Tag Archive: star trek


Back in 1975 Jaws became the highest grossing film to date. It’s arguably one of the most famous films ever that has been parodied and referenced in countless numbers of films and has a theme tune that everyone can hum and recognise. The release and the popularity of Jaws marked the arrival of the summer blockbuster, which would become a staple in the cinema calendar; the summer blockbuster spots are reserved for the biggest studios to bring out the big guns and rake in the profits over summer. The whole idea of a ‘blockbuster film’ has gone through celebration and survived criticism but you can not deny that they are still apparent and, as we have seen this year, are the most bankable films of the year. But the originality has gone, and with that so has some of the fun.

Among the top ten highest grossing films of the year so far there are eight films that have been released in the summer. Only one of those is an original concept: Pacific Rim. When Jaws was released it marked a trend of ‘event’ films that major studios released to compete with Jaws and its sequels. Taking this into account Pacific Rim seems like a typical summer blockbuster remade for a modern audience. It seems like everything a summer audience want: mindless action, giant robots fighting gigantic aliens and what’s more the film had major clout behind it as it was directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Pacific Rim only just managed to double its budget worldwide despite all the hype surrounding it and Idris Elba booming “today we are cancelling the apocalypse” before every other summer film that you would go and see. Of course, one reason why Pacific Rim could have fallen short of expectations is because Michael Bay did such an awful job with the Transformers film that any film with robots in will now be tossed aside without thought.

 

But then a film with fighting robots also became the fifth highest grossing film of all time: Iron Man 3. So this seems to suggest that that was not the only reason for Pacific Rim‘s failure to make a huge impression on the audience. In a world with so many sequels it is becoming more important to see those sequels when they come out, especially with what Marvel are doing with each film becoming a huge stable of cinema in itself and an unmissable event. People want to see what they already know because the first films are so good and successful that it gives a sequel credibility before it is even released. The likes of Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast and Furious 6, Monsters University and even Despicable Me 2 cracked the top ten highest grossing films – all coming off the back of successful franchises or original films. World War Z and Man of Steel also join the list but they’re coming from hugely successful books and comic books. With World War Z it also seems to suggest that star power is also important for a summer blockbuster with Brad Pitt no doubt being responsible for some of the surprisingly huge audience the zombie action film found.

So what of Will Smith, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp? Three of the biggest movie stars on the planet absolutely tanked at the box office in 2013. Smith’s After Earth and Cruise’s Oblivion both seemed pretty similar in their basic premise: Earth has been abandoned and now Will Smith/Tom Cruise come back to Earth and find out that it’s not as bare as they might have thought. It was assumed that one film would take the spoils because they were too similar but as it turned out, neither film did and both failed. Johnny Depp looked to bring a new franchise to the big screen and should have been more successful being as though The Lone Ranger is integrated in popular culture – everyone has heard “Hi-Yo, Silver!” at least once in their lives. But a difficult time in production seemed to put an end to any plans Disney had of making a sequel. And the less said about R.I.P.D the better.

 

Another one of the most anticipated films of the year was Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. After Blomkamp’s debut feature District 9 was an Oscar nominated film people were expecting something exceptional from Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. However, as of now it has only just managed to make back its budget and not set the world alight as people expected. Of course, a late summer release won’t have helped being as though it seems everyone had already spent their money on previously mentioned films. So why is it so hard to find a spot for originality in the summer months?

For me, I think it comes down to the cost of going to the cinema. Over summer the children are off school and people go to the cinema as a family. This means that you’re going to be spending around £25-£35 on tickets and then another £20ish on drinks and popcorn which makes it seem pretty expensive just to go and sit down for a couple of hours. Nobody wants to go and see a bad film at the cinema anyway but when it’s costing that much you want to know that you’re going to enjoy what you watch. Therefore, I believe people are more likely to go and see Iron Man 3 when Marvel have a spotless record and you’re guaranteed a great performance from Robert Downey Jr. rather than take a chance that something like R.I.P.D or Pacific Rim which you don’t know much about.

 

In the next couple of years we are going to see more Marvel films – Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015. The Man of Steel sequel featuring Batman is coming out too, the same as the seventh chapter of Star Wars and presumably a third in the new Star Trek trilogy: add to that another Fast & Furious film, a sequel to World War Z and X-Men: Days of Future Past. It seems like so many huge franchises are begging for people’s money that it seems impossible for anything new to turn heads. For the sake of cinema that has to change sooner rather than later.

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Star Trek Into Darkness Review

With J.J. Abrams set to direct the new Star Wars film it is as yet unknown whether he will return for the inevitable conclusion to his finely crafted trilogy that has successfully reinstated Star Trek as one of the most important science fiction franchises in the world. Has he left behind a good legacy with Into Darkness?

Star Trek Into Darkness picks up with Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine) and his new crew, at least new in this franchise, already on a mission on the pre-civilisation planet of Nibiru; it is clear right from the off that the crew of the USS Enterprise are not going to be without danger as Spock’s life is immediately put on the line. Luckily, he survives and manages to carry on with the rest of the film. Where eventually they run into John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), who just so happens to be Star Trek’s arguably most famous villain, Kahn. Kahn is carrying out terrorist acts that turn this film into an emotional chess game between Kirk and Kahn as the two battle it out in a test of will, strength and heroics as they battle to save their respective crews: only one side can win.

“Let’s go get this sonofabitch”

The first thing you notice about Into Darkness (and one of the most significant things) is that it does not feel like a sequel: the film immediately places you at the heart of the action with little knowledge of the previous film (or even Star Trek in general) required to enjoy the film. The whole of the Enterprise crew is back including Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Sulu (John Cho), Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) and none of the characters come off badly with each one, even Chekov (Anton Yelchin) having their moment in the spotlight; it would have been nice to have seen Uhura (Zoe Saldana) do more, however as her character does feel less like an equal crew member and more like a pawn to try and evoke some emotion in Spock, something she doesn’t really do that well.

The old faces are joined by new additions such as the incredible Benedict Cumberbatch and the almost pointless Alice Eve. Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Kahn is really spectacular; this is the greatest villain that will hit the screens this summer and is the most memorable in modern blockbusters, as far as my memory serves me anyhow. He poses a serious threat to Kirk and his crew on a mental and physical scale. Right from the off he gives you the creeps and it is clear his plan is very well thought out.

“You should have let me sleep”

The action takes place at a quick pace, occasionally slowing down to give the audience some breathing space and for the characters, mainly Kirk and Spock, to talk their problems through which does sometimes border on the line of good or bad writing; but that can be forgiven as you can guarantee whenever something feels stale Into Darkness shakes things up (quite literally), the amount of times they get attacked off guard id pretty suspicious for a craft of such high technology. But the action scenes are spectacular, right off the bat from Nibiru, to the home of the Klingons on Kronos, right up to the final fight scene between Spock and Kahn.

With such a lot hanging in the balance for Kirk, Spock etc. it seems imperative that there is humour injected into the story and that comes in the, predictable, forms of Bones (Karl Urban) and Scotty. This story centres on Kirk and Kahn but the majority of my attention was on Bones, coming out with quality one liners and throwing around metaphors like they were going out of fashion: he’s a treat every time he comes on screen.

“Damn it man! I’m a doctor not a torpedo technician!”

Into Darkness closes with the USS Enterprise about to embark on a five year mission. Is this five years a hint at how long it will be until we see the third chapter of this Star Trek revival? If so, maybe Abrams will be back on board. Part of me doesn’t want to wait so long but part of me longs for the return of Abrams to finish what he started!

In my Iron Man 3 review I claimed that Iron Man 3 could be the best blockbuster of the summer. Well all that’s changed now: Star Trek Into Darkness will not be topped.

My Rating: 9/10.

At the tail end of last month Iron Man 3 was released here in the UK… it signalled the start of summer. In May, the huge blockbusters continue.
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I’m So Excited – 3rd May

I’m sure it will be interesting to see what makes the Spaniards laugh. This is the latest feature from Oscar winning director Pedro Almodovar.
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Star Trek Into Darkness – 9th May

This could be JJ Abrams last Star Trek film and it looks as though he’s left us with a treat. I predict that this will be the best film to come out this summer.
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Mud – 10th May

I’ve been looking forward to Mud since I first read about it. Two boys help a fugitive evade the law on a quest to reunite him with his true love.
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The Great Gatsby – 16th May

And I’ve been waiting for this even longer. Gatsby was supposed to have been released back in January but got pushed back here. But with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role it’s bound to do well.
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Fast & Furious 6 – 17th May

Fast Five took this franchise in a much needed change of direction. Now it feels like Ocean’s Eleven with cars and guns and what’s not to like about that? And if you needed another reason to go see this: The. Rock.
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Epic – 22nd May

Every trailer I have seen for Epic just looks beautiful. I’m expecting one of the best animated films of all time right here.
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The Hangover Part III – 24th May

Another trilogy draws to a close at the end of May and it looks as though this might be the best Hangover film yet. Although, no hangover is actually featured by the looks of things.

Lara Croft is the most recognisable female video game character in the world. At the beginning of this century two Tomb Raider films were released with Angelina Jolie taking on the role and, despite the original film still being the most successful film adaptation of a video game in the United States, both this and its sequel were not too well received by critics. Also, in recent years, the video game side of the Tomb Raider franchise has been waning. Until 2013. Earlier this month a reboot of the video game series hit the shelves, simply titled Tomb Raider. It received huge critical acclaim, is one of the best games I have ever played and obviously went on to sell more than a million copies in less than 48 hours. So it seems the time is right to reboot the franchise on the big screen, but who should play Lara Croft?

Here are my candidates:

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Gemma Arterton

Arterton has had experience in big action films before: Quantum of Solace, Prince of Persia, Clash of the Titans. While none of these films were exactly brilliant it has given Arterton the skills necessary to be let loose on her own big action franchise. She is currently one of the best British actresses working today and her talent is undeniable. I would definitely like to see her given a chance as Lara Croft.

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Hayley Atwell

Atwell is more of a television actress but made her break in Hollywood recently in Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger where her performance as Peggy Carter won her a lot of fans. She has shown her skills in Pillars of the Earth and The Duchess. However, her stock as a leading lady is yet to be tested and helming the Tomb Raider franchise could be a leap too far so early in her film career.

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Camilla Luddington

You may not know who Camilla Luddington is but she is the voice behind Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot of this year. On screen she has been in Californication, True Blood and Grey’s Anatomy but is yet to make her break in the film industry. However, depending on how closely involved the game’s publishers and producers are in making the film (my guess being not very) then she may have an outside shot at landing the role.

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Alice Eve

This is a long shot and probably won’t be considered. She is set to appear in Star Trek Into Darkness later this year so will be getting a lot of exposure both on screen and off it (if you’ve seen the new trailer you’ll know what I mean) and so she may be worth the risk?

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Bryce Dallas Howard

As the only non-Englishwoman on the list she would probably be my least favourite for the role (I just think that as Lara Croft is English it would be nice to see an English actress take the part this time) but Bryce Dallas Howard could be a nice fit. Previously appearing in Spider-Man 3, Terminator Salvation, 50/50 and The Help she has shown off her action credentials as well as her acting abilities.

For me, it’s between Gemma Arterton and Hayley Atwell with Arterton just winning in my mind!

Yesterday, I took a look at the character of Jaina Solo and put forward a few suggestions of who should play her if she was to be included as the main character of the upcoming new Star Wars trilogy. Today, I will be looking at her twin brother, Jacen Solo.

Who knows why the Star Wars families go like this (probably because it makes for a good theme of family and good showdowns which classic lines such as “I am your Father”) but for every good member of the family there’s an evil one: for every Luke, there’s an Anakin. And the Solo twins are no different with Jacen eventually growing up to become Darth Caedeus, a prime antagonist in the Star Wars expanded universe. So who could play Jacen Solo?

 

Dane DeHaan

The actor that immediately sprung to my mind was Dane DeHaan. Shooting to fame last year in surprise hit Chronicle, DeHaan became an instant success and has subsequently been cast as Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I think that DeHaan would be a perfect fit and could easily perform the kind of conflicted personality and the turn to evil that encompasses Jacen Solo.

 

Tom Felton

Obviously world renowned for his role as that pesky Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series. Since then Felton has failed to really do much with his career, releasing an awful music single and unleashing almost just as awful American accent for his villainous role in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. His seemingly below-par acting skills may see him quickly cut out of the running for this part and Felton himself may not want to play another bad guy. Although with Jacen beginning the trilogy as a hero that could convince him.

 

Anton Yelchin

I have made it quite clear in an earlier blog that I am disappointed about Abrams being the director of Star Wars as well as Star Trek so it may be more than a little bit hypocritical for me to suggest Anton Yelchin (Chekov) for a main part in the Star Wars franchise. However, Yelchin doesn’t really feature as a big part in the original Star Trek reboot and I doubt he will have a bigger part in Into Darkness. Really, he deserves greater attention and with a connection with Abrams already established he may just be in mind.

 

Stick around, maybe there’ll be some casting suggestions of Anakin Solo and Ben Skywalker heading your way soon.

Abrams is an expert in the science fiction genre.

I’m not writing this to say that JJ Abrams isn’t a good director or film maker, it would be absurd to say something along those lines after the incredible success he has had bringing Star Trek back to the big screen along with his television work. And I have no doubt that he will do another great job making Star Wars seems relevant again. But when I saw the announcement a little bit of me did die inside. But why?

 

Well, first things first, Abrams has now committed the ultimate betrayal in the world of pop culture. When people ask you whether you prefer Star Trek or Star Wars the only acceptable answers are either ‘Trek‘ or ‘Wars‘ (occasionally someone will let you say neither) but ‘both’ is not usually an option. For around five decades now these two franchises have gone head to head and, I know it’s only films, it doesn’t really matter, but to a lot of people it will matter that Abrams has gone behind Star Trek‘s back and chosen to direct Star Wars: Episode VII. But that’s not the main reason, in fact, I couldn’t care less about this reason because I am not a huge fan of either franchise (although I loved the 2009 reboot).

The main reason for my disappointment is that it is a very boring choice, it’s a safe choice. I expected Disney to really pull out the big guns, get someone in who would create something magical who wouldn’t necessarily be everyone’s first choice but would win everyone over when the film is released in 2015, but this seems to not be the case. Abrams is a self professed fan of Star Wars so I have no doubt that his passion for the project will see that only good things come of this.

Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot was met with wide critical acclaim.

However, the fact that Abrams is now directing the two biggest science fiction franchises in the galaxy, it makes the science fiction genre very boring; it almost seems like a very prestigious boy’s club and if you’re not involved you don’t get a chance. All directors have their own trademarks, their own styles and now there will no doubt be very high similarities between Star War and Star Trek which may blur the lines between the two franchises whereas they should both be kept apart.

 

Matthew Vaughn was considered to be front runner for the job.

I would have much preferred someone else who wasn’t already running a science fiction franchise to take control of Star Wars VII and install their own style and their own creativity into the project. I just don’t think this bodes well for the future of the science fiction genre having one man control the two biggest franchises. Film and cinema thrives on variety and with the vast number of science fiction releases increasing year on year, variety is becoming more and more necessary. I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with Disney’s choice and their refusal to employ someone who could bring something different to the science fiction genre, but in 2015 I’m sure everyone will enjoy the Star Wars that JJ Abrams brings us.

UK Release Date: 17th May 2013

Stars: JJ Abrams (director), Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Alice Eve.

Plot: After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

The poster for Star Trek Into Darkness was released earlier this week and that has been followed with this brilliant, action packed new trailer. There’s not a lot of things we can learn from this but one thing is that Cumberbatch’s unknown villain is out for “vengeance”, therefore making for a very interesting back story for the villain to have.

We don’t see too much of the crew of the Enterprise in their usual colour coded uniforms in the trailer and that might be an indication to the fact that Into Darkness may not be taking place in space that much. It seems as though a lot of the action will in fact take place on Earth.

This trailer does it’s job perfectly. Star Trek fans across the world have been waiting for their first real glimpse of action from the sequel and they will not be disappointed with this!

This week’s news comes from three of the biggest franchises in the geek world right now. Let’s start with Star Trek Into Darkness. Ever since LOST JJ Abrams has been known for keeping his projects very low key in terms of information that fans know and this has been true of the upcoming sequel to his Star Trek reboot. We’ve seen photos from set and we know Benedict Cumberbatch is playing the villain. This week an official synopsis has finally been released for the sequel:

When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.

With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

This obviously still doesn’t give away any identity to Cumberbatch’s villain but it seems, from the synopsis, that Cumberbatch could be playing an old rival of Kirk’s from within the organisation of Starfleet that has become this ‘one man weapon of mass destruction’. Either way, it still sounds fantastic.

 

Next up. There has been a lot of talk about characters returning to the X-Men franchise for Days of Future Past. With the return of Bryan Singer as director of the franchise it seemed every more likely. Already James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and Michael Fassbender are set to reprise their roles but now we also know that Patrick Stewart AND Ian McKellen are both returning! Bryan Singer has also said that there are “more announcements to be made” which could hint at several other returning characters from the original trilogy. It has long been a source of speculation but these announcements have absolutely made it clear that this will tie together all of the strands of the film series so far (hopefully). And it will be great to see two Xaviers and Magnetos on screen (especially since Stewart and McKellen do it so well).

They’re two of the most lovable old fellows in the acting world.

 

And finally.. this is just a rumour for now but as we all know there is a Justice League film in the works at Warner Bros. and this week Zack Snyder hinted that his Superman reboot Man of Steel could be tied in to it all. However, that’s not the news I’m bothered about. The rumour doing the rounds this week comes from an insider that has said that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in line to take up the Batman cowl for the superhero team up that won’t be as good as The Avengers. Obviously, if he did this would be a natural progression as JGL’s character (Christopher Nolan’s Robin) in The Dark Knight Rises, it is hinted, takes on the mantle of Batman after Bruce Wayne hangs up his job. However, it is still unknown whether Justice League will respect what happened in The Dark Knight trilogy (probably not) so JGL could still play Bruce Wayne if this was to be done, but like I said… for now this is just a rumour.

Well you don’t really need to look hard to find the big news of this week and when the announcement came yesterday I think it took everybody by surprise! Not content with already owning Pixar, without a doubt the best animation company in the world, back in 2010 Disney paid $4.2billion to take over Marvel Entertainment. And now on top of all that Disney have forked out around $4billion once again to purchase LucasFilm meaning that Disney now owns Star Wars. News which will no doubt be seen as both positive and negative among fans.

Disney have announced that with the rights going to them they are planning to release a new Star Wars film in 2015, with the next instalments coming every other year. These would effectively be Chapters 7, 8 and 9. With the horrible reception that the Episodes 1, 2 and 3 received you can see why fans would not want any more damage done to their cherished sci-fi western series, yet Disney do seem to get everything right; just look at what they’ve achieved with Marvel! There is no shortage of stories and characters in the Star Wars canon and new stories in such a wide and real world can be easily thought of for those with that ability. With a release date set for 2015 you have to imagine that something is already in the works and a director could soon be announced with only three years to work on the project. It is unknown as of yet if any previously seen characters will return and in what form.

Another piece of information from this deal is the fact that George Lucas will not be directing. This will be well received from fans, no doubt, who perhaps feel that in recent years Lucas has done more harm than good to the series and is using it basically to just milk the name for as much as is humanly possible. With science fiction doing so well right now with all the superhero movies being released and the reinvention of Star Trek Disney obviously feel that they can bring something new to the table with Star Wars and that news can only be good.

The deal struck here also concerns the ownership of Industrial Light & Magic, the special effects company will also be traded into Disney’s hands, along with the rights of other LucasFilm productions such as Indiana Jones although Disney have said that Star Wars is the only series they plan to continue at this time. And with Disney having produced Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure recently you can see why they don’t want to be seen to be doing too much of the same sort of style by throwing out Indy too.

So that’s the real big news of the week.

But there has been some other big news that may have escaped many people’s notice thanks to all of this Star Wars stuff. Not so long ago, Matthew Vaughn stepped down as director of X-men: Days of Future Past and speculation was rife as to who would replace him. Thankfully, his replacement has been found in the form of Bryan Singer(!), the man behind the camera of X-men and X2 which will no doubt please fans! This can only spur rumours on of cast members returning from the original trilogy but anyhow, it is great to see Singer back with the X-men.

Back in 2009 unless you were a die hard Home And Away fan it’s very unlikely that you would have had any idea who this Chris Hemsworth guy was. But now, it seems like every big film that gets announced Hemsworth is linked with the role and more than likely getting it as well.

Chris Hemsworth has undoubtedly been the break out star from all of Marvel’s success. Obviously, Hemsworth is best known as Thor to mainstream cinema goers; first of all picking up the hammer in his individual solo outing alongside the likes of seasoned pros Natalie Portman and Sir Anthony Hopkins, he then appeared in the third highest grossing film of all time, Marvel’s The Avengers, or Avengers Assemble if you like. And of course, it goes without saying that once again Hemsworth will be donning the cape and armour for 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and who’s to say we won’t be seeing him in Captain America: Winter Soldier as well? It’s a role that Hemsworth has played almost perfectly so far and as he is only 29 at the minute he could have a lot more outings as Thor left in him.

As well as the continued affiliation with Marvel Chris Hemsworth also had a small stint in Star Trek where it is unlikely he will return considering he died in the first fifteen minutes, he featured in the critically acclaimed genre defying project Cabin in the Woods and then took on the mentor/protector role of Huntsman in the re-imagined telling of Snow White, Snow White and the Huntsman. With Kristen Stewart (Snow White) seemingly dropped from the sequel to the fantasy fairy tale the sequel is rumoured to focus on Hemsworth’s character, putting him at the helm of another franchise.

Along with the franchises Chris Hemsworth has managed to not get stuck in one role as he varies his projects with various stand alone movies. He stars as the main character in the remake of 1980s film Red Dawn alongside Josh Hutcherson (another rising star) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Then there is also Rush, the biographical drama of Formula 1 driver James Hunt where again Hemsworth is leading man. Then there’s one of the most anticipated and sought after movies in Hollywood today: Steven Spielberg’s Robopocalypse, a sci-fi story set in the aftermath of a robot uprising. This is already being anticipated as a huge hit and with Chris Hemsworth in the staring role it is hard to estimate just how high the success will be that Robopocalypse reaches.

So that’s Robopocalypse, The Huntsman franchise, Marvel’s continually expanding universe with Thor making Hemsworth’s schedule more than just a little busy so you could forgive him for slowing down a little bit, yet that does not seem to be his plan. Word has it that Hemsworth has an offer to play Mitch Rapp in American Assassin, an adaptation of Vince Flynn’s novel. Rapp is a recurring character in Flynn’s work so it seems as though another franchise beckons for this already huge star.

Soon enough, Chris Hemsworth will be one of the biggest stars on the planet, it’s just a matter of time.