels in the FLESH AND LEFTOVERS SAGA by Rick Pipito (had to add them, sorry.) 😛
TOP 5 TV SHOWS: Once Upon a Time, Arrow & The Flash (I put these as one because they crossover and exist in the same universe), 24, Law And Order SVU, Hannibal
TOP 5 GAMES: The “Tomb Raider” series, The “Resident Evil” Series, “Silent Hill”, “HeroQuest” (This is a board game I had growing up, and I just remember how awesome it was. I recently found it in my parents’ attic), The “Doom” series.
TOP 5 SONGS: Dragula by Rob Zombie, Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett, Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr, Don’t Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult (because everyone needs more cowbell), Mz. Hyde by Halestorm
TOP 5 MOVIES: Ghostbusters 1 & 2, The Goonies, Monster Squad, Van Helsing (Kate Beckinsale, Huge Jack Man, and monsters? I don’t care if its cheesy. It’s awesome), The Brendan Frasier Mummy Movies.
BONUS—-TOP 10 COMIC BOOK Movie List (in numbered order):
1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2) X-Men Days Of Future Past
5) Captain America: The First Avenger
6) Guardians Of The Galaxy
7) Man Of Steel
8) Spiderman 2
9) Thor The Dark World
10) Batman 1989
*This list is current as of 10/29/14 of course. It will most likely change, but it is the order I believe works. I wanted to put both Punisher movies in there as well just for pure fun, but they didn’t make the cut.
This review will be filled with spoilers and major ones at that, so if you just want my overall non-spoilery review, scroll down to the last paragraph, otherwise you’ve been warned 🙂 Also, if you are a fan of the Agents of SHIELD show, then I advise you stop watching it now until you see The Winter Soldier. It changes everything. On with the review.
Where do I even begin? Great comic book movie? yes… Great action movie? yes… Greatest action movie of all time? Maybe… You can tell where I’m going with this. There is not much (other than the suspension of disbelief) that is not great about this movie. Sound, music, dialogue of characters, plot, Everything was nailed perfectly. Slight issue? well, let’s just say some of the things like Captain America breaking his fall with a skylight and his shield probably wasn’t realistic… let’s just say that the pounding his brains took from Winter Soldier’s bionic arm probably would leave his brain in mush… let’s just say that Falcon jumping from a building and perfectly landing in a tilting helicopter without being chopped into a million pieces, falling to his death, or breaking any bones is probably not realistic, BUT… it is a comic book movie, so that kind of nitpicky stuff is allowed in small doses.
Let’s touch on the characters:
Captain America/Steve Rogers: Chris Evans really makes this character likable and realistic. It is as if Cap has jumped straight from the books onto the screen. His dedication to his country, and defending what is right, while maintaining his core values is what makes him so perfect. Some of his fight scenes were a bit too “Bourne Identity” for me, where the camera was too shaky or close, but there was enough choreography in them, that you still got to see plenty of great action shots. What really hit a soft spot for me was that this out of place guy finally begins to feel at home and make new friends (Sam Wilson), and then his past comes back to haunt him. What he deals with physically only shadows in comparission to his mental struggles.
Black Widow/Natasha Romanov: Scarlett Johansson is gorgeous, yes, but she really stepped up the game here with her acting ability. I originally was opposed to her being in this role, as I didn’t think she fit the profile, but she has redefined the character while staying true to the comic book roots. Her role in this movie alone put her on an almost equal playing field with Chris Evans. She was basically the sidekick with tons of screen time and a great purpose for being there. If you even noticed, she had an arrow necklace around her neck that she wore, hinting at the relationship her and Hawkeye have. It will be interesting to see where she goes in future movies now that everyone knows about her shady past.
Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes: Sebastian Stan had such a minor role in the first movie, but now that purpose has been revealed. They did the Winter Soldier justice by making him a deadly threat. A little foreshadowing to the character’s future was even thrown in when he stood holding Cap’s shield. (in the comics Bucky becomes the new Captain America after Steve Rogers “dies”). He plays a deadly villain, and his look was perfect. The bionic arm was really cool, and better than what I’d pictured from reading the character, and his realization at the end of his past was the perfect set up for the next movie.
Falcon/Sam Wilson: Anthony Mackie took a second rate character and amplified him to stand with the top brass. I always liked Falcon, but after this movie, he no longer stands as a B character for me. The lack of red and white in his “uniform” is fine with me because the wings he had were designed like a military design. Since they were destroyed, and he is moving on with Cap to the third movie, I only assume they will probably paint his wings a more vibrant color. Time will tell, but the hunt for Winter Soldier is on.
Maria Hill and Nick Fury: Faking deaths, finding the moles, and doing what they do best all came into play here. Fury’s “death” was a bit far fetched for me, as he is very lucky to be alive. I do like that he programed (I only assume) his bad eye into the system as a backup plan to take down Pierce’s operation. Hill’s role, although smaller, supported him, and at the end we even get a glimpse of her at Stark Towers. Maybe they are setting up a new SHIELD now that it has fallen. And what can I say about Nick Fury without a patch now? I’m cool with that. He doesn’t need it with the shades. Oh, did anyone else notice the Pulp Fiction quote on his headstone?
Sharon Carter/Agent 13 & Peggy Carter: I’m glad they closed Peggy’s story here. Hayley Atwell is a wonderful actress, and the makeup and CG of her elderly self was convincing 100%. Sharon being introduced as a potential love interest for Steve was a welcome addition too.
Alexander Pierce: I half expected Robert Redford to rip his face off and reveal that he is the Red Skull, but I’m SOOO glad they didn’t go that route. Skull still exists, we know that. The character of Pierce was a good way to show a reflection on today’s society. He reflected as many politicians in office do today. people think they are good, but have ulterior motives. To hear Redford say “Hail Hydra” sent chills of excitement down my spine. It was perhaps the BEST moment of the movie because of delivery alone (and the fact that Redford will not say any lines that he feels are ridiculous). Clearly he approved.
Arnim Zola: Okay, his role was brief, but that’s all it needed to be. Like his comic counterpart, he uploaded his awareness into machines. Yes they were destroyed, but do you think he is dead? I don’t. Remember, they grabbed the flash drive, and I’m sure he downloaded himself onto there or somewhere else. He was connected to a network after all. The way he was designed was really cool too. I do believe he will be back in some form.
Agent Sitwell and Senator Stern: I never liked Sitwell as a character, and Stern was Gary Shandling’s character from the second Ironman movie. I’m glad they were revealed to be Hydra operatives, because I most likely wont have to see them again. (no offense to the actors) I like Shandling a lot, and I think Hernandez acts well, I just was not keen on the characters.
The Leaper/Georges Batroc: Remember what I said about Falcon being a B rate character upgraded to an A? Well it applies here too. The intense fight scene and brief subplot with Batroc upgraded this lame D rate character to a B in my opinion. I’d like to see him appear in Agents of SHIELD to follow up with his role. I don’t think he belongs in any more big budget movies, but they should follow up with him.
Brock Rumlow: He was badass, and dedicated to Hydra. With him being badly scarred at the end, I can only assume that this was a setup for him to return in part 3 as Crossbones. (Crossbones btw was the one who killed Captain America in the comics). It is fitting for him to do so in Cap 3 so that Bucky can take over.
Stan Lee: Always a welcome cameo, so I had to include him. Do you think he lost his job at the Smithsonian?
Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver & Baron Wolfgang von Strucker: What a mid credits scene this was. The Baron apparently has been trying to use Loki’s staff to control others with abilities. He mentions the others died, and that the two in the cage were Miracles. Trial and error to make the staff work right? Who knows… all we do know is that this sets up all three of their roles for Avengers Age Of Ultron, and after seeing this scene, I am even more eager to see Age of Ultron.
Stephen Strange: Okay, so Doctor Strange is not IN the movie, but his name was mentioned as a potential future threat to Hydra, hinting at what we are going to get at some point in the near future. Awesomeness.
So there you have it. My little breakdown has come to an end and definitely had an impact on EVERYTHING in the Marvel Movie universe. If I gave Avengers the score that I did, then I can only rate this on even playing ground. Avengers was the perfect movie, but a lot of that thrill and excitement I think comes from seeing all of those characters on the screen at a time. With Captain America The Winter Soldier, it not only redefined an entire movie universe, but set a standard for action movies and comic book movies alike. Will the sequel stand well against Batman vs Superman when they are released on the same dates in 2016? I absolutely think so. I personally will be seeing both, and can’t wait, but DC really needs to step up their game to keep up now, and I hope they do because I enjoy DC and Marvel. Cap 2 gets 10 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins from me. I’m not sure anything could have been done to make it better.
It’s Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings in another epic Marvel movie. I could just tell you what I think of the film, and give it a rating, but then I wouldn’t be able to explain a few of the things I picked up and speculate on it. If you want my rating, and no spoilers, then skip to the last paragraph; otherwise, you’ve been warned… There are Major SPOILERS ahead.
The characters are a great starting point. We’re already sold on Loki and Thor. Hiddleston and Hemsworth are these characters incarnate. I cannot (nor do I want to) see anyone else fill their shoes (at least for a very long time). Hemsworth’s commanding posture and voice mirror the pages from the comics, while Hiddleston’s smirks, his emotion, and sly comments are ones to make you cheer for the badguy. Aside from them, the rest of the cast performed as well as they. Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith was a wonderful choice for villain; especially with Kurse at his side. I particularly love how their “origins” (at least for how they look in the comics) was shown. I thought it was creative, and thrown in quick enough without focusing on it. Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and Renee Russo, as well as the Warriors Three were of an average performance (certainly not under or overwhelming, but decent). Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif I felt was underused, but I’d assume she’d play a larger role against an enemy like Enchantress in the future. Idris Elba as Heimdall is always amazing, and although the portrayal of Erik Selvig was cheesy at best, it somehow worked.
The Plot was interesting and made the audience feel the seriousness of the situation at hand. It flowed well, and I don’t feel that there were any unnecessary nods or side steps. From the opening scene until the credits rolled, I was glued to what was happening, and didn’t miss a beat. My only problem is that I figured out the Loki not being dead from the moment it happened on the battlefield (this I’ll explain in my theories in a few paragraphs). I was also shocked during a few moments of the movie with things I wasn’t expecting, which was good. There was a perfect blend of humor and action as well.
Sound and Visuals: I have no complaints about the score of music. Even the visuals were great in most places, but there were a few spots where something didn’t look right. In the scene where the two jets are flying, as well as when the realms were aligning, something just felt off there. It almost looked fake, but for a mere second. It’s probably just me being nitpicky, but it was something I noticed. Also, the scene where Thor jumped from the balcony and shed his robe to fly off in the distance looked a little cartoony, but overall not bad. Keep in mind, this was a very visual effect heavy movie, so if these are my only complaints, then it isn’t really an issue beyond me being stubborn.
Easter Eggs and Continuity: The Avengers was referenced nonchalantly multiple times, so it is well established when this takes place. Stan Lee’s cameo was hilarious yet again (I love that man). The surprise of Loki’s illusion of Chris Evan’s Captain America was both exhilarating and funny. The Infinity gems are now pretty much established as part of the whole saga, obviously leading up to an infinity gem war with Thanos in Avengers 3. The Collector appearing in the mid credits was a lot of fun especially since it will lead right into guardians of the Galaxy. All in all, the film was full of them, and done well. Hell, even the end credit scene brought some closure to the story, and though it wasn’t needed, it sort of showed that some “cleaning up” needed to be done on earth. Not necessary, like I said, but welcome being there.
Overall feel and speculation: Thor the Dark World fit well, it stood equal to what the Avengers and prior movies already established, and it more than made up for some of the faults of Iron Man 3. So where do we go from here? Here are my thoughts…. Keep in mind, this is just speculation, but I think a semi intelligent deduction.
1) Loki DID die. Before he died on the battlefield, he told Kurse “I’ll see you in Hel.” Anyone familiar with the comics knows that this is HEL, not HELL. Asgardians die and go to Hel, which is run by Hela. In the comics, Hela and Loki were related. I think Loki was not fearing death. He had a plan. Remember, he is the god of mischief and trickery. He died, and in Hel, he made a deal with Hela. This deal was to allow him to return to life, but in exchange, he would give Hela a more powerful entity for her realm. So as he returned, he killed Odin. Hela gets the most powerful Asgardian, while Loki gets the throne he always wanted. BTW, I turned to Dan during the end when “Odin” was speaking to Thor. I could see from his stance, and his manner that this was in fact Loki; so when the reveal came, I wasn’t at all surprised, but pleased.
2) The gems. So far we have the Mind Gem (which was in Loki’s staff in avengers). This is in SHIELD’s possession. Then we have the Space Gem. I didn’t think the Tesseract was anything more than just a cosmic cube, but apparently now we know (from the mid credits scene) that it is a gem. It had the ability to open portals to anywhere in the universe. What does this mean? Well Red Skull just teleported away, as I previously assumed, and he isn’t dead. Neither are anyone else who was “vaporized” by it in Captain America The First Avenger. The Space Gem is in Asgard’s vaults. Finally there is the Aether from this movie. It was in fact the Soul Gem. Sure the colors are all off, but that doesn’t matter. It infected the Soul, and the soul was referenced by the Asgardians. The Collector mentioned the 6 gems. Three have been covered. Guardians of the Galaxy is rumored to be taking place in the future (at least part of it). This could explain the Time Gem, which leaves the Power Gem, and the Reality Gem. It will be interesting to see where this all fits.
3) Enchantress, Surtur, Hela… there is plenty of room for more Thor movies, and I’m sure we’ll see it.
4) Agents of SHIELD… okay, so this strays, but it’ll be interesting to see how this movie affects the series, which I believe will tie in around episode 8 of this season.
Final Rating: If I rated Thor a 7, then I have to give Thor 2: The Dark World 8 sCrypt Coffins out of 10. It was a better sequel, it opened up more comic mythology, and it stood as a sequel and standalone movie to ALL of the Marvel Universe movies. Intelligent, funny, and action packed, this goes up high on my list of Great comic book movies.
What did you think of Thor The Dark World? Do you have any predictions? Comment below, and thanks for checking out our review.