animation – cinema – design

Comedy

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Iron Man III

Taos Storyteller Theatre.
So I’m hanging out with this dude I grew up with. We’re talking about movies, making them and watching them and working in/on them and blah blah blah. Hanging out leads to dinner with the wives and we all end up in the car going to see Iron Man III.

I’ve been told beforehand that there is some sh*t with the main bad guy, The Mandarin, and that as a “Comics Geek” I should be prepared to be disappointed. I don’t’ care about any of that crap, I just want to see Iron Man rock some awesome weapons on an unsuspecting/totally
aware group of bad guys. I want to listen to Tony Stark be snarky about his life as he deals with his real world problems.

More on that later.

At the end of the day, comics and comic book movies ask for a little more audience participation than most films. Silver Surfer is the last entity of his planet and he works for the thing that ate them, Reed Richards isn’t to be held at fault for risking the fabric of reality as he quests to heal his friends and family, The Punisher doesn’t need an ambulance, and the X-men aren’t gay. The reality of the situation is that a real world Iron Man suit can be taken down with a short range EMP and a crowbar, so I’m not totally worried about things like “plot holes in the main device” when I go to a comic book movie. I’m pretty happy with “Imagine that we’re not gods, just super scientists from an
alternate dimension who think capes and hand to hand combat beat long range weaponry when it comes to valor” to be on board with a film.

What I mean is that I can eat my popcorn, shut up, and watch Thor pal around with the Steve Rodgers for a couple hours.

So there I am sitting there in my seat.  Thinking about the previews (come look at our effects as the industry collapses!)  and we get right into it.

Before the Marvel logo even whips by Tony Stark is drilling out his problems and I’m stoked. As I mentioned before, Tony is Marvel’s character who gets to be human. He’s like Batman, but with real world problems that aren’t just glossed over. For instance, in his character
creation the worlds best weapons designer has a full on change of heart and becomes a mild pacifist as he invents his best weapon ever. He has multiple romances, which leave him broken hearted and lonely. Perhaps most importantly, he battles an alcohol addiction
openly and pushes the idea of real world hero’s as people who work and solve their own problems by themselves, and the help of their friends, famalies, and communities.

Iron Man III tries out this formula and starts with the panic attacks that Tony has been having since the Avengers movie last summer. Apparently he can’t sleep, and is worried about the health and safety of Pepper Pots, his three movie girlfriend. It’s not alcohol
abuse, but it is pretty stifling. There is a great monologue about creating our own demons with actions and inactions in our past, and how those decisions come back to haunt us.   Some character development for side characters, with Stark’s main sidekick finally making
an appearance four movies into the franchise. Then the first real action sequence begins, and it’s a bit less than fantastic.

This is where the script starts to pull apart.

Apparently Tony has been working on a “prototype 42” and it’s kind of glitchy.   So when the Villain (more on this later) begins his attack on the West Coast Avengers headquarters, which Tony has basically invited, Stark is not quite ready for it.

This is a huge pull away from the “prepared for anything” Iron Man that Marvel has been using in the past three movies. His character should, at the beginning of this film, have several up and operational suits which have already saved the world on several occasions.

His prototype suit has a pre-programmed flight path to the heart of mysteryville on the east coast and when his house gets blown to smithereens Tony ends up on the east coast. This whole movement is an attempt to pull him away from the friends and resources at his disposal and proves to be a neat visual trick as the head of enterprise pulls his prototype suit through the snow and steals a blanket from a wooden indian.

Symbolism notwithstanding this is the moment in the world of Marvel comics where his secondary or tertiary backup suit on the east coast calls his friends, leaves the Avengers tower, and picks him up.
Not so here!

With a suit he wouldn’t have to revert to “the mechanic” and solve his panic attacks. Without backup he won’t have to meet a child, make a friend, and beat the bad guys without an iron man suit. Not because our bad guys can’t fight an Iron Man suit, but because we need to prove the man is better than the technology.

This film then pulls entirely apart, sacrificing a major player in the villainous campaign to keep monthly issues coming while introducing ANOTHER failed military experiment prototype gone bad.

For reals.

As though we haven’t seen enough of that in the Punisher franchise, X-Men movies, Spider Man series(‘s), or Fantastic Four movies.   Instead of focusing on character ideals reaching for greater discovery and seeking Stark’s help (which are present, made to be villains,  and try to be major plot devices) we end up with the tired old “I got power and now I”m evil” routine.  I’m gonna get you Sucka!

Why is War Machine even in this movie?
Uh… To solve several “we need a joke here” problems; and to move the plot along so that we can use this skydiving team and get the president of the United States of America both in harms way due to military overspending/undersight (#do_not_trust_anyone) and out of harms way due to the persistence and heroism of an armed forces soldier?

But why isn’t that just “War Machine” the movie?
He could have some character growth and maybe get a girlfriend of his own. She could be white… Or Asian! She could be related to the badguy and the Colonel could win her over with his heart and after he saves the president he could win her father over to his side at a bar-BQ or something. We could talk about race relations in the armed forces and how they have changed over the last thirty years. He could start out welding something onto the ISS and fight Omega Red!

I don’t know.. sounds like a good movie.

How come all of Stark’s robot suits can be run by a computer operating out of NYC but can’t come out of their cave until they end of the movie?

uh… the bad guys aren’t tough enough?
Not so!

These bad guys apparently aren’t just built out of regenerating fire, they also have some kind of heat generated electromagnetic field that shuts down our hero’s super suits. Unexplained!

Great fight scene at the end, but why do I care? I mean, COOL this supertanker yard is exploding and falling all around and the chemical spill caused is going to close down the port for a long time, but why does the bad guy fight tony at all?

He regenerates, has fire powers, is a well connected billionaire, can escape easily on several occasions, and has no reason to fight to the death. So what now? Why?
I dont’ get it.

Fortunately it all works out in the end and as it turns out Pepper has magic powers, Tony’s figured out a way to use them to heal his heart and it wasn’t a two hour soliloquy  but our hero spending his afternoon unloading on his new friend Doc Banner. Great.

At least Kitty Pryde is out working on her rapping career.

**1/2 for effort and continuing the series.

PS:
Mandarin.
I’ll say this: It’s sad to see one of Marvel’s weirdest villains casually tossed under the bus.  With the new wolverine movie coming out (which should just be called “Madripoor“, but who asked me) and a needed link to space fairing races.  BUT I like that the Marvel team was willing to sacrifice some parts of it’s branding in order to try to make a plot twist work out. A lot of people will bag on the use of Mandarin in this setting, and I can see why. To them I would like to propose that his mind control ring is still in his possession and that while all these people think he’s a drunk, drug abusing actor. His name is Keyser Soze.

Coming To America  -DVD-

So I sit down at my sisters house to catch up on reviews when she puts on “Coming to America”
This freaking movie is Eddie Murphy at his very best and the reason Arsenio Hall deserved to have his own TV show. They rip off everything from every good movie, introduce the world to Samuel L. Jackson, and even have James Earl Jones give a Vader line flippantly. The film holds up well over time and offers a tongue in cheek look at american society, as well as black society in america (i suppose, though it should be noted I grew up white in northern New Mexico) and they ape (HA!) every part of what it is to be black in the united states. What’s sad is this is still a pretty good look at american society in new york, also at the sweaters that made Cosby famous. So good it’s got to be Soul Glow.

****-

EVER AFTER

DVD
brothers grim ->wtf? how much grimm shit hit the shelves this year? (1998)  who’s making that money…
This is apparently my girls favorite movie, and after much f*cking about, I finally watched it.  Not bad.

davinci is awesome; with his boat boots and his “you’re a moron” speeches…”  Really fun side character.  There are some weak plot points reguarding the villians of the film, with a specific mis-use of the male badguy; a serious miss in that you could have boosted french morale in order to have the heroine save herself.  Instead we are left wondering why he doesn’t just chase her out of the castle.  Overall the costumes were pretty and the camera work was obscenely gorgeous.  The main problem is that Hotty McHottergirl isn’t nearly as dopey as the script calls for.  This isn’t really a problem.

I wasn’t amazed, and I wasn’t appalled; which led me to believe that I will never really know what the girls I’m dating like at all.
**1/2–

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