Captain Marvel (2019)


My Name is Carol.

In a concerted effort to put out more content and make the end of the year easier on myself by having material to use to remember these movies I’ve seen throughout the year, I am going to try to review the new movies I see more often.  You’re welcome.  And since I saw so many damned movies at the end of the year, I could not imagine going back to the theaters until this movie released.  Obviously, I was super excited for today’s movie.  It should come as no surprise.  The word “Marvel” appears on the poster many times, as the company that makes it and the name of the character.  How would I not have seen it?  This movie is Captain Marvel, written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Djimon Hounsou, and Gemma Chan.

Vers (Larson) is a Kree member of Starforce with amnesia typical of a RPG protagonist.  With Starforce and her commander, Yon-Rogg (Law), they undertake a mission to stop an invasion by the shapeshifting Skrulls, led by commander Talos (Mendelsohn).  The mission goes awry and Vers is captured.  The Skrulls try to sift through Vers’ memories to find the location of an experimental engine designed by Dr. Wendy Lawson (Bening), which they find to be on Earth.  Vers escapes and crashes to Earth, where she meets Nick Fury (Jackson).  Together, they try to find the engine – as well as Vers’ missing memories – and stop the sinister plot of the bad aliens.

On its announcement, I was very excited for Captain Marvel.  Closing in on when I would be able to see it, I started hearing a lot of negative reactions to the movie from the internet in general and from my friend Jordan, who acted like the movie was nothing special and I shouldn’t bother seeing it.  As if there were even the slightest chance I wasn’t going to see it.  And now that I have seen it, I think Jordan is out of his mind.  And that the internet is being the internet.  I assume the internet was mostly a bunch of angry guys who were somehow bothered that this was not another white, male superhero, even though this is the first female lead Marvel movie after 20 male lead ones.  So those people can go to hell.  Jordan, I assume, probably just expected too much.  This is an origin story.  Typically, the origin stories suffer because of how much they have to do to introduce us to the character and we don’t typically get to love that character until the second time we see them, which I imagine will happen very quickly with Captain Marvel.  I, however, already love her.  I thought this was a damned solid origin movie.  Maybe not as solid as the first Iron Man, but better than some of the other ones.  I also was indeed surprised as they intended me to be with the alien race swerve they pulled on us in the movie.  Otherwise, as a white male, I’ve seen plenty enough of me’s in Marvel movies already, especially given how uncannily similar I look to Chris Hemsworth, and I’m happy to see something different.  The movie was awesome, entertaining, and funny when it needed to be.  I didn’t feel too many heart string tugs during the movie, but I don’t think it was trying for too many.

But speaking of heart-string tugs, I burst into instant tears twice during this movie, and it warrants talking about.  Neither were because the story was trying to make me cry.  Neither were even really part of the story.  The first wasn’t even part of the movie!  It was the damned opening studio credit!  They changed the Marvel logo, usually awash with their heroes in action from their various movies, and they changed it to the biggest and best hero in the history of the company: Stan Lee.  Typing that gave me goosebumps right now and seeing it made my face well up with tears and joy as they showed proper respect to The Man himself.  I could’ve used a bit of a warning, movie!  The second was his cameo, and sadly probably one of his last.  He was just sitting on a bus talking to himself and reading something, but in the theater I missed it.  I was happy to see his cameo, but it wasn’t until later that I found out how beautiful it actually was.  The movie takes place in the 90’s and Stan was on the bus rehearsing for his scene in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats!  That was so damned beautiful and I felt a strange happiness for Smith that he got to see that shout out from his idol and friend months after losing him.  Well-played, Marvel.  You got me bad with those.

As for the action in Captain Marvel, I was scarcely disappointed.  In all of her fights, she seemed to be a real threat and a total badass.  If there is one criticism to be made of any of the fight scenes in this movie, it would be the “Just a Girl” fight scene, where she gets into a fight and No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” starts playing.  I get it; it’s the 90’s and that song was popular, and Danvers is indeed a girl.  It was a little too on the nose for my liking, I would say.  It didn’t take me out of it or ruin the scene for me.  It just made me laugh a little, but I did hear from others that they felt this was a little much, and I don’t necessarily disagree.  Otherwise it was badass, especially when she unlocks her true power and lays waste to all those enemy ships and scares off the rest by punching her fist into the palm of her hand.  That was fantastic.

All of the performances in the movie were on point.  Brie Larson was great.  She can bring pathos and comedy and action in equal measure flawlessly.  I hope she’s around for a long time because I definitely want more of this character, and I’m very excited to see how she interacts with the Avengers next month.  A lot of the best moments in the movie were the chemistry between her and Samuel L. Jackson.  A lot of those scenes played like a fun, buddy cop movie that I would love to see.  I also liked seeing how Jackson changed the character of Fury to make him seem younger and not as experienced with these kinds of things.  I also liked seeing him interact with the cat.  I would say that I thought that how they showed Fury losing his eye was funny, but not exactly how I was hoping to see it happen, shall we say?  Mendelsohn was also great, able to successfully pull off both sides of his performance, both before and after the big reveal of the movie.  It was nice that he also got to play for a while without all the makeup that would probably hold him back in his performance, though you really couldn’t tell.  Jude Law was also great (did I mention all of the performances were?) but I can’t really think of anything in particular to say about his performance that I didn’t already say about Mendelsohn’s.  And lastly, Clark Gregg was great.  I would’ve liked more from Coulson though, just because I like him so much and he’s not in the MCU as much since Avengers.

Regardless of what friends and sexist idiots on the internet told me, I very much enjoyed Captain America.  It was fun, surprising, action-packed, and exactly what you’ve come to expect from the MCU.  Sure, all said this movie probably winds up placing in the upper middle of the MCU in terms of quality, but it’s got a lot of stiff competition, and I would say it places pretty high amongst the strictly origin film MCU, which is what you should compare it to if you’re being fair.  A strong opening for the character of Carol Danvers, keeps my excitement high to see her again both in Avengers and her own movie, and is hopefully a good start to other female-lead Marvel movies in the future.  Captain Marvel gets “I know a renegade soldier when I see one” out of “I have nothing to prove to you.”

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Lego Marvel Super Heroes (2013)


The (Hopefully Temporarily) Best Game on the X-Box One!

Lego Marvel Super Heroes (2013)I’ve had my Xbone for a few months now and thus far I’ve been fairly disappointed with what it has to offer.  Not as a system itself; that has been fantastic.  What disappoints me is the lineup available for my next gen system.  I’ve played a few games on the system already and have found the results typically mediocre.  The game I’m reviewing today has been available since the system’s launch, but I’ve never felt it was quite worth its price.  That was until my friend Bob, the Mayor of Krunkytown, told me that I needed it.  Well, you don’t argue with a mayor and so I went out and purchased Lego Marvel Super Heroes, developed by TT Games, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and starring the voices of Stan Lee, John DiMaggio, James Arnold Taylor, Clark Gregg, John Eric Bentley, Dee Bradley Baker, Roger Craig Smith, Troy Baker, Fred Tatasciore, Nolan North, Laura Bailey, Kari Wahlgren, Travis Willingham, and Phil LaMarr.

It would probably be too hard to go too in depth with the story of this game.  Not because it’s particularly complicated, but because I would have to list too many damned names.  The quick break down is that a bunch of supervillains are getting together to steal cosmic bricks in order to build the “Doom Ray of Doom” to defeat Galactus (John DiMaggio) the World Devourer in hopes that it will make the people of Earth fall in line and worship their saviors.  Little do they know that they are being played by the Asgardian God of Mischief Loki (Troy Baker), who intends to harness the power of Galactus to destroy Earth and Asgard.  But Marvel comics doesn’t just make villains, do they?  HELL NO!  AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!  …And a lot of other heroes too!

This is hands down the best game available on the Xbone.  That title is made much easier to achieve by having only 20 other titles to compete with, but that does not take much away from the acclaim.  I’ve always been fond of the Lego series.  I’ve never connected with them too drastically, but they’re typically cute and fun and they just keep getting better.  Some of their properties that they’ve made into Lego versions haven’t interested me too much, but this is Marvel.  Of course I’m in!  And it’s the best Lego game I’ve played.  The story is nothing too spectacular.  It’s basically just a “heroes save the world” deal.  Actually, it’s pretty much the story of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.  That’s really all it needs to be though.  What I appreciated about it is the funny little moments they can install into the story.  I still think I liked them better when they couldn’t talk because they were pretty good at adding comedy without it.  But they’re not too shabby with dialogue either.  Having Hulk yell, “HULK SMASH UGLY SIDEBURNS!” when he meets Wolverine is pretty funny.  They also used Nick Fury in some hilarious ways.  Though he had nothing to do with the game, the character of Nick Fury is typically played by Samuel L. Jackson, and Traveller’s Tales used that for some comedy that would be well over the heads of the children that might typically play their games, making some nice references to Pulp Fiction and Snakes on a Plane.

One of the things I appreciated the most about this game was the fan service.  They referenced everything they could think to reference from the Marvel universe, and more specifically the Marvel movies.  There was a part where the Hulk punches the Green Goblin as he punched Thor in the Avengers, Thor arrives into the game like he does in Thor: The Dark World and even in a similar setting, the Put Up Your Dukes level is right out of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, one of the times you rescue Stan Lee is a reference to when he drank the infected juice in the Hulk movie, the chess set where we find Stan at one point might be a subtle reference to his cameo in the Avengers, and the game even has a mid-credit sequence like the greater majority of comic book movies.  Also, there are achievements for doing the Fastball Special (throwing Wolverine at an enemy as Colossus) and for having Captain America and Human Torch on the same team (because both are played by Chris Evans in the movies).

Now, all of those references could not have been recognized if it were not for some extreme levels of nerdiness.  That nerdiness also caused a few problems with this game.  At one point, Gambit stops the Juggernaut dead in his tracks by dropping a chandelier on him.  As big of a fan of Gambit as I am, that just doesn’t happen.  Once the Juggernaut starts moving, nothing can stop him!  He’s the Juggernaut, bitch!  Also, why is the X-Men airplane called the X-Jet now?  Is it not still the Blackbird?  And since when is the X-Mansion on the island of Manhattan?!  I also had a lot of problems arise from what the characters were able to do.  First of all, Spider-Man has genius-level intellect.  Why do I have to switch to that lame ass Mister Fantastic in order to use a control panel?  And while we’re on the subject: I know you probably felt the need to make Mister Fantastic seem useful, but since when can he turn himself into complex machines like an electric screwdriver?  That doesn’t even make sense!  …The rest of the game is perfectly logical to me though…  I also thought Mystique should’ve been more useful.  She can basically just sneak past things.  Shouldn’t she at least be able to turn into people with claws to use the claw switches?  She turned into Wolverine and had claws in the first X-Men movie!  I also didn’t like that Jean Grey didn’t have the special senses to detect switches like Spider-Man and Wolverine.  How does that make sense?  She has EXTRA Sensory Perception!  That’s like two more sensories!  And even worse, how can she take fire damage when you pick the version of Jean Grey that’s the Phoenix?  She flew into the Sun as the Phoenix!  And how does Iron Man get frozen?!  He fixed that icing problem in Iron Man 1!  And how does Magneto not fly?!  I AM THE KING OF NERDS!!

Admittedly, the look of the game doesn’t quite live up to next gen expectations.  It looks about as good as recent Lego games have on current/previous gen consoles.  It’s the look they’re going for and I don’t really knock it for that.  It’s kind of for kids, so it’s supposed to have a really colorful and not necessarily photorealistic look.  Also, it’s a Lego game.  How do you go photorealistic with that?  And this one is different from any others I’ve played because they let you play around in a sandbox Manhattan between story missions, and that is just fine by me.  I got to jet through the streets as Iron Man and the Silver Surfer!  Although I was a little bit bothered that the Silver Surfer’s flying sounded a little like a vacuum cleaner.  Is he the Silver Maid or something?  I thought all maids were brown!  BOOM!

The game is really fun and kept me interested right up to the point where I got 100% on the achievements.  I can’t really keep wasting time on a game when I’m not getting no chievos no more!  There were a couple of minor problems with the game.  Sometimes the camera didn’t want to play along, or more accurately to let you see what you were playing.  I also had a common problem where my character would choose to target my ally relentlessly when I was surrounded by enemies.  I also got irritated in the first level because they kept putting up reminders when I was the Hulk that I could hold Y to turn back into Bruce Banner.  Why would I ever want to do that?  You realize that I’m currently the Hulk, right?

Lego Marvel Super Heroes is currently my favorite Xbone game by leaps and bounds.  It’s not hard to do when everything else on the system turned out to be okay at best, but the game is still entirely enjoyable.  The story is simple but peppered with some enjoyable humor, the game looks good though not quite next gen quality yet, and it’s lots of fun to play.  I got hours of enjoyment out of this game and lost track of most of those hours after I started playing and realized shortly after that it was 4 in the morning.  And it’s an easy 1000 achievements for you achievement whores like me.  Don’t try to act like you’re too adult to enjoy this game!  It’s fun for the whole family!  Lego Marvel Super Heroes gets “Excelsior!” out of “I’m still hungry!  I need something to eat!”

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The Avengers (2012)


Guys, I’m Bringing the Party to You

Today’s movie was a hard movie to put off for as long as I did.  It came out almost a week ago now, but I didn’t have a good moment to go and see the movie with my roommate Richard until today.  It was not an easy couple of days.  I’ve been somewhat excited to see this movie since it was announced, and from the day it came out I’ve been beaten over the head with the fact that I need to see it.  But, when someone called the movie “The Best Comic Book Movie Ever”, I found myself very skeptical.  Had these people not seen the Dark Knight?  Or Watchmen?  Or was there a chance that this movie was that good?  We’ll find out today in my review of The Avengers, written by Joss Whedon and Zak Penn, directed by Joss Whedon, and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard, Cobie Smulders, Gwyneth Paltrow, Harry Dean Stanton, and Paul Bettany.

The fallen Asgardian Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has reached a pact with an alien race known as the Chitauri.  If Loki is able to capture the powerful source of energy known as the Tesseract, they will declare war on Earth for it.  Armed with a fancy spear, he easily breaks into a facility of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (aka SHIELD) and takes the Tesseract, also brainwashing the physicist Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and SHIELD agent Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner).  In response, SHIELD director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) activates the Avengers Initiative, compiling Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to face the threat.  SHIELD agent the Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is sent to retrieve the Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is sent to retrieve Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), and Fury himself goes to retrieve Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).  Iron Man and Captain America are able to capture Loki, which captures the attention of Loki’s brother, the God of Thunder, Thor (Chris Hemsworth).  Can these very conflicting personalities come together to work as a team?  Can they thwart Loki’s plans?  And, more importantly, how many times will I masturbate during this movie?

This was the worst movie ever … for someone with a heart condition.  HOLY SHIT is this a good movie!  I loved the living bejesus right out of this movie.  But, as much as I loved it, I don’t think I’d be willing to call it the greatest comic book movie of all time.  It’s certainly the greatest of its kind, though.  I would divide comic book movies in much the same way as I would regular movies.  Some are really smart, and some are really fun.  I wouldn’t call the Watchmen or Dark Knight particularly fun, but they’re great movies.  I also wouldn’t call Avengers the smartest movie, but it’s fantastic fun pretty much from the very beginning of the movie.  One thing that should be kept in mind while reading my review is that I do not have the ability to think about this movie as someone who is not a fanboy.  My fanboy boner is drawing all of the blood out of the rest of my observational abilities.  But fellow fanboys will have such the nerd boner throughout this entire movie.  Comic book movies already get +10 love in my mind, but this movie had no use for those excess points.  It’s such sweet, sweet fan service all the way through, thanks to the man at the helm, Joss Whedon.  Being a nerd himself, he would not allow any one of the Avengers to not have their moment in this movie.  Because of his nerdiness, this is the first Marvel movie (that wasn’t just a sequel) that took so much from what happened in the other movies into itself.  Things like the Tesseract that was introduced in Captain America’s movie and some of the Asgardian stuff that was introduced in Thor helped really connect this movie as opposed to leaving it to its own devices.  The introduction of each individual character in the movie was badass and usually preceded by an awesome quip that got me extra excited.  Things like, “Wars are won by soldiers,” and then BOOM!  Captain America punching the shit out of some heavy bags.  They did something like this for almost every Avenger and I loved it every time.  I was also assuming as I went into this movie that I would only be interested in the main Avengers like Thor and the Hulk, leaving me bored with the time I spent with the less spectacularly gifted Avengers like Black Widow and Hawkeye.  When the gigantic battle at the end of the movie was starting, I wondered what good Widow and Hawkeye – and maybe even the Cap – would be in this fight, but every one of them had the opportunity to be awesome in it.  And almost everyone on the Avengers teamed up with the other Avengers.  One of my favorite moments in the movie was something I had seen in some of the Marvel video games: when Iron Man shoots at Captain America’s shield during battles and Cap swings the beam around to hit the enemies around them.

I got to thinking about something early on in the trailers leading up to this movie.  I’m sure there was a time when goose bumps served a purpose like making our hair stand up because of cold in the environment or perhaps even fluffing up our hair when threatened to make us look bigger.  It made me laugh that, over time, these defense mechanisms have become completely useless and goose bumps now only involve showing our excitement over movies.  The trailers that preceded Avengers were for other movies I’m extremely excited for, like the new Spiderman and Dark Knight Rises, and they got my skin prepped for goose bumpage.  The Avengers movie barely ever gave my skin the chance to rest.  The introduction for each character caused goose bumps, each fight caused goose bumps, almost everything said by anyone in the movie, all of these things got my skin all riled up.  Even for some two hours after the movie, my skin wouldn’t knock it off with every time I thought about my favorite moments.  Hell, even writing this review caused me to get goose bumps.  I tell you all of this to let you know that goose bumps are stupid and this movie is awesome.

I briefly skimmed one of the very few negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes to see how someone could possibly not like this movie.  It criticized the movie for being a big mess of CG action.  What did you go into this movie expecting?  Schindler’s List?  It’s a comic book movie!  It’s supposed to be like you’re watching a comic book come to life.  If you saw this same movie without CG, it would be the worst movie ever.  You’d have to bring Lou Ferrigno back to be the Hulk and no one could really do anything awesome.  So, what I’m saying to that guy is: go fuck your own face.  This movie looked epic and fantastic.  Things like SHIELD’s helicarrier looked as massive and realistic as humanly possible.  And, for the first time, the Hulk looked fantastic and real.  Well, as real as a giant green guy can look.  The other movies had the Hulk kind of stand out and not look like it was properly lit, but this movie didn’t have that problem.  Even the practical things were given the weight that made them feel like superpowered individuals were doing them, like when Cap blocked Thor’s hit as they were fighting in the woods, creating a shockwave that cleared a large portion of the surrounding area.

I’ve probably already discussed every character in this movie already in their own respective movies, but that shant stop me from doing it again.  But this time I’m going to discuss them in order of awesomeness.  First up is the only new addition to the Avengers team: Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk.  Though Ruffalo was the only one in this movie to not appear as his character previously, I think he stole the show.  I found him to be a combination of the most humorous and most badass characters in the movie.  When he randomly, and unexpectedly, punches Thor at one point in the movie it was pure comedy enjoyment.  When he lays an epic beatdown on one of the major characters in the movie, flopping them around like a ragdoll and following it up with one of his trademark “Puny …” lines, I nerdgasmed.  When he fights one of the good guys in the movie, I was worried that they wouldn’t give the Hulk his proper amounts of awesomeness in order to make another character that I wasn’t that fond of look better.  But when Captain America unleashes him on the enemies by commanding him to smash, he did just that.  The big question would be whether or not Ruffalo set himself apart as the best version of the character, and I’m not sure I’d be willing to give him that.  I would definitely allow Ruffalo to be called the actor that played the Hulk in the best movie he was in, but I didn’t think that Ruffalo had the appropriate build for Banner.  He did a great job acting as the character, but he was a little more muscular than I’d think of Banner.  I think Edward Norton looked the part much more, and acted the part equally as well.  My next favorite would have to be Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.  Adding Downey’s own wit and timing to Joss Whedon’s sharp writing is a winning combination.  RDJ is Tony Stark, and I don’t know how there will ever be another.  He got to bust out the hero chops more than any of the Iron Man movies here, and was still really funny.  Another of my favorite moments in the film was when Stark prodded Banner in the lab because he was just like a big child that just wanted to see the big, green smash machine.  Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Thor had tons of awesome moments and each had a couple of comedy moments as well that I appreciated.  Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow sets herself up as pretty awesome right in her opening scene, and also takes part in an epic fight with Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye.  I was worried about Hawkeye going into the movie, thinking that a character whose only power is to be really good at firing arrows would not be super interesting.  Though his parts were lighter on the awesome, he still pulled a good bit out with some sweet shots and some cool, no-look shots.

The Avengers might not be what I’d be comfortable calling the best comic book movie ever, but it’s unequivocally the most fun, most action-packed, and most exhilarating comic book movie I’ve ever watched, and I’ve seen almost all of them.  The story is great, the dialogue is smart and funny, and the performances are all fantastic.  But, more importantly, the action scenes are frequent, amazing, and exactly what every fan wants to see.  Being a fanboy myself, I can’t really get into the mindset of someone who doesn’t like comic books.  But I also can’t imagine the type of person who would not think this movie is awesome.  I don’t only recommend you see this movie, I outright demand it.  Go see this movie now.  And, if you can, go see it in IMAX, and even in 3D.  I’m normally a 3D hater, but I hear this movie is worth it.  The Avengers gets “The world has changed” out of “I still believe in heroes.”

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(500) Days of Summer (2009)


It’s Love.  It’s Not Santa Claus.

I’m having trouble remembering who suggested today’s movie to me, but I’m fairly confident that it was a lady.  That’s based mainly on the fact that I don’t think most men would want me to watch today’s movie out of anything other than torture.  If I had to guess, I think it was my friend, the Lady MacBalls.  She’s got the required lady parts (I assume) to have suggested this movie, and with her hormones all crazy from the tiny MacBalls growing in her belly, denying her request could’ve meant a very painful death for everyone’s favorite film/video game reviewer.  It was in my best interest to oblige.  But fear of death with not sway my opinion of the movie.  I’ve far too much integrity for that.  So let’s see what I thought of (500) Days of Summer, written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, directed by Marc Webb, and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Chloe Moretz, Geoffrey Arend, Matthew Gray Gubler, Clark Gregg, Minka Kelly, and Rachel Boston.

Aspiring architect Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works for Vance (Clark Gregg) at a greeting card company when Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) is hired as Vance’s assistant.  Tom’s friend and co-worker McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend) talks Tom into attending a karaoke party, gets really drunk, and tells Summer that Tom is attracted to her.  Over the course of the remaining 500 days, we watch as Tom and Summer’s relationship goes up and crashes down.

As a guy, I started watching this movie wanting to hate it at least as much as I hate my friend, the Lady MacBalls.  But, by the end of the movie, it had won me over.  It’s not perfect.  Most chick-flicks aren’t because they’re well aware of the fact that putting a sappy romance in a movie is well enough for women.  But this story was charming enough, with some good ideas and an interesting look, and even had some funny parts to it, although I’m pretty sure the joke in the movie about someone having Brad Pitt’s face and Jesus’ abs is a Daniel Tosh joke.  I think the difficulties I had early on in this movie stemmed from its vaguely pretentious art style and the premise of the story.  They threw in little artsy cutaways that I found a little tedious, but I at least appreciated the ones that showed us what day we were watching since the movie cut back and forth between different points in the relationship.  There was a very good use of music to the movie, like when Tom was really happy after his first night with Summer and had a good song to accompany him in his jaunty walk down the street that turned into a brief dance number.  I got a little annoyed by the look of the movie near the end, when Tom was revealed to have a chalkboard on his wall that he used to sketch buildings on.  Come on, movie!  Who has a chalkboard wall … and how the hell do I get one?!

The premise of the movie annoyed me at first because it was so clumsy.  It seemed like it really wanted to be clever by making the girl take the typical guy part of not believing in true love, whereas the guy was the lady in being the overly romantic one.  No one’s ever thought of that before!  I also got annoyed by the silly things that caused people to fall in love in the movie.  Summer says she likes the same band as Tom.  BOOM!  I love you!  Summer falls in love later because someone likes the Dorian Gray book she’s reading.  I grant that a girl like Zooey Deschanel telling me she liked Metallica would pique my interest, but I still acknowledge that it’s a poor basis for my undying love.  Later, when Summer is telling Tom about former boyfriends, she says that she dated a guy she called the Puma because he had a big dick.  Is that a thing?  Why wouldn’t you call him “The Blue Whale” or “The Black Guy”?  This is probably not a good thing to have realized about myself, but I started to like the movie near the end, when I could relate to Tom more as an embittered guy who lost faith in the idea of love.  I’m not saying that this is an accurate description of me, but … uh … y’know what?  Nevermind!  Either way, it was interesting to watch the way he felt about Summer change so completely during and after their relationship through the scenes cutting back and forth in time.  I also completely agreed with Tom when he went off about how cards were a waste of time because they were just putting on paper the things you should be saying.  It also enforced the idea that women are lying jerkfaces, since Summer saying that she didn’t want to be anybody’s girlfriend actually meant that she didn’t want to be Tom’s.  I think the moral of this story will be one that can help me out in the future.  Every time I have to listen to a girl complain because “the one” just broke up with her, I’ll tell her to watch this movie.  At first it seems like it’s crapping on the idea of fate because Tom is so sure that Summer is the one, but then the end brings it back around for a happy ending that should shut them bitches up.  Apparently me TELLING them that a person obviously isn’t the one if you’re not dating them anymore is not good enough.  So go watch this movie, bitch.  It’s pretty good.

I liked all the performances in this movie.  Of course, there also wasn’t anybody in this movie I didn’t already like going in.  I’ve liked Joseph Gordon-Levitt for a long time, and though he was often a mopey bitch in the movie, that was what was called for.  I’m also pretty sure that I’m better with women than he was in this movie, and finding someone I’m better with women than is very hard to do.  For instance, I would never respond to a woman who was asking if I needed office supplies with, “You know what I want.”  Then again, he eventually got her, so I guess I’m the asshole.  Zooey Deschanel spent most of the movie being the kind of girl I wouldn’t like, but she made it more likeable.  I’m beginning to think that Deschanel doesn’t accept a role if she can’t sing in the movie, but I like her nonetheless.  I’m also a fan of Geoffrey Arend.  He tends to be pretty funny in all of his roles, and this one was not different.  Chloe Moretz’ character would typically annoy me, being the smarty pants kid that’s trying to help her brother through a breakup, but with how stupid Tom seemed, it worked.

Despite bordering on the pretentious and having a few things that were too obvious, I found myself charmed by (500) Days of Summer.  I liked the overall message of the movie, I liked the actors in the movie, and I liked the movie overall.  It’s probably a good movie for people to watch after being dumped, and I’ll let you know for sure if it ever happens to me.  I’d recommend this movie even if you haven’t been dumped and would probably say it’s my second favorite chick flick, though that is coming from pretty weak competition.  You can rent this movie from Netflix, but cannot stream it presently.  I give (500) Days of Summer “I think you’re just remembering the good stuff” out of “People don’t realize this, but loneliness is underrated.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Iron Man 2 (2010)


Sir, I’m Gonna Have to Ask You to Exit the Donut

Avengers is drawing ever closer, at present a mere 3 months away.  My nipples are so hard with excitement!  In an effort to further prepare myself and my audience, I have prepared a review of yet another Avenger movie.  Just like last time, this is one of two parts for a specific Avenger.  In fact, just like the last time, this one stars Iron Man.  This movie received some harsh treatment amongst the fans of the first movie, but their name is not on the top of this page.  So let’s see what I thought of Iron Man 2, written by Justin Theroux and Stan Lee, directed by Jon Favreau, and starring Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Slattery, Clark Gregg, Jon Favreau, Garry Shandling, Leslie Bibb, and the voice of Paul Bettany.  And with special appearances by Stan Lee and Olivia Munn.

Good old Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has been doing alright for himself since the times of the first movie.  He has a new convention, the Stark Expo, set up to continue his father’s legacy, he’s been doing a lot of good work with the Iron Man suit, and he’s dying of palladium poisoning.  …Okay, two out of three.  Other things start going wrong for Tony, starting with Senator Stern (Garry Shandling) telling him he has to turn over the Iron Man armor.  Stark refuses, citing that no one is remotely close to duplicating the Iron Man armor, and it belongs to him.  Problems come up with THAT theory when Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), son of the recently deceased Anton Vanko, replicates the arc reactor that powers the armor and uses it to attempt to take revenge on Tony – due to his inherited belief that the Starks stole the idea from Anton – by channeling the reactor’s power into whips.  Tony is able to overcome Vanko and Vanko is sent to prison, until he is freed by Tony’s rival, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), and tasked to create better Iron Man armor.  Tony decides to make his assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), the new CEO of Stark Industries, taking on Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) as his new assistant.  This frees him up to take the self-destructive paths he had not the time for as the CEO.

I feel like people hated on this movie much more than it deserved.  Was it as good as the first one?  No, probably not.  But it wasn’t as bad as I’ve heard most people go on with.  Origin stories are easy because most of them have already been written and displayed in comic book form.  The fans just want to see that, but with more moving and less need for us to use our imagination.  When you come to the second movie, you mostly have a new script to work with, and it’s only occasionally something that’s already been written.  I thought the story was fine in this movie, the graphics were amped up a little, and the action was superior.  I wasn’t AS fond of it as I was with the first movie, but it was still pretty good.  It’s equally as funny as the first movie, though I would say the drama of the movie was toned down for this one.  Maybe that’s what people wanted out of an Iron Man movie.  Not me, however.  I went in wanting fun, and I got that.  One of the first things that comes to mind is the press conference that Tony was in.  I really liked that scene.  First, it was pretty funny that Tony was definitely not taking any part of that conference seriously.  The second thing I liked was when Don Cheadle showed up, because their brief dialogue made sense for the scene while simultaneously addressing the fact that Rhodes was a new actor.  They just kicked out something like “Yeah, I’m here now.  Deal with it,” which seemed to be a little bit of “Fuck off, nerds who will complain about this.”  The graphics of the original movie were already great, but you could argue that they got a little bit better with this movie.  I liked the whips that Rourke used, and I especially liked when he showed up with them for the first time and the whips burned his shirt off.  Then, when he was cutting off chunks of car with them, that was pretty sweet as well.  The portable Iron Man briefcase was a pretty cool idea, except that he kind of got his ass kicked in it.  For the first half of the movie, it only adds to my complaints about the first Iron Man movie: that the fights were too short or only gave us a half-powered Iron Man.  This one frightened me that the first big fight of the movie makes Iron Man into a bitch again, having him look like he’s going to lose to Vanko before barely pulling it out.  It ends up as kind of a stalemate when Tony fights Rhodes, but you can kind of get behind that because, though Tony is more experienced at fighting in the armor, Rhodes is more experienced at fighting.  But then they finally give me the payoff I wanted in the end of the movie, where something like 20 minutes is just a SUPER-powered Iron Man fighting seemingly infinite robots, mixed in with scenes of the Black Widow laying an epic ass whooping on about 8 guys in Hammer Industries … while Hogan struggled to beat The Rock’s stunt double.

The performances were still great in this movie, probably because the actors were either the same or replaced with better actors.  Robert Downey Jr. was still pretty charming.  He had a little bit of sadness this time around, but dying from palladium poisoning is a slight step down from being the reason a bunch of soldiers died.  Plus, he got that whole situation worked out.  I like Don Cheadle a lot more than Terrance Howard.  He’s a more likeable guy.  Gwyneth Paltrow is still great, but she was a little bit bitchier to Tony this time around, and that made me less fond of Pepper until near the end of the movie.  I appreciated that Samuel L. Jackson had a decent-sized role in this movie, as he had mostly just popped in for a second in the other Avenger movies.  Even though I had always known Nick Fury to be a white guy, Samuel L. Jackson is alright in my book.  Mother fucker.  Scarlett Johansson is a great addition as well.  Not only because I am always more than happy to look at that lady, and also not just because she looks really good as a redhead, but because that lady kicked some serious ass in this movie.  Sam Rockwell mostly got on my nerves in this role, and it’s strange that I like him even though most of his roles are fairly annoying dudes, but that is what he was going for here so I can’t blame him for it.  What I think I can blame him for is that he feels the need to dance in almost every role I can think of right now.  Even though that’s only three roles, he should tone that shit down.  The cameos were nice in this movie as well.  First, Olivia Munn is gorgeous and, even though she was only in for a couple seconds, I am always happy to see her.  Stan Lee was back in this one, and I like the running gag they have for him that he gets mistaken for a different old, white dude in each Iron Man movie so far.  First he was Hugh Hefner, and this time he was Larry King.

I have still been thoroughly entertained by the Iron Man movies, even if others have not.  Quality story, great actors, and a big step up in action makes me still be a fan of the series so far, even if the movie didn’t resonate quite as deeply with me as the previous movie.  By my count, I have only one Avenger movie left to review, so I guess I’ll need to find something else to throw in after that one.  But for now, we’re one step closer to the Avengers.  I own Iron Man 2 on BluRay, and I don’t see any good reason why you should not do the same.  Iron Man 2 gets “Nice work, Kid” out of “Drop your socks and grab your crocs, we’re about to get wet on this ride.”

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Iron Man (2008)


The Truth is … I Am Iron Man.

Avengers is still on the way, peoples, and I still have Avenger movies to review.  Having already completed Cap, Thor, and Hulk, I’ve already done three of the biggest names amongst the team, leaving one more to tie it all up.  But since the Hulk and the star of today’s movie both have sequels already, I still have three more movies to review.  Maybe four, since Wolverine was an Avenger, though he’s not a star of the movie that’s coming out.  But if I run out, that one will do.  Before I must resort to that, I still have two movies starring one of the biggest names in the Avengers, and both of those movies are WAY better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  Today’s movie is Iron Man, written by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, and Matthew Holloway, directed by Jon Favreau, and starring Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jon Favreau, Shaun Toub, Faran Tahir, Clark Gregg, Leslie Bibb, and Bill Smitrovich.

Wealthy philanthropist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) gets himself caught in a bad situation when a group of bad guys attack a convoy he’s in.  One of his company’s own bombs goes off right in front of him, sending shrapnel into his chest.  He’s taken in by the bad guys and saved by another captive, Yinsen (Shaun Toub), by having a magnet installed in his chest to keep the shrapnel from reaching his heart.  The leader of the bad guys, Raza (Faran Tahir), tells Stark that he wants him to make one of his new Jericho missiles for them.  He agrees, but instead uses the parts they give him to make a giant, metal suit.  He uses this suit to escape, but Yinsen dies in the escape.  Stark is rescued shortly after his escape by his friend Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes (Terrence Howard), and returned to the states.  He joins up with his assistant, Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and his chauffeur, Hogan (Jon Favreau), and goes to a press conference with the guy that runs his company, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges).  Here, he shocks the press by announcing that his company is going to stop producing weapons.  Stark goes into seclusion and builds a much better version of the armor he used to escape, deciding that he’s going to use this armor to right the wrongs his weapons created.

Hooray for Iron Man!  This is a really fun movie, especially for a dedicated Marvel nerd such as myself.  I had never been that big of a fan of Iron Man in comic book form, but I was on board for this flick.  The story was great, but mainly just taken from the comic book, with only minor changes.  The dialogue in the movie was mostly pretty clever, and the action was pretty great, but I did have some complaints.  They changed the story of Iron Man, but only enough to make it more topical for the audience of today.  If I recall correctly, Tony Stark was taken in by terrorist type people to have him make them a weapon and he escaped using the Mark 1 Iron Man armor, but it was originally the Mandarin that took him and not some vaguely-Taliban group, but it worked and made it more relevant today.  The scene where he gets captured is a pretty awesome way to start the movie off (in no small part due to the fact that they used AC/DC’s Back in Black), but it did kind of make the military look a little inept.  I know they were ambushed, but those army dudes got walked right over.  You should at least let them put up a bit of a fight first.  The build up to, and use of, the Mark 1 armor was pretty awesome as well.  But once Stark gets the kinks ironed (PUN!) out of his armor, the debut performance of it made me blow such the nerd-load.  It also is the first (but smaller) example of my problem with the action scenes: I wanted more!  Iron Man goes in and whoops ass too quickly for my taste.  I liked it so much, but I could’ve done with some more.  The bigger problem is the final battle.  I won’t go too far into it, but Iron Man goes into the battle with a bigger robot armor, but he goes in at less than half power, so he didn’t throw down as hard as he could have.  I wanted the final battle to be an epic throwdown with two fully armed and operational suits.  I didn’t want Iron Man’s biggest enemy to be his Duracells.  The action scenes still retained a great deal of awesome, I just wanted a little more.  I really dug the greater majority of the dialogue in the movie as well.  It felt at least somewhat improvised, but sometimes too clever to actually be improvised.  Robert Downey Jr.’s first interaction with Leslie Bibb, for example.  I really liked the way he deflected every question she tried to ask him into a proposal for sex.  I liked better that it payed off.  Then I liked when Gwyn lays the total burn on Bibb the morning after.  I also liked when RDJ called his car the “Funvee” and Terrence Howard’s the “Humdrumvee”.  I would’ve liked when Howard eventually rescues Stark and says “How was the funvee?”, but I ended up thinking to myself “How many weeks were you holding on to that joke, Rhodes?”  The graphics in this movie were great, with nice explosions and what not, and Iron Man looked amazing.  But in the part where RDJ has Gwyn play a real life version of Operation on him, that prosthetic chest was not believable at all.  On the other hand, I was very pleased with Stark’s computer generated holograms that he could interact with, Minority Report style.  Especially when he was working on the hand of Iron Man and put his hand in the hologram to try it out.

I can scarcely think of complaints about the cast of this movie.  Almost everyone rocked.  I love Robert Downey Jr..  That dude’s amazing.  When I first heard he was going to do Iron Man, I thought to myself “That guy is way too good of an actor to be in a comic book movie … but I sure as hell hope no one tells him that.”  I loved him throughout the movie when he was all snarky to everyone and perhaps a little spoiled, and I also liked it when he toned that stuff down and got serious.  Jeff Bridges is also great in the movie.  He may have been too likeable as Stane at first, but when he turns at the end that’s what makes it even worse, but in a great way.  When I heard Gwyneth Paltrow was also going to be in this movie, I thought “What the hell is going on here?  Doesn’t Marvel mainly like throwing some Afflecks and Garnets at their movies, and just throw in a Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellen for flavor?”  She was also great.  She had a good deal of quiet attitude and sass to her.  That compounded with her hotness made me fall in love; a step up from when I fell in lust with her.  Can’t say I dug on Terrence Howard, though.  I’m not sure if it’s just because he wasn’t in the sequel (and was replaced by a far superior actor, in my opinion), but he just didn’t do much for me in this movie.  The best performance in the movie, hands down, was the fire extinguisher robot.  That thing was adorable and, even though RDJ was shitting on him for the entire movie, saved his life in the end.  Also, why would Stark program his AI butler, Jarvis, to be such a dick?

Iron Man is pretty awesome, but I would’ve liked it to be a little more awesome.  Great story, fantastic performances (especially by fire extinguisher robot), great dialogue, great graphics, and awesome action that I would’ve liked to see amped up just a little.  Still, fantastic and very fun movie.  You must see this movie if you haven’t yet.  I’ve purchased it twice because I had to switch over to BluRay, so the least you can do is buy it once.  The review for the sequel is comin’, so we’ll see how that one goes, but we’ve already seen how this one goes, and it goes good.  Iron Man gets “The Funvee” out of “I’m prepared to lose a few hours of sleep with you.”

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