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Month of Superhero Film Reviews: Iron Man 2

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Day #21 of my Month of Superhero Film Reviews! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best and worst comic book adapted films. Since we’ve talked about the awesomeness of Iron Man now I’m going to talk about its much weaker sequel, Iron Man 2.

It’s incredible how much can change in two years right? Iron Man was an amazing film in 2008 and the Iron Man 2 comes out in 2010 and just fails to be as good as its predecessor. The general consensus from fans and critics about this film was that it was disappointing, and that holds true until this day. I remember seeing this film in the cinema and at first thinking that it was better than the last one, but after watching it another two times I started to notice it’s many problems and each time I watched it after thats it got worse and worse. So today I’ve checked it out again so let’s see what I think of it now in this review.

The plot takes place six months after the events of Iron Man, where Tony Stark has revealed his identity as Iron Man and is resisting calls by the United States government to hand over his technology. Meanwhile, rogue Russian scientist Ivan Vanko has developed the same technology and built weapons of his own in order to pursue a vendetta against the Stark family, and in the process joining forces with Stark’s business rival, Justin Hammer.

The story in this film had little moments of quality like Tony’s palladium core slowly poisoning him, the government wanting to take away Tony’s armour away and the inclusion of Tony’s father via old movies. But the problem is that those elements along with the rest of the film are terribly executed with a too many plot points to follow, the shoe-horned appearance from S.H.I.E.L.D., the butchered treatment of Ivan Vanko and the unnecessary amount of humour in the film which dilutes any of emotional material the story had going for itself. I really wish that there was a better balance between humour and seriousness because a lot of the time the film feels the need to be funny and it gets annoying at points where you’re wondering why the hell all of this random stuff is going on. If the plot in this film was a little more focused and had one consistent villain throughout instead of two useless ones then it would have been much better.

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Now let’s talk about the cast. Firstly we have Robert Downey, Jr. who is still doing it as Tony Stark/Iron Man. RDJ still retains all the great qualities about Tony that we came to love in the first film, he’s that likeable asshole who is funny, witty, arrogant and cool. But in this film he has his low moments, has issues with drinking and the fact that he’s dying too. But the more dramatic moments are bogged down by a lot of new stupid moments like when Tony’s constantly cracking jokes or is drunk in the Iron Man suit at his party (that was just painful to watch). Gwyneth Paltrow is still witty, humourous and beautiful as Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts, but in this film she is just a bit of a nag, always complaining and being at odds with Tony. I know because her new position as CEO of Stark Industries and Tony’s secrets it causes her a bit of stress but she was fairly frustrating, luckily the chemistry and banter between Stark and Potts is one of the better aspects of the film.

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Now let’s talk about Don Cheadle as Lt. Col. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes. To be honest when I first saw Cheadle’s version of Rhodey, I hated it, the guy was a total stick in the in mud, was always so bloody serious and very different from the more understanding and enjoyable version that Terrence Howard brought to the film beforehand. Here there was no chemistry between Rhodey and Stark besides a few moments towards the latter half of the film, but overall I wasn’t keen on Cheadle at all. Next there’s Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow. Firstly may I say that Scarlett Johansson is one of the hottest women in this history of existence and to see her in this film made gave my eyes so many moments of joy. Johansson’s beauty alone is enough to give this film a watch, but besides that, she played an interesting interpretation of the Widow character who could kick ass, was calm, assertive and didn’t mess around. She was really cool and slick in not only her action scenes but also posing as secret S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, I only wish her character had more to do and had more references to her Russian comic book origins.

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Then there’s villain number one in the shape of Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer. This guy was pretty much a joke for the most part, its hard to take him seriously as a rival weapons manufacturer when he’s joking around so much, has no good personality traits and most of the stuff he’s built is useless when compared to Tony Stark. Though I will give Rockwell credit because of his character’s overly charismatic nature is actually kind of funny for all the wrong reasons, oh and his introduction during Stark Expo when he comes on stage dancing to “Pick Up The Pieces” by Average White Band, that was frigging awesome. And then there’s villain number two in the form of Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko. Honestly I also hated this guy, he’s supposed to be this super smart villain who knows about the arc reactor technology and yet he doesn’t come across a threat too much. When talks to people he barely sounds intelligent and when he goes into battle he’s no tactian. Vanko just comes across as a muscle-bound thug who knows a few things about science. There’s nothing complex or interesting about his character, he’s just plain and boring. And I still don’t why the people who made this film thought it’d be a good idea to fuse the characters of Whiplash and Crimson Dynamo together. No we’ll never see a proper Crimson Dynamo villain for ages!

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Also Samuel L. Jackson makes more of an appearance as Nick Fury in this film, Jackson was fine but rather than giving us a more serious character we got a bit of Sam L. Jackson being Sam L. Jackson. And lastly it was nice to see the return of Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, but it was even more awesome to see the return of Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson! (LEGEND!)

Now let’s talk about the presentation. For the most part the film offered up some good spectacle and action sequences with cool special effects. The best points for action was seeing Black Widow taking out bad guys, the Iron Man and iron drone chase sequence and the fight scene with Iron Man and War Machine basically wrecking shop and destroying all of those robots. Though the CGI wasn’t as sharp and detailed as it was in the previous film especially near the end of the film with all the iron drones flying around, they were very blurry and lacking in detail. As for the soundtrack by John Debney it’s not bad but it doesn’t have nearly as much charisma and style as the previous film, and fails to leave an impact. However on the upside there are loads more AC/DC songs in this film and it really work well in the film.

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And lastly how does it compare to the comics? Well from what I’ve seen there were a lot of changes made to the characters in this film, from Justin Hammer being changed from an old serious Englishman to a younger, funnier American person to Mickey Rourke becoming a fusion of the Crimson Dynamo’s alter ego and the villain Whiplash. Also the film takes elements of the “Demon in a Bottle” story arc from the comics but doesn’t fully capitalize on the source material, therefore making Tony’s drinking in the film kind of pointless. The creation of War Machine was also great altered too.

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So to conclude Iron Man 2 wanted to do up its game and do a great job, but in the end it ended up trying to do too much and fell under the height of its own material. On top of a story that isn’t as interesting as the previous one with inconsistencies, bad decisions and a poor attempt at adapting one of the Iron Man comic book stories. There are some redeeming factors like the action sequences, and the performances from Downey Jr., Paltrow and Johansson, but otherwise this film is just a disappointing film.

Rating: 6/10 (A painful step backwards in this film series)

So there’s my review people, only 9 more to go. So have you seen Iron Man 2 and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Month of Superhero Film Reviews: Iron Man

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Day #20 of my Month of Superhero Film Reviews! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best and worst comic book adapted films. So now we again return to 2008 with what I believe to be one of the best comic book films ever in the form of Iron Man.

Yay! Time to talk about one of my favourite films in the last few years and just in general. When Iron Man came out in 2008 my life was changed forever. This was the first film I saw three times in the cinema and it really had an impact on me, I became an Iron Man fan, I became a Robert Downey Jr. and I became obsessed with what other films Marvel Studios would release leading up to The Avengers. So after five years has my obsession with this film changed or is it just as great as ever? Well let’s find out in review.

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In plot in this film the follows Tony Stark, a billionaire playboy and genius who is a weapons contractor through his company Stark Industry. During his time in Afghanistan he is captured by a terrorist group and held hostage, and in this film he crafts a suit of armour and escapes, upon returning to the USA, Stark decides to stop making weapons and become a force for good by upgrading his armour and becoming the superhero known as Iron Man. Unknown to Stark, Obadiah Stane, Stark’s business second-in-command is planning to take the company for himself and take Stark out.

I loved the story in this film. Tony Stark isn’t the typical kind of superhero, he is a man with everything, has no cares in the world and all is perfect for him, but once he’s nearly killed in an explosion, captured by terrorists and has to work with an unknown man in order to survive he learns the values of life and sees the errors of his ways because of the work that his company has been doing. It is a great and well-told story that’s smart, witty and hilarious. While it was again another origin story, this was the first film to deliver one that was different, original and realistic. One of the film’s strongest points is its realism and its ability to feel grounded in the real world, even though the technology and armour that Tony creates is totally futuristic and fictional, the way that the story, characters and tone is crafted makes it work very well in present times.

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Now let’s talk about the cast of this film who are all fabulous at bringing these comic book characters to life. Firstly we have Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man. It’s been said before and I’m gonna say it again… Robert Downey Jr. was born to play this role. RDJ perfectly emulates all of the qualities and mannerisms from his carefree, arrogant and funny attitude to the more dramatic and emotional elements of the character once he changes after his capture. RDJ is great and this was the role that put him back on the map and got his career started again and he owes his life to Marvel for giving him the star power that he has now. Also Gwyneth Paltrow as was fabulous Pepper Potts. Paltrow was wonderful, smart, witty and very unlike most female characters who are attached to the main hero in these superhero films. Her character was great because she had some great scenes with Tony, there was a lot of witty banter between the two of them and I really loved seeing the budding relationship building between the two of them.

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Terrence Howard as Lt. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes. Howard was great as Stark’s friend and weapons development person in the US Air Force. You could see that Rhodey genuinely cared about Tony and wanted the best for him while also having to do what was right and take care of his own business. I loved Howard in this role and I was gutted to see him go after this film ended. Now let’s talk about Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane, the villain of the film. This was probably my first Jeff Bridges film and I really liked him in this role, Stane was a business man first and you could see that he looked a bit shady. I liked how he pretended to be good but was doing dodgy dealings behind the scenes and discovering his evil plot over the course of the film. I only wish that his character had been a little more developed in the villain role. Also Shaun Toub as Yinsen, I thought he was great. This character was essential to the transformation of Tony Stark and he becomes the only true friend that Stark has, Toub played his role well and had some good screen time. I also liked the inclusion of Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan and lastly this is obviously the film that introduced used us to Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D. and even though his role was small it left a big impact.

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Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually the film is fabulous, there is a great use of special and practical effects that blends well throughout the film. As for the CGI it is sharp, detailed and well-done, but I expect nothing less from Industrial Light & Magic. The action scenes and sequences are pretty awesome and epic, but unfortunately the last fight in the film is not as impressive as it should have been. As for the soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi I really liked it, there were some kick ass tunes that really worked in the action sequences and that point when Tony Stark first crafts his first armoured suit.

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And lastly how does it compare to the comics? Well I’ve never read any of the comics, but from what I understand from Marvel Ultimate Alliance and the internet, it seems like for the most part the origins of Tony Stark and Iron Man are accurate besides being updated for modern times.

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So to conclude Iron Man is a cracking superhero film that really changed the genre with its serious nature, grounded realism, great story telling and wonderful characters. It is a well-rounded, smart and funny film that had a great deal of character development and cracking action sequences and while it lacks a strong third act, it is still a great film that is worth your time.

Rating: 9/10 (This is was and still is one of the finest comic book films)

So there’s my review people, only 10 more to go. So have you seen Iron Man and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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My Epic Iron Man 3 Review!! :D

So here we are in April 25th, the day of Iron Man 3‘s release in the UK. It feels like the wait for this film has been the longest one in recent history, maybe even worst than the wait for The Avengers last year. Anyways Robert Downey Jr. is back as Tony Stark/Iron Man in his third film in the Iron Man film series and this one’s directed by Shane Black which has definitely put a twist on things. Does this film succeed in being another great Marvel film or does it fail due to the ‘third film in the series curse’? Read on to find out!

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So the story of this film takes place after The Avengers and life for Tony Stark is anything but stable. Stark hasn’t recovered from the events of New York which has left him anxious, scared and alone and this affects his relationship with Pepper Pots and his day-to-day activities. However Stark’s troubles only worsen when the terrorist known as the Mandarin shows up, starts causing havoc and tears Stark’s world apart. Now Stark has to find the courage to carry on and save the world and uncover the mysterious that surround him.

I thought the story in this film was surprising smart, dramatic and very, very unexpected. All those worrying that the film was going to be too dark and serious can rest easy as the film easily has a lot of humourous moments and laugh-out-loud scenes. A lot goes down in this film and it is very impressive to see how the writers found a way to condense it into a 2 hour film. There was so many elements of this film I didn’t see coming and it was smartly handled with style and the element of surprise. Also this is definitely a Shane Black film as the way the film is directed, stylized and even the humour feels very reminiscent of his former work especially Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

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But it is the characters that really bring Iron Man 3 to life and the returning and new cast make great work of their material. So let’s start with Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man. The dude still has it. RDJ is still as charismatic as ever providing moments humour, wit and style while also giving us a very vulnerable and isolated character. Tony Stark is in a very difficult place in his life and has his world smashed to pieces and he has to rise to the challenge to keep the world safe and protect Pepper and RDJ brought his A-game to this role. Then there’s Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts, Paltrow is very good in this film offering up more drama and a lot more action then we’ve seen from her before. Pepper not only has to deal with being CEO of Stark Industries but also but must maintain a relationship with Tony. Paltrow was just great and she looked spectacular, I mean she has one hell of a body yo. Anyways moving on… Now we move onto Don Cheadle as Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes/Iron Patriot, Cheadle was funny and witty as Tony’s friend and wearer of Iron Patriot armour. You see I wasn’t too much of a fan of Cheadle in Iron Man 2, I didn’t feel the connection between him and Tony but in this film their relationship is a lot better and Rhodey is much cooler too.

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Now let’s talk about Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, Pearce was very cool and interesting as the creator of the Extremis virus and the founder of Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM). I love the way Killian was introduced and his reasons for doing what he was doing, Pearce handled the role well and this was one of his roles I’ll personally remember for a while yet. Also Rebecca Hall as Dr. Maya Hansen was quite pretty as a botanist whose work helped create Extremis. Maya was a strong-minded character and definitely had relevance in the grand scheme of things and I liked how Hall handled her material, I just wish she’d been in the film a little more. Okay now’s time to talk about Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin/Trevor Cassidy he was pretty cool. Now let’s get something straight, THIS IS NOT THE MANDARIN FROM THE COMICS, there are changes made to his character to make it work in the context of the film and while some fanboys may cry about I thought it was interesting and mart stuff.

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Also Stephanie Szostak as Ellen Brandt and James Badge Dale as Eric Savin do well in their roles too but I won’t explain specifically what it is because it will spoil elements of the film. And lastly Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Favreau was great. I was so happy to see Favreau return and the material he is given is some great, dramatic and funny stuff.

When it comes to the presentation I can easily say it is some of the best that Marvel Studios has produced so far. Visually the CGI and special effects are INSANE! So much action and mayhem goes down in this film and it is shot, choreographed and crafted in a spectacular fashion. From the attack on Tony’s house to Iron Man’s one-on-one fights to the Iron Legion sequence near the end of the end of the film, everything just screams out awesomeness and it is almost on par with The Avengers. I was worried when Industrial Light and Magic wasn’t coming back to do the film’s visual effects, but Scanline VFX, Digital Domain, Weta Digital, Framestore, The Third Floor and Trixter Film did a great job filling in for them. As for the soundtrack, I think it is the best so far. I was worried with Brian Tyler was brought on to the do the soundtrack but he really brought this film to life with some incredibly loud, profound and epic music that fueled the action on-screen, it was amazing nuff said.

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So to conclude Iron Man 3 is definitely a return to form and is probably best film of the trilogy. The film is smart, funny, emotional and nicely stylized with some amazing presentation in both the visual and audio department. Some may not like the changes and unexpected surprises to be found in this film but for me it worked well and I can appreciate the changes. Shane Black has done well by the series and has his trademark style all over this and in addition to that Robert Downey Jr. proves he’s still the man as the one and only Iron Man. If you couldn’t tell already I LOVED this film and I recommend it highly.

Rating: 9/10 (Just go out and watch it now! :D)

So what did you think of Iron Man 3? Did you love it, think it was alright or hate it? Whatever your thoughts drop them below and be sure to come back for some more kick ass film reviews! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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