Monday, May 31, 2010

Iron Man 2 and Kick Ass reviews

The quick review is just where I go over elements of the movie and name something good and something bad about that element (because what am I Roger Ebert?). Then I expand on something bad and something good. Now that we got the rules down, here we go.


Quick synopsis: Tony’s back and dealing with the political aftermath of publicly coming out as Iron Man. Ivan Vanko designs his own armor and goes after Tony for revenge. The element that Tony uses to power the arc reactor is poisoning his blood. James Rhodes, disturbed by Tony’s erratic behavior, takes the Mark II armor which the military turns into War Machine. Tony has to figure out a way to cure himself, defeat Vanko, and save the day…and gets to make out with Pepper.

Good: Lots of fun action scenes
Bad: A little too much running in the final scene when the drones were able to be taken out in one shot.

Good: Great dialogue – still as quirky as ever.
Bad: Getting drunk at his birthday party in the Iron Man armor (Peter Parker singing and dancing in Spider-Man 3 anyone?).

Good: I like the origin – stealing the armor and having Tony’s enemy upgrade the weapons was a nice twist.
Bad: Being taken over by Vanko. Kind of useless considering he didn’t really get to do much damage to Iron Man.

Good: Self-confident throughout the film – consistent – you completely understand why this guy has the code to Tony’s armor room.
Bad: Rhodey saw what the element core was physically doing to Tony and didn’t figure out what was going on as Tony’s best friend.

Good: Fantastic dialogue, a new role as CEO, and more screen time are not wasted. It’s always good to see her.
Bad: I know it would have ruined the ‘you’re dying?’ reveal at the end, but, as the person who knows Tony the best, she should have known something was very wrong with him.

Good: He’s always eager to follow whatever order is given him and get involved when needed.
Bad: Nothing. Happy is just there to provide friendship and support to the characters without dragging the plot.

Good: He didn’t say much so you hung on every word – even when he seemed amused you always got the sense that he was dangerous.
Bad: Not enough screen time and a final battle that was over much too quickly.

Good: I can’t think of a good Justin Hammer scene.
Bad: Ugh. Everything. He’s just an annoying weasel that you never take seriously and a weak foil for Tony.

Good: The costume. It’s what every fanboy hoped for.
Bad: Taking Happy down with a ninja-krav maga-Mr. Miyagi move (way to keep your status as a spy on the down-low).

Good: There’s a good conversation at the end about The Avengers Initiative.
Bad: The whole scene at the donut store and at the mansion – having Tony find his own solution would have been better for the character.

Good: Tony’s Malibu Mansion is the site of the West Coast Avengers Headquarters, Captain America’s shield (I bet we find out why it got destroyed in the Captain America movie), Thor’s hammer.
Bad: It would have been nice if Nick Fury had said whether Bruce Banner or Natasha Romanov were on the Avengers roster – guess we’ll have to wait.

Good: Every film version of the armor – really detailed, articulated, and awesome – and great figures of the comic book versions of the characters.
Bad: Some of the concept armors are odd looking (Inferno Armor?).

The biggest problem I had with the movie: Nick Fury gives Tony the means to create a new element. Fury suggests that has information straight from Tony’s own father that will help him solve his problem. Tony’s problem is he has a power source in his chest that’s toxic to him and his father not only foresaw Tony putting an arc reactor in his chest but created an element and hid the formula in a model for him to create sometime in the future? That’s more stretching than Mr. Fantastic himself could do.

As for Nick Fury, if he knew what the solution was to Tony’s problem, why not just give it to him? And it’s hard to believe that he knew the solution because if he did, he wouldn’t have banned Tony from leaving the mansion (which Tony disobeyed and ended up with the formula for the element in doing so). So was Fury just giving him his father’s stuff and hoping for the best? In the comics Fury always knows what he’s doing so he could have known that Tony would escape from the mansion and figure things out – on the other hand, he could have just been the bad ass from the comics and said, “Your father discovered a formula for a new element – one technology couldn’t create” and given him the trunk.

The thing I liked the most about this movie: The way Tony and Rhodey moved in the armor. I didn’t like the party scene but when Tony crouches in the armor it looks like someone wearing the armor can move normally. I remember those first X-Men/Spider-Man movies where people walked around stiffly. Now someone can move around in their costume/armor as though they’re wearing pants and a t-shirt.

So did I like the film? Despite the flaws, the back and forth between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts (thanks to Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow) is some of the best comic book film dialogue around. Plenty of action and I was entertained enough to dismiss the many large plot holes. It was awesome seeing the Avengers references and the film origin of War Machine was great too.
This never happened in the film but is still a great picture


Quick synopsis: Dave, a huge comic book fan who gets bullied, decides to try being a superhero. On his first outing as Kick Ass, he gets beaten so badly that it damages some of his pain centers so that he can’t feel pain as intensely. He meets other heroes: Big Daddy, Hit Girl, and Red Mist. Kick Ass is in over his head but with the other heroes’ help, he’ll save the day.

Good: Great origin story and the Aaron Johnson’s performance was amazing and I really believed that he was alternately brave and timid throughout the movie.
Bad: The ENTIRE ‘playing along with Katie thinking he’s gay’ storyline.

Good: Great origin story and a quirky performance from Nicholas Cage who is charming enough to pull off shooting a little girl, even if it’s in the chest.
Bad: I hated that he dies at the end – just an awesome character.

Good: Despite the fact that she’s raised to fight and to kill, she is surprisingly cheery through much of the movie.
Bad: I understand Big Daddy’s origin, but turning your daughter into a killer is bad juju.

Good: Is the main villain without being too irritating playing a standard mob boss.
Bad: Is a little boring. The standard, “What? Who? Find them. Kill them.” kind of stuff.

Good: He’s a spoiled kid who just wants his father’s approval but when he becomes involved in the family business, he finds himself taking over.
Bad: By the end of the film, when he takes his father’s place, he’s still the most unthreatening character in the film.

Good: What starts out as a friendship turns into a romance where Katie is the only person who knows Kick Ass’ true identity.
Bad: Again, the ENTIRE ‘liking Dave because he’s gay’ storyline.

Good: After Big Daddy’s death, it’s only appropriate that her God Father, who was her father’s partner on the police force, raise her.
Bad: Can’t think of anything. Without him, we wouldn’t have found out Big Daddy’s origin.

The biggest problem I had with the movie: The first twenty minutes of the film were really boring but necessary to set the plot in motion. At first I didn’t like the fact that Dave’s two best friends didn’t know his secret identity but his girlfriend did but when he’s getting tortured on the internet and you see Katie crying and really going through hell, you’re reminded why heroes have secret identities. It’s not only to protect them from the villains but to protect their sanity as well.

The thing I liked the most about this movie: THE ACTION SCENES!!! When Big Daddy fought his way through a warehouse of bad guys I start to wonder why none of the Batman movies had a fight scene that cool. The entire final act is one fantastic fight scene where the action is clear (not that choppy fight garbage where you can’t tell who is hitting who or doing what (i.e. Prince of Persia playing in theatres now)).

So did I like the film? This is a fantastic superhero film. Lots of great origins told very quickly and effectively without dragging the plot and a great story with a lot of different motivations and a really satisfying ending.

Kick Ass gets up close and personal with Big Daddy and Hit Girl

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