Avengers Assemble (3D)

Posted on May 3, 2012. Filed under: Movies to see before you die, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

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. 😉

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Good Things Come To Those Who Wait…

Posted on April 29, 2012. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , |

😉

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Good things come in threes….?

Posted on January 23, 2012. Filed under: Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On the 19th January 2012 this collection of typo ridden blether celebrated its third birthday.  The fact that I couldn’t write anything on the actual day is kind of a testament to how things have been going these past few months, but I also had an idea what I wanted to write about and needed to put some actual thought in to it.

The trilogy is a big deal in cinema. If you can get people hooked in enough from that first installment to wait a minimum of two more years to see the climax then you know you’re on to a good thing.  Or are you? The propensity for making sequels over the last decade or so has led to a few well loved films being stretched out over three parts that maybe weren’t intended at first inception.  It’s yet to be seen whether this blog is the series that can keep running or the plot that should have given up somewhere in the middle of part two, but in celebration of at least making the landmark, I bring you part three in cinema: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good

This is where the proper trilogies live.  The ones that had a big three part game plan and started setting up for it within the opening moments of part one.  The best trilogies though are the ones where you didn’t think it could get any better and then the finale knocks you sideways.  The Two Towers gave us one of the most epic on screen battles seen in Helm’s Deep, and then Return of the King came along with double whammy Pelennor fields and Cormallen and the whole concept of big screen battle changed.  And no matter what your persuasion is on Ewoks, you have to admit that Return of the Jedi is a fantastic movie.  What is quite unique for that film is that we’ve already had the big twist which is often the climax of the story, but now we get to see how our hero deals with it. It’s the what happens next that makes it interesting.  If you’re like me, you probably count that two sets of Star Wars films as two separate trilogies, in which case despite the collection of crap that went before and the impossible comparison to its big brothers, Revenge of the Sith is a pretty cool movie and definitely a fitting climax to the prequels.

It’s not just the big trilogies that fit here though.  Long running series  Indy and Die Hard both had very strong third parts following on from slightly weaker second helpings. (Let’s not talk about Indy 4)  And although a lot of people don’t realise it’s  a trilogy, Once Upon a Time in Mexico is a fantastic final showdown in the El Mariachi story.

The Bad

So. The bad.  This tends to be where we find the films that were probably never intended to run for so long.  Pirates of the Caribbean was a game changing movie which made a lot of people (especially me) very happy.  2 more films could only be a good thing right? Um….

The problem is, they didn’t think Pirates would work, so they threw everything they had at the first film.  It’s self contained, so trying to find things to stretch out for another 2  means it all gets a bit thin.  I by no means dislike At World’s End, but it’s not even close to the magic they had with the first film.  As much as I love Captain Jack, maybe you can have too much of a good thing.  Of course that didn’t stop them, and On Stranger Tides came along.  I still haven’t seen it (I’m scared to) but it’ll be a shame if an incredible orignal movie is tainted by weaker follow ups.

Which brings me on to: Matrix Revolutions.  For exactly the same reasons really. The Matrix is a work of art. It’s just brilliant. When they announced two more movies being made I was excited to see where they’d go with it, but quickly realised that there wasn’t really anywhere. There are some fantastic fight scenes in that film, but even they don’t have the impact of when Neo first stands up  and says “No.”  Not to mention the fact that I still don’t understand how Neo had powers out of the Matrix, whether or not he died at the end and what the hell Zion is going to do now.

In the comic book world, hitting the third part seems to be the cue for a reboot, with Spiderman 3 (The EMO years)  and X Men: The Last Stand springing to mind.  I like both of these films, but they are definitely not as strong as their earlier counterparts (or the later films in the case of X Men).  Often by part three of a series, we’re starting to run out of places to go, particularly if you brought out the big guns early, which leads to the common pitfalls.  More often than not you get too many heroes or too many villains; trying to compensate for a less exciting premise by bringing in lots of new characters which can lead to characters feeling underdeveloped.

In other cases though, it can just be that we’ve seen it all before.  As much as I love Jurassic Park, we probably didn’t need a third film about people getting eaten by dinosaurs, and fantastic though the first two Back To The Future films are, the third one does kind of go of the rails a bit (if you’ll excuse the train based pun)

The Ugly

I’m too nice to consign any of the above films to the “Ugly” pile, because even though they don’t live up to the expectations laid down by their predecessors, they do have some saving graces.  In fact, when it came to thinking of truly terrible part threes, the only one that came to mind was Shrek the Third. The less said about that the better.I’m sure you can fill me in on some terrible trilogies I’ve missed.

Coming soon…

It just so happens that it’s not just my little old blog that’s bringing out its third instalment this year.  Christopher Nolan is delivering the much anticipated Dark Knight Rises, which is set to be a blockbuster success and quite probably a fantastic movie.  We also have Sherlock Holmes 3 on the horizon, which is less of a dead cert, with a somewhat lukewarm reaction the sequel, but in my case that’s one part 3 I can’t wait to see.  And while we’re thinking about RDJ (cos I know you are) Iron Man 3 hits the screens in 2013, this time with Shane Black at the helm instead of Jon Favreau.  I really hope that works. Because I’m not sure how you do it without Favreau. And that is one series I really don’t want to see go out with a whimper.

And finally….this summer we have Men In Black 3, which is a pretty good example of not knowing when to quit after a crappy sequel.  If in doubt, throw in some time travel. *sigh*

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A fleeting visit for something awesome

Posted on October 12, 2011. Filed under: News, Trailers | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I know, I know. I promised you posts and then disappeared. My excuse is the sheer volume of year 2 preclinical medicine. But I couldn’t not blog this. No intro necessary. You know why I’m excited.

 

When (/if) I make it out from under this mountain of anatomy reading, I actually do have drafts written that may or may not become suitable for all you lovely patient readers. And hopefully I’m going to go and see Hugh Jackman punching some robots in the not too distant future.

 

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A Life in Movies

Posted on May 8, 2011. Filed under: Memes and Blogathons, Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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…

1988

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.

1989

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.

1990

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.

1991

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.

1992

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….

1993

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

1994

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

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.

1996

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.


1997

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.


1998

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.

1999

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

2000

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 trilogyThere 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.

2001

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.

2002

Not even the release of Spiderman can topple Tolkein in ’02.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

2003

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.

2004

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.

2005

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

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.

2007

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 😛

2008

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.

2009

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.

2010

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.

2011

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.

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I’m a Marvel

Posted on January 3, 2011. Filed under: Memes and Blogathons, Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

It’s a big year for comic book geeks.  Marvel are gearing up for the big finale with the release of Thor and Captain America ready for The Avengers in 2012.  Meanwhile, DC have got to find a way to follow up on The Dark Knight and convince me that Ryan Reynolds can get away with defecting to play The Green Lantern.

To celebrate the exciting times ahead, and as a mini celebration of my blog’s second birthday, I think a meme is in order.  If I have your email address you’ve probably had a message, if you’re feeling ignored then show me what I’m missing by getting involved!

You’ve probably all seen these videos, sending up the MAC/PC adverts with a debate about who is making better movies.  I propose we see how many comic book geeks and movie nerds we can get to join the debate to find out who really is the better franchise once and for all.

Rules:

  1. Title your post either I’m a Marvel or I’m a DC
  2. Give up to 5 reasons why, roughly styled in the opposition format (to get what I mean read mine below)
  3. Tag as many other bloggers as you can and let the arguments begin!

If you’re going to play along let me know, I’ll link all the posts on the blog and tally up the results to see who the bloggers (the people whose opinions matter most of course ;)) think is the ultimate comic book universe.

Right then, my turn.

I’m a Marvel. (I know, you’re all shocked aren’t you?)

Marvel characters manage to look cool in Lycra.  Or style themselves in big shiny metal suits.. DC characters wear their pants on the outside.

Marvel have an almost infinite universe of cool characters.  The whole world of the X Men could keep me happy for a lifetime without opening up the Avengers.  DC basically have Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman The Flash and Green Lantern, who don’t really compare.

Marvel specialises in the flawed hero; Wolverine, Iron Man, even Spiderman has an EMO phase.  DC, with the exception of Batman, is a collection of goody goodies, and Bruce Wayne doesn’t really hold a candle to Tony Stark in the playboy-off.

When it comes to movies, DC aren’t even in the same league.  Marvel has at least 8 franchises out there, the majority of which include some pretty wicked films (even tha bad ones have redeeming features).  DC has Superman and Batman, both of which have their weak points (Superman Returns…ouch) and is only just starting to think about digging into the rest of that pile of comics in the corner.

And finally…Marvel have Wolverine. DC have Aquaman.

I rest my case.

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Happy New Year!

Posted on December 31, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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.

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Movies that couldn’t survive without their lead actor

Posted on July 25, 2010. Filed under: Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Some movie characters are iconic.  In some cases the reason for that is more to do with the actor playing the role than the character itself.  There will always be parts that you couldn’t imagine anyone else playing, but arguably some characters are so wrapped up in the identity of the actor that they would be entirely different with someone else in the costume.

The character who I think fulfils this most of all is Captain Jack Sparrow.  Just try to imagine any other actor playing that role.  Can’t do it can you?

Legend has it that Johnny Depp turned up to the audition in that costume, complete with make up, accent and real gold teeth.  Without Sparrow there is no Pirates of the Caribbean and I would argue without Depp there is no Sparrow.  The movie was a real risk-taker, with the appeal of pirate movies long dead and many people  wondering if a film based on a little known ride, made by Disney but not strictly for kids, could make it. Then Jack staggered on to the screen and everyone was hooked.  The whole movie hinges on that one iconic character; a point backed up by the fact that he is the only returner (except Gibbs) in the upcoming fourth movie.  Sparrow is now as famous, if not more so, than Long John Silver or Captain Hook and I really don’t think the movies would have done even half as well without Depp at the helm (bad pun not entirely intended).

Another character who I think is intertwined with the actor playing it is Iron Man.  He basically is Robert Downey Jr.  When he was announced as the man stepping into the suit it seemed a strange choice but it’s turned out to be a career defining role.  I’m not saying that no one else could play Iron Man, because I can think of a few other people who probably could, but I think the characterisation would be very different, as the writers have clearly put a lot of RDJ into Stark.

It’s not just faces on screen either.  Imagine Disney’s Aladdin without Robin Williams voicing the genie.  Doesn’t work does it?  And I’d put a strong case for the fact that Woody and Tom Hanks fit so well together that Toy Story would be a different movie without him.

Pretty much anything in Jim Carrey’s early career is entirely dependent on him too.  Obviously a lot of that is down to parts being written for him, but can you really picture Ace Ventura or The Mask in the hands of someone else?

There is only one incidence I can think of where the same character played by two different actors has an equal impact on the movie, and that’s The Joker.  Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman completely owned the movie and was put down as the definitive Joker.  Or so we thought. Fast forward 19 years and Heath Ledger brings something completely new to the table which has audiences and critics alike lost for words playing a huge part in the success of The Dark Knight.

Usually we think of movies as making or breaking the career of actors, but it works both ways.  One  performance can lift a mediocre movie to a whole new level, or just as easily bring it crashing down.

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The Marvelous years ahead

Posted on May 8, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

It’s no secret on this blog that I am a Marvel comic book geek.   So I’m excited at the new pathway into the Marvel Universe that the Iron Man films have opened up.   When you combine that with the X Men films that are lining up behind Wolverine you’ve got a pretty full calendar over the next couple of years.  Here are some provisional dates for your diary:

Thor: 20th May 2011

We got a tiny taste of this at the end of Iron Man 2.  He’s probably the least well known of The Avengers, so I didn’t expect him to get his own movie so soon, but what do I know?  Not one of my favourite characters, but then neither was Iron Man ’till the movie came out.  Looking forward to being converted.  Kai has got one of the first released pics over at The List for you to take a look at.

X-Men First Class: 3rd June 2011

I am a huge X Men fan but to be honest I’m not that bothered by this film.  The absence of Wolverine is a major downside in my opinion, and to be honest I don’t really care about the teen dramas of Cyclops and Storm.  Having said that, I’ll probably end up seeing it, and as we don’t have any trailers or anything yet they still have a chance to completely change my mind. Hope so.

Captain America: 22nd July 2011

Alternating with the X Men, we’re back with The Avengers.  This guy is a bit of a household name whether or not you know who he is.  Although Ross McG does think he’s Captain Planet.  My only concern with this one is that Chris Evans is cast. (For Brit readers: not that one, the other one).  Which means Human Torch and Captain America are the same person.  Not only does that mess with my head, but I didn’t really like Evans in Fantastic Four. So he’s got some ground to make up.

Deadpool: 2011

If that character double up wasn’t enough to make my head spin, the defection of Ryan Reynold’s to the DC camp to play The Green Lantern as well as Deadpool is a real shocker.  However, this film is most likely going to be awesome.  We didn’t get much Deadpool in Wolverine, but we got just enough to leave us wanting more.  And this should be good.

Wolverine 2: 2011

We left him in a bar in Japan (or not depending which stinger you had).  A lot of you out there weren’t convinced by Wolverine, but personally I can’t wait for another helping.  Expect more indestructible fighting, but this time with samurai swords.

The Avengers: 4th May 2012

They might throw in another Hulk movie first, but RDJ’s cameo was probably enough set up to finally get the team together.  This is the big finish, but it could also be the beginning of a whole new series of films.  With an infinite number of cross over characters. Exciting stuff.

Iron Man 3: 2012

Will it come before or after The Avengers? Not sure. But more Tony Stark is always a good thing in my world.

And that’s the cinema sorted for the next two years. Good times. 🙂

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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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