Review: Iron Man 3 (2013)

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Iron Man 3 poster

“Ladies, children, sheep… Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: Heroes, there is no such thing.”
– The Mandarin

I am back… at work, that is. I really needed the time off. Boy, was it worth it. I got to watch some amazing and some (really) not so amazing films, some series, I read, I studied (truly… hem hem), watched Iron Man 3 and I got showered with tons of awesome gifts. More films for my personal collection, books that I have been eyeing for a long time among other things, as well as a lifetime supply of candy (I lie… it might last until the end of the week). But back to the issues at hand. Iron Man 3

Billionaire playboy and engineering genius Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is still battling with his emotions from what happened with the Avengers in New York. His girlfriend, Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is doing her best to run Stark Industries as well as keep Tony satisfied, but there seems to be a shift in their relationship. Restless, anxious and sleep deprived, Tony starts tinkering on a new project – armour that will call to his body from his mind, as well as work and act without his physically needing to be inside of it. The Mark 42 armour seems to be working… shiftily. He is obsessively building more Iron Man suits. Tony has finally realized he is not untouchable, and wants to keep the most important person in his life safe at any and all costs. Pepper meets with an old contact from Tony’s past, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who offers Stark Industries to invest in his think tank idea Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM). Pepper politely declines.

Iron Man 3 Pearce and Paltrow

“The whole world’s gonna be watching.” – Aldrich Killian

A new terrorist has taken the reigns and he goes by the name of The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). He is so undercover and unknown and untraceable, the world is sure that they have met Iron Man’s match, though his best friend, Colonel James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes (Don Cheadle) tells him to stay out of it, being military business and all, Tony is drawn into the fight when another close friend of his, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is caught in a bomb blast – a terrorist attack. Happy was very on edge with Aldrich Killian and the company that he kept, and investigated a little bit more by accident. Tony publicly announces to the press that he is on a revenge mission for the Mandarin, and gives his home address.

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Chilling with the prodigal

As much as Tony tries to protect Pepper, his arrogance and anger brings down a world of suffering, and he is forced to run for cover when his home is bombed and demolished and he is presumed dead. Hiding out in Tennessee with a young  boy named Harley Keener (Ty Simkins), Tony starts to fix up his suit as well as prepare to return to Pepper, who has been kidnapped by the Mandarin’s people. Tony discovers that the bomb blasts that have been popping up all over the country due to the Mandarin are caused by soldiers that were a part of the Extremis program, a tissue regenerative program for the human body with strength effects and more, headed up by his old flame Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall). The Mandarin group wants Tony to fix the kinks in the Extremis program, and soon.

Iron Patriot

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When the Iron Patriot armour is stolen from Rhodey, Tony and Rhodey need to get together to recover the armour, and stop the Mandarin group from continued terror attacks, while simultaneously saving both Pepper and the United States president. Will the team be able to do it, and will Tony be able to settle down and be far less anxious in life, continuing smoothly with Pepper? Will they be able to save the president and the love of Tony’s life, while stopping the Mandarin and the crazy attacks that he exacts with calculated brutality, not stopped or challenged at any turn?

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“Things are different now, I have to protect the one thing that I can’t live without. That’s you.” – Tony Stark to Pepper

I reckon Iron Man 3  earns a 6.5/10. I mean I walked in with the knowledge that this would be the closer, and I was very excited to see what would come, and after all the reviews and the anticipation, I was entertained to a degree, but not like I thought I would be.  Iron Man 3 was just vastly different from its predecessors. You can see a distinct change in the direction (missed Jon Favreau). The cinematography was good, the effects were solid, but I felt that the story needed to be tightened up a bit more – especially the whole villain plot. Read around and all and the general consensus seems to be that they jumped into the Extremis plot way too quickly, that is why is seems holey at times. Robert Downey Jr. was great, naturally, and Gwyneth was definitely Pepper, but things were a bit… different with them for this one, which is what the film was going for, I am sure. I really didn’t like how closely this was linked to The Avengers (we all know I am such a fan). Once again, there was some pretty good humour in the film, and Tony and Rhodey together was hilarious, I would expect nothing less from their dynamic, but there was a lot of forced humour and even more that fell flat. There was this distinct feeling of something missing, though, and I am not one hundred percent sure what that was. And the Iron Patriot? Just let him be the War Machine! However, I was glad the patriotic armour was limited to Rhodey, I like the hot rod red and gold for Tony, that is just Iron Man. Also missed the music from the older movies, such as the ACDC, the Black Sabbath, that was really great for me, but removed for this one. Don Cheadle had a much bigger role this time, which was also pretty cool. Guy Pearce was definitely good in his role, he is a very good kooky person, and plays that misunderstood genius very convincingly, though he was criminally underused. Ben Kingsley came as a surprise. Not as an actor, as always he was great, but his character took me slightly aback, I think they completely crippled that story arc. Overall, not a bad watch, just really not in league with its predecessors, and a rather disappointing way to close down the trilogy.

Review: Iron Man 2 (2010)

4

iron man 2 poster

“I’ve successfully privatized world peace.”
– Tony Stark

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is back, six months after announcing to the world that he is Iron Man. This announcement was not taken lightly, and as much popularity as Tony has gained, he has made enemies, and the American Government is getting slightly antsy by his unwillingness to turn over his Iron Man technology to the military. Lieutenant Colonel James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes (Don Cheadle) steps up to assist Tony, who has other plans.

Ivan Vanko

Nothing quite like whipping up a Grand Prix track

Tony has discovered that the mini arc reactor that he built to keep the shrapnel from the explosion in Afghanistan from reaching his heart is slowly but surely killing him. The palladium, to be precise. That which is keeping him alive will also cause his slow and excruciating death. Tony appoints Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwenyth Paltrow) to be the new CEO of Stark Industries, which she finally accepts. Naturally, her position needs to be replaced, and Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johannson) steps up to the plate. Rhodey knows that Tony is dying, a fact that he is not willing to share with anyone, and soon he is off the rails, thinking like a dying man, and a selfish one at that. A Russian by the name of Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) builds his own arc reactor to power his very own version of a suit… one with whips. He enters the States, not to kill Tony, though it surely would have been a bonus, but to prove that gods, too, bleed. He wishes to shake the faith of the nation.

Iron Man 2

“You’re out of control, okay?” – Pepper

Hammer Industries CEO, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), assists Vanko is escaping authorities after his capture in hopes that he can make a deal with him: perfect his useless Iron Man suits. The two come to an agreement, and Vanko begins work immediately, all the while everyone outside of Hammer’s immediate crew think that Vanko died in a bombing in his prison cell. Hammer hopes to present the new suits at the Stark Expo as soon as possible. Vanko, however, has plans for automated drones, not suits. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D steps in to tell Tony to get his act together and to do so, soon, and puts Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) on the case to keep an eye on him. Tony finds out that Natalie is actually Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow. The Avengers Initiative is brought up again, but more so to prove to Tony that his father was a greater man then even Tony gave him credit for. Delving into the past, Tony discovers new things about his father, who gives him the technology to create a new element. This element will save Tony, and stop the poisoning of his body while simultaneously keeping the shrapnel from reaching his heart.

Iron Man 2 fight scene

They have the moves

Will Tony be able to hang onto the Iron Man technology without sharing it with anyone, including the military? Will Vanko build Hammer the suits he so sorely wants,  and what will Tony do with his new found health, step up to the podium as Iron Man successfully, get the girl and put a stop to the weak imitations of his suit that are rapidly gaining momentum?

A 7/10 for Iron Man 2. It was so damn entertaining. I laugh all the time at how Pepper can royally freak out at Tony, but he does not seem to mind (let’s chalk it up to the textbook narcissism, shall we?). But she doesn’t even do it lightly, either. Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is absolutely brilliant, sweet and crazy all at once, and it is nice to see him have a larger role in this film. I was very sad to see Terrence Howard replaced as Rhodey, but Don Cheadle does a fine job. I really loved the way the whips looked in this movie, they were done so well. Was a pretty cool concept, I will grant that. I was particularly amused by the court opening in the beginning, and could not stop laughing at the Monaco Grand Prix track, the reactions were simply stunning. The humour was pretty sharp in this one again, and Gwenyth Paltrow is such a perfect fit for Pepper. The cast is really put together well, and I like the way you get a little inroads to War Machine. Pretty cool. Two down, one more to go as soon as it touches down here!

Review: Iron Man (2008)

7

Iron Man Movie Poster

“We’re iron mongers, we make weapons.”
– Obadiah Stane

Tony Stark Jericho

“They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once.”
– Tony Stark

Billionaire engineering prodigy and playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) lives quite the charmed life in his Malibu mansion. Rich, arrogant, cocky, self-assured and spoiled, Tony heads off to Afghanistan with one of his only friends, James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Terrence Howard), to introduce his latest weapon: The Jericho. Things do not pan out as he had planned, and his convoy is attacked by a terrorist group, the Ten Rings. Tony is caught in the cross-hairs  and is shredded by shrapnel from a Stark Industries weapon.

Iron Man first suit

A desperate escape plan by a genius

Waking in a dingy, dark cave, he meets Yinsen (Shaun Tomb). Yinsen saved his life by building the device which is pretty much just an electromagnet hooked up to a car battery which will keep the shrapnel that could not be removed from reaching his heart. The head terrorist, Raza (Faran Tahir) demands that Tony build them a Jericho missile, too. Tony starts his first rough draft of the Iron Man suit (Mark I) while conning them into believing he is steadily working on the missile. Yinsen has given Tony hope. He has seen that his weapons are used for war profiteering at the hands of the enemy, his weapons are being used against the very men they were designed to protect. In the cave, Tony creates a mini arc reactor to keep him alive and the shrapnel at bay, as well as the iron suit they need for escape. Their escape goes mostly as planned, and Tony destroys

Returning to America after three horrifying months, Tony meets back up with his loyal assistant Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwenyth Paltrow) and his right hand man and father’s old partner, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). At a press conference, he announces that they will cease all weapons development effective immediately until he can decide what is going on. Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) from the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistic Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.) approach Pepper to make an appointment to see Tony to debrief him about his capture, and he is continually blown off by Pepper and Tony.

iron-man-downey-jr

Working out the minor kinks of the suit

Tony is on a new mission. He needs to look after people. At the end of the day, it looks like he is a war profiteer, and what with the Stark Industries board members filing injunctions against him, even his company looks set to belong to someone else. Angry to find out that Obadiah is the one that is causing the major difficulties for Tony, he decides to make a difference in the world, and not just sit back. This is how Iron Man is born, and Tony works tirelessly to perfect the suit he so haphazardly built in the Afghanistan deserts.

However, his latest piece of technology, the one he built for the intent of saving people, and correcting mistakes, can also be the most dangerous weapon the world has ever seen if it falls into the wrong hands. Can Tony protect it, as well as redeem himself due to Obadiah’s mistakes and greed?

Iron Man suitI score Iron Man an 8/10. Robert Downey Jr. really was the most amazing pick to play Tony Stark. He is Tony in each and every aspect. Again, he is simply just a joy to watch, the attitude, the acting, the way he handles things is so typically Robert Downey Jr. you can’t help but love it. The film style was also great, especially for what they were presenting us, and I think that this film did Marvel amazing justice, it was just so cool. The humour is pretty sharp, as well as sweet, overall just a pretty good package. Terrence Howard was definitely worth watching, as he gave his character amazing life, and the sarcasm bouncing between him and Tony is just brilliant. This movie was extremely well cast, and the effects, dialogue, etc. was amazing. I have seen it enough times to know I still enjoy watching it, so that has to speak for something! One of the better superhero movies, of its time and now, so definitely worth the watch if you have not seen it. Who else is gearing up for Iron Man 3?

Review: The Avengers (2012) – Overhyped and underwhelming

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The following statement will be deemed heresy by the firm believers in the franchise, the fans and my friends: I was seriously underwhelmed by The Avengers.

I heard about it for months. It was everywhere. I did not see it in theatre, although many of my friends did and went back repeatedly. I was not that desperate to see it, I would wait for the DVD release, after all, The Dark Knight Rises was my extreme freak-out superhero movie for the year.

Just before the release of The Avengers, I rewatched all the movies pertaining to what would become the crime fighting squad. I own both Iron Man movies (big time Robert Downey, Jr junkie, I love his work), and started with them. I progressed to Captain America: The First Avenger, and I was duly impressed (aside from the fact that I am still trying to reconcile Chris Evans being both Johnny Storm and Steve Rogers – I sort of expected to hear “flame on” come up somewhere) with the role that Chris Evans portrayed. He was what I would have expected for a Captain America, and he aced it. It was believable. The movie was entertaining. Then there was Thor. I really like Norse mythology, so this promised to be a treat. Not really. It was ok.

Hulk out

Superhero movies so often fall short of the mark. They are alright to a point, and sometimes are not even semi-decent. Of all the movies, I skipped The Hulk. I watched the Eric Bana one when it was released, and I was not thrilled about it, but I refuse to subject myself to watching Edward Norton do it (I respect him far too much to watch the flawed logic of a brilliant scientist go daft when he hulks out). My friends keep telling me it is not so bad, and a friend’s father, who is big into his comic books and especially the Hulk, said that Edward Norton was definitely worth seeing in that film. Aside from that, I was now ready for The Avengers.

THE PLOT (very roughly):

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), S.H.I.E.L.D. director, gathers a group of crime fighters together when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his followers decide to invade Earth. Loki has teamed up with the Chitauri Army, and have stolen the Tesseract to open portals to Earth. Loki starts up with some mind control of a crazy different level, and S.H.I.E.L.D. soon realizes that the Avengers might be the only way to survive it all.

Thor and CoulsonThe Avengers Initiative is back on track, and Norse god Thor (Chris Hemsworth) meets with the rest of the freshly assembled team: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is Iron Man, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is the Hulk, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is Captain America, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson) is Black Widow, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) is Hawkeye. They meet to stop his stepbrother’s insane plans.

Despite all their differences and separate ways of dealing with things, the group needs to band together to stop Thor’s stepbrother Loki from taking over the world. They would be doomed should it happen. Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is slightly overwhelmed to have the entire team together, as he is fans of most of theirs. Loki is intent on destroying Earth in the most public and humiliating way – to have the people become his slaves, and though Nick Fury has gathered them all together, the Avengers project seems dead in the water before takeoff has even been established.

Iron Man and Captain America

When the ages just don’t correspond

Loki is brought into custody, and plans go awry when Thor is convinced that he can reason with his brother, and talk him out of the disaster he is setting them all up for. Many things would (naturally) go wrong, nothing can be as simple as someone wanting to take over Earth and just quickly apprehending the traitor. A death in the unit brings the members closer, and gives them a common goal to fight for. Together they work on their strong points and try to work out the bad points, leading them to becoming a great unit of heroes.

Thor and Captain America the Avengers

Fighting for Earth

Earth has long since needed saviours such as the Avengers, but now is the time. Loki holds the key to closing the portal to ensure his defeat: his staff. Manhattan is in danger of being permanently eradicated due to Loki’s presence within it. Will the Avengers be able to stand up to him, to defeat him without bloodshed, and restore  Earth back to its calm and peaceful ways?

THE VERDICT:

Overall, I give it a 6.5/10. You know, I got home, all excited. It was time. I was going to have my mind blown. I was going to be super impressed. I was not. I was not pulled into the movie to that extreme at all. The cast was solid and phenomenal, the story was pretty much non-existent, and there were inexplicable inconsistencies with the story lines. The humour was, however, entertaining (at times, when it was not too childish), the effects were good, but that was it. It is not a dreadful movie, not by a long shot, but I cannot comprehend why people went so ballistic about it. I did, however, think that Mark Ruffalo played the best Hulk I have ever really seen on film, so well done. I don’t think I would have been as disappointed had it not been called the movie of the decade, best thing this year, blah blah blah. It was overplayed, that is all there really is to say about it. I thought The Dark Knight Rises was way better, and not just because I am a fan, but because it was way more consistent.