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1. FAST FIVE
Fast Five was undoubtedly the most fun I've had at the movies in years: from the saucy and witty banter between the characters (as well developed and funny as the Oceans 11-13 cast), the exotic and domestic cars, (Producers bought (and destroyed) almost 300 cars for Fast Five) the actors, and the stellar plotline: it's a surefire hit. In a separate league from the film that shall not be named
Some critics are panning this film as being "the longest trailer ever for The Avengers (2012)" and yes: there is a another secret trailer (like in both Iron Man movies) for The Avengers after the credits, but beyond Marvel's Avengers revamp, Thor stands well on its own. The actors (Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Hemsworth) all create interesting, flawed characters that build on each other throughout the plot. The settings on Earth are humorous and dry (Thor is dropped in New Mexico by his angry father and has some awkwardness transitioning into his mortal form) and in Asgard, an ethereal fantasy. (See photo above)
Kenneth Branagh (the director) who is a world renowned Shakespearean Actor and filmmaker, took the helm for Thor: and this was evident in his inclusion of the "Norwegian mythology" that Stan Lee's Marvel character of Thor, was based off of. Also borrowed from the Norse Myths: are the other gods, and Thor's home of Asgard amongst the nine realms. (Source.) Read more about Norse Mythology here...
The Plot? Successful. The chemistry between the two leads works, with Natalie taking the reins as a witty and determined scientist trying to keep Thor from disappearing as the main evidence of a cosmic event (his arrival). When S.H.I.E.L.D arrives and confiscates all of her research and equipment, Thor helps her get it back, while at the same time helping his friends save his home of Asgard from the ice giants. Surprisingly: this all pulls together in an enjoyable epic battle scene. I also enjoyed the cameos of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Stan Lee as the old man trying to pull the hammer out with truck winch. My advice: See it in theaters.
To see the list of the characters and actors that made "the cast list" for The Avengers: check out imdb's list here...