Iron Man 2

Posted on April 29, 2010. Filed under: Movies to see before you die, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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.

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It’s a comedy: Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s daughter.

Posted on May 20, 2009. Filed under: Movies to see before you die, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

OK, this should be a quickie, since I have an exam tomorrow and am (clearly) not revising for it, but I wont be able to concentrate until I’ve blogged. (I think it’s becoming an obsession).

Last night a rediscovered a film I hadn’t seen in ages and I wanted to remind you all of it ‘cos I’m willing to bet most of you have forgotten about it too.  Depite the fact it won 7 Oscars.  In fact, the reason for me not watching it for so long was that I only have it on video…that was an old school experience.

The film in question is Shakespeare in Love.  It’s a brilliant movie, imagining how the great writer came up Romeo and Juliet based on his own experience as a star cross’d lover.  With an awesome ensemble cast featuring everyone from Ben Affleck to Geoffrey Rush via Martin Clunes the film is pretty much flawless; both funny and tragic (not unlike the play).  This was the film that gave Gwynnie her Oscar (I think she’s still crying) and also features a brilliant Joseph Fiennes-the far superior Fiennes brother but much overlooked in favour of his irritating brother Ralph (even more annoying because it’s pronounced “Rafe”).  Judi Dench won Best Supporting Actress for the film, all the more impressive since she’s on screen for less than fifteen minutes.  She’s just that good.  Not one member of the cast lets it down, and the (Oscar winning) writing is perfect.  The score (Stephen Warbeck) is also one of my favourites.

The juxtaposition between the on stage rehearsals and the writing process is brilliant, particularly when Fiennes recites Juliet’s lines to Paltrow’s Romeo.  And for Bard scholars (or just people like me who can recite a few Sonnets) the film is littered with references to  the other great works.  Keep an eye out for Sonnet 18, a definite Banquo’s ghost moment and of course, Twelfth Night.  Not to mention some nod’s to the Kit Marlow conspiracy and an appearance from a young (and disturbed) John Webster.

In Shakespeare in Love, you’re really getting two movies for the price of one, as most of the play is also seen.  While it may be a complete work of fiction, it’s beliveable enough that Shakespeare could have been inspried by a muse like Viola, particularly if he looked like Fiennes rather than the bald guy we’re used to.  Having recently watched Moulin Rouge, I have an idea where Baz Luhrmann’s inspiration came from, but as a plot device, having the writing and rehearsal of a play taking place simultaneously is really engaging.  The cast being so good, I always end up wanting to see their version of the great tragedy.  I have a feeling it’d be pretty awesome.

Hmmm....who do we prefer....?

You may well have seen it before, but if you haven’t I defintely recommend it.  In fact, I’m keeping my eye out for a DVD  so that next time I watch it the picture isn’t a bit wobbly (I’d forgotten the dodgyness of the old VHS).  It helps that Romeo and Juliet is my favourite play, but even if you hate Shakespeare I defy you to dislike this film.

Right…revision….really…

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Marvel-ous!

Posted on January 25, 2009. Filed under: Ramblings, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

*groan* I know, terrible title, but it’s Sunday.

As part of a weekly ritual with two good friends, I watched Iron Man last night.  The latest offering in the Marvel comic-to-film cascade, its a pretty good film with some funny lines and a good plot, even if the Science behind that electromagnet is fatally flawed.  Robert Downey Jr is great in the role, as sort of anti-hero come vigilante activist and Gwenyth Paltrow is also good.  I’m always disappointed that she comes across as much nicer in films than she is in real life.

The special effects are also great, especially the aerial scenes, making me slightly re-think my Oscar prediction.  It dawned on me last night that Iron Man is basically Marvel’s version of the DC Batman, making it all the more interesting that they’re up against eachother.iron-man-downey-jr2

Although Iron Man is great, you’ll notice I’m not putting it in the films to see before you die category, mainly because I’m not going to force you to watch it as soon as I find out you haven’t.  But I will strongly recommend it.  I’m also really looking forward to The Avengers.  With Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury it’s got to be good, but unfortunately there’s a bit of a long wait.

When compared with the other Marvel films out there, Iron Man doesn’t quite come top but its close.  I’d argue that the X-Men films (if we give some lee-way to the dodgier third installment) are the best, closely followed by Spiderman.  After that, I think I’d put Iron Man on and equal footing with the Fantastic Four, if not slightly above.  Bottom of the pile is Daredevil, a film which had the potential (and the casting) to be brilliant but somehow just didn’t make it.  It’s about half an hour too short for anything to develop properly, which is disappointing since Daredevil is one of Stan Lee’s best creations.

I think the Marvel comic films are some of the best blockbusters out there, and defintiely what you need on a dreary night.  I’m yet to see them all (Blade for example has passed me by) but I reckon they’re holding a pretty good standard so far, which in the sea of different directors, is a testemant to Lee’s characters.
Marvel

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