Tag Archives: Thor

Men In Black: International – or Men in Pink and Women in Black?

Based on comics by Lowell Cunningham (1990), and written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, F. Gary Gray’s Men In Black (MIB): International is the fourth of MIB film series (1997-2012) and released under Columbia pictures label which is a Sony company.

Moving internationally – by which it actually gets its title – from Paris to New York, London, and Marakesh, it opens in Paris 2016 where MIB agents high T (Liam Neeson) and agent H (Chris Hemsworth) fight an attack from Hive, the evil alien, at the Eiffel Tower.. And in Brooklyn 20 years earlier, we see a little girl, Molly (Tessa Thompson, becoming agent M after these 20 years), reading Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time in her bedroom where she meets an unlicensed unauthorized Tarantian unexpectedly. While her parents are after this creature in the downstairs, their door knocks and MIB agents show up to talk. Following this talk, they erase the parents’ memories via a cool-looking, blue light neuralyzer when they understand that the parents are aware of such a creature. Molly witnesses all from her bedroom window at the upstairs, and with her memory intact…

Molly grows up and so does her enthusiasm to become one of these MIBs to find the truth of the universe… She applies to FBI and CIA. After her several unsuccessful (!) interviews which lay out the intelligent quotient of any such “big” denotated institutions (please see “up” confusion responsibly😆 –  accounting department on the “up”), she finally gets a chance to join the team only if she can prove herself. The recruiter boss makes a cameo as agent O (Emma Thompson) who is the chief of “M”IB and a lady herself. Yet, agent M’s adventure in MIB team starts. That is also where MIB: International goes ahead! No more spoilers after that part regarding the plot 😉

Before moving in-depth, if anyone is expecting a stylish blockbuster sci-fi for its unique effects or visual aspects, it may be good to step back a bit. What one will watch is quite a better story than can be assumed, and a less sophisticated cinematography (Stuart Dryburgh) and visual work. Heavy and messy use of CGI outweighed the practical boldly; and many of the scenes looked tiring, unproportional and blurry. Eventually from the user-end, watching MIB: International on IMAX will be of no help as a proactive hint to the potential audience who would like to see it on IMAX (only 3D can be deemed sufficient). There was also some kind of a divergence between creature costumes and make-up, either one of them too vivid or the other one too numb.

Not having Barry Sonenfeld (former director), or Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones (former actors) did not affect this reboot in a negative way. Directing obviously reveals that F. Gary Gray has no broad experience or educational background in film directing, e.g., we feel no detailed instructions for actors to adjust their gestures or mime which might have been set more delicately; or we feel no sense of compiling practical effects versus digital. However, the overall effort for direction is warmly remarkable, and also ample to have all at once fly smoothly in one direction.

The script, though not being flawless, is acceptable for a mediocre audience. For example, it would strengthen the whole impression if Vungus’ words, “he has changed. I can feel it. Something happened to him”, would have been placed in another sequence so that the final happening could have been emphasized more strikingly. But as been told above, it is more than welcome for the target audience who think that agent M means the accounting department on the up 😄 😄

Actors (and actresses😊) can be assessed per their own performances given the reason above regarding the direction, also depending on their varied experiences in the industry. If there is an above-average performance, that should be noted as Tessa Thompson. French dancers, les Twins, are also worth mentioning for their perfect body languages in all scenes, even only walking. I found Neeson’s acting a bit exaggerated, most probably due to the aforementioned directing gap. On the contrary, Rafe Spall as the nerd agent H was more expressionless or emotionless than this character should be indeed. Hemsworth’s acting was  unrecognizable unfortunately (no beating performance rather than that classical physical appearance of an American small eyed, narrow foreheaded, arrogant character).

To highlight several points that are sprinkled in a well-thought way were some kind of a glass ceiling referral – gender discrimination against women (unforgettable and untold conversation between agents M and O regarding “men” in black term; or agent H wearing pink pants while agent M fits perfectly in black suits). Other bright recall to think on comes from the agents for Vungus “we were once protecting the World from the scum of the universe, now we are protecting the scum”… Anyway, who can tell that the World is not going to save itself when there is a huge population who is not able to discriminate between “up” and “up” or not able to understand what is being described simply?…

MIB: International topped the charts during the weekend of 15th and 16th after its release in US by 14th of June 2019. Maybe truth of the universe that agent M seeks is that the universe has a way of leading one to where one is supposed to be, at the moment one is supposed to be there as high T says… Maybe it will keep being the franchise low of $28.5 million; but I may still recommend anyone to see this action comedy for its consistent story-telling and unboring fast-moving flow.

Thor: Ragnarok – Is it Asgard or Asgard beings?..

After six years, a new Thor-titled series has been released as Thor: Ragnarok, this time presented by Marvel Entertainment overwhelmingly. For those who are curious, Paramount Pictures‘ support seems to have been replaced by Walt Disney Pictures in the current one.

This piece brings us back to the holy nine realms where Thor, Odinson, king of Asgard (after the former ruler Odin) and god of thunder, is defending against his sister Hela, goddess of death, in order to preserve peace (or questionably his power maybe) and to protect people.

Until Thor and Hela meet for the struggle to boost, here we go with

  • the introduction of Thor in a cage captured by the fire demon Surtur foretelling a dreadful prophecy, Ragnarok, which will be revealed at the end of the sequel for its becoming true or not;
  • Thor‘s interim beating Surtur for the crown of Surtur to prevent his resurrection by the Eternal Flame; and
  • exclusive referrals clearly to Greek mythology (rather than pure nordic myths) such as grape eating Odin watching a classical tragedy in pleasure / the B.C. costumes though all is appearing in smart tech times with various models of space ships that travel at the speed of light etc.

One can even say that the plot is a modified version of the classical Hellenistic plays in terms of design. Just, it likely varies for its complicated frame of the characters: mighty Thor, seemingly peaceful and encouraging Odin, tricky Loki, saviour Heimdall, and she-evil Hela. The main characters are surrounded closely by stronger side ones or villains as mostly intended in Marvel comics: Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) being a prototype for that, there are also some greyish ones like Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) or Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) which serves to add further complexity to the cinematic universe.

The overall flow is well-put. The plot’s dynamic and professional structure pays for the high technology used in shooting. In other words, Taika Waititi‘s directing and the adaptation can be concluded as to cover the expenditure finely.

Cast can be interpreted as pretty much successful as well, in particular having those great actors in place, i.e., Anthony Hopkins (Odin) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange). For instance, a lesson-wise intonation of Odin makes the scene unforgettable during the following conversation with Thor:

Thor (Chris Hemsworth): ”I am not as strong as you!”

Odin (Anthony Hopkins): ”No, you are stronger…”

Or it all changes when the camera is in 177a Bleecker Street, Dr. Strange‘s house in Midgard (Earth) where Cumberbatch shines with his hypnotic ability of acting. Once again, it is proven that the magnitude of acting is not counted by the number of minutes that an actor is on screen, however it stands for the emotional and intellectual impact after the movie ends.

Chris Hemsworth, physically, draws a very American Thor at first glance with a narrow forehead and small eyes. It can be teased as the irony of evolution like what happen to Norse Gods when they come to New World.

I do not want to mention Cate Blanchett as Hela since I am personally more than fed up with her unchanging alto timbre, more or less with the same resonance, for years…

However, aforementioned two gigantic actors and glazing visual effects still save the cast, I can say. Only few comments both to that overused blurry background whilst aiming to emphasize the characters in the front, and the unproportional images of Surtur shots. The idea to exaggerate Surtur versus Thor seems a little bit ”pretended”, unfortunately due to a perspective trap.

In a nutshell, Asgard as the head of nine realms where peace was known to be brought by Odin encounter a ”to be or not to be” problem in Thor: Ragnarok.

Thor: Ragnarok asks: will Asgard kneel before the queen of death or will it fight for survival? Furthermore, is Asgard a place to be saved but the people, or is it the people?.. Or should the enemy that was created somehow be destroyed at a price of smashing Asgardians’ land, perhaps?..

Including the revolutionary IMAX 3D optics, Thor: Ragnarok (2017) holds its own specialties worth seeing.