Presumably, director Joseph Kosinski had hoped to avoid having Spiderhead compared to Michael Bay’s cloning feature The Island, but here we are. A commentary either on animal testing and the broad range of human trials or the strange gateway drug of Marvel films leading to a state of absolute empty repression. Spiderhead then becomes a feature documenting Chris Hemsworth hoping to regain his ability to feel love for art, or just in general. Although it would be a bit on the nose if he were in the hot seat, Miles Teller of all people steps in. A second chance for the Whiplash lead after that weird Esquire interview. If it weren’t too squeaky clean and desensitised, then Spiderhead would be something. Not something good. But something.
Disastrous press campaign aside, Thor: Love and Thunder has been a fascinating test of just how far a fandom will defend garbage. Christian Bale screaming in the mud, rumbling around the floor and scarpering about as an opening moment reflects nicely on the scrabbling fans. Sadly, this smug metaphor comes to chastise the best part of this Taika Waititi-made car crash. Bale, naturally, is the talent that is raised taller than the rest of the family-friendly indulgence on display in this bland, colourful shlock. How it is possible to make a feature so vibrant yet so muted and uncomfortably grey is fascinating. Thor: Love and Thunder makes it possible though, a remarkably flat and banal feature that does very little with its simple parts.
Even with those thick, glossy atmosphere choices, the work of J.J. Abrams on Star Trek is far better than first expected. Having no love for the series that spawned it all certainly helps when engaging with what is, essentially, a remastering of the characters and varied stories at the heart of this installation. A reference here or there will go over the heads of newly approached novices to the Star Trek universe, but as long as the bulk of it is understandable, the threats obvious and the chemistry between the ensemble successful, then Star Trek will have no trouble appealing to a new generation. A desire to engage with that is quite difficult, but easily optimised by smart writing that rattles through the quick and successful portions of the Gene Roddenberry show.