Nowadays it almost seems the only movies worth watching on the big screen are those with fantastical special effects, larger than life characters, and storylines that make you feel good rather than have to overthink. The superhero era is not a new genre, but it never gets old. As we approach Christmastime, both Marvel and DC Comics offer up their versions of not just one superhero, but a team-full of them!
THOR RAGNAROK & JUSTICE LEAGUE CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF SUPERHEROES! Photo Gallery
MARVEL’s THOR RAGNAROK
Led the charge on Nov 3rd with our favourite hammer-wielding Thunder God in a familiar storyline of superhero fighting off supervillain, but while Thor (Chris Hemsworth) headlines the movie, we are in an era where one superhero is never enough. So we get the Hulk (Mark Rufallo) and Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) as well. For a superhero movie to work, the supervillain is always as important, and having the fabulous Cate Blanchett play Hela, the Goddess of Death, makes this an absolute treat. Chris Hemsworth is at his humorous best, while Cate Blanchett fills the baddie role in the most wonderfully malevolent way.
Her animal sidekick is a giant black wolfdog with qualities of an oversized puppy, that you feel almost bad when it gets knocked of the psychedelic highway bridge out of Asgard by the Incredible Hulk. While Thor is the star, he has his hammer smashed up early on by his sister Hela, leaving him super- powerless, which leads to his capture by a Valkyrian (Tessa Thompson), an Asgardian woman warrior. He is taken to a No Man’s Land, where he has his famous blonde locks chopped off and has to earn his freedom by dualling with his old friend the Hulk in a Gladiator-style competition.
Just when you wonder how else one can make a sequel work, Marvel offers up a completely fresh take on the superhero genre, fielding a superhero handicapped of his powers, surviving only on his wit and humour, and what’s left of his powers. And lest you think this comedic take makes light of superhero-ness, and I assure you I am the biggest critic of overly slapstick humour, what laugh-out-loud lines get served up in Thor Ragnarok are never out of place. A wonderful feel- good watch indeed to lead us into the holiday season!
DC COMICS follows hot on the heels of THOR RAGNAROK with their version of the superhero team-up with JUSTICE LEAGUE, featuring not one, two or three but SIX superheroes in one movie!
When Avengers came out, while a box office smash, I didn’t think it worked all that well – dialogue was superficial and the storyline simplistic at best, crude at worst. There was simply too much going on. It’s always tricky when you have not one superstar but many. But in Justice League’s defence, despite some critics bashing what they call a fragmented patch-up job, this movie delivers. Like they say, when you refer to Rotten Tomatoes (the go-to movie review site) for ratings, look at the “Popcorn” meter, not the “Tomatoes”. If what you want is an entertaining watch rather than an Oscar-winning turn, go for the popcorn. Now I almost shy away from movies with Tomato ratings that are too high – overly intelligent fare looking to catch the attention of the Academy Awards, and almost guaranteed to send you to sleep at the cinema.
In JUSTICE LEAGUE, Ben Affleck returns as Batman, and the story picks up where BATMAN vs SUPERMAN left off, with Superman still dead. Batman then goes about gathering up a superhero team AVENGERS-style, recruiting Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to fight the mighty villain Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds) who wants to end the world. While creator Zack Snyder had to leave the project due to family reasons, he handed the reins to superhero doyen Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed The Avengers, and who shares writing credits with Snyder. The result is a movie that’s a satisfying combination of Snyder’s seriousness with Whedon’s more light-hearted approach. While it is not written up as a comedy, you get the occasional one-liner that reminds you you’re watching a fantasy superhero movie unbridled by the rules of the real world. In the end, they manage to bring Superman (Henry Cavill) back from the dead to save the day. Both movies share many thematic similarities – both have all-powerful supervillains whose sole purpose is to end the world – and both have saviours that at the eleventh hour find power from within to quash the great evil enemy, seemingly quite easily.
In times when real life news consists of so much bad news, it is nice that at the movies, all you need is a superhero to come along and save the day. But as these new Superhero offerings suggest, superpowers are within you. THOR needed to lose his magical hammer to realize that his superpowers lay not in an object, but within him. CYBORG, half- man-half-machine and the product of his scientist dad concocting a Frankenstein of sorts, had to be recruited to save the world to see that his differences were a strength not a curse. SUPERMAN was dead for most of the movie, reminding us that even superheroes can die. And BATMAN, what was his superpower again, asked the Flash? Well, Ben Affleck sums it up in his wisecrack, “I’m rich.” There you have it, money really can buy anything!