Tag Archives: Iron Man 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Review, A Space Opera though the eyes of Marvel

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Guardians of the Galaxy

Directed by: James Gunn

Starring: Chris PrattZoe SaldanaDave BautistaVin DieselBradley CooperLee PaceMichael RookerKaren GillanDjimon HounsouJohn C. ReillyGlenn CloseBenicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin

Recently Marvel’s track record has been less than enjoyable for me. Ever since Iron Man they’ve turned into a production company that reuses the same format that worked the first time but not so much with their other movies. Since The Avengers, Marvel has become the leading studio for successful movies. Even if it is considered to be a risk for the studio it is anything short of a risk. Marvel is such a hot property right now that it is unlikely that they will fail. Guardians of the Galaxy is technically a risk since they are stepping away from the main four heroes and focused on a group of renegades in space. The tropes that do follow their movies are there but it is so vastly different from anything else that they have done. Weirdly enough I enjoyed the studio stepping away from what they are used to and making something truly entertaining and unique.

The movie starts us off at Earth and Peter Quill is witnessing the death of his mother. Not long after he encounters a space ship outside of the hospital that eventually takes him aboard. Since then he become partners in crime with the ship’s captain Yondu (Michael Rooker). Flash forward 20 years, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is now an outlaw going by the name of Star Lord and he is on a mission to acquire an orb that holds great power. Soon he learns that he isn’t the only on looking for it. After failing to sell the orb on the Nova Corps home world Xandar, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), adopted daughter of Thanos the Mad Titan (Josh Brolin), attacks Star Lord in an attempt to steal the orb for her self. Also at the same time Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel), receive a bounty on Quill. After a street brawl between the four, they are captured and imprisoned in the Kyln.

Meanwhile Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) is plotting to destroy Xandar, with the help of Thanos. To do so he needs to get a hold of the orb that Star Lord possesses. In prison, Star Lord and his would be assassins decide to team up and escape the prison with the help of Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a maniac with a vendetta against Ronan and Thanos. After escaping prison the five unlikely heroes team up to stop Ronan from getting his hands on the orb and stopping his plans to destroy the galaxy.

To say that this movie is completely different than any Marvel movie is an understatement. Instead this movie feels like a standalone movie, only with slight hints at the other movies. The characters are interesting and play well off of one another. It’s completely odd to see the star of a movie be a raccoon who talks like a gangster and is tough for his size. The best character is by far Groot. He speaks very little and when he does it’s all just “I am Groot” but it seems Rocket can understand everything he is trying to say. These two characters have an interesting chemistry and it is weird to find sympathy with characters that are trees and raccoons. That’s where the risk really comes from. You don’t ever have characters as such as these nor having them headline a big blockbuster. The rest of the characters are also fascinating and really work well with the story. Driven by rage, Drax will stop at nothing to take vengeance on Ronan even if it screws the others over. These characters are much different than what other Marvel characters because they are superheroes but rather renegades just trying to make it by.

The acting is pretty great all around. Chris Pratt makes for a great leading man and really uses his comedic timing to provide laughs just as much as Robert Downey Jr. did in the first Iron Man. Zoe Saldana is great as the assassin who starts coming around to working as a group. She has really become the go to actress for science fiction space operas and she has excelled at playing the tough yet fragile female lead. Dave Bautista does a good job with his character but he is the weakest lead by far. He provides a lot of laughs with his characters inept understanding of metaphors but he always feels wooden.

Lee Pace does a good job as Ronan but considering that the villain is the weakest part of any Marvel movie. All of Marvels movies fail to even make an interesting villain and they always have the same motivations, they wanna destroy some kind of planet but they are never convincing in their motivations. They take more time focusing inaction than making a good villain and that’s the movies biggest downfall. He could have been an interesting character if he stayed true to his intentions in the first place. He is essentially Nero (Eric Bana) from 2009s Star Trek. Nebula (Karen Gillian) is interesting only in the fact that she had a little more character development and a backstory that makes her intentions a little bit more plausible.

I found the movie extremely entertaining and well done. The special effects are well done and so is the action. I found the comedy to hit the mark each time and really made it more enjoyable. I also like that the final fight didn’t involve to super powered people beating the hell out of each other.

Though it had some problems it ended up being one of the most enjoyable film of the summer and it comes high recommended.

Grade: A

 

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Under the Skin Review, A Mesmerizing Look at Human Existence

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Under the Skin

Directed by: Jonathan Glazer

Starring: Scarlett Johansson

When you look at science fiction you always end up with two different kinds of executions. On the one hand you have the ones that rely on action and on the other hand you have the slow burning think pieces. Under the Skin is the perfect example of the second one. The movie is vague and purposely so. The director made it this way so that the audience can think and figure out the purpose of the film on their own instead of being explicitly told what the movie means. It works to the movie advantage because it leaves this sense of mystery. The actions of the main character are never spelled out for you, it’s left to you to figure it out. A TV trailer compared the director to Stanley Kubrick. I wouldn’t agree with that entirely. I feel like the movie feels like a Kubrick movie. Kubrick’s films have the same level of mystery to them. He liked to challenge his viewer and make them think. He has made films that no one else can duplicate but Under the Skin accomplishes the mystery that Stanley Kubrick’s movies were able to portray.

In Scotland, an unnamed motorcyclist (Jeremy McWilliams) retrieves the body of a dead woman on the side of the road. At an undisclosed location, a naked woman (Scarlett Johansson) strips the dead body of it’s clothes and taking up the position that she held. She rebrands herself and starts on her quest to lure men into a trap and harvest their skin for her alien race. Along the way she begins to feel the emotions that plague the human race. She abandons her quest and makes her way into the foothills of Scotland.

This movie says a lot about how fragile we are the human race. The men in this movie want to feel affection from a more attractive individual. It makes us feel special when someone notices us and finds something interesting about us. Our lives depend on the affection of other, especially the opposite gender. The male characters in this movie all essentially let themselves go for woman. The main female is played by Scarlett Johansson and I don’t think anyone else could have played her. She is cold and beautiful yet at the same time very vulnerable and curious. In the beginning, she is the killing machine, on the prowl, for lonely men and does’t care about them only for their skin, a necessity for the alien race to blend in. As time goes by she begins to evolve and learn about the emotional state of human kind. Due to encounter with a young man, who suffers from the disease neurofibromatosis, and after their encounter she begins to see the beauty in the world and the curiosity about the live of humans. You see life through the eyes of another being. She is like a newborn baby, always discovering new things and learning about the world around them. You get an interesting look at a character that has fresh eyes towards the human race. The development of her character is done so well without to much exposition or dialogue, they are given the ability to develop along with the story.

Like The Rover, Under the Skin is minimalism at its best. Unlike other movies this year, Under the Skin uses the idea of less is more. Nothing is spelled out in this movie and it adds to the mystery of the film. Scarlett Johansson’s performance is by far the best work she has done and it shows that she is much more than a pretty face. Many people know this movie as “the movie in which Scarlett Johansson gets naked”. For whoever plans on seeing it for that fact alone than you should probably watch a different movie. She is never overtly sexualized but it is used for the character and he curiosity with human life.

The production values of the movie are spectacular. For such a low budget you wouldn’t even be able to tell that it was so cheap. The cinematography is something of note. It uses long takes to linger on the world around her. The shots linger a little longer than most but I feel that is a strength of the movie. The look of the film is bleak and beautiful. The soundtrack is also breathtaking. It gives it a haunting and foreign feel to it.

Mind you the movie is a lot more fun to think about that it is to watch but I feel the need to watch this movie. It is simply amazing and that’s what I can take away from it. I loved every minute of it and I know that I will be returning to it in the future.

Grade: A+

Iron Man 3 a tense view of the Iron Avenger

Well this is long overdue, I was meant to post this back in October when the first trailer came out. My personal feelings toward Iron Man are very favorable, even if the second movie is slightly disappointing. After switching directors and continuing off the Avengers, Iron Man 3 looks to bring in a very dark and less comical tone which the previous did not have. The inclusion of the Mandarin is a good thing considering he is his arch-nemesis and Ben Kingsley looks to be a great villain. Overall I am super pumped for this movie and May 3rd cannot come soon enough. Marvel has found a way to adapt their characters successfully to the big screen and their next films, Captain America The Winter Solider, Thor Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ant-Man, should be on par or even better than their previous versions. Right now Guardians of the Galaxy is my most anticipated because it brings Marvel some where they haven’t been to yet and is the most interesting and intriguing of the rest of the line up.

It’s good to see that Captain America 2 is moving forward and now has 2 directors tasked ith bringing the character to life. The two directors have done wonders with Community but I don’t know if they are suited for the task, it is not like Alan Taylor, who did an amazing job on Game of Thrones, tackling familiar territory. I found the first film great and if they go down the fish out of water story it maybe able to outshine the original.

Iron Man Review

Iron Man

Directed by: Jon Favreau

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrance Howard

When I first heard that they were making a movie about Iron Man I just knew that the Avengers was going to be released soon, he is one of the founding members of the team in the comics. The outcome of this movie is just brilliant, it does’t focus to much on the superhero aspect but when it comes to story telling and an origin story that was the main focus of the movie. This is the movie that started the wave a fantastic Marvel movie, before the only good ones were the Spider-Man films and the X-Men films otherwise the rest aren’t all that great. Now that I look at the movie I cannot picture anyone else playing Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr. was the perfect pick for the movie, he is able to have the sarcastic and narcissistic attitude that the character had in the comics. This film feels like a natural start for the Avenger’s movie, it doesn’t focus to much on tying everything to The Avengers but it tells an actual story for Iron Man, unlike Iron Man 2 which felt like a propaganda film for the Avengers. Right now 2008 had some of the best comic book movies to date, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and The Dark Knight, though I am sure that 2012 will be the better year for such movies.

The playboy wolf and genius Tony Stark is the successful CIO of the Stark Industries, a weapon company founded by his father. His second in command is Obadiah Stane, who worked with his father, and his loyal and professional secretary is Pepper Potts, who has a crush on Tony. While in Afghanistan to demonstrate the ultimate Jericho missile developed by his company, his military convoy is attacked and Tony is seriously wounded on his chest and kidnapped by a group of rebels that wants him to assemble a missile for their use. Tony stays with his abductors for three months and develops a powerful metallic armor to escape from the cave where he is arrested. He decides to stop manufacturing weapons in his company under the protest of Obadiah, and dedicates his time to improve the armor, manufacturing it with gold and titanium and installing a propulsion system to fly. However, Pepper discovers that Tony was betrayed by Obadiah, who is using Tony’s data to build prototype armor for him, transforming it in the ultimate weapon.

9.5 out of 10

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