Tag: Iron Man

***2014 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-HD-Wallpaper1

When I was really young, I loved Superman as much as any kid of the male variety.  I assume it comes with the dude DNA.  But it didn’t take long before I grew out of it.  Everything about Superman was just too simple.  He was so all powerful that there were never any real physical threats.  And he was so pure, there was never any inner turmoil or conflict.  It was a strong assumption of the same attributes that made me never pay any attention to Captain America.


But in the lead up to The Avengers a couple of years ago, I thought I should watch the movies that all worked as its intro, so I churned through Thor, the Ed Norton Hulk and the first Cap movie in an intense binge, and was surprised by how much I liked them all, especially Captain America: The First Avenger.  But what I loved most about that movie, was the WWII setting.  And after finding Cap the least interesting character in The Avengers, I wasn’t in any hurry to see his next movie, set totally in present day.  So, how do you make the idealistic, honourable, always-does-the-right-thing, good guy interesting?  Easy, you turn the world against him. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-HD-Wallpaper1

When I was really young, I loved Superman as much as any kid of the male variety.  I assume it comes with the dude DNA.  But it didn’t take long before I grew out of it.  Everything about Superman was just too simple.  He was so all powerful that there were never any real physical threats.  And he was so pure, there was never any inner turmoil or conflict.  It was a strong assumption of the same attributes that made me never pay any attention to Captain America.


But in the lead up to The Avengers a couple of years ago, I thought I should watch the movies that all worked as its intro, so I churned through Thor, the Ed Norton Hulk and the first Cap movie in an intense binge, and was surprised by how much I liked them all, especially Captain America: The First Avenger.  But what I loved most about that movie, was the WWII setting.  And after finding Cap the least interesting character in The Avengers, I wasn’t in any hurry to see his next movie, set totally in present day.  So, how do you make the idealistic, honourable, always-does-the-right-thing, good guy interesting?  Easy, you turn the world against him.

On a mission with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Steve Rogers (AKA Captain America), begins to realise that his employer S.H.I.E.L.D, lead by Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury, might not have the same idealistic, honourable, always-does-the-right-thing, good guy intentions as himself.  This is where we meet Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), a suit, high up in the World Security Council, who’s about to launch three massive air battle stations that will stop criminals and threats, before they commit crimes or become a threat.

This is a little too ‘big brother’ for Rogers.  Soon, Fury’s being attacked, Rogers and Black Widow are on the run, and it turns out  that S.H.I.E.L.D has been steadily infiltrated by a group of baddies known as Hydra, for last few decades.  Also, there’s a bad guy named the Winter Soldier, who’s really just more of an annoyance than a formidable villain.  Buggers me why he gets his name in the title.

Without the WWII setting, without the support of Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk, without a big, famous bad guy from the comics, Captain America: The Winter Soldier really delivers.  Chris Evans as Cap nails the tricky balance of all American 40s hero, and modern day, super hero.  While the skin tight cat suit can take some of the credit, Johansson’s more than just a bombshell.  She makes Black Widow a really fun ass kicker.  New addition to this Marvel movie universe, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson (AKA the Falcon), bounces of off them both perfectly.  And as an unnamed World Security Council member, Alan Dale gives me a great excuse to link to my review of Houseboat Horror.

The brothers Russo, Anthony and Joe, seemed like a weird, out of nowhere pick to direct something this massive.  Before now, they had two movie credits to their names, the totally under seen and under appreciated Welcome to Collinwood, and the understandably under seen and since forgotten, You, Me and Dupree.  Their major successes had been on the small screen, most notably with the totally awesome Arrested Development and the totally overrated Community.

At first, I couldn’t figure out why a studio would take this chance on such an important, tent pole movie by giving it to these two TV veterans.  Then I realised it’s not such a wild choice.  Arrested Development and Community are both so heavily reliant on meticulous timing to make their jokes work.  The kind of meticulous timing that’s needed to pull off big, action set pieces.

The hiring of the Russo brothers also points to another decision the big studios seem to be getting increasingly right with comic book movies.  They’re less and less being given to big budget hacks like Michael Bay and Brett Ratner, and more and more being given to not to just comic book nerds, but real film nerds.  The kinds of film nerds who worship the 70s cinema of people like Scorsese, Coppola and Friedkin, and bring that 70s grit to these glossy, modern behemoths.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier is big, loud, dumb, fun, action.  But it’s big, loud, dumb, fun, action done right.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Directed By – Anthony RussoJoe Russo
Written By – Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

MOVIE REVIEW | Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor-the-Dark-World
Of all the movie super heroes, Thor was the one I was least familiar with before his first movie came out in 2011.  At first glance, the comic book Thor looked like the hardest to adapt to the screen.  In a genre of goofy costumes, his is by far one of the goofiest.  His whole Norse God origins make him seem out of place in the Marvel world built on scientific geniuses, science experiment mistakes and characters like Spiderman, The Hulk and Iron Man.  Everything about the character seemed to be everything that makes people dismiss the entire genre.


Then I watched the first movie and everything about it was done right.  Enough of a wink to the camera to let us know that director Kenneth Brenagh, and his cast, all knew they were making something kind of goofy, but they weren’t gonna half ass it.  The fish out of water angle with Thor coming to Earth for the first time was the perfect excuse to openly joke about his character’s goofiness, while still making him a part of this world, ready for the massive Avengers movie that would come the following year.  So was everything I liked about Thor based on its exceeding my very low expectations?  Would Thor: The Dark World be a disappointing sophomore slump, or prove that this is a legitimately entertaining character, strong enough to carry his own franchise?

After the events of The Avengers, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is back in crazy space world, kicking ass and cleaning up the mess left buy his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who is now in a dungeon, deep below Asgard, the home of Thor, Loki, their dad Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and mum, Frigga (Rene Russo).  But even the sweet taste of ass kicking won’t help Thor forget Natalie Portman’s Jane, the hot piece of tail he tapped in the first Thor movie, then had to leave behind, until a love interest was needed for this sequel.

Long ago, before the beginning of time, there were some dark elves who had some bullshit.  The bullshit is actually called the Aether, but it’s such a cookie cutter, clichéd and standard comic book movie item of desire McGuffin, that they might as well have just called it ‘some bullshit’ and moved on, instead of wasting the four to six minutes it took for the writers to come up with ‘The Aether’.

After one hell of a coincidence, Jane is possessed by the Aether and Thor needs to release Loki from prison so they can form an uneasy alliance to take on the dark elves who are back, dark elvier than ever.

Tom Hiddleston’s Loki continues to be the most resilient comic book movie bad guy since Ian McKellen as Magneto in the X-Men franchise.  Which is an interesting comparison, because it proves something more comic book moves need to learn.  You don’t have to kill your villain at the end of every movie.  Sure, McKellen and Hiddleston’s crowd pleasing performances are probably the main reason they get to come back again and again, but it’s also the characters they play.

If the good guy gets to win without killing the villain, it means you can build on these major characters and the increasingly interesting relationships between them and their nemeses.  If not, you get something like Spiderman or Batman,  where you need to reboot the entire franchise every few movies because they keep blowing their bad guy load in two or three movies.

Whether it’s the kind of piecemeal, hodge podge of the ever growing ­X-Men series, or the meticulous studio calculation and corporately synergised machine of the Avengers world, I think both series prove that playing long game makes for more interesting movies.  And more than that, they’re just fun.  Batman and Spiderman can have all the dark and tragic back stories they want, but when I’m watching a movie about cheesy super heroes, give me the goofy fun of Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers and Thor any day.

Thor: The Dark World
Directed By – Alan Taylor
Written By – Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely 

MOVIE REVIEW | Iron Man 3 (2013)

iron-man-3-official-hd

A soldier going through serious P.T.S.D…  Now that’s an interesting jumping off point for a super hero blockbuster that will probably make more money from kids buying action figures than it will from tickets sold at the box office.  It’s also something that makes Iron Man 3 stand out a little from the overly saturated super hero crowd.   Director and co-writer Shane Black had a tough job on his hands…  Take over an established, crazy successful franchise and try to keep his one, single character entertaining and interesting after we’ve all seen the awesome team up fun of The Avengers.

The movie opens in the early 90s with Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark and Jon Favreau as his bodyguard Happy.  This is Tony Stark back in his cool days, pounding booze and bangin’ broads, like any rich playboy should.   He also rudely dismisses a scientist played by Guy Pearce.  But that’s OK, I’m sure his revolutionary theories will amount to nothing and his anger and jealousy towards Stark won’t manifest as a crazy revenge plot.  Oh snap, I was wrong.  That’s exactly what happens.

Cut to the present day and Tony Stark is obsessively tinkering in his work shop building new and improved Iron Man suits.  We learn pretty quickly this is all a coping mechanism as he tries to distract himself from the horrible things he saw in New York in the Avengers climax, and the dark thoughts about what might be next.  He’s eventually snapped out of his funk by the prospect of throwing down with new global terrorist on the block, the Mandarin, played by an awesome Ben Kinglsey who chews the scenery gloriously every second he’s on screen.  Don Cheadle is in his own Iron Man suit, rebranded as the Iron Patriot after a red, white and blue paint job and shows up just enough to add to the movie in fun ways without ever overstaying his welcome.

Through a series of events, Tony Stark spends a lot of this movie out of the Iron Man suit.  That’s not a bad thing.  If he’s not in the suit, it means we’re not constantly being hammered with crazy fight scenes and mass destruction.  By resisting wall to wall action, it makes the few set pieces hit that much harder when they do occur,  like the squadron of Iron Men that appear in the movie’s big climax.  Even though I’d seen it in the trailers, the site of a couple of dozen Iron Men all flying to Tony Stark’s side for the last big battle still gave me a bit of a charge.

Shane Black’s screenplay brings plenty of great Shane Blackness to this world and helps give this character a new and interesting perspective.  He knows how to write dry sarcasm better than anyone and Downey knows exactly how it should be delivered.  I wouldn’t say this is the best Iron Man movie, but it’s more fresh and entertaining than anything you’d expect this deep into a franchise.  And it’s definitely better than Iron Man 2.

Iron Man 3
Directed By – Shane Black
Written By – Shane Black, Drew Pearce