Film Review: Iron Man 2 (2010)

Release Date: April 26th, 2010 (El Capitan Theatre premiere)
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Written by: Justin Theroux
Based on: Iron Man by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, Jack Kirby
Music by: John Debney
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Jon Favreau, Paul Bettany (voice), Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg, Leslie Bibb, Gary Shandling, John Slattery, Kate Mara, Olivia Munn (cameo)

Fairview Entertainment, Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures, 125 Minutes

Review:

“If you try to escape, or play any sort of games with me, I will taze you and watch Supernanny while you drool into the carpet.” – Agent Coulson

I remember that when I first saw Iron Man 2, I was disappointed. I really hadn’t watched it since it came out but it was nice revisiting it and I was surprised to discover that it was better than I remembered it. Maybe it’s because Marvel movies are a dime a dozen now but this had more of a plot and more character development than most of the massive team-up movies we get today.

This film also introduces us to Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, who would become a major player in the Avengers franchise, and it recasts James Rhodes a.k.a. War Machine with Don Cheadle, who brought more charisma than Terrence Howard and also has much more chemistry with Robert Downey Jr. We also get more of Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury, Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson, small roles for John Slattery and Kate Mara, a cameo by Olivia Munn and others, as well as the addition of Gary Shandling and the return of Leslie Bibb.

The main additions to the film are the villains though. We get Sam Rockwell, recent Oscar winner, as Justin Hammer, a rival of Tony Stark. We also get Mickey Rourke as Whiplash, who is a combination of Iron Man villains the Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash. I liked both men in their roles and thought they had a solid chemistry when they shared scenes together. Whiplash’s backstory was interesting and I actually would have liked to have seen him return. Well, I’d like to see Hammer return too and since he doesn’t die, his return isn’t impossible.

The film isn’t as good or as refined as the original but it expands on the Iron Man pocket of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe that hadn’t reached its apex by 2010. It is a better film than The Incredible Hulk and seeing it now, I like it better than all of the other Phase One Marvel films after the first Iron Man. Although, I am planning to revisit Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger over the next week.

I think that Jon Favreau did a great job directing the first two Iron Man movies. It was a hard task but he accomplished what he set out to do, which was to build a good foundation for the future of the MCU. The entire franchise was born out of Favreau’s vision for Iron Man and I think it was a good vision and a great starting point.

The climax was long but it was much bigger than the simple fight that capped off the first film. Iron Man had his work cut out for him but now having allies made for a much richer finale. I just wish that the actual fight between Iron Man and War Machine against Whiplash wouldn’t have ended so quickly. I felt like Rourke’s character deserved a few more minutes of being a total badass. Then again, he bit off more than he could chew in engaging two men in Iron Man suits.

Iron Man 2 is a better movie than what I thought it was at first glance, back in 2010. Ultimately, it is a fun, larger than life, popcorn flick. It’s a damn good one at that, though. We now live in a world where there’s a half dozen superhero movies per year and that might be a low estimate. Iron Man 2 is better than what has become the standard, as the genre becomes more and more watered down with each comic book movie and television show.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: Iron ManIron Man 3Captain America: Civil War.

Film Review: Fantastic Four (2015)

Release Date: August 4th, 2015 (New York City premiere)
Directed by: Josh Trank
Written by: Jeremy Slater, Simon Kinberg, Josh Trank
Based on: Fantastic Four by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Music by: Marco Beltrami, Philip Glass
Cast: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell

Marvel Entertainment, Constantin Film, Marv Films, Robert Kulzer Productions, TSG Entertainment, Kinberg Genre, 20th Century Fox, 100 Minutes

Review:

*originally written in 2015.

“There is no Victor… there is only Doom!” – Victor Domashev

This film has been panned by fans for months, even though it just now came out. Critics have also been panning it now for about a week. So is this film the big shitfest that many people have anticipated?

Well, the photo I used in this review was the most exciting I could find of this film and it is pretty boring and uninspiring (*I replaced this with the poster). But I do like looking at Kate Mara – there she is, to the left. I’m not sure why but something about her is alluring. But I’m a guy and pretty is a weakness for us.

No matter what though, this film can’t be as bad as all of its predecessors, right? This is the third attempt at a live action Fantastic Four film. They should’ve gotten things right on this attempt, right?

The answer is “no.”

But let me start by saying that this film is not as horrible as many people want you to believe. It certainly isn’t worth the 4.4 on IMDb or the 3/10 on JoBlo. It isn’t as bad as other awful comic book films – the worst that come to mind being Catwoman and Elektra. This film was better than the previous Fantastic Four films. Granted, not by much but at least they didn’t fight a hungry fucking space cloud or Doctor Doom on a flying surfboard.

Sure, the final battle in this movie was also horrible, I can’t excuse it. The barren rocky world they were on and the fact that Doctor Doom acted like a false god while telekinetically altering the topography of this planet was reminiscent of the final battle from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, which if you remember, was the absolute worst Star Trek film featuring the original cast. Except, that film was more imaginative and had more soul than this new Fantastic Four. This film had no soul. And if it had a soul, it’d be the soul of a manila folder. Because those are the boringest damn things I can think of.

I don’t hate this movie but more likely than not, I will never watch it again and I hope a sequel is never made. I didn’t like the direction, the dialogue must have been written by a middle school kid and the acting was mostly crap. The sets were boring, the effects were boring, the characters were boring, their costumes were boring and being that bored with everything got pretty boring. If anything, this film was a fantastic bore.

Doctor Doom looked like a humanoid creature made of garbage collected after a rave at a tin foil factory. He also had ridiculous powers that allowed him to telekinetically make people’s heads explode like the aliens from Mars Attacks when they were confronted with Slim Whitman music. Doom could also move the Earth. He was like that shitty villain from season four of Heroes but with godlike powers added in. I’m not even really sure what the hell Doom was – before or after the transformation.

I’m kind of all over the place with this review, as the film was all over the place. My brain is scrambled from this film. Also, my popcorn was shitty.

Anyway, I am already pretty damn bored talking about this boring turd. So I’m going to go get drunk now and hope that the bourbon erases this experience from my memory.