Following on from predecessors Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck, Chris Pine is the latest actor to take on the mantle of the late Tom Clancy’s CIA analyst in Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014), a safe series reboot which takes the character unsurprisingly back to his roots.
We are first reintroduced to our eponymous hero as just another helpless college student watching 9/11 before fast-forwarding three years to a marine-clad Ryan serving in Afghanistan. When he is seriously injured on a mission, he has to undergo intense physical therapy to even have a hope of walking again. It’s here he meets Dr. Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley) and shadowy agent Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner). Ten years pass, and Jack is working as an undercover CIA analyst in Wall Street ferreting out possible terrorist threats by analysing data whilst also trying to convince Cathy, now his girlfriend, to marry him.
After the billion dollar successes of both Avengers Assemble and Iron Man 3, Marvel’s ‘Phase Two’ continues with the highly anticipated Thor: The Dark World. With Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor replacing Kenneth Branagh at the helm, the sequel serves up the thrills as well as the laughs in what is an enjoyable superhero outing.
Much like Branagh’s franchise opener, The Dark World begins with Anthony Hopkins’ Odin narrating a prologue before we catch up with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who’s been busy on cosmic peacekeeping duty post-Avengers. When an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) resurfaces on the hunt for a powerful weapon that could destroy the universe, Thor must ally with the mischievous Loki (Tom Hiddleston) if he is to save the Nine Realms.