Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Cinema Review - Blitz

'It's cop-killer versus killer-cop', a tagline that is straight to the point and the latest Jason Statham film is no doubt this, with a simple plot and some gritty action leading the way.

Statham plays burning-out cop Detective Sergeant Brant, the most un-PC cop around who regularly attracts unwanted press coverage for his station. With his police career hanging on, Brant is handed the case of his life, a psychopathic murderer  is unleashing his fury on police officers and he needs to be stopped. 

With the help of Porter Nash (Paddy Considine), Brant must follow the leads in order to take down the murderer before the police deaths mount up and become a huge problem. 

It soon becomes apparent that the man they are after is Barry Weiss (Aiden Gillen), or as he likes to be known, The Blitz. Weiss' spree soon becomes more and more brutal with some of Brant's close friends/colleagues becoming targets and victims. Can they stop him in time or will they soon find themselves on top of his hit-list?

Statham's return to a purely British film is a welcome one and unlike most of his Hollywood movies, Brant receives some character background, albeit minimal. The downfall of Blitz though is that it concentrates more of its background on the characters that are less cared for and are merely a distraction from what is a simple but gripping storyline. 

Despite being an odd pairing, Statham and Considine do a solid job as the main police partners and Gillen's turn as psychotic Weiss is both menacing and convincing. The support from names such as the multi-talented David Morrissey and Zawe Ashton are decent but it is the visceral side that may put off some viewers. 

With each murder taking place the ante is upped and there are no limits. A simple gun shot to an officer is the first kill whilst further on we are subjected to a cringe-inducing curb stomp, a scene where not a lot is left to the imagination.

Blitz will satisfy Statham fans without a doubt; a return to his roots in Britain is always a welcome turn, but it is only a good film and nothing more unfortunately. With a solid storyline the film flows reasonably but the development of certain characters leaves the main action to the wayside a little too often and regularly slows the pace of the film. A return to Hollywood action will surely be next for Statham.

Film rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The lowdown: Statham once again shows his credentials as a lead man and Considine lends a helping hand in providing a decent cop thriller, shame about several distractions from what is a good main storyline

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Cinema Review - The Hangover Part Two

We're on sequel watch again and this time around it's the turn of The Hangover Part Two. The original, despite having a reasonably unknown cast at the time became one the breakout hits of 2009 and low and behold the demand arose and Todd Phillips created a sequel.

This time around the ante has been upped and we are invited to celebrate the crazy antics before Stu's (Ed Helms) wedding in Thailand. Opting for a celebratory brunch as opposed to a full blown Vegas-eque celebration, Stu hopes to avoid a repeat episode of their last pre-wedding nuptials.

How wrong he is. With a new recruit entered into the Wolfpack, Stu's future brother-in-law Teddy, the guys decide that one drink and some marshmallows by the fire can do no harm and all will be well.

The next morning... We find Phil (Bradley Cooper) waking up in a dirty, dingy hotel room in an unknown location. Wandering around the room trying to recollect events of the previous night he soons comes across a newly bald Alan (Zach Galifianakis) who also has no memory of the events. continuing into the bathroom Stu is soon discovered lying in the bath, with a Mike Tyson face tattoo on his face! This night clearly was as wild as Vegas.

The one problem the guys have, Teddy is missing and all they can find of him of his finger, prompting thoughts that he may well be dead, and so the chaos ensues....

Still looking for clues around the room, Phil calls previous newlywed Doug to find out where he is and it turns out he left the group early and retired to his room while the Wolfpack continued their late night adventure without him. And low and behold, the perpetrator of the continuation of the night is the one and only Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) continuing his reign of extremism and organised crime.

With an abundance of Chow and Bangkok thrown into the mix The Hangover Two succeeds in bringing to us yet another laugh-out-loud flick from Todd Phillips. Everything from penis jokes to the sheer hilarity of Galifianakis' Alan are showcased here in a hugely rib tickling 100 minutes of film time.

Despite the cameo from Liam Neeson being cut, a standout appearance from one Paul Giamatti helps to bring an extra special smile on the audience's face and, as you can expect, the bumper extra time spent with Mr Chow is filled with madcap moments and some over-exaggeration gangster style. 

All in all this sequel is successful in repeating the greatness of the first film, possibly falling just short in quality terms, but it is safe to say that you would be a fool not to expect a third and possibly final outing for the Wolfpack (maybe Alan's wedding?!)

Film rating: 3 out of 4 stars

The lowdown: One crazy night in Bangkok proves to be a mix of hilarity and some cringing in what could turn out to be the funniest film of 2011.

Cinema Review - Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Another Summer blockbuster season embarks upon us and this inevitably brings us yet another adventure from everyone's favourite fancy dress character Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). That's right, Pirates 4 has been unleashed and there has been somewhat of an overhaul in the casting department, with the mushy Bloom and Knightley removed, replaced by ballsy Penelope Cruz and up-and-coming Brit Sam Claflin. Following the immense debacle that was the third outing, could the Pirates franchise rise from the ashes and become yet again a major force?

This time around we are on a quest with Jack Sparrow to find the elusive Fountain Of Youth. Said to give eternal to whoever drinks from it, Jack has a task on his hands as Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his daughter (Penelope Cruz) are the ones who want to get there following Jack's capture. 

Throw into the mix the Spaniards chasing for the glory and the return of a Pirates regular, leading the English, Barbossa (Jeffrey Rush). But all is not just a simple journey direct to the Fountain Of Youth to have a drink and ta-da, your are immortal, no, a tear of a mermaid is ultimately required to secure a life so long. 

Cue a fantastic scene in which Blackbeard's crew, along with prisoners Sparrow and clergyman Philip (Claflin) hunt for a mermaid to capture and find themselves in somewhat predicament, the mermaids are not just beautiful, soft creatures, they are in fact violent and menacing. After an intense battle for survival, Blackbeard manages to capture a mermaid and the journey continues to the Fountain. 

With a mermaid captured and Jack Sparrow leading Blackbeard to the Fountain, who will gain eternal life? Will Barbossa manage to get there before anyone, or will it be the Spaniards who prevail? You'll have to watch it to find out!

Johnny Depp's favourite character once again finds himself in all sorts of bother in this instalment and despite it being the usual routine, so to speak, it is still heavily entertaining to see Jack escaping from the grasp of the British and running riot. The age old term 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' certainly applies with the presentation of Sparrow but certainly Pirates 4 did good to refresh some of the faces. With the gushing love story out the window, to be replaced by one on the fringe of the storyline Jerry Bruckheimer and his team have clearly gone all out to ensure the franchise heads back to its roots, with more swashbuckling and sheer fun. 

For its pluses though Pirates does have a few flaws. With chemistry between Depp and Cruz having always been electrifying you can't help but feel slightly hard done by, as they clearly do not get enough alone time to delve into Sparrow and Angelica's love roots. This would have helped to bring out a new side in Jack that would have been intriguing, and this instead is replaced by a mediocre villain in the form of Blackbeard. Described as the most feared pirate of all, Blackbeard is far from this, showcased from a measly one kill all film and a standard performance from a usually impressive Mcshane. 

Needless to say, Pirates 4 was certainly a risk in terms of it being a franchise that seemed to be running out of steam but it looks like the life has returned and we could yet see more of Jack Sparrow in the near future. A brilliant score, some good swashbuckling fun and a lead who seems to carry the film on his own can only end in success. 

Film rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The lowdown: Jack Sparrow still has that fighting spirit in him and no doubt the crowds would yet again flock to see him on his next outing following another breezy performance from Depp. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Superhero Brawl: X Men First Class vs Green Lantern vs Captain America

The Summer Blockbuster season is well and truly upon us now and on the agenda is a list of superheroes waiting to invade the big screen. we've already had the God of Thunder, Thor and now 3 more are waiting in the wings. They've all been heavily publicised in recent weeks with trailers, posters and TV adverts galore but which film will prevail as the best this summer? Will it be X Men: First Class, Green Lantern or Captain America, FF discusses.

Matthew Vaughn's X Men origins story goes back to school with the story of how Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) came to become Professor X and Magneto. Set in the times of the Cuban Missile Crisis we delve into the relationship between the pair; how friendship soon turns into them being enemies and also witness the evolution of the first mutant's to come under their wing.  

This will be the best of the three because:
The X Men franchise has always been a popular offering from Marvel due to it's wide range of characters and the constant promise of huge storylines and adrenaline-pumping action. With the stellar casting of McAvoy and Fassbender there is a winning duo immediately, and the addition of Kevin Bacon as the arch villain promises to be memorable. A mix of new and familiar mutants also brings forward plus points and from the footage released there looks to be little wrong with an origin story to kick start the X Men saga once again.

DC's summer offering is in the form of one of their most popular hero's Hal Jordan AKA Green Lantern, played by the charismatic Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds has previous experience in the superhero field playing everyone's favourite anti-hero Deadpool in the panned X Men sequel Wolverine. Green Lantern sees the journey of how Hal Jordan is chosen as the first ever human to become a Green Lantern and the struggles he has to face with the reality that he is now a hero and fear is not an option when protecting the people of Earth.

This will be the best of the three because:
People will be intrigued by a new superhero from the DC Universe, especially as the popular Ryan Reynolds is involved. His mix of wit and charm along with that work with Marvel give him the credentials to draw in the crowds. Admittedly DC go for more of a serious approach to their films than Marvel but nonetheless it is clear that Reynolds has the ability to hold his own and add grit to his performance (he showed this is recent film Buried). Interesting also is the wide range of characters involved in Green Lantern, with a huge emphasis clearly being put on the Green Lanterns themselves and also a menacing villain played by the reliable Peter Sarsgaard. 

Finally Marvel's First Avenger steps onto the big screen with a big introduction before his foray into the ensemble film. Captain America has been, for a long time, one Marvel character who has gained a huge following and finally his story hits the screen. The story follows Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a soldier who is deemed to be unfit for service in the military who voluntarily puts his body up for the testing of a new serum to create the ultimate super soldier to fight against the Nazis. Once taking the serum Rogers becomes Captain America, the one man standing between the Nazis and victory for America in the war.

This will be the best of the three because:
It's Captain America! Anyone who has heard of comic's has heard of Captain America; he is a beloved character in the Marvel Universe and it is a surprise he has not been introduced earlier. No doubt Chris Evans, with his previous Marvel outing as the Human Torch can handle the pressures of playing such a character and from the trailer it looks as though director Joe Johnston has added in all the elements to keep fanboys and newbies intrigued and entertained. Into the mix you also have uber-villain Red Skull leading the Nazis, played by the fantastic Hugo Weaving, and you have a sure-fire hit. Also don't forget the clear after-credits scene leading to The Avengers, no doubt it will be one not to miss.

So what's it to be?
After much contemplation FF feels that X Men First Class will be the best of the three offerings purely down to the fact that having a reliable director in Matthew Vaughn breathes confidence and from every clip/trailer produced so far the film promises so much more than Green Lantern or Captain America. True the Cap has not had as much coverage as the others but X Men is a widely popular franchise and delving into the past of Xavier and Lensherr looks too good to miss. As for Green Lantern, well shoddy looking CGI and possibly an exacerbated use of humour could be its downfall and may well turn out to be a downfall for DC, with next year looking to be theirs with The Dark Knight Rises and Superman: Man of Steel upcoming. Congratulations Marvel, once again it looks like you have our vote!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

New Release Preview - The Hangover Part 2

That's right people, the comedy sequel you have all been waiting for final arrives this week, the Wolfpack are back! 2009's massively successful original drew in the audiences and became one of the surprise hits of the year with what was at the time a relatively unknown cast. Now the stars have all made a name for themselves and expectations are very high for the second outing.

This time around we find Stu (Ed Helms) getting married to Lauren (Jamie Chung - Sucker Punch) and as tradition goes the guys decide that an early celebration is on hand, albeit low key this time around..... or so they think!

The morning after, and the guys Stu, Alan (Zack Galifinakis) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) wake up to find themselves in a dingy hotel in Bangkok with one person missing, Lauren' young brother Teddy. Once again the curse of the night before is upon them and the guy have to race to find Teddy and make the wedding before all is lost. 

As most of you will know, part of the success of the original was the mystery behind what happened the night before and once again there are elements which will have us wanting to know more and more as the film goes on. Stu finds a new tattoo on his face, a replicated version of Mike Tyson's, Alan has had his hair shaven off and there is a new member of the Wolfpack, a wild monkey!

No doubt this will be the cue for moments of madness and panic, with a re-appearance from Mr Chow thrown in and a cameo appearance from Paul Giamatti that sounds like it could be the highlight of the film. One thing is for sure, The Hangover Part 2 will draw in the crowds once again and Fanatical Film has a feeling that this could surpass the original classic. Here's hoping!

The Hangover Part 2 is out in the UK this Thursday

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Trailer Watch - Transformers 3: Dark Of The Moon

Michael Bay once again returns behind the camera for what promises to be one of the events of the summer blockbuster season, his final Transformers film, Dark Of The Moon.
Bay has clearly amped up the action and stakes from what the trailer reveals, check out some snippets below.

As the title suggests, there is something on the dark side of the moon that will be hugely involved  in the plot of the film. A discovery of something Cybetronian looks to be it, but will it be Autobot or Decepticon?

Clearly whatever is found on the Moon is summoned by this homing beacon and destruction soon embarks  on Earth, with Optimus, Bumblebee and co the only force that can help the humans.

Replacing Megan Fox, Rosie Huntington-Whitely plays Sam Witwicky's love interest, will she be a worthy replacement?

Clearly the scale of the film has been greatly increased and with Cybetronian transport ships invaded Earth you can bet your bottom dollar that this is a war between humans and the robots.

With enemies like these, expect all of the action from the first two films and a hell of a lot more, all in spectacular 3D

From this trailer, clearly Transformers 3 will be one of the biggest blockbusters of the summer season, and certainly Fanatical Film has high expectations for the beginning of July when the film releases. 

Trailer Watch - Final Destination 5

After Final Destination 4 (for some reason, named The Final Destination) it was inevitable that the sequence would continue with a fifth installment and low and behold here it comes. Once again in 3D, gruesome deaths and wince-a-minute moments return to the big screen in one of horror's most prolific killing sprees. Here's a breakdown of what to expect:

This time out the main cause of Death's revenge spree will be a suspension bridge collapse. Much like the traffic incident in the second film, expect those unlucky drivers to be the one's in the middle of the fray. 

As speculated on the internet for some time, one of the most infamous scenes in the movie will involve laser eye surgery. Very much in the vain the famous tanning machine incident from the third movie, expect to be covering your eyes in this scene.

Here we have our main players in Death's game, who will survive and who will suffer the consequences of surviving the game?

Maybe Bludworth can give them the answers they need, after all he was the go-to guy in a 
previous Final Destination. Or is there more to him than we already know?

All we know is that you can expect even more inventive ways of dying and plenty of 
3D moments in this fifth film the series, will this be the last, who knows?
On that final note check out two more snippets from the trailer and let your imagination 
run free with how these two scenes will unfold.

Friday, 20 May 2011

DVD Review - Black Swan

Black Swan was one of the front runners for the majority of the gongs at the Academy Awards and deservedly Natalie Portman received the Best Actress award for what was possibly the best acting of her career. But was it simply Portman's stellar turn that should receive praise or was Darren Aronofsky's dark thriller a piece of cinematic class?

Nina Sayers (Portman) is an innocent ballet dancer striving to make it as the lead in the latest production of Swan Lake, led by Vincent Cassel's strict instructor Thomas. She has all the characteristics to represent the White Swan but lacks the dark side to unleash the Black Swan inside of her.

Waiting in the wings is the newest member of the ballet, Lily (Mila Kunis) who has charmed Thomas with her grace and ability to adapt to the role of both the Black and White Swan. She is the ideal candidate for the lead role but Nina has other plans, pushing herself to the limit in order to land that coveted role that she has dreamt about all this time.

In order to prove that she can fit the role, Nina soon begins to embrace her dark side, something that slowly takes her over and has her imagining things beyond the usual quiet life that she leads. With this, her mother begins to become concerned with the role taking over Nina's life but this will not stop her from getting exactly what she wants.

Black Swan is a masterpiece in film-making and Darren Aronofsky deserves huge praise for creating such a tense and dark thriller from a lesser acknowledged art form in this day and age. As previously mentioned, Portman's performance is near perfection and Kunis and Cassell both provide great support with roles in which we never know what side they are on. A tense build-up throughout the whole film makes terrific viewing and the finale, backed by an absolutely fantastic soundtrack brings the curtain down which great poise. 

Film rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The lowdown: A worthy Best Actress for Portman in what can only be described as one of the best films of the year so far. Tension and darkness at its best. 

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cinema Review - Priest

The last time Scott Stewart and Paul Bettany teamed up it resulted in the dire apocalyptic action thriller Legion, so going into Priest confidence levels weren’t high and expectations were of a low standard. Was this going to be a Legion re-hash or a breath of fresh air in the action genre?

Priest, based on the Korean comic, is set in a futuristic world where humans and vampires have been at war for years, only for the humans to suffice and rid the world of all vampires, or so it seems. In the war a group of individuals with extraordinary abilities were called upon to protect helpless humans, these were called the Priests. Hired by the Church, the Priests possessed such unique combatant skills that they were able to match the superiority of the vampires and fight back, eventually leading to their demise.

Following the successful human victory at the Vampire Wars, the Priests were disbanded and now live among normal people and are seen as outcasts. Unfortunately the vampire menace has not been fully banished and following an attack on his family, Priest (Paul Bettany) is called back into action to save his nice who has been captured by an unknown vampire.

Seeking the Church’s acceptance that he return to being a warrior of God, Priest is immediately denied but ignores this denial and heads off to find his niece and bring down the vampire menace for good, along with the help of a local Sheriff (Cam Gigandet). Following his betrayal of the Church, Priest finds himself also hunted in the form of his previous partners in the wars, the other Priests, including a close female (Maggie Q).

The root of evil and captor of Priest’s niece is Black Hat (Karl Urban), a former Priest who has been turned into a one-of-a-kind being, a human vampire. He now controls the other vampires and soon Priest and his accomplice find themselves in a battle to the death to try and rescue Lily before it is too late...

What you see is what you get with Priest, a simple actioner that doesn’t mess around with the fine details of characterisation and explanation, it simply goes for action value and this is what lets the film down. Little insight into the characters immediately has you caring very little for our characters and it just seems as if the film is focused solely on action and little else. Okay yes it is a bit of a guilty pleasure watching vampires getting their butts kicked by some bad-ass priests but more back story and less leaping through the air and slaying wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Film rating: 2 out of 5 stars

The Lowdown: Priest is a half-decent action pleaser but with little development in terms of character and story Scott Stewart still hasn’t nailed it after his dismal Legion. Also another 3d conversion gone bad, not worth the extra money by a long shot.

Cinema Review - Hanna

Saoirse Ronan is a young actress set for huge things. Her performance in Atonement outshone Keira Knightly and a compelling turn in the magnificent The Lovely Bones have already helped her stamp her mark as one of the most promising acts out there at the moment. Next up, recently released Hanna, a step into slightly different territory for Ronan.

Hanna follows a young girl (Ronan) living with her father (Eric Bana) in the woods in Finland, away from civilisation, being trained up to be vigilant and effective as an assassin, following in her father’s footsteps. Training her vigorously each day, her father, Erik, keeps her away from any form of technology and purposely keeps her focused on the means it takes to survive. Eventually, though, Hanna comes to the point in which she feels she is ready and at the flick of a switch a homing beacon is turned on revealing their position.

With this, crooked CIA agent Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) springs into action to track down both Hanna and Erik. She has a past with the former and is determined to silence him for good. Sending a tactical team to capture him, they soon find Hanna in Finland and take her prisoner instead. During the interrogation procedure though, Hanna, using all the skills she has learnt from her father, escapes the government facility she is being held in and soon embarks on meeting up with her father in Germany.

This clearly will not be an easy task and Hanna soon finds not only Wiegler on her trail but also a professional hitman and his two companions after her life too. Realising she must find transportation, Hanna soon finds a family on holiday with whom she befriends and she begins to find out what life in the ‘real world’ is like. Experiencing friendship, love and betrayal, Hanna is fascinated as to how different her world is to that in which other people live in, this portrayed perfectly by a stellar turn from young Ronan.

The final third of the film speeds up at a break-neck speed as we further unfold the mystery of Hanna and Erik’s lives and their involvement with Wiegler and the end product does not disappoint. Director Joe Wright (Atonement) has created a gem in terms of filmmaking and Ronan is perfect pick for the lead character. Backed up superbly by the ever-reliable Eric Bana, Ronan carries the film on her shoulders with such ease, as if she has the lead in films for years, it is just a shame to say that such a fine actress as Cate Blanchett lets the team down. Despite being a powerful actress in many a successful film, Blanchett does not fit the mould for an evil villain in a film such as this and is rather disappointing in her execution of portraying a villainous CIA agent.

Nevertheless this does not take away the fact that Hanna is an ultimately entertaining and gripping thriller with a good story and a shining lead star. Also a pumping soundtrack from The Chemical Brothers lends a helping hand in ensuring each action scene is of the highest calibre and truly adrenaline-heavy.

Film rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The lowdown: Hanna continues Saoirse Ronan’s rise to become one of Hollywood’s leading rising talents and it will be interesting to see where the young Irish woman ends up next. Pulsating soundtrack and rip roaring thrills make Hanna a sure fire hit. 

Cinema Review - Fast Five

As usual in Hollywood when a film franchise continues to draw in the crowds and gain money sequels are generated, none more so than the Fast and Furious saga, now entering into its fifth outing.

Following immediately on from the ending of Fast and Furious, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is saved from the bus transporting him to jail and embarks once again on a fast and furious adventure on the run from the cops along with Brian (Paul Walker) and sister Mia (Jordana Brewster).

With the 3 on the most wanted list they find themselves hiding out in Brazil only for tough cop Luke Hobbs (The Rock, a welcome addition to the franchise) to be on their tail. Following an intense chase through the slums in which Toretto realises he has a big threat on his hands, he decides that the best course of action is one last big pay-off job to give them the lives they want and the ultimate goal, freedom.

In order to gain this, a team must be assembled, cue all of the main characters from the franchise's previous 4 films, a dream team of racing proportions so to speak. The job: infiltrate and raid the vault of a notorious drug lord and escape with the prize, a cool $100 million.

What follows at a relentless pace is a tale of furious driving, plenty of chaos and one of the most ambitious heist scenes to be seen on screen, adrenaline pumping action for the masses. Be warned though, unlike the past Fast and Furious films the cars do take somewhat of a back seat, replaced by the heist element of the film. Okay, so you do get some decent motors for those petrol-head fans but all-in-all this is a heist movie, clearly inspired by films such as The French Connection and Gone In Sixty Seconds.

Not to say this isn't a good film, in fact of all the five films this is one of the front runners, mainly helped by the added punch packed by The Rock, in a very suitable role as a hard-as-nails cop chasing the bulking Vin Diesel. Additionally, the scenes in which the cars are involved, most notably a cop car drag race and a drift circuit in an abandoned warehouse are perfectly executed and shot. Once again Justin Lin delivers to the fans and get ready because another film will be in the works!

Film rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Lowdown: Another rather needless sequel rolls into the film world but with an ensemble cast of Fast and Furious stars and some brilliant set pieces this is one sequel which may well surpass its predecessors in terms of entertainment.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Cinema Review - Thor

In the lead up to next year's massively anticipated superhero mash-up The Avengers, Marvel have steam-rolled into releasing two further superhero introductions in 2011 in preparation for the big event. captain America is set to be released in the very near future and recently hitting cinemas came the God of Thunder himself, Thor.

We are taken to the realm of Asgard, a wondrous place with magnificent structures, a place ruled by Odin (Anthony Hopkins), an ageing king who is looking to pass over the throne to one of his two sons, over-confident warrior Thor or his older brother Loki. The decision looks to be clear as Thor is dominant on the battlefield along with his trusty followers until his arrogance and recklessness leads to Asgard coming under threat again from previous troublers The Frost Giants. For his actions in releasing more trouble from the enemy, Odin casts Thor out and he is sent to Earth for punishment and is banished from ever returning to his home realm. 

On his arrival to Earth, Thor crosses paths with scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her close partners Erik Selvig and Darcy Lewis. Together they each share knowledge of each other's worlds but it soon becomes apparent that there is a secret organisation looking to keep the secrets of Thor and his world under wraps, S.H.I.E.L.D. 

After establishing that S.H.I.E.L.D are looking out for the good of mankind Thor soon faces a terrifying force that has been unleashed from the realm of Asgard by an evil force and is then challenged to save the people of Earth before all is obliterated. Ultimately this battle to save mankind will be the test for Thor to show he is worthy of being leader of a kingdom. 

Kenneth Branagh was an odd choice when a director was first confirmed to produce a feature on Thor, having experienced work in more Shakespearian projects than any action genre films. In essence, though,  what seemed like a complete mismatch to the genre has actually been a bit of a blessing. Branagh has shown he can work with the action superhero genre and Thor succeeds in providing an entertaining and ocassionaly humorous Marvel installment.  

The realm of Asgard is beautifully presented in all its colourful glory and the storyline, although simple, rolls along at a nice pace, even adding the nice effect of an Avengers tie-in half way through. Chris Hemsworth provides both a great warrior and a convincing first visitor to Earth in the form of Thor and support from Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins and a star turn from Tom Hiddleston as evil brother Loki help to achieve a good thrill ride from start to beginning.

In conclusion Thor is a very good introduction to one of the main Avengers players and without a doubt Marvel has not lost its touch in another fine movie to add to the collection, next up Captain America!

Film rating: 3 stars out of 5

The Lowdown: Another good installment into the Marvel film catalogue, and nicely sets up the Avengers. Two words of advice: Avoid 3D!