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.”

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!

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Immortals (2011)


Let’s Write Reviews … WITH BLOOD!

I don’t know if I’ve ever taken a review request for a movie that’s still in theaters before, but then again, with over 100 reviews at this point, it’s a miracle I haven’t reviewed the same movie more than once. One should not expect much from my memory. Either way, I was happy to take this request (even though it cost me money) because one of my favorite passions or interests in life is Greek mythology. Not Roman though. Fuck those guys. But I will happily watch any movie about Greek mythology, or even just that time period. This has taken me down good roads (Troy) and bad roads (Clash of the Titans remake), but I will not waver from my beliefs. So let’s see how this Greek mythology movie holds up in my review of Immortals, directed by Tarsem Singh, and starring Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto, Stephen Dorff, John Hurt, Luke Evans, Isabel Lucas, and Kellan Lutz.

Loosely based on the story of Theseus and the Titanomachy, we jump into this story as the Heraklion King of Crete and Awesome Names, Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), is searching for the Epirus Bow – a powerful bow with infinite ammo and Rambo-esque explosive capabilities – because it can help him free the Titans and destroy the Gods. He’s mainly doing this ’cause they ignored his prayers to save his family from illness, so fuck those guys. In order to find the bow, he goes to a monastery and takes 4 priestesses, one of which is an oracle named Phaedra (Freida Pinto), but they won’t reveal which one is the PreCog. Meanwhile, a peasant in a village chops wood while listening to an old man talk. This peasant is Theseus (Henry Cavill) who lives in this village with his mother and is trained in combat by this old dude (John Hurt). The village finds out that Hyperion is on his way towards their village, some guy defects to Hyperion’s side and gets his balls smashed for it, and Hyperion shows up in the town. Theseus lays a beating on a good portion of them by himself but gets captured and has to watch as Hyperion kills Theseus’ mother. Theseus is put with other prisoners like the four oracles and a thief named Stavros (Stephen Dorff). Together, they escape and make their way back to Theseus’ village, where Theseus finds the Epirus Bow and fights a Minotaur. Up on Olympus, Zeus (Luke Evans), Athena (Isabel Lucas), Poseidon (Kellan Lutz), Ares, and Apollo argue about whether they should intervene and stop Hyperion from releasing the Titans, but Zeus forbids it. Theseus has to do this himself.

I’m still trying to decide what I think about this movie, but don’t worry, I’ll work it out by the end of the review. I would say the story had potential but sometimes doesn’t make a lot of sense. The entire premise that this douche Hyperion wants to kill the Gods because their cell phones didn’t have call waiting and they didn’t hear his prayers is a bit over dramatic on his part. His motivation is often a mystery to me as he punishes the defector that wants to join his army by scarring his face and smashing his balls (not a joke. That shit went down) for being a coward, but also has Theseus’ mother killed in front of him because he has the gall to single-handedly attack part of his army. What’s your game, Hyperion? Theseus’ story is intended to be a pretty typical rags-to-riches story as the peasant guy becomes leader of an army against Hyperion. They talk about this for the entire movie and don’t give him anyone to lead other than Stephen Dorff until the last 10 minutes of the movie. And I don’t know if I could follow this guy anyway because the greatest weapon known to man is put into his hand and he cannot hold on to the damned thing. He finds it and is immediately attacked by a minotaur that causes him to drop it. Then he kills 4 random dudes with it and is later ambushed and gets the damned thing stolen for good. Good work, hero. The oracle lady didn’t work out very well either. She has a vision of Theseus holding the Epirus Bow, embracing Hyperion, and standing over a wrapped up dead body. Well the dead body is his mother, and burying her did lead him to the bow, but he obviously can’t hold on to the damned thing and never embraces Hyperion. I guess 1 for 3 is a good enough ratio to call someone a psychic. Maybe she’s just there to be hot and get them titties out, which she kind of does but the shadows keep you from seeing anything. It’s vaguely tasteful. I won’t give away the ending for you, but I felt like it was a bit of a let down.

The visuals and the fight scenes make this movie stand out. It’s very CGI heavy and most of the epic landscapes are generated in a computer, but done in a pretty awesome manner. The village Theseus comes from is carved into the side of a cliff, the city at the end is a huge wall built adjacent to Mount Tartarus, and even the monastery is huge in scale. Everything has a great look to it. If a negative could be said about the visuals is that everything is really dark. You can always see what’s going on, but the colors are all really toned down and overcast through the entire movie. The one bright spot in the movie is the little pool they come across as prisoners for about 5 minutes of the movie, but even that goes dark when it turns to night time. I also appreciated the pretty freaky interpretation of the Minotaur. It’s basically the same Minotaur you’d expect but wearing a helmet made out of barbed wire tipped with poison. There’s also a big metal bull that had started to get on my nerves as they showed it about four times and I kept waiting for it to pay off in some way, but then it did and I was finally relieved. But the pay off there didn’t do anything for me emotionally as it seemed to be intended to. The violence worked very well in this movie. They didn’t have nearly enough fight scenes, but the ones they had were pretty great. Most of them were Theseus whooping ass on a bunch of guys by himself, but there are also two that involve the Gods themselves and those ones are pretty epic and awesome. The final battle was the best as it goes from Theseus whooping a bunch of Hyperion’s troops, to the Gods fighting the Titans, mixed in with Theseus going mano-a-mano with Hyperion. The fight with Hyperion’s troops had something I thought was the best use of the spear I had ever seen. Theseus stabs a guy, snaps off the end, stabs the next guy with that, snaps the end off again, and then stabs another guy. I thought that was wicked awesome. The fights with the Gods are pretty cool because the thing they hit goes into slo-mo even though everything else is normal speed, and I found it a pleasure to watch. This contrasted nicely with Hyperion’s throwdown with Theseus as there was a dagger and a bunch of cool wrestling/MMA moves mixed in and showed how mortals could do it. I liked the battle that ended the movie though I didn’t understand it. It was Theseus fighting alongside the Gods with Titans up in the sky and viewed from underneath. I mainly liked this because it seemed to be a bit of a nod to the famous painting by Antonio Allegri da Correggio called the “Assumption of the Virgin”. Yeah, I’m educated.

The performances are pretty solid for the most part. Henry Cavill didn’t make much impact on me beyond his whooping ass scenes. Mickey Rourke was good, though. I’m happy to see that Rourke is having such a renaissance recently. He used to be famous back before I paid attention to actors, then disappeared for a really long time, and has fairly recently returned in movies like Sin City, the Wrestler, Iron Man 2, and now Immortals. Not that Immortals is that great of a movie, but you know he got nice and paid for it. He’s still in pretty good shape and plays his character very well, being a bit of a disgusting character that will smash anything that gets in his way. John Hurt was pretty charming as the old guy too. Everyone else pretty much just looked good and didn’t really strike me for their performances.

Even being a little biased by my love of Greek mythology, I don’t feel comfortable recommending you shell out $10 dollars for this movie. It looks good and has some nice fight scenes, and even a few decent performances, but the story left me either confused or wanting. When this movie is available for rental, I definitely think it’s worth your dollar or two to get it from RedBox or something because of it’s visuals and fights, but the story keeps me from saying it’s worth seeing in the theaters. I give Immortals “To those who much is given, much is lost” out of “Fight for immortality!”

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!

The Expendables (2010)


Welcome to the third installment in my “Prove I’m Not Gay” movies, following the back to back reviews of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sex and the City.  This particular movie could be argued as being the anti-chick flick.  Make a movie that includes almost every action star you could think of, add lots of explosions, forget to write a story, and even throw in a little love story for no reason and you have this movie.  This movie is The Expendables, starring … well … think of an action movie star and input their name here.  And, just to be helpful, it stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, David Zayas, Steve Austin, Charisma Carpenter, Eric Roberts, Giselle Itie, and have Arnold Schwarzenegger (yeah, I copied it off of a website.  Who wouldn’t?), Bruce Willis, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.  Any action stars you thought of that weren’t here will probably be in the sequel.

This story should be easy enough.  Stallone, Statham, Crews, Li, Lundgren, and Couture are the Expendables, an elite group of mercenaries.  In the beginning, they get onto a boat and kill a bunch of pirates holding hostages.  Lundgren goes a little nuts and tries to “break” someone, and if he dies, he dies.  Rambo has to kick him out of the group.  Then the Transporter’s girlfriend dumps him for a douche.  Black Mask wants more money.  Couture is sad about his ear.  Crews makes his tittie muscles dance.  So McClane gives Rocky a mission to kill a general somewhere and John Matrix turns down the mission.  So Judge Dredd and Chev Chelios go there and find out Eric Roberts, with his bodyguard Stone Cold Steve Austin, are really bad, and Cobretti falls in love with the general’s daughter.  Then they go back and kill everybody.

This movie is exactly what everyone expects it to be.  Dumb but exciting.  There is kind of a story to this movie, but it’s very typical and entirely predictable.  Surprising as it may be, Stallone actually has the ability to write some good dialogue from time to time.  He didn’t do that here.  It’s either really cliched or very confusing.  There were times that I was wondering “Why are they talking about this right now?”  And there’s a black guy that’s one of the pirates in the very beginning that both cannot act and cannot be understood.  I think that was a wise choice.

The cast is probably the biggest draw of this movie.  As I said, practically every living action star is in this movie at one point, and the ones that weren’t probably just couldn’t find the time to get in there.  They should’ve just had Van Damme walk by in the background at one point.  Sly looks really weird to me in this movie.  I know the man’s getting old, but he’s still ripped to shreds in this movie.  There are so many veins in this man’s arm that I would argue he had to have some surgically implanted.  But his face looks like he’s had Cher-esque work done.  The rest of the cast is exactly what you expect from them.  Except, maybe, for Jet Li.  For some reason, Jet Li gets his ass kicked in this movie by most people.  If you ask me, I bet Li could beat down everyone on this cast save for maybe Randy Couture.  The other person here is Mickey Rourke, who actually puts on a pretty good, emotion charged performance at one point, regardless to how shitty the dialogue he’s delivering is.  You should give the man an Oscar just for that.

The action is the other draw to this movie.  The fight scenes are pretty good, though I’d actually expect better from such a cast.  But they go more for gun play than for fights.  The other nice thing about this movie is that Sly wanted as many of the explosions and action scenes to be practical as they could manage.  So the shit that blows up into gigantic fireballs actually happened, and looks like it.  Also, I don’t know how he managed, and I believe it started with the newest Rambo, but Sly’s movies pull off some really brutal deaths.  I’ve seen it in things since but I don’t remember it before Rambo where it started to look uncomfortably realistic at times.  I’m cool with it though.  Good work.

So that’s that.  As I said, this movie is exactly what you expect of it.  It’s kind of worth seeing, but you probably won’t be impacted that much by it.  It’s explosions and deaths are cool, but everything else kind of sucks.  I give this movie “Rent it once, and then again in a few months when you’ve forgotten everything about it” out of 786.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.