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Chris Hemsworth’s Thor

Jaron Pak

Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World

There’s no doubt that Chris Hemsworth’s Thor has seen a massive overhaul — and a haircut, too — in his last pair of appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Most of the changes have been for the good, bringing a fresh spark of life to a character who had, before Thor: Ragnarok, been more or less meandering his way through the MCU, overpowered and underappreciated.

But of all the changes in Thor’s life, one that’s been given strangely little attention is the matter of Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). A preeminent astrophysicist and a love interest of the Asgardian god for years, Jane had played a key role in the first two installments of the Thor series. Then, suddenly, she was gone, seemingly written out of the whole MCU with a quick explanation that she had “dumped” Thor (though he argues to the contrary).

Breakup details aside, what exactly happened to Jane Foster? In the comic world, Foster has actually had an epic character arc that involved a bout with cancer and a long stint in which she actually takes up the mantle of Thor herself. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, that’s far from likely at this point. Here’s why Jane Foster doesn’t see Thor anymore.

Dark trouble

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While we all like to think that a character leaving a series is simply a mutual parting of ways behind the camera, it appears that may not be the case here. According to a story from Cinema Blend, when Portman was brought on to reprise her role as Jane Foster in Thor: The Dark World, she apparently was brimming with enthusiasm at the thought of working with then-director Patty Jenkins. She even appears to have pushed off plans to take a break from acting and spend more time with her newborn son in order to take part in the movie.

From there, though, things went south fairly quickly. Jenkins was replaced by Alan Taylor (don’t worry, she landed on her feet, directing DC’s hit Wonder Woman instead), and the change seems to have left a bad taste in Portman’s mouth. While she did finish principal photography for The Dark World — a film that ended up being largely considered the weakest of the three Thor movies thus far — she subsequently turned down a request to return for reshoots. It’s not surprising, then, that with the Thor storyline looking at the time like it might sputter out, Portman would have had very little motivation to proactively continue her role in the MCU.

Replaceable?

The mantra of Thor: Ragnarok seemed to be “out with the old and in with the new.” From characters like the Warriors Three and Dr. Selvig to the earthbound settings of the first two movies, Ragnarok blew the franchise wide open by creating a movie that brought a whole new ensemble of characters (and an old friend from work) into a galaxy-wide romp that had very little to do with the Thor franchise of old. One of the major developments that this massive overhaul brought about was the introduction of the character Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson).

A comparison of two characters as diametrically different as Jane Foster and Valkyrie can be difficult. On the one hand, Foster is a genuine hero for mankind through her research and scientific acumen. On the other, you can’t beat a renegade warrior that flies on a pegasus wielding a Dragonfang, right? Is there even a competition here?

In the comic books, Foster genuinely does develop into something “larger than life,” but in the MCU, she remains somewhat shackled by her human existence. With movie events going increasingly cosmic, it’s not going to get any easier for her to keep up. It’s only natural, then, if Valkyrie fills the role of the long-term leading female character of the franchise.

Weaving a new tale

Plenty of “behind the scenes” elements have kept Natalie Portman out of the MCU, from directorial disapproval to a lack in character evolution. Ragnarok’s throwaway breakup line dispatches Jane as quickly as possible, while still leaving a door open for her to return in the future. The fact remains, though, that the story just doesn’t have much of a use for her anymore.

As recently as February of 2018, Portman made it clear that she was open to returning to the MCU. But the truth is, the writers have done a pretty good job of cutting Foster out at this point. Rather than being a detriment to Thor’s character, some distance from the relationship seems to have given the Thunder God’s tale a boost. In the short space of two movies (including Infinity War, which didn’t even have that much time to spend with Thor), the folks at Marvel have adroitly managed to weave so many new elements into his character arc that, at the end of the day, the absence of Foster was more of an afterthought than the gaping plot hole it could have been.

The Monarch

One thing that’s definitely keeping Thor occupied as of late is his long-awaited coronation as the new king of Asgard. Ever since his first movie, he has been preparing to take the throne, but his various trials and tribulations as an Avenger and a protector of the Nine Realms kept delaying his rise. With the death of Odin in Raganrok, though, he at last inherited the crown.

Of course, this also coincided with a bunch of other fairly dire goings-on that kept him from simply ruling in peace. Rather than shepherding his flourishing people into a new and vibrant age, Thor’s duties as king immediately dragged him into a whirlwind of monarchical issues, from watching out for his usurping siblings to trying to head off the unleashing of Ragnarok itself. Needless to say, maintaining personal relationships had to take a backseat to the requirements of keeping a kingdom from crumbling.

The Savior

Becoming king didn’t mean Thor’s other roles could just be abandoned, of course. The man — er, god — has been extremely busy running around the universe, saving people left and right. Even in The Dark World and the first Avengers flick — points in time where Jane Foster was still clearly in the picture — he was already having to make excuses about being absent for so long without touching base. All things considered, though, his excuses are pretty good compared to, say, a drunk boyfriend getting home late because he was out with the boys.

From invasions of Asgard to the Battle of New York (an event that gets Foster particularly steamed for his being so close to her and not visiting), Thor was already going years between communications even before she broke up with him. And, as we all know, long-distance relationships like these often tend to not work out. Add in the unleashing of Ragnarok and the war against Thanos, and the case can be pretty soundly made that Thor is just too busy at work to tend to his personal life at the moment.

Mommy and Daddy issues

The big political issues in Thor’s life are clear, but let’s dig a little deeper into the home front for a minute here. The end of Jane Foster’s role in the story coincided with two important deaths: Frigga’s and Odin’s. Thor’s mother was killed in The Dark World while actively fighting to save Jane from being captured by dark elves, and then his father died early in the events of Ragnarok.

There’s no doubt that Thor’s seen a lot of people die over the years. He is a warrior, after all. But when it’s a parent that you’re watching die, let alone both parents, it can really start to get to you. And we’re not talking about hospital bedside deaths, either. His mom was stabbed to death and bled out in his father’s arms, and his father vaporized in front of his eyes. It’s pretty fair to assume that Thor will be dealing with some PTSD for a while.

Sibling rivalry

The anguish of losing loved ones doesn’t stop at his parents. Thor has seen his family torn to shreds over the course of his last few movies. Loki, the adopted prince of Asgard, has had quite a turbulent ride through the MCU thus far, playing the role of the key evil villain in Avengers (working for Thanos, as we eventually learned), along with numerous betrayals and usurpations that have left Thor angry, devastated, and just plain confused. Betrayals aside, even when Loki’s fallen in line with the good guys, he’s still put Thor through emotional trauma by “dying” multiple times, whether tumbling through space or falling on a blade. Finally, Thor had to watch as Loki was slain by Thanos once and for all… or was he? Yes, he was. Maybe.

And then there’s Hela. Thor’s sister and the Goddess of Death, her presence in the story was a bit shorter than Loki’s, but just as damaging, if not more so. Hela played the chief antagonist in Ragnarok, usurping Thor’s position as ruler of Asgard and leading with a death-hardened fist. Thor was forced to help bring about Ragnarok just to stop (and kill) her. Between a brother who stabs you in the back and a sister who just wants to get rid of you forever, Thor’s family is another factor that has kept the Son of Odin understandably too busy for courtship.

Hobbies

So, Thor has had to lead his people, protect the universe, and deal with a seriously dysfunctional family. All of that on its own would be far and away enough to prevent him from taking Jane out for dinner and a movie every weekend. But let’s not forget another easily overlooked factor here: his hobbies.

From chilling with the Avengers — remember that “unworthy” party scene with the hammer in the Avengers Tower in Age of Ultron? — to his fledgling career as a champion gladiator on Sakaar, sometimes a king/warrior/family man just needs a chance to kick back and put his feet up. Of course, the party in Avengers Tower was cut short by Ultron’s arrival and the gladiator bit may have been a form of slavery. Still, that beaming grin on his face proves that even at his worst moments, Thor’s always looking for a bit of fun to distract him from his laundry list of obligations.

The Mad Titan

In current news, there’s also that little matter of Thanos wiping out half the universe with a single snap of his fingers. One could point to work, hobbies, and family loyalties as simple excuses for why a boyfriend can’t spend time hanging out with his gal, but when half the universe is gone and it’s partly because you didn’t aim for the head, people are going to give you the stink-eye no matter where you try going out for dinner.

Jokes aside, Thor is obviously going to be front and center in the Avengers’ upcoming universe-saving jamboree. From his freshly leveled-up lightning powers to his shiny new weapon, both Ragnarok and Infinity War spent a lot of time shaping the grief-stricken King of Asgard into what will clearly be a critical piece of the puzzle in the final toppling of Thanos. And if you thought the Battle of New York was a good enough excuse to not drop in for a quick visit, you can bet the galaxy-wide, time-warping adventure is going to keep Thor’s hands as full as possible while he’s busy stopping the Mad Titan.

Just not compatible

In the end, sometimes the simplest answer is the best one. Jane Foster and Thor are clearly just not compatible. Sure, they met when Thor was in mostly human form, and he’s not thirty feet tall or green or transparent (these are important details for your dating profile if you live in the Marvel Universe), but seriously, how long could they last? Plenty of celebrity couples manage to overcome a significant age difference, but your man being over 1,500 years old is an undeniable red flag.

The plain fact of the matter is that Thor is a god and Jane Foster is not. You can’t beat around that bush, at least not at this point. Sure, the comics bring Foster into the Thor role, and even in The Dark World, she came incredibly close to some god-level power (she did have an Infinity Stone inside of her for a while there), but she eventually became plain old human Jane Foster again. The MCU missed its chance to make her more compatible with the God of Thunder and passed on it.

We can pretty safely assume that Jane Foster and Thor’s break-up was for the better at this point. Jane can go on studying and doing important science things while Thor continues saving the universe, and no one’s feelings need to get hurt.

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How Thor: Ragnarok radically changed the MCU and no one seemed to notice

Michileen Martin
The ranks of the Avengers in the comics include soldiers, sorcerers, sentient robots, mutants, spies, mercenaries, cowboys, monsters, aliens, scientists, blind lawyers, kung-fu warriors, African kings, Aquatic kings, and smart-asses in spider suits. In fact, not only do pagan gods come in and out of the ranks of the Avengers on a regular basis, but in the comics, those gods don’t limit themselves to the Nordic. Gods of Greek myth and heroes of Egyptian legend have Avengers membership cards. The Avengers of the comics have fought angry gods, alien hordes, hungry vampires, and everything in between.

As cool as that might sound, it posed a real challenge for the creators at Marvel Studios. It’s one thing to have gods and robots and wizards rubbing elbows in a comic book, but in live-action films striving to be taken seriously, that’s a bit more difficult.

The solution was a consistent theme throughout the MCU films: the notion that in the Marvel world, magic and science are the same. The characters we might otherwise perceive as gods or magical monsters are just aliens. A flying hammer and a rainbow bridge are no different than one of Rocket Raccoon’s cool gadgets.

With the release of Thor: Ragnarok, all that changed — and with it, some fundamental aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thing is, the movie was so much fun, no one seemed to notice. Here’s how Thor: Ragnarok radically changed the MCU. Spoilers ahead!

We are NOT gods

In the comics, there’s no argument: Thor is a god. So are Odin and Ares and a bunch of other gods. With the exception of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s re-imagining of the Avengers in their fantastic Ultimates series — in which it’s unclear until the end of the series whether Thor is actually a god or a delusional nurse who stumbled upon his superpowers — it never seems to bother anyone that all these gods of Greek and Norse mythology are hanging out in New York City and having brawls.

This hasn’t been the case in the films. In 2011’s Thor it was implied that Asgardians were not gods, but aliens mistaken as gods by the Vikings. Darcy introduces the idea to Jane Foster and Erik Selvig.

You could argue there was no confirmation of this in Thor. Besides, while Thor never calls himself a god in early movies, plenty of other characters do. Black Widow, Tony Stark, and Nick Fury all call him a god. Even the Hulk calls Loki a “puny god.” But they’re all members of the same “primitive” culture unable to comprehend the Asgardians. Loki refers to himself as a god, of course, but considering his arrogance, he’d likely call himself that whether he was from Asgard, Jotunheim, or Hoboken.

By the first few minutes of 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, there’s no argument. It’s confirmed. “We are not gods,” Odin tells Loki. Not counting his narration over the prologue, it’s one of Odin’s first lines of dialogue in the film. “We are not gods. We are born. We live. We die. Just as humans do.”

Magic vs. Science or Magic = Science?

It seems clear the storytellers of the MCU wanted to prepare audiences for the synergy between science and magic they would see in Avengers by laying the groundwork in Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.

In Thor, the Odinson tells Jane Foster, “Your ancestors called it magic and you call it science. Well, I come from a place where they’re one and the same thing.” He goes on to show Foster in her own notes how the Yggdrassil, or World Tree, of Norse myth connects with her own theories of the universe. In the post-credits scene when Dr. Selvig meets Nick Fury, the latter unveils the Tesseract, saying, “Legend tells us one thing, history another. But every now and then we find something that belongs to both.”

According to the Red Skull of Captain America: The First Avenger, this understanding of the synergy between magic and science is precisely what makes him superior to others. As he toys with the Tower Keeper who guards the Tesseract, he tells them they are alike because “what others see as superstition, you and I know to be a science.” Later, when Hitler sends his underlings to get an update from the Red Skull, one of the Nazis scoffs at the villain, asking him if he plans to win the war with “magic.” The Red Skull corrects him. “Science,” he says. “But I understand your confusion. Great power has always baffled primitive men.”

Part, but not the whole

The merging of science and magic is a consistent theme through many of the other films. Usually the connections are blatant, but sometimes it’s more subtle.

In Thor: The Dark World, when Thor brings Jane Foster to Asgard to find out what’s happened to her, Foster is subjected to tests directed by an Asgardian woman named Eir. Foster thinks she recognizes what’s happening and asks, “That’s a quantum field generator, isn’t it?” Eir tells her it’s a Soul Forge. Jane asks, “Does this Soul Forge transfer molecular energy from one place to another?” Eir tells her it does. “Quantum field generator,” Jane whispers to Thor, clearly pleased with herself.

The Soul Forge and other Asgardian tech is operated with the same motion/touch methods we not only see Tony Stark using in Iron Man, but that we see in the everyday lives of aliens in Guardians of the Galaxy and the vibranium-enhanced Wakanda of Black Panther.

Even in Doctor Strange, arguably the magic heart of the MCU, the connections between science and magic are clear. When Strange first meets her, the Ancient One shows him a chakra chart, an acupuncture chart, and an MRI scan. She tells him that each was created by someone who could see “in part, but not the whole.” She invites him to think of magic spells as “programs,” describing them as “The source code that shapes reality.” When Strange asks how he could possibly ever learn to do what she does, the Ancient One responds by asking him how he was able to be a neurosurgeon.

We see it even in Ant-Man. The subatomic realm where Ant-Man almost loses himself could easily find a home in the dimensions Strange’s astral form is sent flying through by the Ancient One in Doctor Strange.

Just kidding, we’re totally gods

With Thor: Ragnarok, everything changed.

From the beginning, the change is clear. Surtur’s rantings about the coming of Ragnarok are all about prophecy, and prophecy hasn’t reared its head in the MCU before now.

Without any kind of explanation, suddenly the Asgardians are gods. Thor, Loki, Odin, and Hela all refer to themselves and others as gods. “I’m the goddess of death,” Hela sneers at Thor in the film’s climax. “What were you the god of again?” In a psychic conversation with Odin, complaining he can’t defeat Hela without his hammer, Odin asks Thor, “Are you the god of hammers?” Doctor Strange calls Thor the god of thunder when he meets him and Thor refers to himself the same way several times. He calls his brother the god of mischief and his sister the goddess of death. He’s a god, she’s a god, everyone’s a god. If Ray from Ghostbusters was in Thor: Ragnarok, he’d be a god too. And Winston wouldn’t even have to say anything.

In a way, regardless of quality,Thor: Ragnarok is kind of a reverse Highlander 2. While Highlander 2 just snapped its fingers and, without any kind of attempt at audience preparation, took all these swordsmen of legend and made them aliens from outer space, Thor: Ragnarok took a bunch of space aliens and made them gods. The transition was easier for Thor: Ragnarok, because the characters already looked like gods and spoke like gods, whereas none of the guys in Highlander were dressed in shiny jumpsuits or had lightsabers.

A goat at a banquet table

One of the starkest differences between Thor: Ragnarok and what came before is Odin’s behavior toward Earth and humans. Before Ragnarok, Odin speaks of humans as unfortunately inferior at best. At worst, he just flat out insults them.

Earth is just one of many realms to Odin in the first two Thor films, but in Ragnarok he speaks of it with reverence. He speaks of Norway as a long lost mother country.

In Thor: The Dark World, as he tries to convince Thor to forget Jane Foster, Odin tells his son, “Human lives are fleeting. They’re nothing.” Later, when Thor brings Jane to Asgard to find out what’s wrong with her, Odin says of humans, “Illness is their defining trait.” Demanding Thor send Jane back to Earth, Odin says, “She does not belong here in Asgard any more than a goat belongs at a banquet table.”

Most people would consider a bad first reaction to their significant others meeting the ‘rents. Yet in Ragnarok, when Doctor Strange send the sons of Odin to meet their father in Norway, Odin tells Loki and Thor to remember the place. He notes its beauty. He calls it “home.” Later, as he psychically contacts the nearly defeated Thor, Odin tells his son that Norway could be a new home to the Asgardian survivors.

Tea?

Doctor Strange was released only a year before Thor: Ragnarok, yet in the scene when Thor finds himself in the Greenwich Village Sanctum Sanctorum, magic already works much differently than it did in Strange’s own film.

In Doctor Strange, magic is portrayed as following specific rules. Almost everything the different magic users do begins with the fiery patterns they make in the air, or in mystical items imbued with power like the sling rings or Strange’s Cloak of Levitation. But when Thor and Strange meet in Thor: Ragnarok, things work differently. Strange teleports himself and Thor throughout the house at a pace that disorients and annoys Thor, without using his sling ring or making even the slightest motion with his hand. Thor finds himself inexplicably holding a cup of tea and then a bottomless mug of beer.

In Strange’s own film these things would seem impossible, yet here magic is being handled in the more undefinable way we see in older comics. He doesn’t even bother with a single “Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth” or “by the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak” or something silly like that.

Just another spaceship

Ironically, even though Thor: Ragnarok ended the established godlessness of Asgard and the magic/science synergy, much of what makes the film so damn fun is exactly what it’s throwing away.

Thor’s adventures on the planet Sakaar give us some of the best moments of the film. It’s where Thor battles the Hulk, where we meet the hilarious Grandmaster and the tough-as-nails “boozehead” Valkyrie. And of course it’s where we learn about Thor and Loki’s well-loved childhood game, “Get Help.”

None of it would make sense without everything that’s come before — and everything Ragnarok is willfully forgetting. The fact that the Asgardians were established as aliens instead of gods is precisely why Thor, Loki, and Valkyrie are not as out of their element as they otherwise might be. Thor isn’t shocked by meeting a group of aliens moments after he arrives on Sakaar. He isn’t confused by their technology. Valkyrie clearly has an intuitive command over her spaceship, using it to easily mow down the aliens trying to kidnap Thor even though she’s drunk. Loki navigates the technology so well he’s able to steal security codes from the Grandmaster. Odin’s sons wield laser rifles as comfortably as we’ve seen them wield hammers and daggers respectively, and when Thor steals the Grandmaster’s ship, he says it should be no problem to figure out because after all, “it’s just another spaceship.” Indeed, he handles it just fine.

Even Bruce Banner, with all his Ph.Ds, is utterly shocked by the fact that he’s on an alien planet, stressing him out to the point where he almost turns back into the Other Guy over it. Yet the comparably meatheaded Thor is just fine. As if he were just another alien, not a god, as we’ve been told up until now.

Inconsistencies and questions

Now that it’s done, now that it’s established Thor and the rest are gods, it brings up more questions.

In the comics, it isn’t just Thor and Loki and the named characters of Asgard who are gods. Everyone on Asgard is a god. Skurge the Executioner, Lady Sif, the Warriors Three, Heimdall, and all the rest. Every man, woman, and child. If there’s an Asgardian dude who cleans the toilets of Asgard, then the dude who cleans the toilets of Asgard is a god.

Does this mean all the Asgardians of the MCU are gods? If it does, then why are they such cannon fodder when it comes to fighting Hela’s zombies or Dark Elves? How could there be such a thing in Asgard as an innocent civilian or bystander? If they’re gods, they should all be kicking butt and taking names. They should all be blasting glowy stuff. Every time someone attacks Asgard, it should look like a joint Justice League/Avengers dance party.

What about Loki? Loki is referred to as a god multiple times in Ragnarok, but does that make sense? One of the biggest differences between Norse myth and the Lee/Kirby version is that in the original, Loki and Thor are not brothers, adoptive or otherwise. If the Loki of the MCU is actually a Frost Giant adopted by Asgardians, how is he a god? Are you a god if you just hang out with other gods?

Speaking of the source material, what about Ragnarok? In Norse myth, Ragnarok isn’t just the end of the Norse gods — it’s the end of everything. The gods, the humans, Earth, all the nine realms. Everything. Does that mean Ragnarok isn’t over? Is there more to come?

What’s to come

Then there’s the question of how the changes Thor: Ragnarok made to the MCU will impact future movies.

In spite of its huge cast, Avengers: Infinity War should give Thor a key role in the fight against Thanos. Thanos, even without the Infinity Stones, is supposedly the most powerful being in the universe. If Thor is now a god, then he’s probably going to be the only one even able to keep up with the Mad Titan.

Asgard is gone and the end of Ragnarok shows us its survivors heading to Earth. The movie already gave us some reflections of what’s been going on in the comics for the last few years, such as the loss of Thor’s hammer (Jane Foster spent a long period of time wielding Mjolnir in the comics) and the loss of his eye (Thor didn’t lose an eye in the comics but he did lose an arm, and he recently met a future version of himself who lost an eye). In the comics, the Asgardians abandoned what they now call Old Asgard and settled Asgardia, a city floating above America. Might this happen in the movies? Might this bring Thor in conflict with his fellow Avengers if America doesn’t isn’t happy about pagan gods floating above it?

Will Thor’s godhood limit how much longer Chris Hemsworth can play the Odinson? While Thor is an ageless god, Hemsworth isn’t.

Will this harm the integrity of the MCU? Who’s to say Marvel Studios won’t just decide “Oh no, we’re going to do the whole not-gods thing again” the next time? Or will this help foster a sense of creative freedom that will only improve the quality of the films? The same debate has been going on about comics for years in regards to new writers ignoring or changing what previous writers established. We’ll see the results soon enough.

The untold truth of Thor: Ragnarok

Elle CollinsOct. 27, 2017 4:13 ESTUpdated: Oct. 27, 2017 4:13 pm EST
Thor: Ragnarok is the 17th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s been clear since the release of the first trailer that it’s unlike any of its predecessors in the MCU. Directed by Taika Waititi from a screenplay by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost, Thor: Ragnarok is a whirlwind of color, unique design, and over-the-top heroic moments whose sci-fi premise and comedic tone shares more with the Guardians of the Galaxy films than previous Thor or Avengers entries—and Waititi’s style is just as different from James Gunn’s as it is from Joss Whedon’s.

To map out what makes Thor: Ragnarok so unique, we have to go all the way back to its story’s origins, starting with the influential comics creator who was working on the Thor comics more than 30 years ago.

Walt Simonson’s Thor

Walt Simonson was the writer on Thor from #337 to #382, and also drew most issues from #337 to #367. His tenure is widely regarded as one of the best runs by a single creator on any comic in the history of the medium. Simonson has always been inspired—even more than most comics artists—by the work of Thor co-creator Jack Kirby, and his Thor stories gave him the opportunity to take Kirby’s big, colorful concepts to another level. His Thor is known for its bombastic action and epic plotting, combined with an intelligent approach to character development. He introduced the fan favorite character Beta Ray Bill, a monstrous but heroic alien with the same powers as Thor and a sci-fi version of his costume. He also did an amazing job of developing existing characters like Balder, Sif, and the Warriors Three, as well as Thor and Loki themselves.

Two villains Simonson created, Malekith and Kurse, were very loosely adapted for Thor: The Dark World, but Thor: Ragnarok is the first movie to show an interest in the kind of stories Simonson actually told, and the aesthetics he employed to tell them. Not only was Simonson the creator who fully integrated science fiction into Thor, he was also the first to bring about Ragnarok, the mythical apocalypse of the Norse gods, in Marvel’s Thor comics. Kirby and others had toyed with the elements of Ragnarok, but under Simonson it finally happened: the fall of Asgard and the last stand of its heroes. Furthermore, a key element of Simonson’s Thor was the wrath of the goddess of death Hela, who appears as the main villain in Thor: Ragnarok.

Read More: https://www.looper.com/92959/untold-truth-thor-ragnarok/?utm_campaign=clip

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Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame: What to be excited for in IMAX

AJ CaulfieldDec. 7, 2018 3:13 EST
The fourth Avengers flick will make you cry in ultra-high definition.

Avengers: Endgame isn’t just the follow-up to Avengers: Infinity War or the beginning of the end of Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — it’s also the second Hollywood film in history to be shot entirely with IMAX cameras, the first being Infinity War itself. And there’s plenty to be excited about when it comes to the IMAX screenings of Endgame.

To deliver crisp visuals and audio that reverbs through theaters and pounds through viewers’ chests, Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo made use of 65mm ALEXA IMAX cameras when shooting the film. The footage was captured with the 2D digital cameras, then combined with the remastering process of IMAX to deliver “the highest level of digital image capture and playback resulting in stunning lifelike images with pristine clarity, incredibly fine detail, vivid colors, and a higher dynamic range for superior contrast,” as IMAX describes it.

Those who head to IMAX theaters will also get to see up to 26 percent more picture compared to standard screens, as the shooting process makes it so the image fills the entire screen. Like IMAX told us, “Experiencing this movie in any other format will mean that audiences are missing 26 percent of the action!”

The Russo brothers’ experience shooting with IMAX cameras actually began before Avengers: Infinity War. The filmmaking pair shot the famous airport battle scene in Captain America: Civil War using the revolutionary camera. After that, utilizing the camera again for the third and fourth Avengers films was a no-brainer.

Way back in 2015, when Marvel was still referring to the movies as Avengers: Infinity War – Parts 1 & 2 and when the directors still intended to shoot the movies back-to-back, Joe and Anthony Russo announced plans to film all sequences using IMAX cameras.

“The intent with the Infinity War films is to bring ten years of accumulative storytelling to an incredible climax,” they said in a joint statement. “We felt that the best way to exploit the scale and scope required to close out the final chapter of these three phases, was to be the first films shot entirely on the IMAX/ARRI Digital camera.”

Added IMAX Entertainment CEO Greg Foster at the time, “We could not be more excited to deepen our partnership with Joe and Anthony Russo, a pair of filmmakers we believe are next-generation trailblazers. Marvel’s Avengers franchise has become a global phenomenon and to have it pay off in this epic way using the IMAX/ARRI digital camera is the very definition of event movie-going.”

All this considered, catching Avengers: Endgame in IMAX sounds well worth the extra miles you may have to drive to your nearest IMAX theater. Seeing Chris Evans’ (sadly beardless) Captain America and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow partner up with Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man in the best resolution possible? Watching, in crystal-clear picture, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes fight an even bigger fight in the post-Thanos-snap world? Witnessing what very well could be the last Marvel movie several stars appear in — all in the brightest colors, sharpest details, and most striking contrast imaginable? Yeah, count us in.

Avengers: Endgame opens in IMAX and standard format on April 26, 2019.

Read More: https://www.looper.com/139962/avengers-endgame-what-to-be-excited-for-in-imax/?utm_campaign=clip

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Its Willie’s Birthday, Happy Birthday Willie Nelson!

by cj

Willie Nelson, the legendary country singer and songwriter turned 80 today, he was born on April 29, 1933, in Abbott, Texas. Nelson a country singer, actor, poet, author, activist and songwriter best known for his classic hit songs “Crazy” and “On the Road Again”, is described by some as the best country songwriter ever. The peak of his fame came in the ’70s during the “outlaw country” sub-genre, but he remains iconic in American culture.

Willie Hugh Nelson’s was born during the Great Depression in Abbot Texas, a small rural railroad town whose population peaked at 713, in 1914 and has declined ever since, Willie humorously describes Abbott’s as a town where “every time a baby is born a man leaves town”. The confusion about Nelson’s birthday is really very simple, he was born on April 29, 1933, but his doctor (F. D. Sims) didn’t record the birth until the next day, April 30. His cousin Mildred chose both his first name (Willie) and middle name (Hugh), his ancestry includes English, Irish and Cherokee. His mother left Abbott shortly after his birth and soon after that his father remarried and moved also, leaving Willie and his sister Bobbie to be raised by their grandparents.

At the age of six Nelson’s grandfather bought him a guitar and showed him how to play a few chords, at that time his family along with many other citizens of Abbott, picked cotton during the summer. By the age of 13 Willie knew picking cotton wasn’t for him so he earned money singing in taverns, dance halls and honky tonks. He wrote his first song at seven and was a member of a band at ten. During high school, he performed as the lead singer and guitar player with the Bohemian Polka. In 1950 after graduating from high school, he joined the Air Force but was discharged nine months later due to back problems. After his return to Texas, Nelson attended college at Baylor University, worked as a disc jockey at several radio stations and sang in honky tonks. His music success and interests soon caused him to drop out of Baylor after two years.

He then moved to Vancouver Washington and wrote “Family Bible” recorded the song “Lumberjack” in 1956. In 1960, he signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music; during this time, he wrote songs including “Funny How Time Slips Away”, “Hello Walls”, “Pretty Paper”, and “Crazy”, music that would become country standards. Nelson wrote the country ballad “Crazy” in 1961 for country singer Billy Walker, who turned it down because he said it was “a girls song”. Willie at the time was a known singer-songwriter who had written several hits for other artists but hadn’t had a major recording of his own. Patsy Cline, who was a country superstar at the time was looking to extend her string of music hits picked the song as her follow up to her previous big hit “I Fall to Pieces”, “Crazy” became the #2 country hit in 1962 and eventually helped launch Nelson as a performer as well as a songwriter.

In 1962, Nelson recorded his first album, “And Then I Wrote”, owing to this success, he was signed by RCA Victor in 1964 and joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1965. After mid-chart success with hits in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Nelson decided to retire in 1972 and moved to Austin, Texas. It became a short retirement, Nelson motivated by the resurgence and popularity of hippie music in Austin, came out of retirement and performed often at the Armadillo World Headquarters. His albums Shotgun Willie (1973), Phases and Stages (1974), Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978) were critical and commercial successes and made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music.

Nelson and Waylon Jennings were combined into a genre called “outlaw country”, a subgenre of country music that grew in the late ’60s as a reaction to the old school conservative restrictions of Nashville sound. “Wanted! The Outlaws” an album by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser, released in 1976 and consisting of previously released material earned its place in music history by becoming the first country album to sell a million copies and received critical praise.

His musical influences were Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Django Reinhardt, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong.

In his book, “The Tao of Willie: A Guide to Happiness in Your Heart”, Willie describes the influence of the guitar in his style: “One of the secrets to my sound is almost beyond explanation. My battered old Martin guitar, Trigger, has the greatest tone I’ve ever heard from a guitar…If I picked up the finest guitar made this year and tried to play my solos exactly the way you heard them on the radio or even at last night’s show, I’d always be a copy of myself and we’d all end up bored. But if I play an instrument that is now a part of me, and do it according to the way that feels right for me…I’ll always be an original”.

Willie Nelson certainly is an original and is widely recognized as an American icon. In 1979, Willie Nelson received Country Music’s highest honor when he was selected “Entertainer of the Year” by the Country Music Association, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993. in 1982 “Always on my Mind” won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance. His Albums Without A Song (1984) and City of New Orleans (1984) reached the top or near the top of the country charts. “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” was a big hit in 1984.

The following year, he teamed up with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson to form the Highwaymen. They first release, Highwayman (1985) which was a big hit and then Highwayman 2 (1995). Known for his compassion, Nelson along with Neil Young and John Mellencamp, organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985. in an effort to help family farmers, to date they have raised more than $30 million to keep family farmers on their land Nelson has also been concerned and worked on behalf of the environment, most prominently promoting alternative fuels. Nelson is known for being generous not only with his money but with his time, after a show, “He’ll stay there for hours, signing autographs and meeting people,” friend Kris Kristofferson told Texas Monthly.

Willie first appeared as an actor in the movie “The Electric Horseman” (1979) with Robert Redford, shortly after he acted in Honeysuckle Rose (1980), playing the role of a veteran country musician; the movie featured Nelson’s song “On the Road Again,” which earned him an Academy Award nomination for “Best Original Song” and won the Grammy Award for “Best Country Song” (1980). Willie’s also appeared in the following movies; Thief (1981), Barbarosa (1982), “Red Loon” (1982), “Songwriter” (1984) with Kris Kristoferson, Red Headed Stranger (1986), Wag the Dog (1997) and “Gone Fishing”(1997). Willie has appeared in more than 30 movies to date.

On a personal note, Nelson has certainly had his share of tragedy and challenges in his life, most devastating was the death of his son in 1991. In 1990 he lost everything, when the IRS sized most of his assets after Price Waterhouse placed him into tax shelters that were later disallowed, the matter was settled and Willie’s debt was paid by 1993. Of course we all know about his problem on several occasions because of use of marijuana, Willie continues to be an advocate for legalizing marijuana.

Nelson lives in Maui, Hawaii, his neighbors include Kris Kristofferson, Woody Harrelson, and Owen Wilson, he married four times and has seven children. In 1991, he married his current wife, Annie D’Angelo, they have two sons together.

Nelson last performed a few days ago in Austin Texas on Sunday April 28, 2013, to benefit the West Volunteer Fire Department, located near the town of Abbott where he grew-up.

Happy Birthday Willie we wish you the best, peace, good health and happiness.

According to BMI sources: Willie Nelson has 351 song titles registered with them.

World News US

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George Jones Country Music Legend Died Today

by cj

George Jones Died Today April 26, 2013

George Jones, the legendary country singer who sang the heartbreak classic “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” died today at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville after being hospitalized in recent days.

In a career that lasted more than 50 years, Jones had No. 1 songs in five separate decades, from the 50s to the 90s, and was idolized by singers in many genres; including Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, James Taylor and countless others. Johnny Cash in response to the question “Who is your favorite singer?” would playfully tease “You mean apart from George Jones?”. Jones recorded more than 150 albums becoming the symbol of traditional country music. An accomplishment that even his idol Hank Williams would have been proud of. He is described as one of the greatest singers in American music history. Jones 1980 hit “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is regarded by many as the greatest country song ever recorded.

Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas, and played on the streets of Beaumont for tips as a teenager. He served in the Marine Corps than returned to Texas. In 1955, his “Why Baby Why” became his first Top 10 country single, moving up the charts to number four and beginning a remarkable career: Jones would ultimately record more than 160 charting singles, more than any other artist in any format in the history of popular music.

In 1969, Jones married Tammy Wynette; one of the most famous marriages in country music. Jones followed Wynette to Epic Records and began working with her producer, Billy Sherrill, who would be responsible for his biggest hits of the ’70s and ’80s.

Some of the people who knew Jones best paid tribute to the legendary singer tonight:

Vince Gill: ”There aren’t words in our language to describe the depth of his greatness. I’ll miss my kind and generous friend.”

Garth Brooks: ”The greatest voice to ever grace country music will never die. Jones has a place in every heart that ever loved any kind of music.”

Alan Jackson: “Well, heaven better get ready for some great country music. While George was known for his wild and crazy days, I’ve known him for 25 years as a friend. He had grown into a real good man. Of course, he will always be the greatest singer and interpreter of real country music – there’ll never be another. Like the song says, ‘You know this old world is full of singers, but just a few are chosen to tear your heart out when they sing. Imagine life without them…Who’s gonna fill their shoes.’”

Hank Williams Jr.: “Today is a sad day in Country music. We have lost another piece of history. George Jones was not only a good singer, but was a good friend. He will be missed by many.”

Merle Haggard: ”The world has lost the greatest country singer of all time. Amen.”

Kenny Rogers: “George Jones will always be one of the most amazing singers who ever lived. He was a true Country Music legend who made music very personal to the listener – I think more than anyone else. He will be dearly missed, but always remembered.”

Travis Tritt: “I am just devastated by the news that George Jones has passed away! The music world has lost one of the most original and innovative talents that the world has ever known. I feel such a personal loss of not only one of the greatest vocal influences of my life, but also I’ve lost a dear friend. Visits with George have always been full of joy and laughter. Every time I would see him, George would always greet me with a funny story or a joke! His legacy will put his name at the top of the most influential artists in history, right along with Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. His voice will be influencing singers 100 years from now and beyond! I’m reminded of the lyrics that Waylon wrote in the tune ‘It’s Alright.’ ‘If we all sang like we wanted to, we’d all sound like George Jones!’”

Lorrie Morgan: “Country music lost an icon today and I have lost a dear and beloved friend. With tear-filled eyes, I’m reminiscing this morning about all that I learned from and loved about George Jones. He was part of my ‘country music education;’ he made country music history and, in my opinion, George Jones is a song’s best friend. No one will leave an imprint on my life like George did.”

Mark Chesnutt: For a newcomer, it was intimidating to open for him; there was even more pressure to close for him. George gave me strength and encouragement; he kept telling me ‘you can do it, son.’ George Jones is the Father of Country. We will all miss his voice, and I will miss his voice to call me ’son.’”

List of George Jones number one country hits. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Jones
“White Lightning” (1959)
“Tender Years” (1961)
“She Thinks I Still Care” (1962)
“Walk Through This World with Me” (1967)
“We’re Gonna Hold On” (with Tammy Wynette) (1973)
“The Grand Tour” (1974)
“The Door” (1975)
“Golden Ring” (with Tammy Wynette) (1976)
“Near You” (with Tammy Wynette) (1977)
“He Stopped Loving Her Today” (1980)
“I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” (with Barbara Mandrell) (1981)
“Still Doin’ Time” (1981)
“Yesterday’s Wine” (with Merle Haggard) (1982)
“I Always Get Lucky with You” (1983)

He will be missed; my thoughts and prayers are with his family.

World News US

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Celebrity Fashion Phenomenon

A lot of attention is placed on celebrity fashions. Many people, particularly teenagers, wish that they could dress and look like one of their favorite celebrities. While this feeling is quite common, it also leaves many others questioning why.

Explaining the celebrity fashion phenomenon it is difficult. Individuals want to look and dress like celebrities for different reasons. In essence though, there is a sense of idealism about celebrities, that they are living a life the rest of us could only dream of. Celebrities are like our alter-ego; we wish we could be just as beautiful and popular and it seems if we have what they have, we are closer to achieving our dream.

There is a downside to being so popular and well-known though. Many celebrities cannot leave their homes with out being recognised or followed by paparazzi everywhere they go. This seems to be the price of fame. However, there are many “everyday” individuals who wish that they had their own fan following or were as popular as their favourite star. Although dressing a certain way or carrying a certain handbag isn’t necessarily guaranteed to make you more popular, some people, both men and women, will go to great lengths to be seen in the latest celebrity fashion trends.

In recent years, celebrities have become very well-known for their fashion choices. Indeed some celebrities seem to be famous for not much more than that! Award shows have become all about the fashion and every star who walks the red carpet is asked “Who are you wearing?” It is considered a major coup to have your designs worn by today’s hottest star. And amazingly, cheap copies of the gowns worn at these shows are available to buy within 24 hours of the show being aired.

Finding celebrity gossip and information is becoming easier and easier. You can flip on the television and watch the latest celebrity news program or glance at the cover of a gossip magazine. But by far the biggest source of celebrity news and gossip is the internet and there are thousands of sites dedicated to exactly that purpose.

Although some might view the celebrity fashion phenomenon as an unhealthy obsession, there is actually really nothing wrong with keeping up with the latest in celebrity fashions. What you need to remember though is that just because it looks good on a celebrity, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the same thing will look good on you. While as a teenager you can get away with wearing practically anything, if you are in your 20s, 30s and beyond and still blindly following the latest fashion trend regardless of whether it suits your body shape, you might want to reconsider your fashion habits.

Also, do you really want to be seen wearing something that is instantly recognisable as being a certain brand and that a lot of other people will also be wearing? Having ‘style’ is about far more than just your clothes and it is important to dress in a way that truly suits not only your body but also your lifestyle and career.

Price is another issue. Many celebrities have unlimited financial resources so the cost of clothing and fashion accessories isn’t an issue for them, but it may for you. Of course you can dress like a celebrity if you want to, but you need to remember that celebrity fashions change regularly. It can become very costly trying to afford the “hottest” trend that may only last for a few weeks.

While the celebrity fashion phenomenon won’t be over anytime soon, you should approach with caution. Fame and fortune don’t necessarily equal good taste, so always choose clothes and accessories that are flattering for your body and appropriate for your lifestyle. Often you can find similar clothes and accessories at a much lower price, giving you the look of your favorite celebrity, while staying within your own budget and developing your own style.

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