Superhero movies can be very entertaining if they are well done and you are willing to suspend your disbelief. That’s why movies like The Dark Knight and Iron Man worked so well. Even when you start including superpowers, rather than just rich men with their fancy toys, you can still achieve some great things. But what happens when you cross into Norse mythology too?
I can see what they’re doing with Thor. This is a part of a bigger plan for the upcoming Avengers movie, introducing each of the characters through their own individual films. The thing with Thor is the mythology goes a little further, involving multiple realms. Chris Hemsworth is a convincing God of Thunder, complete with an oversized ego and sense of entitlement. There are parts where his portrayal feels flat at times, though, particularly in his interactions with Natalie Portman’s character, and Thor’s Norse god buddies are easily forgettable.
Similarly, Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki left something to be desired. I didn’t get the sense of him being a sinister trickster, which is how I understood that character. To be fair, I’m not terribly familiar with the Marvel canon. Thor, as a movie, is what it is. The action scenes are mostly predictable and not as satisfying as I had hoped, but the tie-ins back to the Avengers (Sam Jackson appears as Nick Fury) help to propagate the narrative, even at the price of a slight distraction.
Thor is nowhere near the kind of movie that Iron Man was, but it’s certainly better than many of the really bad superhero movies that we have seen.
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (2011)
When Conan O’Brien left The Tonight Show, he made headlines. When he embarked on a multi-city stand-up variety show tour, he made headlines again. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop is a documentary that focuses mostly on the latter, following the comedian as he hit stages across the country and had the first experience in his life where people actually paid money to see him.
The hope, for my part, was to see a little more of the act that toured the country, but the pacing in this documentary was decidedly slower. You get to share more of the behind the scenes moments, particularly where Conan voices his frustration with fans and friends who want yet another photo or yet another autograph. You can see that he is exhausted, but he continues to take pictures and sign autographs. That says something. He loves his craft. He loves the attention. He lives for the applause.
The concept for Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop showed promise, particularly for fans of his brand of comedy. As it stands, the documentary has its moments and I’m glad I watched it, but it wasn’t as entertaining or insightful as it could have been… unless the tour really wasn’t that entertaining or insightful to begin with.
Fast Five (2011)
There’s not much to say about this movie. It gathers together many of the major cast members from earlier entries in the Fast and Furious franchise, possibly because many of them found little success in other films, and puts them back in fast cars driving recklessly. The difference this time around is that they threw in an Ocean’s Eleven like dynamic, since Toretto’s Nine (I think that count is correct) is planning a heist.
The dialogue in Fast Five is just as cheesy as the original, but it doesn’t have the same level of over-the-top ridiculousness that makes me want to remember lines like “I live my life a quarter mile at a time” and “More than you can afford, pal.” Yes, you once again have to suspend your disbelief, but the series doesn’t even carry the same kind of automotive eye candy that it once did. There is virtually no racing at all. Even so, I was mildly entertained and I still view this franchise as a guilty pleasure with no real redeeming value at all.
Yes, it’s a movie review weekend of mediocrity. None of these movies is going to be particularly memorable, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are a complete waste of time either.