Posted by FatTommy
Neil Gaiman holds a special place in my heart because it was through him that I originally got into comics. A former co-worker from nearly 10 years ago had recommended I read American Gods. From there I branched out into many of his other novels and eventually made my way to the Sandman series. It was this series where I first cut my teeth on graphic novels. After plowing through this series I would periodically go through a Gaiman splurge anytime something of his was released. It was in one of these bouts of “collector madness” that I picked up the Eternals graphic novel, among a bunch of other things. Invariably though life got in the way and the pile of the unread got larger and larger. I’ve recently made a vow to read anything that’s been on my shelf for a long time so this is the first of many older releases that I’m going to be reviewing.
I should start by saying that I’ve never read the original Jack Kirby run of the Eternals, nor did I know anything about these characters besides the fact that some people in the Marvel universe are labeled as being “Eternals” in origin (I’m looking at you Sersi). That left me sort of confused through the first two issues as I tried to piece together who was who and what their relationships were. It wasn’t until the end that I started to understand what was going on but by that point the story feels like it abruptly ends.
Overall I didn’t get excited about this story. There are some cases where the usual Gaiman dialogue shows through but in general the story to me was a little “ho-hum”. Don’t get me wrong though, I feel like this story would be loved by any of the fans of the original series and characters. I just felt like someone on the outside looking in.
After doing some research after reading the story I can understand a lot more of what Gaiman was trying to do with this story. He was trying to rectify the continuity of the Enternals universe with that of the general Marvel universe. On that front he did an excellent job of making sense of things when I look at the story has a whole. I also realized that my lack of knowledge of the characters caused me to totally miss the whole twist of the book.
So in conclusion I wouldn’t be so harsh as to say that this book was a letdown. It was a good story that I’m glad I read but it didn’t reach the lofty goals I had for it. The failing was mostly my own though. I feel like this is not a standalone story that can be read in a vacuum. It must be read as a companion piece to the work that Jack Kirby started years ago. And with that in mind on the “Buy It”, “Borrow It” or “Boycott It” scale I’d give this book a rating of:
This film review may be a unique one since it is from the perspective of someone who knows a very little about the Thor of the Marvel universe. Sure, I like to think I know a lot about Norse mythology gained from years of playing video games, listening to heavy metal and being a nerd. But that only gives me a cursory knowledge about the Thor that Marvel fans hold dear. I mean, the little I know about Thor comes from Marvel 1602. Imagine my shock when space dark elves burst on the scene with implosion grenades. I don’t remember that from the folklore. But its blended so effortlessly that it all sort of makes sense. What other movie would you suspend your disbelief that a rock ogre and hover viking longboats could coexist? Granted, I have no idea if this is what the comics are like. But I don’t care.
I think part of the reason I liked this film so much was it sort of snuck up on me. I completely forgot this was coming out, and whenever I did remember I took care to avoid looking up any information about it. I think I also got confused by the trailer. It felt like enough of a cross between Star Trek Into Darkness and Super 8 (purely for the floating truck scene) that everytime I saw it the trailer I would think “I already saw this, no need to pay attention”. But eventually it hit theaters and I went to see it.
It’s tough portraying a hero that is basically invincible. That’s what Thor seems like compared to the other Avengers. I mean, he’s a god for crying out loud, what else can hurt him besides other gods? How can he be portrayed without getting “Superman-syndrome” (You know, furrow your brow a little bit like you’re actually having a hard time fighting but of course you’ll win in the end). I know, make him fight other gods! The world they’ve built for Thor is exactly what it has to be. Sure, he may be the Hercules of this pantheon, able to crush a rock ogre with a single swing, but you still feel like he’s struggling the whole way. This movie also doesn’t have to spend the time introducing us to characters like the first movie. He doesn’t have to learn how to become a man to learn how to be a hero. He’s already a hero and we get to tag along as he saves the world.
Overall the film had a good mix of comedy, action and suspense. And it might be because I’m one of the unwashed masses that never read a Thor comic, but I sat spellbound through the whole film wondering where they were going next with the story. Heck, even I was tricked by some of the twists sprinkled throughout the movie. It was just a fun movie that I can see myself coming back to in the coming years each time Marvel sends another hero to the box office.
I have plenty of cool parts that I liked in the movie, and I liked them because they stand out as something I hadn’t seen before. Implosion grenade destroying the throne of the All-father? Check. Teleportation battle between the nine worlds of viking myth? Check. Magic hammer dowsing rod that can turn on a dime? Check. That last one was my personal favorite. (“Mew-mew!”) Even what I thought was one of the weaker parts of the movie wasn’t bad enough to ruin it. I didn’t much like the dark elf phoenix force and how coincidental it was that Jane Foster found it but at least Marvel got to redo this famous scene with Dr. Selvig’s teleportation spears:
All in all a great movie that I had a lot of fun watching. I generally have a gut feeling of how I like a movie in how much I check my watch throughout the showing. This film I give a Wrist Watch Rating of: