tony stark

All I ask of a Superhero

Iron Man
Image via Wikipedia

A couple of people took me to task for my take on Iron Man 2. I like to think of myself as a simple man, but maybe that isn't true anymore.

Rethinking my expectations

I started reading comics as a kid.  Batman, Green Lantern, The Hulk, and the X-men were some of my favorites.  Growing up, superheroes were pure escapism.  Granted some of the characters had family problems, personal problems, and even Batman lost a Robin, but the stories were all larger than life.

Superhero flicks are still larger than life, but they have more "realistic problems."

  • Batman is a male Paris Hilton who fights crime.
  • Peter Parker wouldn't know what to do with the girl if he got her.
  • Tony Stark is rotting away from a self-inflicted disease + he is a male Paris Hilton who doesn't fight crime, he is bringing about world peace.

Holding out for a Hero!

Ok, everyone knows that I am a huge Bonnie Tyler fan, but every time I watch one of these movies, I hear her in the back of my head:

Where have all the good men gone And where are all the gods? Where's the street-wise Hercules To fight the rising odds? Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed? Late at night I toss and turn and dream of what I need

I need a hero I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night He's gotta be strong And he's gotta be fast And he's gotta be fresh from the fight I need a hero I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light He's gotta be sure And it's gotta be soon And he's gotta be larger than life

I want a superhero who is, well a hero.  They don't have to be perfect, and well they can have basic human flaws, but at the end of the day, they need to be a hero!

Returning to Iron Man 2, I thought Whiplash made a good case against the Stark family, and Tony just acted like the spoiled brat Whiplash thought he was.  I actually found myself wanting Whiplash to win.  I can't stand whiny, self-important bitches, and that is all I saw in Tony.  His womanizing turned me off, and his self-pity made me roll my eyes.  He dug his own grave, and I was ready to see him lay in it.

Escapism and Realism

I think my biggest issue with the film is that I was really looking for some pure escapism from the movie. That is what I look for in a superhero movie.

I watch a superhero for action, mystery, and pure escapism. Watching a super hero struggle with illness was outside the realm of what I wanted to see, especially with people in my life actually struggling with various illnesses that do not have a magical deus ex machina serum.  It felt like salt in the wound.

The illness reminded me of my real life, and the magic cure just upset me.  I went to see a movie where a superhero and super-villain tangled with each other until the film climaxed in a super-mega-ultra battle.

The movie, like all (not so) superhero movies since Batman Begins, opened with scenes of stark realism... but it is a superhero movie!!  Superheroes just aren't realistic, and films cannot serve two masters.

I am not sure exactly when escapism became a bad word, but my life is complicated enough.  Sometimes I just want to walk into a dark cave and forget about my real life for a couple of hours.  It might sound petty, but that is it.

I want a great, escapist spectacle from time to time, but more than anything, I want filmmakers to be honest with me and with their material.  If the movie is not an action movie, don't tell me it is.  If the movie is not a smart, well written think piece, be good with that.  Just don't pretend one is the other, and stop telling yourself you can be both at the same time.

A half-assed story with half-assed action is just a half-assed movie.  Two half-assed jobs never make a whole.

I know some of you liked the movie.  Great!  I wish I was one of you.  Keep having fun, and sharing. It is good to hear contrary opinions.  Just remember, we don't have to love the same things, we just need to help each other find more things we can all enjoy.

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Iron Meh 2

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
Image via Wikipedia

Review of Iron Man 2

Overall Rating: 6 out of 10

Iron Man 2 not as bad as Spider Man 3 but falls into same quality category as Electra and Daredevil.  It sits on the fence and was focused group to death.  If only it would have had a strong story line or just abandoned that and been all action it would have been a much better film.  This is a renter.

Likes

  1. Scarlett Johansson stole the show with Black widow she is amazing.  Her action scenes were not only great action full of fun gadgets but they bring in an erotic element.
  2. Samuel L. Jackson was brilliant as Nick fury he rocked.
  3. Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko has an interesting character who is worth watching.  Rourke's homework paid off I love all of the small nuances he gave to the character.
  4. Wonder twins power activate: When Iron Man and War Machine would shoot at each other at the same time I laughed and thought "wonder twins power activate

Dislikes / Concerns

  1. Intro credits were a disappointment.  Marvel is known for telling an amazing pre-story in their roll in credits and even the Loosers has an amazing intro it should have been a warning for the movie to follow.
  2. Slow Intro:  the movie was boring and horrible until the fight scene between Iron Man and War Machine at Tony Stark's party
  3. Effects were a hit and miss probably because it took 8 special effects companies.  The whole race car scene was atrocious, the physics were horribly off and many parts looked plastic like.
  4. Whiplash first fight didn't make sense why didn't the car crush him and when Tony Starks car crashes they had a piece of shrapnel's vector was off flying through his head damaging the car behind him but not effecting him at all, they even have his head hit the pavement which should have killed him but no effect.
  5. Smashing someone with a car against concrete wall should spill guts especially if repeated.  Though Tech Wolf pointed out that maybe Whiplash is actually Omega Red and then it makes sense
  6. Sam Rockwell complete disappointment
  7. Robert Downey Jr. appears to have "phoned in" his performance which is sad he is usually a brilliant  actor who did not even hold his own in the scene with Samuel L. Jackson.
  8. The final explosions in the movie looked like fireworks
  9. Rhodey was a dusche in the movie
  10. The writing is horrible:  the A plot line between Justin Hammer and Tony Stark was weak and should have been a B or C line.  Tony Stark's father and Shield should have been the A plot line
  11. I found the use of Captain American's shield offensive

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Theater or Renter: May 2010

Theater or Renter: May 2010 includes five SF movies Iron Man 2, Robin Hood, Shrek Forever After, Prince of Persia, Survival of the Dead.  Will we watch? Will we rent? or do we even care? Rules of the Game: Watch the trailers. Rate the Trailer. Then share with us your comments: does the movie, it’s trailer and buzz make you want to watch it in the theater, rent it, or not interested at all, and why?

Iron Man 2:

Release Date: May 7th

Listed as:  Action, Superhero Film

Studio:  Marvel Studios

Director:  Jon Favreau

Produced by:  Kevin Feige, Avi Arad, Susan Downey

Written by:  Justin Theroux

Stars:  Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson

The Plot / Story: Sequel to Iron Man it's six months latter.  The world is aware that billionaire inventor Tony Stark is the armored Super Hero Iron Man.  Under pressure from the government, the press and the public to share his technology with the military, Tony is unwilling to divulge the secrets behind the Iron Man armor because he fears the information will slip into the wrong hands.  With Pepper Potts and James "Rhodey" Rohdes at his side, Tony forges new alliances and confronts powerful new forces, Whiplash and Justin Hammer.(Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

  • Theater:  I will have to watch this in the theater because the first Iron Man Iron Man 2 Trailer #2 was so good.  I have great concerns about this movie based on the Terrence Howard scandal and advertising.  I'm very unhappy with switching Rohdey from Terrence Howard to Don Cheadle.  This looks like a repeat of the first movie but with two Iron mans in it and multiple iron mongers as villains.  They even went to the point of making a rival weapons merchant who wants to do Tony Stark in through the business world, hrmmm sounds familiar.  Here is hoping that I am wrong.

Robin Hood:

Release Date: May 14th

Listed as:  Action, Drama, Fantasy

Studio:  Universal Pictures

Director:  Ridley Scott

Produced by: Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe

Written by:  Screenplay: Brian Helgeland   Story: Brian Helgeland, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris

Stars:  Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Matthew Macfadyen, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Kevin Durand, Mark Addy, William Hurt, Danny Huston, Max von Sydow

The Plot / Story: It is late 12th century England and Sir Robin Longstride, Earl of Huntington, has returned to his northern English village after fighting in the Third Crusade. Upon arrival, the nobleman and his servant discover the oppression caused by the new Sheriff of Nottingham. Sir Robin uses his intelligence  and military skills to free his home village from tyranny and corruption in England, by taking back what is rightfully his, and by taking back what rightfully is theirs, to restore justice and happiness to England. Robin must also win the affection of the recently widowed Lady Marian while leading his Merry Men of Sherwood Forest to victory and fairness. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

  • Renter:  This looks like they are just trying desperately to capitalize off of gladiator and I'm not a big fan Russell Crow or his movies.  On the plus side: Cate Blanchett, William Hurt and a movie with sword play in it.  This is probably a renter though if I have time or the early reviews turn out to be good I may switch to Theater.

Shrek Forever After:

Release Date:  May 21

Listed as: Fantasy, Comedy

Studio: DreamWorks Animation

Director:  Mike Mitchell

Produced by:  Gina Shay, Teresa Cheng, Andrew Adamson, Aron Warner, John H. Williams

Written by:  Josh Klausner, Darren Lemke, Ryan Harris

Stars:  Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Walt Dohrn, Julie Andrews, Justin Timberlake

The Plot / Story: After all of his adventures, Shrek has become a domesticated family ogre. Instead of scaring villagers away as he used to, Shrek agrees to autograph pitchforks. Longing for the days when he felt like a "real ogre", Shrek is tricked into signing a pact with the smooth-talking deal maker, Rumpelstiltskin.  After signing the contract, Shrek discovers he has been tricked, and the day Rumpelstiltskin took out of Shrek's life was the day that he was born-meaning that he never existed.  Now, stuck in a twisted alternate version of Far Far Away where he has to gather the gang and fix everything. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

  • Theater:  I have loved all of the Shrek movies and expect to really enjoy this as well.

Prince of Persia:

Release Date: May 21

Listed as:  action, adventure, fantasy

Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures

Director:  Mike Newell

Produced by:  Jerry Bruckheimer

Written by:  Jordan Mechner, Boaz Yakin

Stars:  Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina

The Plot / Story: Based on the game Prince Of Persia Prince of Persia HD Movie Trailer.  Dastan is a street urchin in 6th century Persia. Adopted by the king as his heir after showing valor in battle in hopes of keeping the king’s two sons from fighting over the throne.  Dastan teams up with Princess Tamina  to rescue the Sands of Time, a gift from the gods that controls time, from the hands of the villainous nobleman, Nizam.(Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

  • Theater: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time only caught a passing interest from me.  Movies based on games tend to be a hit and miss venture.  Add to that Disney's involvement and this project had caution written all over it, that is until I watched the trailer above.  I’m now excited about Prince of Persia.  The effects looks good.  I like the use of a broader variety of weaponry especially the more exotic ones.  The trailer does a nice job of setting up the back and forth between Dastan and Princess Tamina, even if a bit cliche.

Survival of the Dead:

Release Date:  May 21

Listed as:  Zombie movie

Studio: Independent Production

Director:  George A. Romero

Produced by:  Paula Devonshire

Written by:  George A. Romero

Stars:  Alan van Sprang, Kenneth Welsh, Kathleen Munroe, Athena Karkanis

The Plot / Story: It's a desperate, nightmarish world where the dead walk the earth, relentlessly attacking the living. Plum Island is a beautiful refuge whose isolation allows two powerful families to maintain a semblance of order in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. Over time the two clans become sharply divided: The O'Flynns believe that the undead must be destroyed without exception, while the Muldoons insist that afflicted loved ones be kept "alive" until a cure is found. Added unto this situation wander a small group of National Guard soldiers who, after robbing the protagonists of the previous film, have decided to strike out on their own in an effort to survive.  Survival of the Dead follows the thieving National Guardsmen characters who briefly appeared in Diary of the Dead.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

  • Renter:  working against this movie is that it's a zombie flick which has been done to undead and like the creatures they feature just won't go away and give me a rest.  That said it's a George A. Romero movie, this is a huge plus.  Romero created the zombie genera and the best zombie movies.  This may be enough to move this movie to theater status and at least makes it a renter.

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Randal Graves and the Empire Top 100

randaltop100 Randal Graves from Kevin Smith’s brilliant film Clerks has is number 92 on Empire’s Top 100 Greatest Movie Characters.

Why He's On The List: Randal is the voice of countless generations - anyone who's had a shitty customer service job in their early twenties will understand his attitude, wishing they could have articulated their frustration with his artful profanity and supreme disregard for, well, anything. But the key to Randal is that he doesn't necessarily hate his job, it's just that he remembers not to care (Empire).

Also on the List:

It is great to see how many Speculative Fiction characters make the list, especially in the top 10.  It makes me wonder if we should make our own list.

(via News Askew)

The Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow DVD

The Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow is out today.  I still wished they kept the old name.  Something about Tony stark having to raise children also appeals to me. After watching the trailer though I have concerns that this may be made too kidsy from the softening of the lines in the art to the simple dialogue.  I'm hoping that they made it for both audiences where it is appropriate for children but it still has substance for an adult to enjoy too.  Copies are available through amazon here.

How Superhero Movies Should Be Done: Review of Iron Man

Review of: Iron Man Overall Rating: 10 A+

It has been a while since I went to watch a superhero movie and left feeling really good. This was an all around fantastic movie that was able to not only go beyond being just another mindless action film it also maintained the spirit of the comic. It has a compelling and edifying story line, tight action sequences, a delightfully playful sense of humor and dynamic animation and effects. Well worth the trip to the theater not only once but multiple times.

Iron Man is about a jerk billionaire Tony Stark who is a brilliant inventor and head of Stark Industries the world's leading designer and supplier of weapons. Tony is severely wounded in a combat zone by the enemy with his own weapons. After escaping his captors Tony realizes his legacy is one of death and suffering so he sets out to correct that legacy and becomes Iron Man.

******Spoiler Alert Section******* I loved what they did with S.H.I.E.L.D. in this movie, it actually took me hearing the full name several times before I realized it stood for S.H.I.E.L.D. By keeping S.H.I.E.L.D.'s involvement subtle they set up a simple continuation and did not add confusion to the existing story line. Unfortunately we do not get to see Nick Fury in the movie but I did get a kick out of the running joke over how long their name was and how they needed a shorter name thus becoming S.H.I.E.L.D. ******End Spoiler Alert Section *******

Likes

  • Very enjoyable movie experience: the overall flow, feel, and look of the movie was absolutely delightful.
  • They kept the spirit of Iron Man: though the details were different from the comic they still hit all of the notes.
  • Special effects looks great
  • The tech was all believable: either stuff grabbed from existing bleeding edge technology or stuff that is not too far from our current future but shown in both it's best and worse application.
  • Perfect casting and execution of Tony Stark
  • perfect casting and execution of Obadiah Stane
  • The transformation of the Stark character was brilliantly done and believable.

Dislikes / Concerns

  • The final conclusion to the climatic battle scene: this pertains to one part overall the final battle was really good. For more conversation head over to the Project: Shadow HQ.

How was your experience of watching Iron Man?

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