Sunday, July 31, 2022

Sunday Best: Billion-Dollar Movie Club

 I recently came across a list of the films that are in the "Billion Dollar Movie Club."

These are movies that have earned over $1 billion at the box office.  So far there are only 50 movies that have ever been made that have crossed this line.  This became fascinating to me, so I did a little bit of an analysis of the movies listed and this is what I discovered.

(Keep in mind that these are not adjusted for inflation.  If they were, this list would be much longer and include movies like Gone with the Wind and the original Star Wars.  One day I may look at the inflation-adjusted list, but for now, I will look at the actual numbers).

Here is the list:

Avatar (2009)
Aladdin (2019)
Alice in Wonderland (I) (2010)
Aquaman (2018)
Avengers (2012)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018
Beauty and the Beast (I) (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Dark Knight (2008)
Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Despicable Me 3 (2017)
Fate of the Furious (2017)
Finding Dory (2016)
Frozen (I) (2013)
Frozen II (2019)
Furious 7 (2015)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
Incredibles 2 (2018)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Joker (I) (2019)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic World (2015)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
Lion King (1994)
Lion King (2019)
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Minions (2015)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Skyfall (2012)
Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)
Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)
Titanic (1997)
Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Toy Story 4 (2019)
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Zootopia (2016)

The oldest movie that has crossed $1 billion is Jurassic Park from 1993.

Almost all the movies on this list are sequels, prequels, remakes, or parts of existing franchises.  Of the 50 movies on this list, only six are original films or the first in a franchise (Avatar, Frozen, Jurassic Park, The Lion King (1994), Titanic, and Zootopia).

In terms of franchising, Marvel has everyone by a mile, with 10 movies, making up 20% of the list.  So you can understand why every movie studio is trying to create their own cinematic universe.  Once Avengers became their mega-hit, they've been able to crank out consistent box office champions.  Star Wars is the next most represented franchise, with four films. which includes ALL of the Sequels, Rogue One and The Phantom Menace.  After that, you have 4 DC properties, 3 of them are Batman related (The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Joker) and one in the DCEU (Aquaman).

If you look at it by studio, Disney has over half of the movies on this list, which is incredible when you think about it.  This includes 8 Marvel movies and 4 Star Wars movies.  But the rest are mostly their children's movies including 4 PIXAR films (Finding Dory, Incredibles 2, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 4).  But this also includes 2 Pirates of the Caribbean films: Dead Man's Chest and On Stranger Tides.

Warner Bros has the next highest number with 8, which includes the above-mentioned DC movies as well as the first and the final Harry Potter movies as well as 2 Middle-Earth movies (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey).

Universal comes in 3rd with 7, that includes movies in three franchises: Jurassic Park, Fast and Furious, and Despicable Me.

In terms of which directors have the most movies on this list, its Joe and Anthony Russo with Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.  Other than them, 12 other directors have 2 movies on this list:

-Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee: Frozen 1 and 2

-Christopher Nolan: The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

-James Cameron: Titanic, Avatar

-James Wan: Furious 7, Aquaman

-JJ Abrams: The Force Awakens, The Rise of Skywalker

-Jon Watts: Spider-Man: Far from Home, No Way Home

-Joss Whedon: Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron

-Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin: Minions, Despicable Me 3

-Michael Bay: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Age of Extinction

-Peter Jackson: LOTR: The Return of the King and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

In terms of sequels:

-6 are Part 1

-6 are Part 2

-5 are Part 3, 

-5 are Part 4

-1 is Part 5

-1 is Part 6

-2 are Part 7

-2 are Part 8

-1 is Part 9

Some were not counted as sequels, but as part of existing franchises.  Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland was a kind of sequel to the original animated, so I wasn't sure how to count it.  3 movies are remakes.

Discovering the genre of each is tricky, since many movies cross over into multiple genres.  But in the simplest terms, the genre with the highest number of films is Super Hero with 15.  The next highest is SciFi with 13.

Of the 50 movies, 12 are ones where the lead character is female.

Of the 50 movies, 11 are animated, only one of which is hand-drawn.  The rest are computer animated.


As I stated above, every Hollywood Studio wants to be Marvel.  Disney has learned how to capitalize on branding to great success.  The reason why Hollywood is less likely to spend a huge amount of money on original ideas is because most of the films in this list are from already proven properties with built-in audiences.  

The real outlier here is Titanic.  It is a completely original movie with no possibilities for franchising that is not a Disney property and it is neither a superhero or SciFi film.  It is a romantic historical tragedy.  Keep in mind as well that this 3rd oldest movie on this list, so it does not enjoy the inflationary advantage that most of these other movies have.  Looking back, it makes me appreciate even more what an utter phenomenon Titanic was.

I've seen all of the movies on this list except for one (Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland).  There are few truly great movies on this list.  Many are good to decent.  There is only one that I would say is bad (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom).  What this tells me is that generally audiences like good movies.  The truly bad or the truly excellent may not always be pleasing to the widest audience.  Of the movies on this list 8 fall were awarded by Best Movie of the Year (Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Infinity War, Joker, and Spider-Man: No Way Home).

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Film Flash: DC League of Super-Pets


DC League of Super-Pets.jpg

15 words or less film review (full review to follow soon)

Super enjoyable for DC fans, but inserts too much mature content for a CHILDREN'S movie.

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Film Flash: The Gray Man (Netflix)


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15 words or less film review (full review to follow soon)

One of the best action movies I've seen lately with a Gosling/Evans charisma overload.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

San Diego ComicCon 2022 - DC

 San Diego ComicCon had a lot of news come out for upcoming Geek Pop Culture.  In my last post we focused on the MCU.  Now we will turn our attention to DC,

The DCEU is still pushing forward.  As far as I know there was nothing mentioned about the upcoming Flash movie.  This makes sense because Ezra Miller is a PR nightmare.  Warner Bros may have just spent hundreds of millions of dollars on an unreleasable movie because of Miller.  However, there are two other DC films that were given trailers.


The trailer released really didn't give much more than had been seen already.  We saw a bit more of the Justice Society, which was very cool.  Dwayne Johnson did make a very cool entrance into Hall H as Black Adam himself.  Johnson seems to have a real affection for this character.  Black Adam does not feel like just another big budget job for him.  I like that and it builds up a great deal of good will for me.


If the first one was Big but with superpowers, I get the feeling that this one will be The Goonies, but with superpowers.  You can see the not-so-subtle nod to that 80's classic in the trailer released.  I like the fact that Billy wonders where he fits into the DCEU in a way that a kid would.  This could come off as very low brow.  But there was something about that line, "I just threw a truck at a dragon...My life is awesome!"  There is something that rings so true to the idea of a kid with super powers.

And that's it.  We are still waiting to hear what will happen with Henry Cavill as Superman, more about the Joker sequel and the next The Batman.

Because of the corporate restructuring, I can understand Warner Bros. not giving a solid plan, but I'm hoping that things get settled soon so that we can see what is coming ahead for my favorite heroes.

Monday, July 25, 2022

San Diego ComicCon 2022 - The MCU

Thank you for your patience, dear reader.  In the last week or so I finished directing a musical and I took the written part of a my comprehensive exam for a Master's degree in Philosophy.  The musical went well.  I am still waiting to find out how I did not my exam.

Anyway, I know I have a great deal to catch up on.  

 This year's San Diego International Comic Con is wrapping up.  In the past, this event has been the Super Bowl of Comic Book related news and announcements. 

In this post I will look at the updates to the MCU.  In future posts I will look at other announcements from the event.


The MCU has laid out their plan for the foreseeable future.

Iron Man through Avengers: Endgame (with Spider-Man: Far From Home as an epilogue) has been labeled The Infinity Saga.  This current cycle of movies and TV shows will be known as The Multiverse Saga.

Below is the plan going forward.


There are only two more projects for this phase remaining.

  • She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law: August 17, 2022

Of all the Disney+ shows, this one looks like it could be the worst.  I'm not opposed to the comedic tone, but it seems so out of step with the what has made Marvel the most successful cinematic franchise.  The shame of it is that I think the concept is fascinating: super-powered legal show.  But it seems to be focusing on Jen's neuroticism rather than the fascinating topic.

  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: November 11, 2022

Seeing the teaser was a bit emotional.  The visuals are beautiful, but it did not give us any insight as to what is happening in the story now that Chadwick Boseman has passed.  We also see the introduction of Namor: the Sub-Mariner.  I would like the look of the character a lot more if he did not have that piercing through his nasal septum.  It is too distracting.


Here is the plan for the next phase:

  • Ant Man & The Wasp: Feb 17, 2023
They are supposed be have Kang be the main villain of this story.  This is interesting considering (as we shall see later) the new Thanos of this phase is Kang.  We saw him introduced in Loki, so it will be interesting how and why he interacts with Ant-Man and the Wasp

The Ant-Man movies have been fine and fun, but not the top tier of the MCU

  • What If...? Season 2, Early 2023
The first season was half good.  Each episode it seemed that the first half was a simple rehash of the story we already know, but the second half of each episode tended to be very good.  

With the focus on the Multiverse Saga, I'm wondering if we might eventually get a non-animated Uatu
  • Secret Invasion: Spring 2023
This is a cool concept from the comics: the shapeshifting Skrulls have been secretly replacing key Marvel characters for years.  In the comics, the execution of this story was not great.  But this Disney+ show could be cool, focusing on Nick Fury and Maria Hill.

  • GOTG Vol 3: May 5, 2023
This might be the most anticipated of this phase.  It is the capper to the Guardians trilogy.  While the 2nd one was okay, the first one is at the top of my list of MCU films.

  • Echo: Summer 2023
I honestly don't know why they are making this show.  This character was only mildly intersting in the Hawkeye show, so I am not really excited for this.

  • The Marvels: July 28, 2023
As Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel haven't been that exciting, I'm not really excited for this one either.  I believe that Monica Rambeau is going to be in this too and I really liked her in WandaVision, so that could be cool.
  • Loki season 2: Summer 2023
The last season was enjoyable (though I am still creeped out about the idea that he was in love with a female version of himself).  I thought of it as the closest thing in the MCU to Doctor Who.  Since the this show really brought forward the multiverse, I'm looking forward to how this will shape the story going forward.

  • Blade: November 3, 2023
I am very curious as to how dark they are going to let this movie get.  Blade is an incredibly cool character and I like the casting.  So far they have not released any real images or information, so we will see.
  • Ironheart: Fall 2023
Riri Williams is horrible in the comics.  Miles Morales is too, but he was awesome in the Into the Spider-Verse.  Kate Bishop is insufferable in the comics, but she was fairly enjoyable in Hawkeye.  America Chavez is also horribly written in the comics, but she wasn't that bad in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.  I am hoping that they are able to do the same for Riri, otherwise, this show will not be very enjoyable.
  • Agatha: Coven of Chaos: Winter 2023/2024
While she was a fun part of WandaVision, I don't see how they are going to build an entire series around her.
  • Daredevil: Born Again (18 episodes!): Spring 2024
Of all of the announcements going forward, this is the one that I am most excited about.  I recently completed watching Season 3 of the Netflix Daredevil show and it was amazing.  I'm so glad that they are bringing back Charlie Cox and Vincent D'Onofrio.  I'm curious if this "Disneyfied" version will be very different than what has come before.  But these actors have earned enough good will from me to be completely into this show.  I hope the other supporting cast comes back as well.
  • Captain America: New World Order: May 3, 2024
I really liked Sam Wilson's journey to embracing being Captain America.  While his show had a few flaws, Anthony Mackie carried it as the moral center.  I'd like to see where this movie takes him.
  • Thunderbolts: July 26, 2024
I won't spoil this story for anyone who hasn't read the comic, but this could be one of the best parts of phase 5.  The concept is awesome and I think they've been planting the seeds of who is going to be a part of this team.  This could be cool.


Only 3 things were announced for Phase 6

  • Fantastic Four: November 8, 2024
I know that it is silly, but my jaw dropped to see John Krasinski as Reed Richards.  Marvel has not confirmed whether or not he will be the MCU's official Mr. Fantastic, but he should be.  Right now the my ideal casting would be:
-John Krasinski: Mr. Fantastic
-Emily Blunt: Invisible Woman
-Ving Rhames: The Thing
-Joe Keery: The Human Torch.

It seems like this is the only former Fox property that Marvel is introducing in now.  I think they are keeping the X-Men characters in reserve for the post-Phase 6.

  • Avengers: The Kang Dynasty May 2, 2025
This shows the Marvel is all in on Kang as their main baddy.  What is great about this using Kang is that in the comics there are so many versions of him throughout the timestream that they can explore some really interesting stories.

The question now is: who is in the Avengers?  With most of the founders dead or gone, who is going to be considered the main Avengers team.
  • Avengers: Secret Wars:  November 7, 2025
This looks to be the conclusion of the Multiverse Saga.  And if they decide to throw everything and the kitchen sink here, we could have some incredible fun like we did in Spider-Man: No Way Home, where alternate universe versions of any Marvel property throughout the years could make their way here.  


Monday, July 18, 2022

New Evangelizers Post: Persistence, Progress, and Hope: Lessons from Overturning Roe v. Wade



I have a new article up at  

It is difficult to describe the seismic shift that has occurred with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Because of this Supreme Court decision, each state will be able to vote on its own abortion laws. Now, millions of unborn children will have a greater chance to avoid being murdered in the womb.

And while I have written already about how we have to keep moving forward to change hearts and create a Culture of Life, I thought it would be a good idea to look back at what lessons we can learn from the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The three most important takeaways for us are in the areas of Persistence, Progress, and Hope.


A consistent spiritual lesson that Christ gave us what to be persistent in our prayers. He said:

“In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:2-8)

In another place, He said:

And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. (Luke 11:5-13)

In both cases, the person representing the Christian has a request that is not met right away. The lesson is that we should not be discouraged, but persist all the more.

Why would God make us wait? The people who are being petitioned in the parables are selfish, but Our Lord is not.
If He has the power to answer right away, why does He not?

Part of the reason may be that we must become people who are dedicated to the request.

On of my favorite martial arts movies is a film called Shaolin Temple (although it has other names). In this movie, people who want to enter the Temple and learn Kung Fu must kneel outside the gates for days without food, water, or sleep. Very few people persist to the point where they are called in. This is not a simple matter of hazing. The purpose was to reveal, even to the person kneeling, how dedicated he was to his request.

For nearly half a century, we have been praying for the overturning of Roe. And our persistence has transformed us into a people dedicated to a Culture of Life. Those of you who are parents know what it is for your child to come to you and beg for the latest video game or to go the concert of the latest trendy musical act. In these cases, the child may request with great fervor. But you know how often a new obsession will come along, leaving behind the old ones.

Would we do this with our prayers for overturning Roe? Our persistence changed us. The persistence made us more dedicated.


One of the lies of the modern wold is the myth of progress. There is a prevailing feeling that society is moving in one single direction and it is one that some call progress, but other see as the degradation of humanity.

As a high school theology teacher, I can tell you that this is often how it feels. Standing against all of the toxicity of modern culture feelings like standing knee-deep in the surf trying to hold back the tide. JRR Tolkien thought of human history as a long defeat (ending in final victory).

But the idea that society is only going in one that I think we’ve picked up from Darwin. On his view, that which comes next is better than what has come before. Of course, great thinkers like Aristotle did not agree. For Aristotle, a thing is best when it acts in accord with its nature. Just because humanity is breaking new barriers, particularly in areas of sexuality and the family, it does not mean that it is progressing towards the good.

CS Lewis famously wrote in Mere Christianity, “We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”

In other words, if we are progressing towards what is best, then this may mean a return to truths that may have been abandoned. In the case of overturning Roe, the idea that progress inevitable and irrevocably moves in one direction is a lie.


But probably the most important thing that overturning Roe has reminded us of is the virtue of hope.

I will be honest, there were times when I felt like the fight to overturn Roe was futile and that Pro-lifers were taking our last stand at the Alamo. On the day that Roe was overturned, there were tears in my eyes. I kept wondering if this was real. I remembered the Scripture:

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy. (Psalm 126: 1-4)

But the overturning of Roe should remind us that there is nothing in the world that is beyond the power of God. If I asked you to tell me what was wrong with the world today, I’m sure you could write a book.

And yet all of these problems can be overcome by the power of God. Hope is a powerful thing. And to forces of darkness, it is dangerous.

You can read the whole article here.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Trailer Time: The Lord of the Rings - The Rings of Power Teaser 2

Visually, this show looks stunning.

And I know that this is still just a teaser, but I still have no idea what this show is about.  I know that they are trying to tease us with some great evil that Galadriel has witnessed, but I'm not sure that this is grabbing me.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this looks bad.  I just don't have a strong attachment to it like I have other Tolkien projects.

If I were to guess, I would think that the sky rock that we've seen teased will be the source of the material out of which the rings of power are made.  I'm curious if this is a piece of an exploding volcano or Mt Doom or if it is an asteroid.  If it is an asteroid, I'm not sure how that would fit into Tolkien's cosmology.

Thoughts so far?

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Film Review: Thor - Love and Thunder


Sexuality/Nudity Mature
Violence Acceptable
Vulgarity Acceptable

Anti-Catholic Philosophy Mature

Your enjoyment of this movie will depend greatly on how you respond to writer/director Taika Waititi's humor.

I am not a fan.

His critically acclaimed Jojo Rabbit, for which he won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, is a tedious and pretentious movie that thinks it is deeper than it is.  I admit I am in the minority on this opinion.  Many, especially younger people, respond very strongly to his work.  Waititi's style is to wrap intense drama in ironic humor so that the two things become more impactful by juxtaposing each other. 

 At least that is the goal.  

Instead, I find that without mixing the two elements in the proper combination, the dramatic moments feel unearned and the humor comes off as cheap.  Perhaps younger people respond to him because his movies have the maturity of a teenager.

That is essentially the problem with Thor: Love and Thunder.


The movie picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth), has been traversing the cosmos with the Guardians of the Galaxy.  But the god of thunder is weary and is looking for some meaning in his life.  Meanwhile back on Earth, Thor's ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is dying of cancer.  Feeling her life slip away, she feels a call to Mjolnir, Thor's hammer that was shattered in Thor: Ragnarok, which lies in pieces at New Asgard waiting Excalibur-like for someone worthy to restore it.  Things come together when Gorr the God-Killer (Christian Bale) arrives in New Asgard and kidnaps several Asgardian children.  So it will be up to Thor, Jane, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and Korg (Taika Waititi) to save the day.

On paper, this is standard Marvel stuff.  And this movie draws its source material from two very good comic storylines.

Gorr is a very intersting character.  On his planet, he was a very pious man, who begged his god Rapu (Johnny Brugh) to help him and his daughter (India Rose Hemsworth) as they were dying of thirst in the desert.  Rapu's callus and mocking response to Gorr's suffering causes him to renounce his faith in his god.  Gorr also happens upon something called the Necrosword which gives its user the power to kill gods.

In more capable hands, this could have been an incredibly deep exploration of the mystery of suffering and religious faith.  Instead, it feels like it was written by a college freshmen who has read Friedrich Nietzsche for the first time.  The gods are condemned as vile and noxious, worthy of our condemnation instead of our worship.  I wish Waititi would have read something like CS Lewis' Till We Have Faces, which handled this accusation in a very powerful way.

As a Christian, I don't take much offense at this.  Most of the pagan gods are vile and noxious.  It is one of the reasons why the loving and true God of Christianity was so appealing to the different pagan peoples of the world.  So when they portray Zeus (Russel Crowe) as a hedonistic, violent, egotist, it is very much in keeping with what we find in Greek mythology.  Marvel wisely does not lean heavily into this theme and make stronger parallels to modern religions.  That isn't to say that those digs are not present.  In the city of the gods, Omnipotent City, Thor points out the different gods.  One of them is off screen that he calls "The god of carpentry."  Again, Waititi thinks he is being clever when he is really being very tedious.

Waititi: (writes) "Look there is a the god of carpentry."

Audiences: (roll eyes)

Waititi: (mischievous grin) What?  I didn't say it was Jesus.  You can't get mad.

The second comic story that is here involves Jane Foster as the Mighty Thor.  The comics did a very good job dealing with Jane's contradictory feelings regarding wielding Mjolnir.  When she wields the hammer, she is healthy and powerful.  But the more she used the power, the faster her cancer worked at her body.   This is the backbone of a great character drama.  But Waititi whiffs this one too.  Even in her first scenes as she is getting treatment, the scene is filled with awkward jokes.  Movies like 50/50 showed that you can use even incredibly juvenile humor as a way to deal with the tragedy of cancer.  But Waititi never gets there.  It never feels credible or earned.  Portman does the best job she can with the part, but she is given very little space to explore this story.

Thor himself seems to get dummer with each movie.  He was never the brainiest, but he is clearly there to be the butt (sometimes literally) of most of the jokes.  He is dumb to the point of near incompetence.  This is not a good look for a hero.

Luckily, Thor never falls completely into that territory.  Hemsworth's charisma and performance always let you see his courage and his heart, despite the awkward humor.  He and Portman still have great chemistry that really helps sell their awkward but sincere relationship.  Bale chews the scenery, as if he enjoying the chance to play the "Joker" and not the "Batman" of the movie.  Thompson is fine as Valkyrie, but she doesn't have much in the way of personality.  The true is same for Korg.

Visually, the movie is very engaging.  The battle scenes are fun to watch.  Omnipotent City is more lavish and over-the-top than Asgard.  The fight in the Shadow Realm upon a tiny, tiny planet is incredibly well-shot and staged.  And I have to admit that Thor does something very intersting in his final battle with Gorr that shows the best of version of Waititi's mixing of the silly and the serious.

If Waititi did not feel the need to keep adding in more awkward humor and political/cultural commentary, there is an incredibly good Marvel movie here.  


I spent most of the movie slightly annoyed at the shifting tone and shallow drama.  But the last five minutes of the movie actually got to me despite my reservations.  I'm not saying that the ending fixes all the problems of the rest of the movie.  But I always tell my student directors that they want to end their movies "on an exclamation point."  You want to hit your audience in a way to make them feel something, anything in a strong way.  

And I'll be darned if that last shot and that last line didn't somehow get to me and make me smile.  For that reason I left the theater happier than I had seeing Thor: Ragnarok.  The ending reminded me that buried deep under the constant bombardment of awkward, modern humor there is a story worth watching.

Ragnarok film was its most successful Thor movie to date.  If Love and Thunder does equal or greater box office, then I think the god of thunder will be stuck with Waititi for years to come.

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