Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)


The World’s Changed, Boys.  Time We Change Too

It doesn’t seem correct that the last time I wrote a written review for a movie was over 2 years ago, but I’ll take your word for it, WordPress.  Well, I figured if I wasn’t going to have a video ready for this week, maybe I could write a review instead.  And what luck!  I happen to have seen a movie today!  So I’ll just go ahead and give you a few words about Spider-Man: Homecoming, written by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, directed by Jon Watts, and starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, and Jennifer Connelly.

Peter Parker (Holland) is Spider-Man.  …Probably should’ve put a Spoiler Alert warning in the intro…  Anyway, he fights bad guys.  But not as much as he thinks he should.  The tailor of his suit, Tony Stark (Downey), disagrees and thinks he’s not ready.  Well Peter goes and does it anyway, getting in a little over his head when he starts getting closer with a gang of former salvage employees turned criminals and lead by the flying suit wearing Adrian Toomes (Keaton).  Other stuff happens, Tony tells Peter to get naked, Peter starts wearing a hoody with steampunk goggles, happy ending.

The general shittiness of my tone when describing the movie is not an indicator of my feelings about it.  I really enjoyed this movie.  I just don’t wanna give anything important away on accident.  I wanna do that when I goddamned good and ready!  I’m so happy Marvel got their mitts back on Spidey because they did it just as well as I hoped they would.  It just felt so much like Spidey!  More than it has felt like Spidey in quite a long time.  His jokes were good (Sorry Andrew Garfield) and at no point did he have a cringe-worthy dance scene in an emo black suit (Sorry Tobey).  It was more fun than serious, but succeeded on both fronts when it aimed to, which is something the DC Universe should take note of, especially with how well Wonder Woman did it.  The movie keeps our friendly spider more grounded and small, working out of a neighborhood setting one could say.  It doesn’t get too big for its britches, even though Peter wants it.  It’s better this way.  Spider-Man should handle his own business, and then occasionally get involved in the bigger, crossover type things like they do in those picture books people like so much.  He should have his Peter Parker troubles and have to perform a balancing act with his secret Spider-Man troubles, and in this movie he does!

The movie, however, was only ALMOST perfect.  It’s hard to put a movie together without flaws, and the minor ones in this were definitely forgivable, but worth noting because it’s very difficult to make jokes about good stuff.  The biggest one for me was the whole MJ thing.  One thing that really stuck in my craw about the Dark Knight Rises was the whole Robin thing, and the MJ thing in this movie reminded me of that.  You have this character that you’ve created for the movie and that’s fine.  But why have a big reveal at the end that the character we’ve been watching in the whole movie shares a name with something we know?  Like, am I supposed to get excited that John Blake’s real name is Robin?  Even though he’s not Robin and won’t be Robin and no Robin has been named John Blake?  So it’s just a moment of the filmmakers saying, “Remember that beloved character!?  …Well, this isn’t them.  But, y’know, it’s kinda cute… right…?”  Well that’s how the MJ thing felt in this movie.  Didn’t ruin anything, mind you.  I just thought it was unnecessary.  I also felt like this movie came dangerously close to getting in over its head with the characters.  I know Marvel is excited to get to play with these characters again, but when I looked through the Wikipedia page for the movie after the fact, almost every bit character in the movie was meant to be bigger characters from the comics.  They had Prowler (apparently), the Tinkerer, the Scorpion, one version of a guy that would become Venom, and TWO Shockers!  There was also electricity in some of the scenes, and that will probably be revealed to be Electro at some point.  It didn’t hurt anything for me really, but maybe slow down a little.  You can have bit players in a movie and it won’t hurt my feelings that the dude that sold Peter a sandwich wasn’t Kraven the Hunter.

I can’t say I have much to say about the action and visuals in the movie.  They were all great.  I thought they would be and my psychic powers were confirmed when they were.  …NEXT!

The casting was phenomenal.  We’ve met a lot of these people before and already knew how good they’d be so not a lot of surprise there, but they either met or exceeded expectations.  Tom Holland didn’t have it easy jumping into such an iconic character, but felt even better when we got to spend more time with it.  And being Spidey ain’t easy.  The first hardest thing about being Spider-Man is not beating Flash’s ass.  The second hardest thing would be having those abs and wearing a shirt to high school.  These are both things that would’ve been much different if I were Spider-Man.  Perhaps my uncles did a poor job imparting wisdom to me.  …Plus they’re both alive, which seems like they really let me down.  But Holland was Peter Parker and Spider-Man both at the same time perfectly, which is something I don’t think I could say about any other Spider-Man I know.  Michael Keaton was also expectedly fantastic.  He had solid motivation and reasoning and one of the most important things to get right about a villain is their motivation.  A bad guy who is bad just to be bad is boring.  This is a family man that got screwed by Damage Control and went a little overboard afterwards to take care of his family.  And he was intimidating AF!  The way they had him put together the Peter/Spidey thing was masterful and believable.  And his line comparing the way he got rich with the way Tony Stark got rich was also perfect.  Jacob Batalon as Ned and Zendaya as Michelle were both great comic relief, without overdoing it.  I felt a little annoyed with Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau in this movie, though.  They did a great job, but their role in the movie was to get mad at Peter for trying to handle something even though he constantly tried to let them know about if first.  Something is about to get hijacked!  Call Happy!  …He hung up on me.  Better handle it myself.  “I TOLD YOU NOT TO!” says Tony.  “I also had the other thing handled and you didn’t need to get involved…but I guess I forgot to let you know I called the FBI.  …Probably would’ve let you know that you didn’t need to get involved if I told you, wouldn’t it…?”  Also, I really enjoyed Jennifer Connelly as Karen, Peter’s AI suit companion.  I didn’t know it was her until after the movie, but they had a lot of cute interactions.

Y’know, I always say I don’t have much to say about movies I enjoy and that’s why I don’t write reviews for them.  Guess I showed me!  I can talk way too much about anything!  Next up: Sports!  But Spider-Man was lovely.  A perfect balance of a Peter story and a Spidey story with only minor annoyances that don’t take away from the overall enjoyment, with great action and comedy and wonderful performances to realize those things.  Go out and see this movie!  You have my blessing!  Spider-Man: Homecoming gets “You were on the ceiling!” out of “If you’re nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.”

P.S.  Rest in Peace, Joan Lee.  This movie and character may not exist at all without your support.

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

Advertisements

The Films of 2013


I may have gone a little overboard this year.  I saw a lot of movies last year, but I saw 11 more than that this year.  57 out of the 280 movies that Wikipedia listed as a 2013 release.  That’s 20% of the movies that were released last year by my very terrible math.  And I’m not even getting paid to do this stuff!  Nor am I getting paid to break down all of the movies I saw last year in an 8,000 plus word review of all the films of 2013, but I’m doing that anyway.  And since I’m sick of writing words after having done just that, I’m just going to stop right here and see if you have the balls to read my review of the films of 2013.  Good luck and Godspeed.

JANUARY

THE GRANDMASTER

I went to see this movie pretty much at the behest of my Film Criticism teacher.  I hadn’t really entertained the idea of seeing it from just seeing the trailers and I’m not sure why.  I loved all of the Ip Man movies, so why wouldn’t I love this?  Well I saw the movie and that’s when I found out why.  It wasn’t anything like the Ip Man movies.  Fighting was replaced with boringness and talking and artsy fartsy stuff.  This is not to say that this was a bad movie, but it bothered me because of the expectations I went in with.  It’s more of a drama than a martial arts movie.  It’s a good drama, but a shitty martial arts movie.  And that’s just not what I wanted this movie to be.

A HAUNTED HOUSE

You know how Netflix thinks it has a handle on the movies you will like?  This movie proved that it doesn’t.  Well, I guess I can’t say that because I request to watch so many movies that I think will be awful that Netflix probably has a hard time getting a read on me.  Well this movie was a parody of Paranormal Activity.  Much like the greater majority of the Scary Movies, this one wasn’t very funny.  It wasn’t painfully unfunny, but there wasn’t much reason to waste any time on it.

GANGSTER SQUAD

I actually watched this movie 2 days ago.  I never really thought it looked that interesting so I never really felt the need to look into it.  While at work one day recently, I saw parts of it on the TV (although I couldn’t hear any of it) and decided it looked interesting enough to give it a watch.  And it was!  It was … thoroughly okay!  Decent enough action, some great performances, but not a whole lot I found interesting in the story.  Still, it was a decent enough watch.

HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS

I saw this movie in a dollar cinema and overpaid.  It wasn’t a bad movie, but it didn’t really seem to have a purpose.  It was a fun idea, but the fun of that idea wasn’t really realized by the basic script with laughs that typically fell flat.  The action wasn’t fun either, and the performances didn’t do anything spectacular.  It’s not a bad movie, but since you’ll have a hard time finding it cheaper than a dollar, I can’t really recommend it.

MAMA

In my review for this movie, I called it “super passionate about being mediocre.”  I stand by that.  It was a fine movie, but there wasn’t anything spectacular about it.  It looked pretty nifty and the performers all did a great job, but there weren’t any scares to be found in this movie and if there aren’t any scares in a horror movie, there isn’t much of a point.  I still think the movie works well enough to see it as a rental.

THE LAST STAND

I watched this movie a long time ago and never bothered to review it.  I think we all know what it is.  It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to make his come back into the world of poorly written, poorly conceived, mindless action movies with … well … another one.  It is what it is.  You probably don’t need to watch it.

FEBRUARY

THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA

My unnatural love for ghost movies drew me to see this one.  If I could have my love for these movies removed, I would.  I thought next to nothing about this movie.  I took one note pointing out the fact that their idea to make this movie scary was to make a ghost walk by every other minute or so and then I watched the rest of the movie.  Not scary, not interesting, not cool, and it didn’t even make sense.  It seems to have nothing to do with the first Haunting in Connecticut movie.  Not even the state it takes place in.  This is in Georgia!  If there is a haunting in Connecticut, it’s not going to be seen here.  The first Haunting in Connecticut movie wasn’t even that good that you would think you needed to ride it’s coattails to fame and fortune.  Just call the movie Ghosts of Georgia and let everyone find out that this is a whole new and different underwhelming horror movie.

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD

So this movie happened.  I watched this movie like 3 weeks ago and I have no memory of it whatsoever.  I’m sure that means it’s great.  John McClane has a son now and he’s trying to save him in Russia and there’s a bad guy and then stuff blows up.  If any of that sounds interesting, rent this movie.  If not, good!

DARK SKIES

This movie was really close to being a good comedy.  …But it was a horror movie.  There were no scares, and what they attempted to scare me with made me laugh, like Keri Russell banging her head on the window.  It still kind of tickles me.  It didn’t really make sense and everyone seemed to get bored before they arrived at the climax of the movie, where the movie seemed to sheepishly back out of the theater, hoping no one would get mad that they could no longer get their money back.  And the performances were only the stereotype characters of any horror movie.  The mom figures out that something strange is going on, but the husband refuses to acknowledge it … even after she just found him standing in the backyard with blood pouring from his nose … as per usual!

MARCH

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

WRITTENVIDEO

Oh, this movie.  I feel like I’ve done enough to this movie already after having written a review for it and posted a video review, but I’ve still got one more go around with it, I suppose.  It was watchable, but only just so.  The story was basic, the graphics were pretty, but most of the starring characters were way over the top in their portrayal.  It was like the original Oz movie, but this time we have a lot of other options for movies and have no reason for this one.

THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE

I feel like this movie got beaten up pretty badly.  It was talked about by many people who wouldn’t even watch it as a stupid comedy.  Well take it from someone who actually watched it: …yeah, that’s kind of true.  But it wasn’t painfully bad.  It was cute.  I feel like that is the best I can do for this movie.  It had its funny moments.  I like the cast.  Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi are great, Olivia Wilde is hot, and Jim Carrey kind of carried the movie.  His parts were typically funny, if spread out a little too far.  It’s not a great movie, but it’s not a terrible movie either.

ADMISSION

I kind of watched this movie on a whim.  I guess I was disappointed because I can’t help but have high hopes for a movie starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.  It wasn’t up to their standards, but Tina Fey didn’t write the thing.  It probably would’ve been better if she had.  It was a decent enough story and was pretty heartwarming, but nowhere near as funny as I wanted it to be.

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

This was the serious version of White House Down.  Basically the same idea, but not very fun.  It was better than I expected it to be because it was saved by some decent action and performances that were of a quality that I didn’t expect from this movie, but the story was super simple as they probably realized it was barely necessary for anyone going to see this movie.  It’s an okay way to kill some time.

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION – VIDEO

I was pleased with this movie because it wasn’t as bad as the first one.  They set the bar low and managed to keep themselves from tripping on it as they passed into the second one.  The story was dumb, but you’d be dumb if you’d think I’d have anything else to say about it.  My mind would be blown if there was any good writing to be found here and I would be completely unable to write this review.  But the action was pretty good.  Ninjas fighting on ropes while hanging from a mountain?  You got it!  Blowing up entire towns?  Why not?!  And The Rock leads this movie, and I like that guy.  So it’s dumb, but it’s fun.  So I guess you should watch it.

APRIL

OBLIVION

I actually liked this movie.  It helped that I went into this movie with low to no expectations.  The story didn’t really impress me too much, but it was interesting if a bit slow-moving in parts.  But the look of the movie was pretty nice, and there were some great performances.  It’s a decent enough watch and probably good for a rental.

PAIN & GAIN

I watched this movie and didn’t find it particularly memorable or remarkable.  Perhaps Michael Bay should just stick to straight up action movies that we all find humorous instead of trying to make intentional comedies.  The story of this movie was made slightly more interesting because it was at least mostly real events, but made less interesting because it wasn’t written very well and most of the story was told in annoying voice over instead of just shown to us.  Bay is also a hug fan of filming people from below while spinning the camera around them, and also thinks that The Rock should not be filmed any other way.  But The Rock remains an interesting character, and it was amusing to watch him spiral down in the later part of the movie.  Still, I don’t think there’s anything in this movie worth watching.

MAY

FAST & FURIOUS 6

Paul Walker’s final movie (as far as I know) before his untimely death that spawned the people of the world to spew out the same joke about how his death resembled his most famous movies.  It is my hope that this refrain was finally silenced as everyone making those jokes realized everyone else was making the exact same joke.  His final release before his death was about as underwhelming as those jokes were, but it wasn’t a bad movie.  In the same vein as Fast Five, this movie has a really basic and predictable story and acting work that does not impress, but the action was solid.  Not quite as spectacular as in the previous movie, but good.  I wound up buying this movie, though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the same.  It’s at least worth a rental.

EPIC

This movie was cute if not very substantial.  It really is just a kid’s movie and didn’t resonate with me in any way.  It was pretty.  That’s about all I’ve got.  If you have kids, then this movie is fine.  Otherwise there shouldn’t be much inspiration to see it.

NOW YOU SEE ME

WRITTENVIDEO

I liked the premise of this movie more than I liked the movie itself.  The idea of people using magic tricks to rob banks and fight was a cool idea, but there wasn’t quite enough magic in the storytelling.  Telling us to look for misdirection made me do just that, and the rest of the story and the mystery they were going for just unfolded.  But the movie was presented very well and the performances were pretty great.  I wouldn’t buy this movie, but I’m not bummed that I watched it.

JUNE

THE BLING RING

I don’t know why I saw this movie.  Oh wait, yes I do.  It was Emma Watson.  When I eventually meet and marry Emma Watson, I feel like it would offend her if I say I haven’t seen all of her movies.  Hopefully she won’t ask me if I liked them all as well because this movie didn’t really work for me.  Most of the movie is pretty people sitting around having inane conversations.  Then those pretty people start robbing places while having the same inane conversations.  The characters in this movie just made me angry with their stupidity, but I guess I can’t really blame the movie because this stuff actually happened.  But I wouldn’t have hung out with the real people and I don’t really want to hang out with the fake versions by watching their movie.  Most of the performances were fine, but there just wasn’t anything in the movie I cared to watch.  Except for Emma Watson.

WORLD WAR Z

WRITTENVIDEO

People hated this movie a lot because of the changes they made from the book.  I have not and will not read the book, so none of that bothered me.  And that allowed me to enjoy the movie.  The story was interesting all of the way through, even though a few parts were a little slow and a couple of things didn’t make sense to me.  It looked really good and the action created a lot of excitement and suspense.  And all of the performances in the movie were great.  I had no complaints.

WHITE HOUSE DOWN

This was the funny version of Olympus Has Fallen.  Well, it WANTED to be funny.  I don’t know if I’d say it fully arrived at that benchmark.  All you really need to know going into this movie is that it’s a Rolland Emmerich movie.  Like all of his movies that I’ve seen, they’re really stupid, but they lavish in their stupidity.  If you’re going to make stupid movies, overcome that with lots of fun.  Shut off your brain and start clapping at shiny things and pretty colors, because I kinda recommend you rent this movie.

JULY

THE LONE RANGER

This movie was beaten up by critics, but I actually didn’t mind it.  I didn’t think it was good, but I didn’t find it painful as most of them seemed to.  I have no ties with the Lone Ranger mythos so this movie didn’t ruin anything.  I also like the quirky Johnny Depp performances, though it seems most critics do not.  Captain Jack Sparrow was a lot of fun, even if you put a dead bird on his head.  I thought this money had a decent amount of funny moments and some decent enough action.  And only one of those action scenes was ruined with the old Lone Ranger music that completely didn’t fit the scene.  I don’t think this was a good movie, but I’d call it an okay movie.  I recommend renting this movie and reaching your own conclusions about it.  I think the criticism has been a little unjust.

RED 2

I really liked the first RED movie.  I wasn’t expecting it to be as cool and stylized as it was, and the action was great.  Then they came out with this movie.  It tried to be as cool and stylized as the first movie, but it felt more like it was just repeating the first movie with a slightly different and less interesting story.  In the first movie he stepped out of a spinning car.  In this one he steps into a spinning car!  But I’ve seen that already!  Show me something new because your story isn’t that interesting and your cast isn’t trying that hard, even though they’re mostly spectacular actors.  And I’m always down to watch Mary-Louise Parker.  She’s hot, cute and funny.  Speaking of which…

R.I.P.D.

She was in R.I.P.D. also!  And I liked this movie more than I liked RED 2 while still not thinking it was that great of a movie.  This movie also had nothing special in the story or the action, but I think what made the movie work was the chemistry between the actors.  Ryan Reynolds is likeable, Jeff Bridges is basically doing Rooster Cogburn from True Grit (which is always a good thing), and Mary-Louise Parker is Mary-Louise Parker.  This movie is fine for a rental.

THE CONJURING

A horror movie never really needs to win with the story.  There’s a haunting and you can either fix it by finding what it wants and taking care of it or leaving the house.  I guess you can also just die, but that’s no way to end a movie.  What a horror movie really needs to do is create an atmosphere that builds anxiety, gets you on the edge of your seat, and frightens you.  This movie did that fairly well.  It didn’t really frighten, but it did create a nice spooky atmosphere that made this movie acceptable as a horror movie.  It wasn’t quite good enough to need to see in theaters, but now that you can rent it, I can get behind recommending that you do that.

THE WOLVERINE

The real problem with this movie is that it totally should’ve been in my best of for this year, but I just couldn’t do that.  How can you make a movie involving the X-Men or one of their biggest characters that doesn’t get me going?  ME!!  I love the X-Men!  Avengers was my best movie of the entire year last year!  You’re already closer than any other movie before I even see you!  I guess this movie wasn’t really that much closer because X-Men Origins: Wolverine was so bad that I was torn about what I should think as I went into it.  It was better than that piece of shit, but still not great.  The story was okay but the dialog was deflating.  And I guess the story is to blame for the feeling that Wolverine himself was a little diminished because they decided to take away his healing abilities, but they didn’t let it diminish him nearly as much as I expected it to.  But if you’re building a movie around such a great character, you can’t come mediocre.

AUGUST

WE’RE THE MILLERS

I didn’t find myself particularly interested in seeing this movie at first.  I like Jason Sudeikis well enough, but I’ve seen him in some bad movies before so he’s not really a draw.  But one of my friends did recommend this movie, so I decided to give it a shot.  Okay, it was really because Jennifer Aniston looked hot as a stripper.  And she was!  And this movie wasn’t that bad.  It had plenty enough funny moments and it had Jennifer Aniston getting sexy.  That’s good enough for me.

ELYSIUM

I didn’t have any inspiration to see this movie.  I wasn’t that big of a fan of District 9 and didn’t feel inspired to see the movie that followed it up and seemed extremely similar.  But as the end of the year was approaching, a lot of people were telling me that this movie would definitely be making it on their best movies of the year, so I felt the need to at least give it a shot.  I still feel like I was right.  Just like District 9, a lot of people like it but I didn’t get that excited by it.  The story was okay but really just seemed like it broke down to, “Rich people are bad!”  The performances were okay, but I could definitely see what some people were saying about the accents sounding weird, but I thought that Kruger guy’s accent was way weirder than Jodie Fosters.  I guess the thing I noted about this movie that it did well was the gore.  There was a lot of really cool gore in this movie, from people’s faces getting blasted out to guys blowing up, but other than that I wasn’t really into it.  But since so many people seemed to love this movie, I’d still recommend that you watch it.  You might be one of … THEM!

KICK-ASS 2

I was a huge fan of the original Kick-Ass movie, but this one fell a little flat with me.  It didn’t lose me completely, but it had a high bar to measure up to that it just couldn’t.  The action was a little spread out for my tastes, but was good when it happened.  The story wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was good.  And the performances were great as we had seen in the first movie.  So basically what I’m saying for this movie is that there was nothing particularly wrong with it, but the first one was better.  Still at least worth a rental.  If I hadn’t forgotten that it’s out on DVD already, I probably would’ve remembered to buy it already.

JOBS

I confess that my only inspiration to watch this movie was in hopes of having a movie to put in my worst movies of the year list.  Ashton Kutcher is in it!  How could it lose?!  Well it did because it was just mediocre and not horrible.  It’s basically just the life of Steve Jobs, which is somewhat interesting, I suppose.  Probably more so if you’re a big Apple lover.  But I’m writing this on Microsoft Word.  Microsoft Word is running on Windows 8.  Windows 8 is running on a computer I built.  I use only one Apple product.  I don’t really care about Steve Jobs life.  This movie would’ve had to be much better or much worse for me to have paid much attention to it.  I’m not going to recommend it unless you’re some crazy Machead.

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES

I won’t be going too in depth with this review because my friend Tara specifically requested this movie as a video review.  I usually don’t accept requests for video reviews because a movie needs to have a lot of material for mocking to be worthy of a video review.  Tara seemed aware of that when she suggested this movie.  It’s not bad, but it’s definitely not for me.  It’s another movie that makes me think I need to write some vaguely sci-fi fantasy love story for teens.  Those things are blowing up right now.  Even the worst of them is being turned into a movie in hopes of becoming the next Harry Potter or Twilight.  Well this movie is kind of Twilight.  I didn’t like that movie either.  It’s not a painfully bad movie, but it’s not really worth watching.  What probably will be worth watching is my video review of this movie.  I took a lot of notes on this thing.

SEPTEMBER

HELL BABY

I like a lot of people involved in this movie.  Tom Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Rob Corddry, Keegan-Michael Key, Riki Lindhome, Michael Ian Black, Kumail Nanjiani, etc.  I like all of these people.  And the female one got full on naked in the movie.  Okay, THAT’S probably the real reason I watched it.  But the movie was pretty good too.  It looked pretty good and the writing was okay, but the cast they got elevated what would otherwise be okay jokes well into funny.  It’s definitely at least worth checking out.

RIDDICK – VIDEO

I haven’t been that big of a fan of the Riddick series, but I decided to see this movie because it was there when I went to the theaters once.  It’s really not far removed from a remake of the first movie that made the character popular.  I would never have been so bold as to go into this movie expecting much out of the story, but if they’re not going to have a fantastic story they at least need some good action.  Even that wasn’t anything special.  They just want to constantly remind us that Riddick is a badass.  The best way to do that is to make a cool movie next time.  Let’s try that one out if we make another.

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2

I feel like I could cut and paste my review for Kick-Ass 2 into this and have the same effect.  Solid movie, but the first movie was better.  The story was just okay and some of the things didn’t make that much sense to me, but didn’t bother me that much in the long run.  Some of the things they did were cool and innovative and the performances in the movie were pretty strong.  The thing that I can say about this movie and not Kick-Ass 2 is that it didn’t really build tension and didn’t really scare as it should have.  It’s still an okay movie, worthy at least of a rental.

OCTOBER

CARRIE

I was forced to watch this movie as part of my midterm for my Film Criticism class where I had to compare this movie to the original.  But I didn’t like the original that much, so how would a remake do?  The answer is fairly well.  I liked the remake much more than I liked the original, but that’s not saying too much.  I guess I’d call the remake of Carrie, “Okay.”  The story was almost identical and the only performance I’d say that I missed from the original movie was Sissy Spacek.  Chloë Moretz did a good job, but Spacek was probably better.  Piper Laurie was always a little over the top for my taste and Julianne Moore played it much more real.  The main improvement was in the look, which would obviously have been improved over the years.  I liked this movie better than the original, but I still only thought this movie was okay.  At least worth a rental, but not necessarily a purchase that needs to happen.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD

The original Thor didn’t do that much for me, but I’ve also never been that big of a fan of Thor in the first place.  I didn’t really start liking Thor as a character until the Avengers movie.  I also like everyone that was involved in that movie in any capacity.  The sequel was a fairly big improvement from the original.  These kinds of movies always benefit from not having to explain all the setup and background stuff to the audience.  This movie also benefited from having an entertaining and even sometimes humorous script to work with, as well as some solid action and great actors.  I especially liked Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgård, who were the ones that brought the most humor to their performances.  Hemsworth, Portman, and Hiddleston also did the great jobs that I would expect from them.  I’d recommend this movie for a purchase.  That’s probably what I’ll be doing.

NOVEMBER

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

You may recall that the first Hunger Games movie made it into my list of the worst movies of the year.  Since you’re not finding this part of the review in that section, it can be assumed that this movie went a little better.  And it’s true that this movie was better than the first one.  I still think the names are stupid and I’d prefer Elizabeth Banks as hot instead of all Lady Gaga’ed out, but they weren’t as annoying with their camera choices allowing them to capture the action better.  I’m still not too big of a fan of the story, but I wouldn’t really begrudge anyone for liking this movie as I did for the first movie.  Hopefully it’s a sign of exponential growth for the next movie, but only time will tell.

DECEMBER

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The biggest problem I’ve had with the Hobbit movies so far is my anger over the fact that there does not seem to be a need for these to be split into three movies.  This time I got angry that I didn’t see Smaug desolate anything, but I was happy that I didn’t have to spend a half hour watching dwarves eat dinner and play with dishes.  Instead, we get into a slightly more interesting section of the story and are treated to some great action and fight scenes thanks to our new elven friends introduced in this movie.  Even if this movie should have been part of only one or two Hobbit movies, it was still an interesting movie to watch.  I’m hoping the third one will be a lot better because we’ll finally get to see Smaug do something interesting, and we’ll find that out later.

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

I think the problem with this movie is that it was a sequel.  One problem it encountered was the fact that the first Anchorman is such a classic that it’s going to be hard to live up to that.  The second problem is that, in order to live up to its predecessor, it’s going to try to rehash the jokes we loved in the first one.  People loved the joke about Paul Rudd’s cologne in the first one.  Let’s do that again and try to ramp it up a little bit.  But I’ve already seen that joke!  Too bad!  There were some very funny moments in this movie, but I doubt it will be anywhere near as quoted as the original was.  The cast is still great though.  Carell and Wiig’s relationship is hilarious, and the cameos in the news battle are epic.  I still say this is a movie that is worth seeing, but it’s not as good as the original, and you should go in knowing that.

47 RONIN

We all had expectations for this movie.  It’s like the Last Samurai with Keanu Reeves.  It simply must be terrible.  But it actually isn’t.  It’s certainly not fantastic, but it’s okay.  Much like Last Samurai, actually.  The story wasn’t anything shocking, but I suppose it’s also somewhat based on a real myth, so they probably tried to stick to something around that.  Most of the visuals worked well and some of the action was pretty exciting, and the performances weren’t bad.  I still take issue with any Keanu Reeves performance where he doesn’t use the word, “Whoa,” but I’m sure that’s something he’s actually trying to avoid.  This movie isn’t something you necessarily need to go and see while it’s in theaters, but I’d recommend it for a rental.

THE WORST FILMS OF 2013

HONORABLE MENTIONS

BULLET TO THE HEAD

You could say this movie was mediocre, but only if you were being nice.  In reality, it’s pretty damned boring.  The story was simple and the dialogue was crap, and they didn’t even have the common decency to fix those problems with some great action.  At least not until the very end of the movie, but they had lost me a long time before that.  There’s no good reason to watch this except to make fun of it.

AFTER EARTH – VIDEO

We all know what this is.  It’s a bad movie, yes, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was treated like.  The story is completely lame.  It’s a really long fetch quest.  Spend an entire movie getting to the ass of your ship to light off a rescue beacon.  The look also wanted to be spectacular, but never really impressed.  Will Smith was okay, but I don’t really like him as a jerk.  I like him in comedies.  And the entire movie seemed like it wanted us to care about Jaden Smith.  I still don’t recommend that.  I also don’t recommend this movie.

THE LAST EXORCISM PART II

The thing that made me most angry about this movie is the stupidity of its title.  The Last Exorcism … Part Two.  The second final exorcism.  The last movie was the Last Exorcism and this one is the next one.  I hate you going into this movie.  And then you’re not a very good movie.  There wasn’t anything impressive in the story and none of the movie was particularly scary.  The only thing good in the movie was Ashley Bell.  She’s pretty good.  But there’s still no reason to see the movie.

FIFTH WORST

Machete Kills (2013)MACHETE KILLS

Some people like a good campy movie.  That is my assumption at least because they’ve made two Machete movies and seem to be making a third one.  I thought the Grindhouse movies had their charms, but the first Machete was fairly mediocre and the second one was just crap.  I get the feeling like they wanted their story to be shitty because it was within the camp parameters they were going for, but I don’t have any appreciation for camp.  Maybe if they had some good action or performances it could make it more tolerable, but camp doesn’t allow for that either.  All it allows for is a super basic story, unconvincing violence, less than spectacular action, and cheesy performances.  I see no reason to watch this movie.

FOURTH WORST

Getaway (2013)GETAWAY

As best I can tell, no one wanted to see this movie.  It’s like the movie Phonebooth if the phone booth had wheels and an annoying ex-Disney star in there with you.  The bad guy had no discernable purpose in the movie and his motivation would qualify as the entirety of the story.  Was he trying to make money or was he trying to make a former race car driver believe in his abilities again?  I can’t remember and I don’t give a shit.  Either option qualifies as either boring and average or stupid.  If you’re interested in car chases, this movie has that in spades.  But if you’re not, then this movie might come across as a series of boring with no other purpose … like it did with me.  For the performances, Ethan Hawke did okay and Jon Voight did as good as you could with a mostly exclusively vocal performance, but it should not shock anyone that Selena Gomez cannot pull off being a badass little thug girl.  Go ahead and skip this movie.

THIRD WORST

The Purge (2013)THE PURGE

What?  Ethan Hawke is back already?!  There’s no way I’d have movies that would share actors again in this list.  But this movie sucked.  I kind of knew it would because that’s all I had heard about it before I decided to watch it.  They were right.  I guess the premise of the movie was cool enough, but it also doesn’t really seem to make that much sense to me.  I would like to think that, given a day where the illegal were legal, that most people wouldn’t take that opportunity to go around killing people.  It’s perhaps a bit naïve way to look at the world, but it’s how I prefer to.  It just makes me feel better.  But even if I wasn’t out looking to kill people, you’d better believe I would kill someone that came into my house trying to kill me and my family, whether there were rules that day or not and whether they were just some random gang of jerk kids or my asshole neighbors.  Neither would survive the night while I was still alive and kickin’.  And if I had anything to say about it, my whole family would survive as well … except for maybe my asshole daughter.  She got on my nerves, regardless of her somewhat hotness.  So basically what I’m saying is this was an interesting premise that frustrated me with its shitty writing and underwhelming everything else.  So I’m not recommending this either.

RUNNER UP

Spring Breakers (2013)SPRING BREAKERS

What?!  Now Selena Gomez is back!  Was the Getaway so bad that I hated every actor in it enough to hate any other movies they were in?  No, they just picked some bad movies this year.  And Selena Gomez is garbage.  Also, I hate Harmony Korine movies.  Other critics love this guy’s movies because of their social commentary or whatever.  I hate them because they seem like pretentious artsy crap.  And that’s what this movie felt like to me.  It was filled with annoying people I don’t want to be around or watch on film.  A bunch of annoying girls that rob people, a bunch of guys whose brains have been fried by drugs, and a rapper who would tattoo an ice cream cone on his face and can’t act.  The story of this movie was super simplistic and the movie was prolonged by having the movie repeat itself constantly.  I imagine this movie was actually half as long as it turned out if they cut out all the moments of repeating themselves, and those moments made the movie feel twice as long as it actually was.  Is there social commentary in this movie?  Probably, but there are less annoying ways to present that message.  As it was, the only thing I enjoyed about this movie was the titties.  They were abundant.  But you can also find that stuff on the internet without an annoying movie to accompany them.

THE WORST MOVIE OF 2013

Movie 43 (2013)MOVIE 43

This movie was aggressively and furiously unfunny, filled with a level of comedy that I assume might amuse people that could consider it a wonderful and productive night to sit around and say “underwear” and “poop” to be met with uproarious laughter.  My mother tells me that this was my pinnacle of comedy … when I was 2.  So if you hate your 2-year-old, this might be the movie to show them.  The movie even seemed aware of how painfully bad their jokes were because it was bookended by scenes of a person pitching this movie to a studio and being turned down because of how painfully unfunny and blatantly offensive their attempts at humor were, so much so that he was only able to get the movie green lit by pulling a gun and a grenade on the studio head.  I think that was based on a true story.  Worse than their attempts at comedy were what they did to people I like and respect.  It opens with Wolverine on a date with Academy Award Winner Kate Winslet and Wolverine … has balls on his neck.  And that’s the entire joke.  They then went on to dilute my affections for people like Halle Berry, Naomi Watts, Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Patrick Warburton, Anna Faris, John Hodgman, Matt Walsh, Seth MacFarlane, and Stephen Merchant, just to name a few.  If some of those people had any input in the script at all, they could have made a funny movie.  Instead, even their rare funny premises had shit thrown at them (literally) in order to sustain them as a sketch.  The most painful thing this movie caused was that people I know and respect for their sense of humor said that they laughed at one or two points during this movie.  That was the unkindest cut of all.

 

THE BEST FILMS OF 2013

HONORABLE MENTIONS

IRON MAN 3

Iron Man 3 was a good movie, but the nerdiness in me was ultimately disappointed by what it delivered.  I liked the story, but I absolutely hated what they did with the Mandarin.  I was not asking for them to go supernatural with the character and give him a set of magical rings; I was only asking for what I was promised.  You made the Mandarin into a real world style terrorist from what I saw in the trailers, and Ben Kingsley rocked that part of the performance.  But that’s not the way you went, was it?  I was completely deflated at the reveal for the Mandarin and it at least partially ruined the movie for me.  But the story was pretty good and the action was solid, although I didn’t really appreciate how disposable the Iron Man suits were.  Enemies were cutting through them like butter and Tony Stark was jumping into new ones to get destroyed.  I think he builds them a little bit sturdier than that.  But I did like the movie and the performances were expectedly great, I just couldn’t help but be disappointed by parts of it.

PACIFIC RIM

WRITTENVIDEO

I liked this movie a lot, but I couldn’t put it much higher than an honorable mention because the story was nothing special.  It wasn’t a bad story, but there was nothing new or unexpected in it.  But fuck you if you saw this movie expecting more than that.  I saw this movie for monsters and robots punching each other in the face.  And this movie brings that.  It looks great, it actually feels like giant robots and monsters laying waste to each other, and the action is plentiful.  Nothing special in this movie by way of story or acting, but that action makes it worth the ride.

MAN OF STEEL

WRITTENVIDEO

There were things that were not to be liked in this movie, but I thought the movie was pretty well done anyway.  Sure, it doesn’t seem like Superman to engage in combat that would level his two favorite cities, but I don’t like Superman anyway, so I don’t really care that it didn’t seem like Superman.  What did seem like Superman was the story.  It was the same story we’ve seen before in any number of Superman origin stories, and nearly identical to the story of Superman 2, but at least they didn’t use the old staple of the green rock to create drama as they have with every other Superman movie in the past.  But overall, the performances were good and the action was solid, so this was still an enjoyable watch, and probably the best Superman movie I’ve seen.

FIFTH BEST

The World's End (2013)THE WORLD’S END

I recently got into a conversation with a friend of mine who mentioned this movie as a great disappointment.  I reminded him that the only reason he could find this movie disappointing is because it was the third part in a very strong trilogy of movies.  On its own, this movie was really good.  It was a strong story that maybe lost itself in getting a little heavy handed and had a weak ending, but it counteracted that with a good amount of funny and awesome moments.  And the cast is fantastic.  The only real problem with this movie is that Shaun of the Dead is one of the best movies ever in my opinion, and Hot Fuzz is a fantastic movie as well.  Compared to those movies, it doesn’t quite match up.  On its own, it’s a solid movie that’s definitely worth watching.

FOURTH BEST

Evil Dead (2013)EVIL DEAD

I thought this movie was awesome.  Look, I respect the original Evil Dead (even with its camp appeal), but I always liked the following two movies better because they just went for outright comedy instead of camp.  It never really worked as a horror movie for me.  The remake, however, did.  I felt like they improved on the original in every way.  It looked better and that brought better gore.  Neither one of these movies was ever actually able to scare me, but they had some suspense and this one works really well as a slasher flick.  The performances were pretty good in this movie as well and the only thing that left me wanting was the lack of Bruce Campbell.  He wouldn’t really have made sense in this movie, but Bruce is awesome and I’m always going to miss him if you remake one of his movies without him.  But he was the only thing I missed, and I thought this movie was pretty awesome.

THIRD BEST

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

WRITTENVIDEO

This movie is a total win for me.  I’ve always made public the fact that I chose Star Wars in the Trek/Wars conflict and never really gave Star Trek a chance.  The first Star Trek remake movie was really good, but Into Darkness was so good that it actually made a Star Trek fan out of me.  The story was fantastic, exciting, emotional, and suspenseful, so much so that it inspired me to watch the entire original series, the entire original movie series, and even purchase and get into Next Generation.  That’s a lot of inspiration caused by one movie.  That kind of inspiration can only be caused by some good writing, some fantastic performances, and some great action, and that’s what this movie delivers.  It’s not going to win any non-visual Academy Awards, but fuck those weepy drama movies.  Give me an awesome action movie any day.

RUNNER UP

This Is the End (2013)THIS IS THE END

I regretted having to write a review for this movie.  I pride myself in occasionally being able to add a little bit of comedy to a movie by making jokes in my reviews, but how could I add comedy to one of the best comedies I’ve seen in years.  I don’t think I’ve found a movie as consistently funny as this one since Airplane!  I could scarcely go 5 minutes in this movie without laughing out loud, and the same could be said about the second time I watched the movie after I purchased it.  Using the end of the world as a backdrop for a comedy is an innovative idea, but the writing in that regard was a little simplistic.  Being that it was a comedy, the only writing that actually has merit is the joke writing, and that was fantastic, and was made even better because they got a cast full of some of the best comedic actors around.  This is a fantastic and hilarious movie that you need to check out.

THE BEST MOVIE OF 2013

Gravity (2013)GRAVITY

I had no interest in seeing this movie.  Mainly because it had Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in it.  That isn’t usually my type of movie.  But after my Film Criticism teacher kept talking about this movie week after week, I finally decided that I should give the movie a shot.  And I’m very glad I did.  There wasn’t much in the story of this movie as it was basically just a story of survival, but it was how they told that story that made it so effective and made me like it so much.  I haven’t been able to refer to the suspense a movie creates as “edge of your seat” in quite some time, but I couldn’t think of any other way to refer to this movie.  It barely ever let up on the suspense!  Once it got going, I doubt my back touched the chair I was watching from.  The movie also effectively captured what I imagine it would feel like to be viewing all of this from space.  I felt queasy and disoriented through parts of the movie, just as I imagine I would in zero gravity.  I haven’t seen many Sandra Bullock performances that are regarded as good, but she was fantastic in this movie.  You should definitely see this movie, but the real shame will be if you didn’t go see it in theaters.  I think it would be much more effective in a more immersive setting like that.

Congratulations to any of you that actually read all of those words to get to this point.  Hell, congratulations if you only read the top and bottom 5 to 8ish.  As always, don’t forget to leave me a comment on this review with your thoughts about my choices and your opinions on what are the best and worst movies of the year.  I love to read those.

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

Iron Man 3 (2013)


I’m Gonna Offer the Choice: Do You Want an Empty Life, or a Meaningful Death?

Iron Man 3 (2013)The release of the Avengers set a high bar for superhero movies that I imagine filmmakers will find it very difficult to meet.  But it would be horrible if they decided that they had done it and that they had to stop there.  Of course they needed more.  Nay … I needed more.  I was worried that I might go into the follow up movie with expectations too high for any movie but Avengers 2 to match, but I found myself able to manage my expectations fairly well.  And it certainly wasn’t the movie that made that so easy to do; it has quite a pedigree of its own to live up to.  And not just the Avengers.  The first movie in this series was probably the first step in the process of Marvel (and probably Hollywood in general) taking comic book movies seriously.  The second one let a lot of fans down, but I wasn’t altogether opposed to it.  And I finally got to see the third.  And so I present to you my review of Iron Man 3, written by Drew Pearce, co-written and directed by Shane Black, and starring Robert Downey, Jr., Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rebecca Hall, Don Cheadle, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau, Ty Simpkins, Paul Bettany, and Stephanie Szostak.

In 1999, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) meets a scientist named Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), who has been working on something she calls “Extremis” – an experimental cellular regeneration treatment with the nasty side effect of making some of the patients explode.  He also meets a disabled scientist named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who offers them a place in his company, A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics).  But Stark is mainly interested in banging Hansen, so he neglects the other things in favor of that goal.  Years later, Stark is mentally unstable in all sorts of different ways.  Because of the events with the Chitauri, Stark cannot sleep and instead spends his time building new suits of his Iron Man armor, he has occasionally debilitating panic attacks, and his relationship with his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) are strained.  And to make things worse, a terrorist named the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is laying siege to the world with random explosions that leave no bomb residue.

I liked this movie … but I had a few problems with the movie that hindered my ability to love it.  And a big portion of the problems surround the problem with being a fan.  I loved what I thought they were doing with the Mandarin in this movie by making him a terrorist, but I did not like what it turned out they were actually doing with him.  I’m okay with you removing the magic rings element of the Mandarin if you want to keep the series based more in real life (even though the Avengers introduced someone that also relies heavily on magic rings in a matter of speaking), but what you did with the Mandarin in this movie was take one of Iron Man’s greatest villains and make him completely insignificant by the end of the movie.  And it wasn’t even a surprise!  I started getting sad that I was seeing it coming when I first saw the movie studio the Mandarin would broadcast from.  And they did the same thing with another of the biggest characters in the Iron Man mythos: Iron Man himself!  I didn’t come to see Tony Stark 3; I came to see Iron Man 3.  But the greater majority of this movie is Tony Stark fighting outside of a suit because his suits were destroyed or ineffective.  And then – almost to apologize for that – they spend the last fight scene of the movie dripping with Iron Man suits.  You’d think I’d appreciate that since I was complaining about the lack of metal suits through the rest of the movie, but that’s also not the case.  The suits Stark kept jumping into in that last fight were so disposable you’d think they were made of Post Its.  The bad guys would slice through them like a hot hand through Iron Man suits.  Then he’d run around for a while and jump into a new suit for a few seconds of fighting.  And he didn’t even get to be the ultimate hero at the end of the movie!  Though how it happened was fairly badass, it wasn’t Iron Man doing it.  I need my hero to defeat my villain.

That amount of complaining might lead you to incorrect conclusions about my thoughts on this movie.  I did not hate it, but parts of it bummed me out.  It was still a good movie, and I’d even recommend seeing it in theaters if you haven’t already.  It’s still got some decent writing in the story, and Tony Stark has some great lines as always.  For instance, I liked when he called that little kid a pussy.  When an enemy asked Tony Stark if all he had was “cheap tricks and cheesy one-liners” and Tony responded with “that should be the name of my autobiography,” I still laughed.

The look of the movie remains fantastic, and I could not bring myself to complain about that.  Even though I didn’t like that most of the action didn’t involve Iron Man, I appreciated the action that was there.  And I could not stop myself from getting a little excited when the large group of Iron Man prototypes shows up to throw down, but I found myself thinking that it was good that Tony fucked around and created all those disposable Iron Man suits, but why wouldn’t he create just one of them that could withstand tremendous heat?  In the comics, Stark has different armor for all sorts of different occasions.  He has one that can go underwater, he has one that can go into space, he has one that can take on the Hulk, but he doesn’t have one that can withstand heat?  I find that farfetched, and I refuse to realize the irony in calling something in a superhero comic book movie “farfetched.”

The performances in the movie also remained excellent.  I find it impossible to not like Robert Downey, Jr., especially as Tony Stark.  He’s got more than enough acting and comedic chops to go around.  Gwyneth Paltrow remains great as well, able to go toe-to-toe with Downey in every way.  I thought Guy Pearce was a little over the top in the nerdy version of his character, but he did the rest of it very well.  I thought Ben Kingsley was amazing and badass throughout the greater majority of the movie, and he even brought some (unwelcome) comedic parts to the movie.  I welcome comedic stuff when Tony Stark brings it because it’s true to his character, but it’s really not something I want to see the Mandarin doing.  When I saw Ty Simpkins in the movie, it made me nervous.  You see, I’ve been watching Married With Children recently and I’ve just reached the part where they unleash the character of Seven upon the world, effectively destroying every episode he was in, as is generally the case when they decide what something needs to boost ratings is to add a child sidekick.  Thankfully, I didn’t have those feelings with Simpkins.  He didn’t specifically bring very much to the table for me, but Downey did in his interactions with him.

Iron Man 3 was a good movie, but my nerdiness made me resent certain parts of it.  The story was good, but I didn’t appreciate the angle they went with the Mandarin.  The action was good, but I didn’t appreciate the relative lack of Iron Man, nor did I appreciate how disposable his armor was.  And anything I didn’t like about the performances was not to be blamed on the actors.  They were all fantastic.  Overall, I was torn in my feelings about Iron Man 3, but I am not torn in my belief that you should watch this movie.  It could have been better, but it remains worth the price of admission.  Iron Man 3 gets “Lesson number one: heroes, there is no such thing” out of “You know, it’s moments like these when I realize how much of a superhero I am.”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

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.”

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 (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.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!