Archive for Iron-Man

Review: Iron Man 3

Posted in Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2013 by Tom Austin-Morgan


The third, of fourth, installment of the Iron Man saga hit British screens this week and I was first in line…well, kinda.

Iron Man 3 sees Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr) suffering from anxiety attacks triggered by the bad dreams and lack of sleep he’s been suffering from since the events in New York after taking a nuclear warhead through a wormhole into another dimension, not to mention the alien army and Norse Gods being real. His erratic behaviour is driving a wedge between him and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) whose attentions are being diverted by an old colleague, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Killian is attempting to persuade Pepper into funding his research into a virus called Extremis which can help heal wounds and signals the next step in human evolution after being snubbed years before by Stark. The flashback sequence at the start is interesting as an old face crops up and the scene plays out with Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65 playing in the background, which is a genius touch!

Meanwhile, a mysterious character calling himself The Mandarin (Ben Knigsley) has started taking responsibility for bombings in Bin Laden style leaked videos. Kingsley’s portrayal of the Mandarin is very much like his turn as The Hood in the woeful Thunderbirds film from a few years back. Now, The Mandarin is a big villain in the Iron Man comics and cartoons. but in this film, as the action unfolds there is a twist to his character that I won’t give away, but will divide the comic book audience and those that don’t know the mythology of  the character. That said, it’s interesting to see Kingsley play up to his public persona. Thanks all I’m gonna say!

After one of the explosions puts Stark’s ex-bodyguard, Happy, in a coma Stark issues a public challenge, giving away his home address, to The Mandarin, whose minions then destroy the house. This forces Stark to flee with a malfunctioning suit. Now, from here on in he barely uses the suit at all, he has to rely on his brains, it’s a bit like The Dark Knight Rises.

At this point he befriends a small boy, who seems to have no reason to be there at all, apart from to be the butt of a couple of quite nasty lines from Stark. He doesn’t even add any exposition to the plot, really. This was an odd choice from director, Shane Black, who directed Downey Jnr in Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang and is known for his snappy and sometimes quiet shocking dialogue. Also, the kid was obviously directed to keep wiping his nose, but this just became distracting after a while.

As usual there is the fast talking quippery of Downey Jnr but sometimes the humour jarred with the more serious and gritty nature of the Tony Stark plotline. Also, for a film called Iron Man 3 there wasn’t really a lot of Iron Man action and by the end where the multiple suits turn up for the final battle there were actually too many Iron Men to focus on. This is a shame because some of the suits looked amazing and had their own individual powers that it would have been interesting to have lingered on for more than a couple of seconds at a time.

I’m conflicted about this film, it’s certainly better than Iron Man 2, but nowhere near the first film. It’s interesting to see Downey Jnr play Tony Stark in a different way and to see the relationship between him and Pepper become more dramatic. But it was a shame that Iron Man wasn’t in it as much as in previous films. Also The Mandarin was badly handled from a comic geek perspective, however the vast majority of people found his character hilarious, and I have to say Kingsley gives a great performance that had me laughing. But I do think the character was wasted (in more ways than one!). However, I did really enjoy it. It’s really hard not to enjoy a film with such a great cast and such a charismatic lead actor.  I get the impression that this film needs a couple of watches to get into properly, but I’m sure it will be a worthy addition to the Marvel canon.


Iron Man 3 Trailer

Posted in Film with tags , , , , , , on October 27, 2012 by Tom Austin-Morgan

Here is the newest trailer for next Summer’s blockbuster third installment to Marvel’s superhero franchise. It seems that Tony Stark is starting to see that even he is in way over his head and is starting to lose his cool. He also seems to have lost his suit as there is a Captain America liveried suit out there, a devious looking Guy Pearce and a geek pleasing shot of Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin.

Review: Avengers Assemble

Posted in Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2012 by Tom Austin-Morgan

This film has been hotly anticipated for the last four years after Sam Jackson appeared at the end of the trailers of Iron Man introducing himself as Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and letting the cat out of the bag about The Avengers project. Over the next four years we’ve had our introductions with all the highly volatile individuals who would later be forced into fighting together to save the world: Iron Man, The Black Widow, The Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye and Captain America.

There was a genuine sense that this film could have been hugely over-hyped and all the superstar egos could have clashed on set as opposed to gelled, destroying the film entirely. No one could say that they envied whoever had the task of directing this epic superhero movie. But Joss Whedon was the man  appointed to helm this ambitious project and he has certainly exceeded expectations.

As he has proved with his previous work his scripts crackle with a kineticism and wit rarely seen by writers of standard Hollywood blockbusters, and this film is far from standard. First off Loki, the god of mischief (Tom Hiddleston) and Thor’s brother is back from the void and he’s really angry! He steals the Tesseract from S.H.I.E.L.D. and takes off with it and some staff members including Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Sevlig (Stellen Skarsgård), who both return to reprise their roles from Thor. This forces Fury into action assembling the rag-tag band of misfits and egotists who will form the last line of defence for a world now forced into a war it surely cannot win.

The way in which they bring the characters together is really well written, as otherwise it could have felt quite contrived; luckily for Whedon each character has already been fully fleshed out before in  at least one film where they are the star. So no tedious re-treading of back stories means that he catapults us straight into the action. But after the initial good feelings at getting the team together tensions soon arise between the heroes; this soon culminates – under the control of Loki – in the fractures splitting the team apart. The result of which sees Bruce Banner losing it and turning into the “giant green rage monster” and having a fist fight with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who is the only one among the cast who is close to powerful enough to match the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). This rivalry carries on throughout the film and provides a few really funny moments.

The interplay between the characters at this point is ludicrously strong and only a script written by such a massive fan could possibly have held all these megastars together. Personally I expected Downey Jnr to run away with his scenes and be the stand out star of the piece, but everyone has equal amounts of screen time and equal parts drama and snappy one-liners. In fact the one person I had expected to find uninteresting became the star thanks to the script and some mighty fine acting.

After Marvel signed Mark Ruffalo up to play Bruce Banner and “the other guy”, Edward Norton railed against the studios claiming that they went for a cheaper actor rather than the official story stating that they felt Norton wouldn’t want to work in an ensemble cast, and I felt for him; he had made the Banner/Hulk character his own and I really enjoyed The Incredible Hulk. But Ruffalo really stepped into the shoes of the character and gave a fantastic performance as the weary, reclusive scientist who had mastered his control of the monster inside. The scenes between Ruffalo and Downey Jnr really rattle along as the two characters connect over a shared passion for science. He is also both vulnerable and threatening at the same time, a trick that is not easy to pull off, and when he becomes the Hulk he causes non-stop carnage as well as providing at lease two moments of  genuinely hilarious, belly laugh moments of slapstick comedy. One of these, that took me completely by surprise, was his confrontation with Loki, where he cuts the villain’s diatribe short by picking him up and swinging him around like a rag doll into the ceiling and the floor before wandering off retorting “Puny god”!

Contrastingly, I felt that both Captain America and Hawkeye were utilised far less than they could have been and were just there for window dressing purposes.

Another character I felt came alive much more than in her previous film outing was Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) who displayed a much more vulnerable side as well as the kick-ass martial artist from Iron Man 2; she also proves herself as an adept interrogator in a couple of key scenes, most notably against Loki where she double-bluffs him into telling her his plans for dividing the team. A scene in which Whedon manages to get the Chaucerian expletive ‘quim’ past the sensors, which is to be applauded. As far as I can remember this was the only swear word in the film and would have gone over the heads of most, he didn’t even cave into the half swearing that other films have stooped to in the past and proves that you don’t need to swear to make a script engaging.

There was a point in the final battle where the spectre of Transformers style CG confusingness could have set in, but Whedon stepped up to the mark once again and managed to make an apocalyptic battle for the end of the Earth into something easy to follow. In fact some of the best shots were used in these final minutes. There is one ‘continuous shot’ that tracks around the streets of New York showing off each character fighting the aliens who are terrorising the city after the Tesseract opens a portal to the dimension Loki appeared from at the beginning of the film. One other shot that really impressed me was from inside a car that was flipped onto its roof. The camera was stationary in the centre of the car looking through the windscreen as the car was rolled; the thing that really stuck out in this blink-and-you-miss-it shot was the fact that it was real, unlike a lot of the stunts in these kinds of films, but it didn’t look out-of-place in amongst all the CG effects shots. Another example of good directing with an eye for visual effects.

After a four-year wait Avengers Assemble lives up to and exceeds expectations and finally put Joss Whedon on the map as a top class director, hopefully we’ll get to see more of him in the years to come as he truly deserves recognition. This is a must-see blockbuster in a sea of utter tosh that is saturating the multiplexes at the moment.

Edward Norton slates Marvel over being dropped as The Hulk

Posted in Film, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2011 by Tom Austin-Morgan
Edward Norton has slated Marvel for dropping him from future Hulk film projects. Norton played Bruce Banner in 2008’s ‘The Incredible Hulk, but has not been included in the forthcoming ‘Avengers’ project, which unites Hulk with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. Instead the part will be played by Mark Ruffalo, who has less of a pedigree as a leading man than Norton.
Norton has hit out at the studio calling it “low and dishonest”.

He told The Independent: “I found it a cheap and unnecessary representation that it was about things other than money. They came to me avidly to talk about it and then, at the end of the day, it was just a flat-out business decision.”

He went on to predict that Marvel is “going to have to deal with their own karma.”

Lets hope he doesn’t turn green and (Hulk) smash the studio to pieces before this Summer’s big outings from ‘Captain America’ and ‘Thor’. Both of which have both been given the green light for sequels even before they have been released, or had their cameos in the forthcoming ‘Avengers’ movie, planned for release in 2012.