On this special episode of the show listeners Dwayne and Zack join us to break down Star Trek Into Darkness to its warp core! This episode is argument and spoiler filled! We talk the good, the bad, and the badass of this film!
Produced by: Ken Burns
Ken Burns is one of the world’s most well-known documentarians. He’s given credit for crafting a style of utilizing still images in his films that is often replicated and now often overused. Burns, in my opinion, has a very dry style of filmmaking. His style of PBS documentary filmmaking is appealing to many doc fans and it does often offer a contrast to the subject he covers such as the film simply titled Jazz. Other films in his filmography include: The Brooklyn Bridge, The Statue of Liberty, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mark Twain. So, one could argue that as successful as he has been in the past he’s not exactly still on the cutting edge of filmmaking as he once was. With that said I was excited to see The Central Park Five because it felt like a different type of film for him so I hoped he was also stretching himself in style and storytelling.
First off the title of the film is a little frustrating as it appears to be playing off another tragic story documented in the Paradise Lost trilogy of documentaries. I understand marketing but for a documentary filmmaker to even somewhat trade on someone else’s misery and on another documentary filmmakers’ work is kind of despicable. This film tells the story of five young boys that were accused and eventually convicted of raping and beating a woman in Central Park. The boys were sent to prison and each spent at least 6 years in prison and up to 13. They were finally released when a serial rapist admitted to committing the crime remarkably for no other reason than his conscience was getting the better of him. He believed these boys shouldn’t continue to be punished for something they didn’t do.
There’s no question that this story is fascinating and depressing. The film begins with a time capsule of the late 80’s New York demonstrating the unrest that was prevalent in the city. The night these kids were supposed to have committed the crime they did and still do admit to doing something called “wilding”. Wilding was a slang term for basically rampaging the city attacking innocent people and committing much more minor crimes. These mini riots of minority teens were common at the time. The film features archival news footage, interviews, and images that set the tone of New York City in 1989 and that demonstrate just how imperative it was to get these boys convicted. The documentary does wear its bias openly on its sleeve throughout its runtime. The way the title cards and narration sets up the detectives in charge is fairly blatant and slanted. I don’t disagree with the filmmakers in their bias, it’s just incumbent on a documentary filmmaker to tell every angle to the best of their ability or they are simply making a propaganda film.
The widescreen digital video here varies from solid TV quality video with good color and a clean image to rough and dirty archival video and that’s just film. When a documentary filmmaker is telling a period story where there is relevant video from the era available it must be used regardless of the level of degradation. I’ve seen films where the image was so poor the filmmaker just used the audio and that works too if it’s important to the story. Overall this film looks pretty good for a documentary.
The audio presentation is basic here, as we’d expect from a documentary but the important stuff, the dialogue, is clean enough and easy to hear. That’s really about all you can ask for in a documentary.
The Packaging and Bonus Material
There is a featurette with Burns and his daughter discussing how they came to this story and the reasons they felt it was important to make the film. There’s some good information here including working with the subject, deciding on the style of the film, and much more. There’s also a brief segment called After the Central Park Five where the five subjects attended film festivals to participate in Q&A’s. Seeing their reactions to the whole festival process was interesting. It’s all very brief but actually quality stuff.
The Central Park Five is absolutely a fascinating and tragic story that rises above any complaints I might have about the film’s execution.
Overall (Not an Average) 6.5/10
The Movie 7/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6.5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10
Fans have been eagerly awaiting Microsoft’s big XBOX announcement and the final result is a mixed bag. The information we get is really good stuff but the presentation of said information was a mess and in the end we get 15 minutes of solid news encompassed in an hour of marketing babble. If you take away all of the interviews with sports celebrities talking about what it means to truly be a player and all of the Hollywood types giving up the sound bites you’d end up with about five minutes of beautiful in game footage and several key announcements that have true impact.
- The System is named XBOX One, kind of a good name actually, representing a new start and new direction
- The system and controller design, sleek and simple
- There is an included blu-ray player and Kinect sensor
- The system is not only a game console but it’s also a TV tuner and cable box
- The device is fully voice controllable
- It is designed for always connected capability but it is not required’
- Steven Spielberg is producing a live action Halo TV series for the device
- TV is fully interactive
The cable box design is fantastic. There will not be any more input switching for games, blu-ray movies, and TV: it’s all in one place and instantly available. The system has a built in TV guide that is set up for favorites and other lists and will point you to what you want to see immediately. You can utilize other XBOX services such as social and internet while watching a show or movie, including fully integrated Skype! During the somewhat scatter shot event MS showed off a new partnership with NFL that integrates fantasy football stats with actual games as they are viewed live on the device and also allows social interaction between fantasy football players while they watch.
While there was some game-play footage(and it was gorgeous) it’s clear most of that is being saved for the Electronic Entertainment Expo. This event was mostly meant to show off the look of the device, announce the name, and sell it as an all encompassing entertainment experience. This approach culminated in the announcement of an XBOX exclusive live action TV series based on the Halo games being overseen by Steven Spielberg. This announcement throws down the gauntlet with Amazon Instant and Netflix, both of which also offer original programming. Netflix of course is still a part of the XBOX Live experience too.
In the world of games MS did say that they will be releasing a dozen games within the first year of the XBOX One’s release and more importantly eight of those games are new franchises. Call of Duty Ghosts is not XBOX One exclusive but the DLC will hit that device before any others. As far as release dates,all MS would say is later this year and no information on price was announced. Even though most of this event was a mess the things we did get are pretty exciting and the game-play footage from Quantum Break and Call of Duty Ghosts was outstanding. E3 should truly be a slug-fest between MS and Sony!
Star Trek Into Darkness hit theaters over the weekend and didn’t hit the estimated $100 million analysts were looking for, not even close. Instead the film bowed at around $70 million which gave it an overall total of around $84 million when early screenings were added in. These numbers actually fall slightly below those of the first film. The film is still strong and will still make a killing no doubt, but it doesn’t push the franchise forward in ways the studio might have hoped for. Iron Man 3 and The Great Gatsby still both made reasonable money in second and third place and most certainty played a role in the smaller take for Trek. Scroll on down to see the game scores so far and the total weekend box office for the top 3 films.
Here are the actual numbers:
|Iron Man 3||$337,661,977|
|The Great Gatsby||$90,682,832|
|Star Trek 2||$83,701,981|
There’s a substantial amount of TV news to cover this week lead by the new trailer for the series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. FOX also has a new scifi show from JJ Abrams and there’s a Sleepy Hollow thing happening and a Dracula series too. We check out the shows and trailers and break them down for you. We hit on the new issue of Ultimate Comics Spider-man, talk about Gatsby and we have an early review of Fast and Furious 6!!
Our man on the street freelancer Zack Martin hit the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention back in April and he came back with over 60 of the coolest cosplay pictures you’re likely to find anywhere. This is an anime convention so most of what you see will be of that genre but next door there was a horror based merchandise show happening so you might get a little boo! mixed with your Gundam Wing! Scroll on down and check out Zack shots taken exclusively for us!
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, The Rock, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Gina Carano
The Fast and the Furious is easily one of the shallowest film franchises ever created in action, story, gratuitous car porn, and skin. It’s a franchise that never should have really existed beyond the first film but definitely not beyond the abysmal Tokyo Drift. The fact is the franchise did continue and in fact the fifth film in the franchise became the most successful in box office and in story. That film introduced The Rock into the franchise which was probably the most brilliant move the filmmakers could have made. The action was amped up as was the drama. Fast Five was dumb fun and sometimes that’s ok. With the success of that film there was no question there would be another one, so here we have Furious 6 as the opening title reads. How many more times can they play with that title?
The first thing that must be noted about this film is just how strongly it sticks to the canon set up within the franchise. It’s funny that characters and story that are built on such a shaky foundation have actually found merit and have even become critically important. Justin Lin completes some character story arcs in this film and sets up more for an inevitable next film. Lin even bravely drops a mid-credits stinger at the end of the film making the entire thing a cliffhanger. I have to admit that the stinger and the new character it introduces have me ridiculously excited to see Fast 7. Wait, did I just type that?
IN Furious 6 the entire team has retired and the opening of the film sets the characters up in their new lives with some behaving a little better than others. At the same time a new villain is introduced and a new type of story is brought into the franchise. This villain and his team are out to execute the greatest heist ever, even at the potential cost of millions of lives. Luke Hobbs (The Rock) and his partner Riley (Gina Carano) are on the case. In the most abbreviated narrative writing ever Hobbs decides that it basically takes a criminal to catch a criminal. He makes this decision having not even attempted to catch the bad guys once himself. He has a trump card to force Dom’s (Vin Diesel) team into action too: he has proof that Dom’s presumed dead girlfriend and member of the team Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is alive and a part of this new group of international criminals. Again in excessively, near laughable fashion, Dom and Brian’s (Paul Walker) significant others give them the go ahead and jump back into action, regardless of the danger. These women don’t even show a minimal amount of concern for their men. The first few minutes of the movie flies by at this breakneck pace barreling on to get to the good parts. It’s as if Lin wanted to just hit all of the required character marks with as little effort as possible in order to get right into the action. This would normally bother me but based on this film’s pedigree we’re lucky to even get those basic character arc moments no matter how clichéd their execution is.
This franchise started out as a remake of Point Break for the most part. You had a group of thieves that were all a part of some extreme sport. The franchise has “evolved” into an almost Mission Impossible sort of thing now. You’ve still got the expert drivers but now there’s a tech expert and some bad assed fighters too. Yes it all sounds dumb and honestly it is dumb, really dumb. The thing is that the characters are all extremely charismatic, the action is flawless and exciting, and for the most part the humor works. What you end up with is a roller coaster and cotton candy. It’s not smart, it’s not long lasting, but while you’re at the theme park it’s a crap ton of fun. Furious 6 never hits the highs that made Fast 5 such a surprise and such a good time but it does give fans of the franchise, and those just looking for summer escapism what they’re looking for. The addition of Gina Carano doesn’t exactly up the acting game in this movie but she does up the fighting. This lady is a bad ass in these scenes; they just feel natural to her and extremely painful.
Honestly this may be the worst written story of the summer. There’s even a scene where the bad guy gives Brian all the answers because in his words “you’re a walking dead man so I might as well tell you”. Of course we all know that he gets outta this particular situation with all the answers. It’s just painfully stupid. If it weren’t for the success of all of the previously mentioned good stuff Furious 6 would be a direct to DVD $5 bin special. The thing is the good stuff is just really good. On an up note it seems like Diesel has recovered from the stroke I felt like he must have suffered during the making of Fast Five because there’s only one or two scenes where I couldn’t understand what he said. Here’s the thing, this isn’t a good movie but it is a fun movie. Take that as you will.
So this week we talk about Teen Mom sex tapes, the return of Honey Boo Boo, Iron Chef America Tournament of Champions, Amazing Race, and squirting!
Directed by: David O. Russell
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Chris Tucker
The Silver Linings Playbook was so over hyped so over loved that I had a sense of just not wanting to be sucked in by it. The film is also of a genre that just doesn’t appeal to me. I am a film fan of the most hardcore degree, the most critical, so a genre built more on formula than any other is just a genre I have little respect for. But, now that the film is off the box office top 10 and I didn’t have to pay full ticket price I thought I’d give it a chance and see if it was worth the hype.
The Silver Linings Playbook is built completely on the classic formula of a romantic comedy. You could maybe argue that other genres that I do appreciate such as action films and horror are also built on predictable formula and you’d be right. The difference is that within those genres are tons of films that push the formula, reinvent it, and experiment with it. The romantic comedy genre of film though is less brave; that formula is built on mass lowest common denominator appeal so too many stretches in story telling is just taking too much of a chance at turning off the primary audience. There are those very few films within the genre that do make an attempt at doing something new and challenging but there are so few of them you can count them on two hands. I was hoping that Silver Linings Playbook would be one of those standout films. In a nutshell the film most definitely is not. This film is completely predictable from the first five minutes of the film. BTW, there will be spoilers here so if that’s an issue for you I’d stop reading now and watch the movie then come back.
Bradley Cooper plays a mentally disturbed man pulled from a facility by his mother who wants to help him restart his life. His mother may be the one character that understands Cooper’s character the most because her husband played by Robert De Niro is the one who passed on his own mental issues. So this poor woman has dealt with these problems for two generations. Pat (Cooper) is missing his ex-wife and his old life when he meets another mentally challenged woman played by Jennifer Lawrence. The two eventually hit it off in their own odd way and she agrees to help Pat reunite with his ex-wife in exchange for helping her win a dance competition. Tiffany (Lawrence) deals with her own eccentricities with her dancing, not that she’s particularly amazing at it, it just calms her. She agrees to deliver a letter to Pat’s ex once they begin working on a dance routine. At that moment you know that Pat will eventually be writing a letter to Tiffany and you won’t be surprised. As simplistic as the story is there are even issues that previous reviews have looked over; most notably that the “playbook” part of the film is just a throw away thing and actually gets lost in the story. The “silver linings” part ends up just being a plot tool with no real merit or impact.
Every single beat of this films’ arc including the relationships, and the dance competition is painfully predictable. I’m not someone who sits in a movie and tries to work things out as the movie progresses, I just tend to soak it all in and consider it after the closing credits. When a movie is just so on the nose that I’m slapped in the face with all of the big beats before they happen I feel insulted. There are literally no surprises in this film. That’s not to say that Silver Linings Playbook doesn’t work on some level though. Jennifer Lawrence won an Academy award for her performance in this film and she absolutely deserved the award. That award isn’t about the overall quality of the film it’s about a particular actor’s work within a film. Lawrence is charismatic and a joy to watch in the film. Bradley Cooper also puts in a solid performance, add to that a good show from Robert De Niro a fun soundtrack, and the surprising humor of Chris Tucker and you have a bad story that is elevated by some of its elements. It’s predictable kind of like eating chicken. You know what chicken tastes like and if you like it then this bird is well cooked. Silver Linings Playbook isn’t nearly a groundbreaking film in its genre but as one of a million other options it’s one of the better choices. The film is directed by David O. Russell and compared to the rest of his filmography he is slumming with this film. Check out some of his previous directing work such as I Heart Huckabees, Three Kings, and Spanking the Monkey.
The Spring game is technically over but there are still numbers to report because Oblivion and Pain and Gain still brought in money over the weekend! The biggest news is that Niko has officially taken over the #1 spot of both the contributor and listener brackets! He broke $400 million leaving Bill’s $393+ million total.
Here are the numbers so far:
Directed by: James Tucker
Starring: Matt Bomer, Stana Katic, John Noble, Molly C. Quinn
DC/Warner Brothers has a group of collaborators to craft these direct to DVD/blu-ray/VOD films that previously crafted some of the best animated super hero television shows of all time. As great as Marvel’s films are their animated movies have been failures. DC on the other hand has released a string of great animated feature films based on their classic super hero characters. Superman Unbound is the latest release featuring this familiar craftsman.
Superman has a shortlist of classic villains including Doomsday, Lex Luthor, and Brainiac. These three baddies in particular are the only ones that have found ways to take out the Man of Steel in spite of him being nearly unbeatable. So, it’s inevitable that DC would eventually bring us a Brainiac film considering there has already been a Doomsday film and Luthor has permeated Superman’s animated life from the beginning. Brainiac is similar to a Borg from Star Trek; he’s mostly made of machine but there’s just enough bio matter to piece him together. He travels the universe taking the knowledge bio life forms and then destroying them in an attempt to better the universe. Along the way he takes samples of the most interesting life forms and stores them in bottles. Most notably, and a classic story in the DC comics, he took a single city from Superman’s home world of Krypton Via a probe Brainiac discovers the existence of Earth and of course the existence of Superman, so the battle begins.
On top of Superman vs. Brainiac there are a few subplots happening; Supergirl’s struggle to find her place on a world where she only has one other of her species and Lois and Clark finding their way in their relationship. Brainiac should be a truly scary character and for the first time in a Superman animated film the villain is horrifying. He’s cold, uncaring, and unstoppable. As powerful as Supergirl is she is frozen in fear at just the thought of Brainiac because she was on Krypton when he came, when she and no one else on her planet had any power to stop him. The film is edgy featuring a good bit of murder and bloodletting and that sense of fear is buffered by a much more adult atmosphere featuring strong language and even some hand gestures not common in animated films.
Superman faces off against Brainiac with no previous knowledge of the villain and of course he underestimates Brainiac leading to even bigger and more dangerous battles. The sad thing about the film is the story does such a good job of building the atmosphere of feat that the failings of the artwork are painfully apparent. It’s not that the art is completely horrible but it just doesn’t always match the adult vibe of the story. Brainiac definitely has a much better design in this film than the character originally had in comics when he was first introduced but in later years he actually comes off scarier than he does in this film. Overall though this film is a solid success, the directing, acting, and story execution is outstanding. This is an adult story and the characters are complex and multilayered, Supergirl in particular. The action does devolve at a few points to Superman’s basic punch punch heat vision and punch again but the final act action works well. DC comics are much more sci-fi than Marvel’s more grounded stories and that trend continues here with some on the nose science fiction themes wrapping up the story. While this thematic choice does soften the horror elements of the film it does fit with the overall DC universe. The biggest failing of this film is the name. Superman Unbound is just a dumb name and it doesn’t really have any impact on the story.
The film is presented in widescreen in 1080p HD and colors and lines look great with no major aliasing issues, something that often plagues animated films. The artwork is just bizarre though. DC’s animated films have always gone for a retro sort of 50’s art deco approach and while that does continue here it’s augmented with some bad choices. Some scenes with Clark Kent in particular feature him having and enormous body and a tiny little pin head, it just looks dumb. There are also a couple of human characters that are just Daily Planet employees that are built identical to Superman. That just doesn’t make any sense. When in full on Superman mode the character looks a little like an old character from videogames called Vector Man. The important thing to know about the character is that he’s just sort of a stack of balls that make up his shape, Superman is the same.
The Surround sound audio is fairly basic in design. The overall dynamics of the audio are almost flat lined, no explosive bass or ringing score here. On the upside dialogue is crisp and clean and special FX are distortion free and they sound exactly as they are meant to sound, not a spectacular presentation but it gets the job done.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The Blu-ray is presented in a standard amaray case along with a digital copy and DVD of the film. The holographic slipcover featuring some action from the movie is quite eye catching and it feels much more special than the case itself actually is. There are a few good supplements on the blu-ray that actually enhance the movie watching experience. The best featurette is one that covers who Brainiac is and what impact he has had on the DC universe. The featurette has interviews with some of DC’s pros as well as those involved in the film. It’s a simple talking head affair but it features some great archival images from the comics. Speaking of archive there’s another featurette called “From the DC Archives” which sort of follows Brainiac’s timeline. On top of all that there’s actually an audio commentary that also features some great behind the scenes information. What we have here isn’t very deep but it’s so much better than we’d expect from a direct to home video animated film.
Superman Unbound is another solid entry in DC Entertainment’s stable of well executed super hero animated films. If you’re a fan then this one is a must see. It’s not as good as Superman/Batman Public Enemies but it’s better than Superman/Doomsday. Also thank you DC for avoiding the celebrity name dropping and just bringing back the voice actors that originally made these characters great.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
The Movie 8/10
The Video 7/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 8/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
Iron Chef America on Food Network is easily one of the longest running game show/reality TV shows still running on basic cable, or on any network really. The series originally started in Japan, then it moved here and was briefly on Fox and hosted by William Shatner. That stint was very short and then the show was taken over by a burgeoning basic cable network whose entire content was to be food focused. The approach was very much that of a sporting event. Two of the best in their field would compete with a given set of rules that included ingredients and a time limit. Three judges score the competition and there’s a host and two color commentators. One of the show’s commentators was and still is food scientist Alton Brown.
For the first eight years of the show the rules remained the same; an Iron Chef, one of the best in the world would face off against a competing chef. The two chefs’ would have to each craft five dishes in one hour all featuring a mystery ingredient. As the show has continued a spinoff show started called the Next Iron Chef. On that show top tier chef’s competed in various trials to become the next Iron Chef added to the team on the main series. Last year the show added two new rules; the first is that the competitors must have their first dish prepared and served to the judges within the first 20 minutes, the second rule is that the show’s host would throw the chef’s a culinary curve ball at the halfway point of the cooking. The curve ball could be an additional ingredient but thus far it has been some sort of cooking tool that must be utilized in the chef’s dishes. The show producers have to be careful not to over complicate the set up too much and causing the whole thing to implode in on itself.
This season the series is set up to do something it has never done in its running time. The subtitle of this season is “Tournament of Champions”. The season gets that title because this time around there will be no outside competitors; the Iron Chefs will all be competing against each other. The both humorous and cool thing about this season is that the “game” is set up more like a sporting event than ever before. The season will consist of a single elimination bracket with the newest Iron Chefs competing first and working their way through to the Chefs that have been on the show the longest. This is probably the best way to set the show up because to do it any other way would immediately be saying this Iron Chef is better than that one when they are all supposed to be the best of the best.
The first episode of the season was last Sunday and it featured the show’s two newest Iron Chefs: Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. This was a fun battle because these two chefs are actually close friends. They competed on The Next Iron Chef together and after Zakarian won Guarnaschelli joined his team as his assistant. She won a follow up season of Next iron Chef and now the two are battling it out as Iron Chefs. During the battle Alton Brown referred them as the “Sid and Nancy” of Iron Chef. Is this a compliment? At any rate their secret ingredient was potato chips for which they used as breading, in a dessert, and Zakarian even made pasta with the tasty snack. In the end Iron Chef Zakarian handily defeated his good friend and moved forward in the bracket set to compete against Iron Chef Michael Simon the next time he steps into the arena.
Iron Chef America might not be football or basketball but it is a sporting event in that professionals at the top of their game are competing. The difference here is that there’s an additional level of artistry involved, which of course makes the scoring difficult. The judging of art is so subjective and so much based on opinion. There are aspects of this particular art that can be judged such as texture of ice cream or over cooked fish but when the basics are perfectly executed the scoring suddenly becomes left to the tastes of the judges. It’s a tough thing scoring art, but it’s a fantastic ride watching these pros work.
This week we talk videogame announcements, fantasy film ball, and dildos but that’s all a distant second to the in depth Iron Man 3 analysis!
Directed by: Shane Black
Starring Robert Downey Jr.
This review comes after the film has already released so some assumptions will be made; the most important of those is that you’ve already seen the movie. If for some reason you’ve been hiding under a giant lump of kryptonite waiting for Superman instead of forking over the bucks for the man of iron then I’d recommend skipping to the last paragraph because spoilers will abound.
As many issues as Iron Man 2 had the film still managed to bring the heart to it that director Jon Favreau instilled into the first film. While up to that point the director wasn’t known as a hardcore comic book fan he is in fact enough of a fan of the Marvel Universe to really bring passion to the story he told in the first film and again in the second film even though it was kind of a mess. So, when he stepped back from the directing chair many fans were concerned. Shane Black was quickly ushered in to fill the daunting role of continuing the film franchise. Not much was made of this new director moving in and it was done really quickly, probably to try and slow down too much fan boy distress over the change. Prior to Iron Man 3, Black has only directed one other film; Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. That film also starred Robert Downey Jr. Apparently the two had a good working relationship and with the success of the previous two Iron Man films Downey Jr. has much more pull in the direction of storytelling and obviously in helping pick those that get behind the camera. Black does have a phenomenal writing pedigree being the scribe of some of the best action films of the 80’s including Lethal weapon 1 and 2, The Last Boy Scout, and the highly under appreciated The Long Kiss Goodnight.
Iron Man 3 completes a story arc for both Iron Man and Tony Stark. One can’t help but wonder how many of the pieces have been in place from the beginning, especially since we got our first look at Iron Man’s greatest enemy, The Mandarin in the first film. Obviously the villain ends up being a lot different in this film than was previously hinted, mainly because of Black’s sort of comedic approach to the action. Black and his co-writers did use current versions of Stark, Iron Man, and the Mandarin from the comics in the storytelling though. Fans who are crying foul now at the twist in the film regarding the super villain aren’t obviously real fans of the comics as they might have you believe. They are fans of the old school somewhat racist version of the villain that just doesn’t fit in modern storytelling. What happens in the film isn’t too much of a stretch from the way the villain is portrayed in the modern comics and this portrayal just fits better with the Tony stark story along with the action of Iron Man. That really gets to the meat of this film, this third act in the Iron Man story is really a Tony Stark Story.
Tony struggles with what happened in New York in a truly interesting way. In the suit he’s nearly invincible but is that really where he’s the hero, is that truly where his super powers exist? This movie says no. He’s a super hero because he’s both a heroic person in heart and in mind and he’s brilliant, always one step ahead of everyone around him villain or not. So when the events of New York continue to haunt him as Tony Stark and not as Iron Man his true weakness may be finally revealed. In Iron Man 3 Stark spends a huge chunk of time being Tony stark, the new Tony Stark, the man who has become a hero, has settled down with one woman, and the man who is facing his most devious villain. Black managed to bring in notes of buddy cop, which plays into his wheelhouse (Lethal Weapon) and espionage, both very human elements of the story that are often not a part of super hero comics. Some of this more human type of story was previously best represented in Captain America: The First Avenger.
So, to the point, Black does a ton of things right with this film. Black crafts a human end to the trilogy, he still manages some of the best action scenes we’re likely to see on the big screen this year, he brings on a twist in the super villain that also humanizes someone that just wouldn’t have worked in the atmosphere previously crafted in the first two films, and he continues to let Downey Jr. shine in the role. Iron Man 3 isn’t a perfect film though. As great as Iron Man 3 is the film is missing that heart, that underlying passion for the subject that Favreau brought to the franchise. That feeling is a little crushed by all of the Black tropes that he manages to wedge into this film as good as they may be. Also, Iron Man 3 is a bit too comedic. The first two films managed comedy relief, even some goofy comedy relief, without making the film feel like an action/comedy. Those films worked because Stark was the only funny one in them and usually he was funny because he was being a smartass or just being smart, outside of the goofy robots. In this third film there are other characters that are just over the top funny which feels like too much when added to the inherent humor that Downey Jr. has infused into Tony Stark. There are some real hiccups in storytelling in the film too in a couple of places. There’s one scene in a bar where Tony and a new buddy are trying to get answers about the Mandarin where everyone either knows way too much or they literally know nothing for the first few minutes. The wrinkle does eventually get straightened out but what we get is a pretty awkward start. Also, we get explanation about how Tony’s armor can be at the right place at the right time but there’s another scene where he jumps into a car and you’ll wonder if he’s planning to hotwire it but when the car is driving itself you are just left to assume otherwise.
Nearly every Marvel character has a weakness that can end them if they don’t guard it properly. Tony Stark’s weakness has always been the piece of shrapnel being held in place by the power source for the Iron Man suit. So there has always been this fantastic story element that the device that makes him a hero is also the device that keeps him alive. One good comic book story arc adds to the story by making something happen to the device causing it to slowly kill him too. At the end of this film that weaknesses is just nonchalantly removed as if no big deal at all. Now Stark’s reasons for having not removed it before are interesting character-wise but removing that little piece of metal completely changes the character too.
Iron Man 3 is a fantastic movie and a true adventure ending film for this first trilogy. All of my complaints aside the film is still just fantastic. With that said though, there are some decisions that don’t work and hamper what could have been a perfect film. I have to say also, while the check your brain at the door requirement is fully in place, there’s a midair rescue done by Iron Man of several people falling from a plane that must be seen on a big screen. The scene was actually performed PRACTICALLY too! By the way, don’t see Iron Man 3 in 3-D, it’s not worth the bucks.
The world premiere of the first teaser trailer for ENDER’S GAME will debut during a Google+ Hangout on Tuesday, May 7 @ 1:00 PM PT / 4:00 PM ET. The event will also feature a live conversation with director Gavin Hood (X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE), producer Bob Orci (STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS) and star Asa Butterfield (HUGO).
Stars Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield want to say hello and show you a sneak peek of the first footage ever released of the highly anticipated epic adventure:
You can tune in to the live Google+ Hangout at YouTube.com/EndersGameMovie and Google.com/+EndersGame. Fans are invited to submit their questions for a chance to have them answered in the Hangout. Join in the conversation online using #EndersGame.
Join the event here: https://plus.google.com/events/cuito512urg0a64r6bc2ocuakuc