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

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…

Spycatcher by Matthew Dunn (♦♦♦)

Will Cochrane is MI6’s most valuable asset; he is the agent called Spartan, killer of killers, one whose identity is known to just two men in England one of whom is the Prime Minister. After a failed mission in NY City, Cochrane is extracted by a CIA man who knows his identity all too well. Upon his return to England, Alistair, Cochrane’s controller, summons him to be debriefed on his most recent mission and a new one, one that will put him in a collision course with his father’s killer.

The mission is to capture alive a general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, an agent called Megiddo, who is planning an attack somewhere in the Western hemisphere. Will Cochrane must track that man and make him talk about his genocidal plans. The problem is…Megiddo is one of the most elusive men anyone has ever met and in getting to him many lives will be in jeopardy.

Spycatcher by Matthew Dunn is a good book, but not great. The plot is intense, Will Cochrane, its protagonist, is one of the most human and realistically depicted secret agents around; he practically jumps out of the page, he is that vibrant. However, Megiddo, Will’s archenemy, is so elusive that sometimes it seems that Will and his team of paramilitary operatives are following a ghost. I believe Dunn’s intention was exactly that, to portray Megiddo as Will’s counterpart, his evil twin, but in doing so he stretched the plot several hundred pages longer than the story has any right to be, the result is boring and utterly annoying.