Three shiny spinning discs

Ironman 3.

Once again Tony Stark dons his tin trousers and jacket to give villainy a damned good drubbing. This time his opponents are genetically engineered humans who can blow themselves up and regenerate afterwards. They are led by the Mandarin. “I gonna kick yo’ ass,” says Tony on TV. The Mandarin, not one to back down from a challenge, destroys Stark’s home.

“He’s missing something,” said one studio exec. “A youthful sidekick.”

“It’s all about the money,” muttered Robert Downey Jr.

“And panic attacks,” said another exec. “Audiences love flawed heroes.”

“I know! I know!” said one of the younger execs, who was prone to excited outbursts. “The Mandarin is a drug addict.”

“A failed actor who’s a drug addict,” added an older, wiser head. There were nods of approval. “A comic turn.”

“Who would play him?” asked the first exec.

“Ben Kingsley. He’s been whining about being cast as a villain ever since he arrived in Hollywood. And he’ll pull in British audiences.”

“But what about the real villain?”

“Mel Gibson.” Laughter shook the room. “Guy Pearce – if he can lose the weight.”

“I think that’s Val Kilmer.”

Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Wrath of Khan remake. Er, well… That’s it!

The Day of the Doctor.

Matt Smith and David Tennant team up with John Hurt (as a younger incarnation of the Doctor) as he prepares to destroy Gallifrey and end the Time War against the daleks. In the meantime, the zygons have been embedding themselves in 3D oil paintings in the 16th century so that they can invade Earth in the 21st. They’re forced to the negotiating table and quietly forgotten. The Doctor solves the Gallifrey problem by having all the incarnations of himself freeze Gallifrey in time, thus saving himself a great deal of angst. There was also a cameo by Tom Baker, and Billie Piper played the avatar of the ultimate weapon.

As for the other Doctors, three of the actors are dead, Christopher Ecclestone isn’t interested, and Peter Davidson, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy have all vanished from the face of the Earth. It might’ve been nice to have had the Master in the mix.

The Day of the Doctor was a small step above the usual Christmas special fare, which typically stretches some already skinny plot to its limits. On the other hand, the zygon subplot could easily have been removed without hurting the overall story.


After some frost giants try to recover a stolen artefact from Asgard at the very moment Thor is about to become king, he and his friends got to Jotunheim to teach the giants a lesson.

It all goes a bit wrong, and it’s only Odin’s intervention that saves the day. Thor is banished to Earth and will only be able to wield his hammer, Mjölnir, again when he proves himself worthy. In the meantime, he’s just going to have to tolerate Natalie Portman drooling all over him.

Back in Asgard, Loki confirms that he’s actually a frost giant. Odin falls into a coma, and Loki becomes king, but makes a secret pact with the frost giants, offering them a way into Asgard so that they can kill Odin. In fact, it’s so that he can kill them to make himself look heroic. Loki also dispatches a robot to kill Thor.

Thor’s friends head to Earth to help him. The robot arrives. There’s a big fight and the robot kills Thor, who sacrifices himself, and thus proves himself worthy of Mjölnir, a device which can resurrect the dead.

With his hammer back in his possession, Thor jets off to Asgard, defeats Loki, and smashes Bifrost, thus cutting off the link to Earth.

What’s the deal with Thor’s weird accent? Is this how the Americans think Scandinavians (excluding the Finns, who speak a Uralic language) speak? He also turns up like some muscle-bound Jesus, dies for someone’s sins and gets raised from the dead (which, in Norse mythology, is kind of what Odin does, but for far creepier reasons).

And with Thor, I believe I’ve seen all of the Marvel-based films to date. Like others in the series, I’m shrugging indifferently. Possibly if I was to watch them in order, I would get some epic cinematic sequence of films, although that would not necessarily make them any better. If anything, Thor reminds me of antique Flash Gordon films, but future generations won’t be muttering, “Wires.”

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