This has taken me a couple of days to sit down and write for two reasons: 1) revision sucks. 2) I needed to calm down a bit so that the whole review wasn’t just the word “awesome” in 72 pt font.
We all know I’m a Marvel geek. And that I’ve been looking forward to this film pretty much since the dawn of time. I first wrote about it back in 2010 when it was just a glint in a studio execs eye, but since then we’ve had a pretty much relentless build up in Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America.
Despite my undying love for Stan Lee and all that springs from his page, I did start to lose the faith a bit as the much awaited climax drew closer. Captain America suffered with a slightly ploddy script, (although it’s not a bad film and benefits from a second watch) and although I seem to anger everyone I know when I say this, I found Thor undeveloped and was a bit skeptical about the central role Loki had to play in the final film.
I needn’t have worried. Not even the 3D could put me off this film. In fact, it was a rare case of non gimmicky use that wasn’t too distracting (or maybe I’m getting tolerant in my old age). Avengers is simply a brilliant bit of comic book fantasy that gets everything just right. As I’d hoped, mixing the characters together allowed the shortcomings of some to be made up by others. Thor didn’t seem so two dimensional when they played his fish out of water against Captain America’s child of the wrong time. And the budding bromance between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner was a thing of beauty.
There were so many fantastic geek out moments (I was about one “glaiven” short of a full Professor Frink). Joss Whedon plays to his strengths and delivers just what the fans want to see. The big montage of all our heroes “suiting up” for their first proper battle scored a whole load of nerd points. As did each new moment of our collection of demigods, suped up mortals, ginormous green rage monsters and billionaire genius playboy philanthropists meeting for the first time. The crossing over of characters, themes and even tech from the individual movies is really well handled, managing to amalgamate the work of several different writers and directors in an impressively seamless way.
Alongside the big four, we also have some important supporting characters. Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) has been given ever increasing amounts of screen time with each new movie, and his dry wit and dead pan demeanour have turned him in to one of my favourite characters. Samuel L Jackson finally got to make it out of the stingers too and get some real work, making a suitably shifty Nick Fury. In Iron Man 2, I found Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) little more than some black PVC doing an inexplicable amount of lunging, but she found some depth in Avengers and became not only an interesting character but one who could hold her own against the more developed favourites. Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye also managed to fit in nicely, without falling in to the X Men pit of too many heroes. The chemistry between him and Black Widow was well cultivated and understated enough that it set up for future inevitable plotlines without shoving it down your throat.
The story is everything you want, fast paced, full of action and equipped with witty one liners to keep things moving. It’s about as close as I think anyone has come to making a film that watches like reading a comic book feels. The final showdown is just fantastic, and I loved the way we swung through the action to focus on different characters and individual battles. It’s kind of like a cross between the sentinels fight in Matrix Revs and Pelennor fields from ROTK. Which is just as cool as it sounds. And has someone who has (shamefully) still not actually seen any of the Hulk films, it was pretty fantastic to see the big guy up on screen doing what he does best.
Even if you’re not a Marvel geek you need to see this film. You just do. It’s definitely one of the big events of the cinematic year, and Whedon has turned out a proper Blockbuster which has just about everything you could want in a movie. And Robert Downey Jr.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Hooray for Christmas holidays! My long absence from the cinema has finally come to an end, and what a film to do it with.
It’s no secret that I loved the last Sherlock film, In fact, I was so emphatic about it that Ross suggested I might be working for their promo department. So I’ve been excited about the sequel ever since I discovered they were filming it down the road from my flat. With all the positive feedback from the first film, it had a lot to live up to, and as RDJ said himself “sequels usually suck,” so this film really needed to deliver. Luckily it does.
Game of Shadows has everything we want from this franchise. Great one liner humour combined with some more slapstick comedy, a convoluted plot with enough clues for the audience to think they’re on the brink of solving it before we realise we’re nowhere near as clever as Holmes, and a fantastic Victorian bromance between Holmes and Watson.
The chemistry between Jude Law and RDJ was what made the first film so wonderful, and in this film they’ve managed to build on it without overplaying it. There are some lovely moments, both humourous and more serious, which add heart to the storyline.
As for the supporting cast; Noomi Rapace is good as Sim and Stephen Fry does a good turn as Mycroft, although it’s hard to see him as anything other than Stephen Fry. After all the furore over who would play Moriarty following the first film, and the melodramatic secrecy with which they hid the actors face both in the first film and during initial work on the second, it could almost be a let down that Jared Harris is revealed with fairly little ceremony (and that he isn’t a big name Hollywood superstar). I’ll admit when I heard who was playing the infamous Napoleon of crime I was a little disappointed because I was expecting something different, but Harris earns his place in the movie and is a good foil for Holmes.
On to the story. The plot is at times hard to follow, and about three quarters of the way through I did find myself trying to make sense of which diplomat did what to whom and why this was a bad thing. Pretty much everything is explained by the end though, and a second watch coupled with a bit more post game dissection with my sister should tie up any loose ends. The action comes thick and fast, as we would expect from Guy Richie, and there are some awesome set pieces. Anyone who has seen the trailer has seen most of the train scene, but for me the chase through the woods is a fantastic piece of cinema. The use of slow motion is clever and adds just the right emphasis to certain moments, making it a real edge of the seat sequence. The final showdown between Holmes and Moriarty is brilliantly executed too, playing with the Holmes voiceover device to turn the fight in to a proper meeting of minds.
The story is basically the same as LXG (for those who’ve seen it, and no, I’m not going to start that debate again) but obviously with a bit more work gone in to it, and based on one of Conan Doyle’s more notorious books. Despite not having read the book (surprise surprise) I did know where we were heading and so I was really happy with how the ending was handled. I’m not going to spoil anything, but the last scene definitely drew a gasp from me and those around me, and was the perfect way to bring as neat a close as possible to a necessarily open ending.
Finally a few words on music. I love the score to Holmes; it conjures up Victorian London brilliantly. Hans Zimmer can basically do no wrong, but he manages to get a great balance between a period feel and a punchy accompaniment to the on screen energy. The nods to Don Giovanni are also a nice little in joke for musos.
I probably don’t need to do much work to convince you to go out and see this film. It’s a great pre-Christmas movie and I’m already looking forward to seeing it again. Roll on Sherlock 3.
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Even though Cap is just a couple of weeks away (more on that story later) right now, I’m more excited about this:
In a dress. Yes.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
The ever-creative Andy has come up with another fantastic blog-a-thon idea and I’m determined to get in on the fun. The idea is to pick a favourite movie for ever year you’ve been alive. (I think it’s his sneaky way of finding out how old we all are.)
Notoriously indecisive as I am, this is probably going to be a tricky one for me…
That’s right folks, I reach the ripe old age of 23 this August
This is actually pretty tricky, putting aside such cinematic wonders as Crocodile Dundee 2 and Police Academy 5, this is also the year that brought us Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Big. The dilemma for me though is choosing between two of my favourite films: Rain Man and Die Hard.
In the end I’m going to have to go for Die Hard. It’s just everything I want in an action film.
This one is a bit easier. Although I’m sure that most of you who were around at the time will be picking Batman starring the fantastic Jack Nicholson as The Joker, I have to go for Dead Poet’s Society.
We’ll just gloss over the fact that this was the year that brought us Kindergarten Cop shall we? 1990 also saw the release of the final (and weakest) installment of the Back to the Future trilogy and the second (and weakest) of the Die Hard quadrilogy. Enough of the slightly dodgy though, there was also some good to ring in my terrible twos, including the surprisingly sweet Mermaids starring Cher and Winona Ryder, the quintessential Christmas film Home Alone and this year’s winner: Edward Scissorhands.
This might be an unpopular choice, but I’m going to pick Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It might involve a more American Robin than we’re used to in the form of Kevin Costner, but Alan Rickman as the sheriff of Nottingham more than makes up for it.
Here’s where I start to change the game a bit….As I was working through finding films that were released in each year, I came across a problem. There are films that came out in these years that I absolutely adored at the time, and still love now, but there are also films I’ve come back to as an adult that might edge out those childhood favourites if I’m asked to choose. So from here on I’ve kind of cheated a bit. Sorry Andy. Hopefully as well as being a massive cheat, it’s interesting for people other than myself to see what I was into at the time, and what I’ve come back to discover later.
So what was the 3-4 year old watching in ’92? Aladdin of course! Meanwhile the grown up (well, not really) version looks back on ’92 as the year that gave us Reservoir Dogs. Bit of a contrast there….
This was a good year for childhood movies. Not only did it see the release of my guilty pleasure movie Free Willy but also Mrs Doubtfire and Nick Park’s brilliant short film The Wrong Trousers. The best childhood movie of ’93 for me though had to be Cool Runnings. Some people say you know they can’t believe….
Coming back to the ’93 films and I’ve got a tricky choice, but in the end I’m going to pass over Philadelphia in favour of the more feel good Benny and Joon
This seems to be the year of Jim Carrey, with both Ace Ventura and The Mask showcasing his “rubber faced humour” as they love to call it.
There’s no question that the 5-6 year old me’s favourite film is The Lion King, I can still vividly remember going to see it in the cinema. It still a contender for my favourite film of the year , but faces stiff competition from a whole collection of films I love including; Pulp Fiction, Speed, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. In the end I’m going to have to go with the perhaps predictable choice, but outstanding film, Forrest Gump
1995 was a big turning point for animated movies. It was the year Toy Story was released, becoming my favourite film instantly and holding on to that top spot for a long time.
Also that year came Apollo 13, Braveheart, Desperado, Die Hard With A Vengeance and The Usual Suspects, but you know what? I still love Woody the most.
This is an easy pick in both directions. My favourite film at the time (and I still love it now, because I’m cool like that) was Muppet Treasure Island. Tim Curry as Long John Silver. Yes.
But the best film to come out of ’96 has to be Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. I’ve written about it on this blog more than once, but it really is a fantastically made movie and a clever adaptation of the worlds best known love story.
OK, don’t judge me, but as soon as I saw this on the list of ’97 movies I knew what my favourite film at the time was….George of the Jungle
*ahem* Moving on.
Lots of big Sci-Fi movies in ’97: The Fifth Element is an under-rated movie, sitting alongside Men In Black and GATTACCA. This was also the year the world went crazy for Jack and Rose in Titanic, but I’m going to pick a film that you might not know: Donnie Brasco. It’s a great look at what it’s like to infiltrate the world of organised crime, made all the more significant because unlike the many other gangster movies out there this one is true.
In the year I hit double figures I have another very clear early cinema memory; going to see A Bug’s Life. This time it was my little sister (then 5) who was in awe of the big screen for the first time. She stood up for the whole thing.
1998 was also the year of the battle of the killer Meteorites, with both Deep Impact and Armageddon coming up with different ways to prevent the apocalypse. I’ve gotta admit I prefer the ever so slightly cheesy but more fun version involving Bruce Willis and a giant oil drill.
As much as I love both these films though, I think my adult film of ’98 is going to have to be The Truman Show because not only is it a much unloved movie with a beautiful soundtrack that more people should see, but it also proved to me that even though I’d always been a fan of Jim Carrey because his dumb humour made me laugh, it turns out he can actually act too.
It’s 1999! The year I started secondary school and everybody started panicking that the world was going to end when the millenium came. Light relief form these two distressing issues came in the form of a year of great movies including Sleepy Hollow, The Green Mile, Dogma, Notting Hill, The Talented Mr Ripley and 10 Things I Hate About You. This presents both the young and old versions of me with a dilemma because it’s quite hard to pick.
11 year old Katie is torn between The Iron Giant and Toy Story 2. Both amazing films. Both still watched with regualrity. I think my life long love of Pixar will win in the end though.
Meanwhile 11 years older Katie is debating whether I love Fight Club more than The Matrix. I don’t think I do.
Ps. Just in case you were forgetting/mentally blocking/still recevinign counselling for it, this is the year that George Lucas decided three epic Star Wars films wasn’t enough…exit, persued by a Gungan
The world didn’t end. Confused computers didn’t bring civilisation to a standstill and (scarily) we have reached the halfway point in my life. Quite a lot of good “family” films came out this year, and despite being 12 at the time, I still had a soft spot for movies like El Dorado and The Emperors New Groove. Kids movie of the year has to go to Chicken Run, especially because it’s better than the classic its based on.
And while I can imagine a lot of you bloggers out there will pick Gladiator as your movie that kicked off the noughties, for me film of the year is the one that started my transformation from realtively geeky kid into Marvel comic super nerd. Because this is the year they brought out X Men.
And here’s where the split ends….by 2001 I’m 13 and my favourite movies of each year at the time tend to still be firm favourites. That probably has a lot to do with the release of a certain trilogy…There are still a lot of movies that I discovered later, but there’s less of a stark split in tastes as there was in the earlier years, so I’ll stop cheating and go back to only picking one movie per year.
I’m not going to pretend that the next couple of years picks aren’t going to be pretty predictable. I could deliberately pick other movies in the interest of variety, but then I wouldn’t be picking my favourite film, which kind of misses the point now doesn’t it? 2001-2003 was all about three films for me despite other great releases including Donnie Darko and Moulin Rouge in ’01. But there’s never going to be any question that my film of the year is The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. If I hadn’t been to see that film, this blog would not exist. And that’s about all I can say that you haven’t heard a thousand times.
Not even the release of Spiderman can topple Tolkein in ’02.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
As one trilogy came to an end, Pirates of the Caribbean appeared to fill the hole. But the big finish was definitely worth the wait, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King delivered the epic battle scenes and final showdown we’d all been waiting for.
OK, no more LOTR, you can stop rolling your eyes now. ’04 is quite tricky for me because there are a lot of films I really like, but not one that stands out against all the others. There are some fun films like Spiderman 2, The Day After Tomorrow and Wimbledon but I think I’m going to have to go with The Motorcycle Diaries; a recent discovery that really surprised me with how good it was.
Even though one of my current favourites, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang came out in this year, I’m going to have to pick Brokeback Mountain because not only is it a fantastic piece of cinema, it was quite a moment in movie history, if only for showing us just how talented Heath Ledger was.
2006: I left school and set out for the big smoke to start my degree. 3 fantastic years of new friends and new movies followed.
Loads of great films came out this year, but I’m picking Casino Royale because it was the first film I ever saw on the big screen in Leicester Square, with 3 people who are still among my best friends. It also converted me on Bond films.
Lots of sequels in ’07: Spiderman 3, Pirates 3, Die Hard 4, but movie of the year for me has to be Stardust. Because its brilliant
I will never forgive 2008 for Mamma Mia. It still gives me chills. It does try to make up for it though with The Dark Knight and the possibly controversially picked, (but I am a Marvel girl after all) Iron Man.
The year I graduated from uni (the first time). The year I started this blog, and a big year for movies. No wonder I was inspired!
I find it impossible to believe that Avatar came out 3 years ago. I was also converted to the trekkie side by J.J. Abrams and got into endless fights with bloggers about why Wolverine should not be trashed all over the internet. It’s a tough choice, but I think I’m going to pick Sherlock Holmes as my film for ’09, because I can’t wait to see what happens next.
This gets easier as I’ve had less time to get to the cinema and so have seen very few of the films released in the last year. The ones I did see are all strong contenders though; Inception, Iron Man 2, Toy Story 3…I’m going with The King’s Speech. Partly because it got me to finally forgive Colin Firth for the sins of 2008, but mainly because it did what very few films manage to do, it lived up to the hype.
And here we are. Although I still have trouble remembering it actually is 2011. Depressingly this post has made me realise that I haven’t been to the cinema yet this year (is it really May already?) However, with Thor already out, Pirates 4 coming out on May 16th and X Men: First Class hot on its heels in June, I’m sure it’s going to be a very good year.
And there you have my semi-autobiographical life in movies. I’m back at uni again, and struggling a bit to find time to get to the cinema or post on here, but getting involved in things like this reminds me why I started STRM in the first place. Hope you all enjoy having a read through my tragic taste over they years. Looking forward to being trashed in the comments.
Click HERE to see what everyone else has picked.
I finally have a 100th entry on my Movies To See Before You Die list! It’s been getting gradually longer since I first started it two years ago (the first list had about 65 films on).
This latest entry really is a fantastic movie that it’s taken me far too long to see. And it has so many brilliant quotes I’m going to cheat and have two today. Definitely a film everyone should see; it never quite lets itself get pigeon holed into a genre so the plot always keeps you guessing, and the performances are all brilliant.
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-”I’m sorry, you peed on…?”
-”On the corpse. My question is…”
-”No, my question. I get to go first. Why in pluperfect hell would you pee on a corpse!?”
“You, stop multiplying.”
Did anyone see where 2010 went? I appear to have missed it.
This is the second new year’s post I’ve written, which must mean my blog has somehow made it to two years old. Wow, wasn’t expecting that.
At the start of this year I was anxiously waiting on an interview to find out what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. I’ve now survived my first term at med school and am only 3 months away from my fourth opera with my much missed music society. Things are going pretty good for the blog too. We made it past 100,000 hits, 150 posts and 800 comments. Not bad going for the poorly typed ramblings of someone who doesn’t really know what they are talking about.
I haven’t made it to the cinema as much as I would like this year (as usual), but highlights have included Iron Man 2, Sherlock Holmes and the almighty Avatar. I am now the proud owner of a DVD of Inception, meaning I can finally catch up with the rest of the universe, and I managed to watch Toy Story 3 over the holidays, which was brilliant as expected. I am also now one of the (probably) hundreds of people who (thanks to the DVD) have seen the full alternate opening to Iron Man 2 and think Favreau totally missed a trick there.
So what’s coming up in 2011? Well, as the last post shows, I’m a little bit excited about Thor making it to our screens at last and in May you will find me camping in Leicester Square waiting for the premiere of Pirates 4. Not to mention the new Sherlock film I’ve got to look forward to. June and July are all about the comic books, with provisional releases dates for X Men: First Class, The Green Lantern and Captain America. It’s gonna be a busy Summer.
Looks like I’m going to have a lot to be writing about. Thanks again to all of you out there in the blogosphere who take the time to read and comment. I’ll do my best to keep it worth the visit.
Have a great New Years Eve everyone, see you in 2011.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
What’s this? Me going to the cinema on the day of a film’s release?! Must be something special….
When I go back and read my original review of Iron Man I am shocked by how ambivalent I was towards it. Seeing it for the second time prompted a whole post about second impressions, and a few more watches down the line I am a die hard Iron Man fanatic.
Today is my sister’s birthday, and having finally succeeded in converting her to the Iron Man church, what better way to celebrate than seeing a movie we’ve both been eagerly anticipating.
On with the review.
While it took me a while to warm up to the first Iron Man, the same cannot be said of this film. I absolutely loved it. And by the sounds of the people in the cinema around me, so did everyone else.
The plot is fast-paced and engaging. It might not have many twists in the tail but it isn’t predictable either. The script is also just as sharp and snappy as the first film, with all the RDJ signatures that make the character so popular. There are genuine laugh-out-loud moments (just ask the guy sitting behind me) and a whole host of fantastically quotable lines that will no doubt be appearing on this blog in the future.
The whole character of Tony Stark is so wrapped up in Robert Downey Jr’s personality that it’s very hard to picture him any other way. But who would want to when he does it so well? The sequel also brings on board the unstoppable Mickey Rourke and a fantastic performance from Sam Rockwell. Both actors are perfect in their roles; I’m really hoping to see more of Rockwell in future films. Gwyneth Paltrow continues to shine as Pepper Potts, a role that really seems to suit her, and she provides a great foil for RDJ. If I had to pick one person out as being less interesting it would be Scarlett Johansson, but I think that is more because she is surrounded by huge competition on all sides and playing a less interesting character. It’s nice to have Samuel L Jackson back too, after his one liner in the first movie stinger.
Speaking of trivia, there are a couple of nice nods to comic book geekdom to make those of us sad clever enough to spot them. In the first film we had S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury, but the hints are more subtle here. Look out for an iconic piece of equipment belonging to an all-American hero, and don’t forget to wait until after the credits before you leave your seat.
Other thoughts: the soundtrack (provided in no small part by legends AC/DC) is epic. Both the use of pop music (absolutely loved the Another One Bites the Dust/It Takes 2 mash up) and the original score by John Debney are brilliant.
The special effects are also great. I really want a computer where I can pick things up and move them around with my hands. I mean, that’s just cool. Some of the handheld camera work in the opening scenes is a little shaky, but that’s what you get with that style of filming and it works most of the time, although it’s a little distracting in the court scene.
I also don’t understand why they replaced Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle as Rhodey. Howard was great in the first films and seemed to have a great rapport with RDJ. Not that Cheadle doesn’t, but it seems a strange thing to do. I wondered if there would be any reference to the change of face in the script and got my answer in Rhodey’s opening line:
“I’m here, it’s me, get used to it.”
Iron Man 2 is an awesome film. Like Spiderman before it I can see the films running for a good while yet (hooray!) Even while the movie was still running I was thinking “I really want to see that bit again.” It ranges from explosive action (and I mean explosive) to big laughs and even manages to have some really sweet moments. What more could you ask for on a Thursday afternoon?
Go out and see it now. And take me. ‘Cos I need to see it again.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 15 so far )
Watching this last night reminded me of just how many brilliant lines there are. One of my favourites:
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“Good God you’re a woman! I honestly…I couldn’t have called that.”
Before I get too caught up with writing about the BAFTAs tonight I tought I’d do a quick post about a debate I ended up having today so that you can all join in.
As I’ve mentioned, the new Sherlock Holmes franchise already has sequels in the pipeline and rumours are flying in all directions about who is going to play Holmes’ arch-nemesis Moriarty. Definitely the most prominent suggestion so far is Brad Pitt, who allegedly provided the voice for the anonymous character we have seen so far.
My question to you is this: who would you cast?
After much arguing today, and rattling through actors ranging from Jeremy Irons to Johnny Depp, we eventually came to a split decision. Either Christian Bale or Stuart Townsend.
I could live with Brad Pitt doing it. I am pretty confident he eventually will since the producers are denying it so strenuously. He’s always a better actor than I expect, and I’m sure he’ll find himself both a believable British accent and some Victorian charm, but I think in a perfect world Moriarty should go to a Brit. We came up with Christian Bale without realising that we had inadvertently pitted Batman against Iron Man. I was initially against Bale but the idea of DC and Marvel’s most similar characters coming up against each other in a completely unrelated movie made me smile.
As for Stuart Townsend, that was my suggestion, based mainly on his work in LXG. He just seems to suit that kind of self-assured aristocratic yet pretty handy with a sword if he had to be role.
So who are you voting for?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 11 so far )
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