Snapshots - #42: Thor: Ragnarok, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, LBJ

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017), (♦♦♦♦½): Thor has saved earth twice by now and has, for the last two years, wandered the universe searching for infinity stones. He hasn't found any. He has, however, become prisoner of an enemy of Asgard, Surtur, who tells Thor that his visions of Asgard engulfed in flames is a premonition of Ragnarok—the destruction of Asgard, which is already in motion. Thor frees himself and arrives at home to find Loki sitting on the throne, passing as Odin, and neglecting his duties to protect the Nine Realms. With Odin's exile, Asgard's enemies have been reassembling, but Odin's death may just free Hela, a goddess against whom neither Thor nor Loki are enough.
It was in Thor: The Dark World where Loki, an antagonist, first threatened to steal the show. He became the villain that Marvel fandom loves to hate. While Loki is at his most charming in this film, the director, with the help of a sparkling screenplay, has very much exploited the great chemistry of t…

Defense of the Realm (♦♦♦½)

A British MP is forced to resign after being exposed by the press in a scandal concerning his mistress, a call girl with links to the KGB and an alleged Soviet spy. After a fellow journalist dies from a suspicious heart attack, Nick Mullen (Gabriel Byrne, The Usual Suspects) gets involved in the story and discovers surprising events covered up by the highest spheres of the British government.

The plot of this political thriller is engaging, and despite the audience not knowing where the investigation is headed or how the dots are connected, one is a hostage of the screenplay for it is very good. The end is deeply satisfying after all the digging, but the movie has current resonance regarding issues of freedom of the press and national security regardless of the country where the story is based.

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