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Review: Iron Man 3 by Jamie

In 2008, Marvel began an experiment in cinema. Could a cinematic series work in the same way as a comic book continuity? Could you have a hero regularly appearing in his own series but also bring that hero together with others for a team flick? It was a grand experiment that culminated in ‘The Avengers’ in 2012 and I think we can all agree that it was pretty sweet. Marvel and Disney had somehow managed to pull it off and create a consistent cinematic universe where everything just worked. Now the question is, where do things go from here? How would ‘Phase 2’ as it’s called work in a post-Avengers world?

Well, our first taste of Phase 2 came in the form of Iron Man 3, a continuation of the story of the hero that started it all, Tony Stark. So can Marvel continue to ride high on the wave of success that The Avengers brought or has that wave crashed on the rocky shore of failure? Well, I’m rather pleased to say that I fucking loved this movie.

The biggest problem that any of these movies faces is returning to the single character format after the ensemble movie. This is a little easier to do in comics because a) The team books aren’t always necessarily taking place within the same time frame or even continuity that the single character books are and b) Fuck it, if you want to put a character or team from another book in then you can just write and draw them in. Iron Man 3 manages to craft a believable story that both acknowledges the events of The Avengers whilst still very much being a story about Tony. True, there are some moments where you find yourself thinking “Well, if this is going on why has no one called in at least Captain America or something?” but for the most part it works.

Perhaps the two biggest surprises that I can talk about here without being spoilers are that the film takes place at Christmas (which I believe can be attributed to Lethal Weapon writer Shane Black who wrote and directed this film) which is a nice little touch, though it annoyed me a little because it made me break my arbitrary rule about only watching Christmas films at Christmas, and that this film is funny. I mean really funny and it’s tone is consistent the whole way through. With most action films that try their hand at comedy they suddenly become deadly serious in the third act in a tonal shift that can be quite jarring. Iron Man 3 keeps it’s humorous, playful mood all the way through and it works. It works really well for both the character and the story. Perhaps an even bigger surprise is just where the humour is derived from. Iron Man 3 is not a parody but it is certainly a film that plays with expectations. It knows what you expect from certain situations in action movies and superhero movies and it flips them on their head and I for one thought it was brilliant. There’s one moment in particular that’s going to really piss of a select group of this movie’s audience but I loved it. LOVED IT.

What else can I say that wouldn’t be spoilery? Well, it’s great to see a little less reliance on CGI than we’ve had in the past. Things actually blow all the shit up in this movie and there’s a sequence involving people falling out of a plane that was at least partially shot using a team of skydivers. Sure CGI has come a long way since even the first Iron Man but it’s still more impressive to see things done for real every now and then.

As for the acting, well, the main cast you know. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark at this point and he’s just as good as he’s ever been. Gwyneth Paltrow get’s play a larger part here which frankly I like. Sure, she may not be everyone’s favourite person but within this series of movies I think she’s great especially working with the handicap of playing a character called Pepper Potts. Freed from the directing duties, Jon Favreau also has a slightly expanded role which is a nice touch and plays on the friendship between Tony and Happy Hogan. Hell, now that I think about it even JARVIS (Paul Bettany) has more to do here. It makes sense really. This film is very much about Tony Stark and what better way to do that than with more interaction with the people he cares about. In fact, the only person who might have less screen time that in Iron Man 2 is Don Cheadle as Rhodey. He still has an integral role to play and he’s very good but I guess the biggest interaction and confrontation we really need between Tony and Rhodey was in Iron Man 2.

As for the new people, Guy Pearce is great as Killian Aldritch, founder of Advanced Idea Mechanics who has had a rather unpleasant experience with Tony Stark in the past. There‘s the worry early on that he’s just going to be a retread of Sam Rockwell’s character from 2 but as the film progresses it’s clear that he isn’t. Rebecca Hall is decent enough as Dr. Maya Hensen, a botanist who helped to create a virus with regenerative qualities who once had a fling with a young Mr Stark. The main problem I have, I guess, is not so much the actress but some aspects of the character just didn’t make much sense to me. Of course the person that everyone is wondering about is Sir Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin. Well, he’s great. Fucking brilliant. He’s part Osama Bin Laden, part history teacher with maybe just a dash of Fred Phelps thrown in but he’s also so much more. So, so much more.

So Phase 2, and 2013’s Summer Blockbuster Season, kicks of not with a whimper but with a bang. An awesome bang. So yeah, go and see Iron Man 3. I mean, you were probably going to anyway. Oh, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this but stick around for after the credits. Four and a half pints out of five. Laterz.

Iron Man 3

If this were a Marvel movie, this would be the after credit sequence letting you know that there’s a full on, spoilerific video discussion coming some time in the near future once everyone’s had a chance to see it. Stay tuned.



Drunken "The Amazing Spider-man" Trailer Review by Jamie

I take a drunken look at the Spider-man reboot trailer. Sorry about the audio only portion of this. New camera and I’m still trying to figure it out. Also, I was quite drunk.



Review: Iron Man 2 by Jamie

Yes, I finally got around to seeing Iron Man 2. I really, really wanted to see it earlier but I’m a busy man, damn it. So yes, here is my review, several weeks later than everyone else’s and probably long after everyone stopped caring about it. I don’t care I’m writing this anyway and you can’t stop me. Go on, try. I dare you. Ooh look, I’m still writing. You’re pathetic… I really should stop insulting my readers. It doesn’t do much for reader loyalty. I apologise.

Anyway, Iron Man 2. There are going to be spoilers ahead so, you know, keep that in mind if you’re one of those few people who haven’t seen it. Still, I‘ll try and keep them as minimal as possible. Let’s begin.

The first Iron Man film, I think it’s safe to say, was one of the surprise hits of 2008. I say this because, well, it’s Iron Man. Who really cares about Iron Man apart from die-hard comic book fans? I consider myself a comic fan and even I can’t say I really give two shits about Iron Man. I’ve read the odd issue here and there but it’s not like he’s a Batman or a Spider-Man. He’s one of those heroes who I’d never thought would ever permeate the consciousness of the mainstream.

Still the film came and it hit big and I feel that the main reason for this is really because of Robert Downey Jr. The man just got Tony Stark and brought the character to the screen in a way that was fun and believable. I suppose something also has to be said for the fact that it was also the first film in Marvel’s planned ‘Avengers’ series and the fact that, hey, Superheroes are just pretty damn popular at the moment. Still, I feel that the fact that it hit in the way it did is indeed down to Mr. Downey Jr., an actor who appeals to both men, due to his flat out awesomeness, and women, due to his flat out panties moistening awesomeness.

And so we waited for two years, patiently looking forward to the next part in the Iron Man saga. Now that it’s finally here, was it worth the wait? Can it possibly live up to the first film?

Well, yes and no. I didn’t hate it but it certainly wasn’t as good as the first film. I was certainly entertained for the majority of the film but there were elements which really seemed to drag or that I really, really hated.

The biggest problem for me was, surprisingly enough, Robert Downey Jr, particularly early on in the film. It seems as though he was taking everything that made Tony Stark likeable and pushing just a little too far. It seemed almost as though he was playing a parody of the character from the first film. Yes, some will say there’s a reason for his behaving in this manner but really? That first film rested heavily on your ability to like Tony Stark despite his arrogance and too immediately remove that likeability straight away makes literally no sense to me. Unfortunately you still want to like Tony and, due to the way he behaves, no one around him seems to like him very much which makes it hard to like them which pretty much leaves you having a hard time relating to or liking anyone and leaving you with no anchor within the reality of the film.

Another big problem with the film is the fact that they are trying to bring too many elements from the Marvel Universe and weave them into the plot of this film in order to help set-up the forthcoming Avengers movie. You get the feeling that this was the studios decision rather than director Jon Favreau’s and it seems as though he tries hard to make these elements fit as best as he can but it often ends up making the film a bit messy and meandering. You kind of end up wondering if maybe they should have left Iron Man 2 for a year or two more and let some other Marvel films come out first so that they could have spread out the Avengers set-up a little more evenly.

Still, as I say, I didn’t hate the film. Most of the actors involved did do a pretty good job, even Downey Jr. eventaully managing to turn things down and make Stark likeable again. Sam Rockwell was especially good but then he always is, though I must admit I do find it a bit of a shame that he will forever more be a villain in the Marvel Universe. Also I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Scarlett Johansson looked particularly fuckable in this film. Crass, perhaps, but ultimately true.

Some people have lamented the lack of large set-action pieces in this film and whilst it’s true that they are a bit few and far between in this film, I for one don’t mind that. For me these films are really more about Tony Stark then they are about his metal-plated alter-ego so it makes perfect sense to me that he would be the focus of the film rather than the massive superhero/super villain clashes. What I will say though is that I’m really fucking sick of the final battle being between the hero (or heroes) and a villain (or villains) with powers equal or greater than those of the heroes. That seems to have been the major problem with the last Iron Man film, the last Hulk film and now that’s been pretty much repeated here as well. Still, as I say it kept me entertained for what it was and it was nice to see Captain America’s shield without it just being a part of the set decoration and the post credits sequence gives you a brief shot of Mjolnir so, yeah, stick around for that if you really wanna sit through the entire credits for a slightly obscured view of Thor’s hammer.

Overall I give Iron Man 2 three pints out of five. Laterz.



Wolverine Review by Chris


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