Ian Casselberry is a freelance writer, currently based in Asheville, NC. He is an editor at The Comeback and Awful Announcing

Previously, he has been a contributing writer for Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew, and SB Nation. In addition, he was a lead baseball writer for Bleacher Report. 

You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook, where he craves your attention.

He still plans to write that novel someday. 

("Pearls Before Swine" © 2005 Stephan Pastis)
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Entries in Marvel (6)


Thor's thunderous closing credits 

I've been watching Thor quite a bit lately. Well, I watched the entire movie on Netflix recently after seeing Thor: The Dark World in theaters. As I wrote, I didn't like that film as much as I thought I would and wanted to compare it to the first "Thor" film, hoping if I could figure out why. 

Did I accomplish that objective? Maybe. Thor had a great villain in Loki. Also, love interest Jane Foster was a far more realized character with ambitions, drive and a sense of wonder over discovering that her theories were reality. In Thor: The Dark World, she's a spurned girlfriend and damsel in distress. 

Above all, Thor was fun. I was skeptical of that character making a good movie, since Iron Man tried to base itself in reality. So how was a story about the Norse God of Thunder going to play? But Marvel did a smart thing in making it a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid. Thor's not a god; he's an alien. Is that realistic? Well, no — but it fits better with the Marvel movies. 

Besides Netflix, Thor has also played on EPIX and FX in recent weeks. And I've watched bits and pieces of it whenever I've noticed it's on. But mostly, I just want to watch the end credits. Surprisingly, I didn't appreciate this as much when watching on Netflix. But on EPIX and FX, I just kept rewinding to the part where the film ends and cuts to the closing credits with Patrick Doyle's score kicking in hard. 

I was so grateful FX didn't do what basic cable networks typically do with movies now and shrink the credits to a smaller screen and speed them up two or three times, so the channel can just get to what's on next. Maybe it's because Thor — like all Marvel movies — has a mid- or post-credits scene. But I'd like to think that even the FX people know that these closing credits are glorious. 


The last 10 films I've seen

It's been just over two weeks since the last time I posted a "last 10 films I've seen" list. But with baseball in its offseason and a four-day holiday weekend (that was really more like a week for me, since I didn't write anything for Bloguin), I've been watching quite a few movies. 

But I'd actually gotten a head start on this latest list, since I had more than 10 movies since the last list. So I cut off that collection at 10 as of Nov. 1, even though I already had five flicks in the bag. After seeing Thor: The Dark World, I wanted to go back and watch the first "Thor" movie, as well as The Avengers, since that covered Thor's storyline up until his sequel.

With that, here are the last 10 films I've seen, as of Nov. 28, 2013.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Michael Bay, 2011
Robocop - Paul Verhoeven, 1987
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior - George Miller, 1981
Man of Steel - Zack Snyder, 2013
Argo - Ben Affleck, 2012
12 Years a Slave - Steve McQueen, 2013
The Avengers - Joss Whedon, 2012
Thor - Kenneth Branagh, 2011
All is Lost - J.C. Chandor, 2013
Thor: The Dark World - Alan Taylor, 2013

There's a definite geek flavor to this one with the superhero movies. Staying up late and surfing movie channels indulged some nostalgia too, providing a couple of films that were actually made before 2010. 

Please post your own lists, if interested, either in the comments or as a guest post in the future. I'd love to see them. 


What I'd like to see (or not see) in a third Thor movie

To my surprise, Thor: The Dark World left me kind of cold. It's not that I didn't like it. There were some very cool moments in the film. (In particular, I love when Thor summons his hammer, jumps off a balcony and there's Mjolnir to pick him up and fly him away.) I also enjoyed watching Chris Hemsworth further evolve and become more comfortable with his role.

I think my larger problem might be general fatigue with superhero movies, which certainly warrants its own post. (For me, it could be a book!) But I tried to sum up my issues with the movie in my latest post for The AP Party. One problem I have is with the romantic storyline betwen Thor and Natalie Portman's Jane Foster.

Does Portman even want to be in another Thor movie? According to rumors, she wasn't too keen on being in this latest sequel, but Marvel forced her to do so because she'd signed a contract. To me, it showed. Portman didn't look terribly interested in this latest installment. Maybe that was because she's an Academy Award-winning actress reduced to playing the damsel in distress, dragged from one hiding spot to another, in an attempt to keep her from the story's villain, Malekith. (More on him later.) During the film's climactic battle, she basically holds an iPad that allows her to... do something with portals that somehow helps Thor. (Maybe seeing the movie again would make that clearer.)

You can read the full article here.

There probably will be a third Thor movie, based on the opening box office success (especially internationally). It's probably asking too much for the romance to be nixed completely. But I don't think this movie did a good enough job of showing why Foster is worth giving up the throne to Asgard and so forth. Maybe the first movie did that. It was certainly more convincing that what we see in this sequel.

I'll probably be OK if there's just more Loki. Stop messing around with other bland villains. Just give us more Loki.  


C'mon, how cool is Tom Hiddleston?

Besides Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, the gem of the Marvel Comics movies is surely Tom Hiddleston's Loki.

Making a villain actually somewhat likable is a rare talent (although there will always be some fans who root for the bad guy). Yet Hiddleston has made Loki a far more compelling character than his brother Thor. Fans love him. They're actually worried Loki will be killed in Thor: The Dark World.

In the first "Thor" film, he appealed to anyone who didn't get enough approval from his father or resented the attention lavished upon the older sibling. In The Avengers, Loki was just enjoyably devious, matching wits with Stark, trying to psychologically unravel the Black Widow. And of course, he was on the receiving end of one of the great beatdowns in movie history, courtesy of the Hulk. 

But none of this would be possible without Hiddleston's performance. And if you've seen him as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris or his other films, such as War Horse or The Deep Blue Sea, you know how talented an actor he is. 

Next, someone needs to cast him in a comedy. The man definitely has a gift for it, as he shows in this video, imitating Owen Wilson playing Loki at the Popcorn Taxi film festival in Australia. Everyone knows Hiddleston is Loki. What this impersonation presupposes is... maybe he wasn't?

"For God's sake, just, you know, like, kneel." Hilarious.

(via Collider's Steven Weintraub on Twitter)


Iron Man, Iron Man does whatever an iron can

Yes, I do believe this is how I'll be spending my Saturday afternoon.

If only The Ramones could have recorded that tune, as they did with the original Spider-Man cartoon theme song. This could've been even cooler. 

At the very least, it's better than the theme from the 1990s Iron Man cartoon.

I wonder if Robert Downey Jr. saw that and worried that he would have to grow a ridiculous mullet to play Tony Stark?

OK, let's end this with a classic.


Finishing off 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

Despite an obvious love for comic books and superhero movies, it's been quite a while since I've actually read an extended run of a comic-book series.

But with the Marvel and DC apps on the iPad, I've dipped a toe back into comic books. This past weekend, I finished off the 25-issue run of Marvel Comics' Guardians of the Galaxy

It wasn't a marathon reading session. I've been chipping away at the series — once again spending more money on comics than I should — since Labor Day, shortly after Marvel announced it would be making Guardians of the Galaxy movie

I enjoyed the series at first, but it lost its way after eight or 10 issues. I knew the series was cancelled after 25 issues, so decided to see it through.

In doing so, I got back into two of the worst tendencies of my comic-book collecting days. (I think most collectors fall into these traps.) I stuck with a series even when it became clear that it wasn't very good and I wasn't enjoying it anymore. But I kept reading just to have, I don't know, a complete set.

(A complete set of what? Again, I don't know. I don't save the issues on my iPad, though they could be downloaded again if I wanted. But at least the comics don't fill boxes in my basement or garage anymore.) 

The biggest problem with Guardians of the Galaxy is that it constantly shuffled the most interesting characters (such as the lead, Peter Quill, who Chris Pratt will be playing) to the background, focusing on far less compelling — and annoying — ones, probably in the interests of pushing the larger story arcs ahead. 

I doubt the movie will make the same mistake. This is probably why I should save my disposable income for superhero movies, instead of comic books.