Man of Steel (2013): A Question…

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SPOILER ALERT!!!

A relatively easy question for those who say Superman may have caused the deaths of hundreds, or even thousands, of people…

Did he, or did he not, save the lives of SEVEN BILLION members of an alien race that initially sought to destroy him?

p.s. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/movies/news/a490671/man-of-steel-writer-david-s-goyer-defends-collateral-damage.html

http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2013/06/zack-snyder-on-controversial-ending-to.html

TV MOMENTS: The Raggy Dolls (1986 – 1994)

The Raggy Dolls was a kids TV show that ran in the UK from 1986 to 1994. It was created by Melvyn Jacobson, with scripts, narration and music by Neil Innes.

The series is set in Mr. Grimes’ Toy Factory where, unless the doll is perfect, it is thrown into the Reject Bin. While unobserved by human eyes, the dolls come to life and climb out of the Reject Bin to have adventures. The series was designed to encourage children to think positively about physical handicaps, as well as teaching kindness, tolerance and humility towards others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Raggy_Dolls

While unobserved by human eyes, the dolls come to life and climb out of the Reject Bin to have adventures.

I’m thinking someone at Pixar may have seen this as a kid. Just a thought.

Anywho… here’s the wonderful intro (it’ll be stuck in your head for days!) …

p.s. Might just be me, but the guy singing sounds a lot like wee Stewie Griffin from Family Guy!

It’s not much of a life when you’re just a pretty face,
Just to be whoever you are is no disgrace,
Don’t be scared if you don’t fit in…
Look who’s in the reject bin!
It’s the Raggy Dolls (Raggy Dolls!),
Raggy Dolls (Raggy Dolls!),
Dolls like you and me,
Raggy Dolls (Raggy Dolls!),
Raggy Dolls (Raggy Dolls!) 
Made imperfectly!
So if you got a bump on your nose or lumps on your toes, do not despair,
Be like the Raggy Dolls, and say I just don’t care,
‘Cause Raggy Dolls (Raggy Dolls!),
Raggy Dolls (Raggy Dolls!),
Are happy just to be, 
Raggy Dolls, Raggy Dolls,
Dolls like you and me!

MOVIE MOMENTS: Jaws (1975)

Utterly sublime monologue. You know the one…

Quint: Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte… just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn’t see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that when you’re in the water, Chief? You tell by looking from the dorsal to the tail fin. What we didn’t know, was our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn’t even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin’, so we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know, it was kinda like old squares in the battle like you see in the calendar named “The Battle of Waterloo” and the idea was: shark comes to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin’ and hollerin’ and screamin’ and sometimes the shark will go away… but sometimes he wouldn’t go away. Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark… he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be living… until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah, then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin’ and the hollerin’, they all come in and they… rip you to pieces. You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don’t know how many sharks, maybe a thousand. I know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday morning, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boatswain’s mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. He bobbed up, down in the water just like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he’d been bitten in half below the waist. Noon, the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us. He swung in low and he saw us… he was a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper. Anyway, he saw us and he come in low and three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and starts to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened… waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water; 316 men come out and the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.

 

MOVIE MOMENTS: Blade Runner (1982)

One of the most famous scenes of all-time, from one of the greatest movies, ever…

SPOILER ALERT!

Roy Batty: I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears… in rain. Time to die.

MOVIE MOMENTS: Bad Boy Bubby (1993)

I somehow stumbled upon this deeply fascinating film at a fairly young age. It had a pretty profound effect on me; especially this hypnotically exquisite scene, which contains what I believe to be the greatest monologue in cinematic history…

The Scientist: You see, no one’s going to help you Bubby, because there isn’t anybody out there to do it. No one. We’re all just complicated arrangements of atoms and subatomic particles – we don’t live. But our atoms do move about in such a way as to give us identity and consciousness. We don’t die; our atoms just rearrange themselves. There is no God. There can be no God; it’s ridiculous to think in terms of a superior being. An inferior being, maybe, because we, we who don’t even exist, we arrange our lives with more order and harmony than God ever arranged the earth. We measure; we plot; we create wonderful new things. We are the architects of our own existence. What a lunatic concept to bow down before a God who slaughters millions of innocent children, slowly and agonizingly starves them to death, beats them, tortures them, rejects them. What folly to even think that we should not insult such a God, damn him, think him out of existence. It is our duty to think God out of existence. It is our duty to insult him. Fuck you, God! Strike me down if you dare, you tyrant, you non-existent fraud! It is the duty of all human beings to think God out of existence. Then we have a future. Because then – and only then – do we take full responsibility for who we are. And that’s what you must do, Bubby: think God out of existence; take responsibility for who you are.

WORLD HEALTH ALERT: Avatar Suppository Syndrome.

Imagine a film where Danny Dyer and Vince Vaughn are cast as the two male leads. Imagine it!

I spotted this tweet by Chip Thompson (@Thompson_film) at 11.25am this morning. You can imagine my horror. Or, worryingly… you can’t!?

I replied, “Bastard!

It may not seem like the most polite thing to be sending someone, but if you question the severity of my actions then you have most certainly not bore witness to A.S.S. (Avatar Suppository Syndrome)

Chip followed up his initial insane meanderings with …

It’s directed by McG!!

Sarah Jessica Parker has a nude scene in it! HELP ME!!

You’ll see the victim asked for help. This is vital in the early stages of A.S.S. as without help, there is no doubt whatsoever that the victim would have descended into a murky cavernous madness.

I duly informed Chip of his prognosis, and he replied…

I can’t imagine a worse disease than that!

He’s right. There is no “…worse disease than that!

The World Health Organization (WHO) …

Anyway, The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a three-stage breakdown of the varying degrees of the A.S.S. pandemic. I’ve cut through the medical-speak to bring you the bare facts of this horrific blight on humanity.

STAGE 1:

At this stage, there’s nothing much to worry about; apart from the fact you’re talking utter shite.

The Top 10 Signs of Stage 1 A.S.S.:

  1. You enjoyed the movie Avatar, but you’re still acutely aware of the fact that it’s plagiarised, Stilton-infested puppy shit.
  2. You think The Karate Kid remake is better than the original.
  3. You think Aliens is better than Alien.
  4. You get sexually aroused whenever you see the Happy Madison logo.
  5. You switched off your Wizard of Oz Blu-ray after five minutes because it was in black & white.
  6. You cried during War Horse.
  7. You still like Tim Burton’s movies.
  8. You think Batman Begins is better than The Dark Knight.
  9. You still think Chuck Norris could beat Bruce Lee in a fight, even though Bruce Lee kicked his fuckin’ ass from here to the Restaurant at the End of Universe in Way of the Dragon!
  10. You haven’t watched a single episode of Mad Men or Breaking Bad, even though the world and her midget mother have told you they’re brilliant.

A selection of scenes from the hit movie, Avatar

DISCLAIMER: You need your 3D glasses to see the full effects of these images.

STAGE 2:

At this stage, you’re rapidly sinking into the Bog of Eternal Stench. There’s still a glimmer of hope, however, but it’s not pretty. If you see any of the Stage 2 tell-tale signs in a loved one you could try the Avatar Reverse Suppository Effect (A.R.S.E.) but it only has a 0.2% success rate.

A.R.S.E. involves ripping the still-beating heart from a Stage 2 A.S.S. victim, cleansing it in semi-skimmed milk and then sticking it back from whence it came. There’s one failed example on tape, but please keep in mind that it’s not a full-on A.R.S.E procedure…

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! Or, whatever…

As you can see, the idiot in the video ripped the heart from the victim’s chest. Basic error.

The Top 10 Signs of Stage 2 A.S.S.:

  1. You not only like Avatar but you firmly believe it was a great story well told.
  2. You think The Next Karate Kid is the best of the series.
  3. You think Kylie Minogue deserved an Oscar for her performance in Street Fighter (1994).
  4. You own every Adam Sandler movie.
  5. You’re a Phantom Menace apologist.
  6. You didn’t feel bored at all during the first hour of The Avengers.
  7. You still think Johnny Depp’s an “actor.”
  8. You think The Twilight Zone is the state of euphoria you entered when you heard Breaking Dawn was being split into two films.
  9. You enjoyed Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (on any level).
  10. You write articles about plot holes in films.

A NASA satellite image of a group of wild Stage 2 A.S.S. bandits…

STAGE 3:

At this stage, you’re fucked.

The Top 10 Signs of Stage 3 A.S.S.:

  1. You’re thinking of buying a 3D TV for the upcoming release of the Avatar 3D Blu-ray.
  2. Michael Bay is your favourite director.
  3. You often refer to James Cameron as a “genius.”
  4. You loved Jar Jar Binks.
  5. You point-blank refuse to watch black & white movies.
  6. You don’t like films with subtitles.
  7. You prefer Joel Schumacher’s Batman to Nolan’s because it was “more fun.”
  8. You’re looking forward to the Fifty Shades of Grey movies.
  9. You still think Sex and the City (and especially, Sex and the City 2) were movies, and not elongated excuses to sell shite to idiots.
  10. You think Vertigo is the best film of all-time.

By the time you hit Stage 3, I’m afraid it’s over. You’ll resemble a gargling, babbling mess of a barbarous beast. You’ll probably be endlessly pissing off anyone and everyone on various social networks and, undoubtedly, licking lentil soup from the dried-up cardboard breasts of your stand-up Yasmine Bleeth. Either that or constantly rewinding your Avatar DVD…

I see you.

I see you.

I see you.

I see you.

I see you…

I SEE YOU!

Ugh.

MOVIE MOMENTS: The Colossus of New York (1958)

Great poster, eh? Don’t get too excited, the film’s pretty shit. It does, however, have its moments; the best of which, in my opinion, is this…

Dr. William Spensser: There are variations, mind you, to the use of which genius is put.

Reporter: How do you mean, Doctor?

Dr. William Spensser: Well, for example, take men like Machiavelli, like Napoleon… they used their genius for purely selfish purposes; they used it to promote their own needs, their own desires. And, I’m very sorry to say that most people are in that first primitive level. Then, of course, there’s the second level, and that is the people who work to satisfy the needs of their own families and community. Then the third, and highest, level where they work to satisfy the needs of all humanity.

The Dark Knight Rises: Standing on the Shoulders of (Iron) Giants.

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! (If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises or The Iron Giant, you probably shouldn’t be reading this.)

Alfred Borden: Are you watching closely?

Bernard of Chartres used to say that we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.

John of Salisbury (1159)

Who sees further a dwarf or a giant? Surely a giant for his eyes are situated at a higher level than those of the dwarf. But if the dwarf is placed on the shoulders of the giant who sees further? … So too we are dwarfs astride the shoulders of giants. We master their wisdom and move beyond it. Due to their wisdom we grow wise and are able to say all that we say, but not because we are greater than they.

Isaiah di Trani (c. 1180 – c. 1250)

 

A dwarf on a giant’s shoulders sees farther of the two.”

George Herbert (1651)

 

What Des-Cartes did was a good step. You have added much several ways, & especially in taking ye colours of thin plates into philosophical consideration. If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants.

Isaac Newton (1676)

 

The dwarf sees farther than the giant, when he has the giant’s shoulder to mount on.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1828)

For me, movies are all about knowing the end of the story. Once I know the end and once I know where it’s going, then I know I’m going to climb on that train and make that film; we’re really going to do something with it. So it was one of the first things I knew about the project, was how to end the story.

Christopher Nolan (2012)

The final scene of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is exactly [the] scene we talked about [when Christopher Nolan and I started the trilogy with ‘Batman Begins’]. It remained completely unchanged. We both knew in our hearts that we were onto something special. I have to tell you, having finally seen everything strung together a little while ago and seeing that scene, I got a complete lump in my throat.

David S. Goyer (2012)

Really? It’s funny, I remember having the very same “lump in my throat” about, oh… I dunno… THIRTEEN FUCKING YEARS AGO!!!!

THE IRON GIANT (1999)

Misunderstood hero sacrifices himself for the greater good by keeping an atomic bomb away from the general populus of the town…

THEN, a statue is revealed in honour of said hero, AND… – “HOLY FUCKING LAWSUIT, BATMAN!” – …it turns out the sacrificial hero is not dead, after all…

Dean McCoppin: I mean, what am I? A junkman who makes art or an artist who sells junk? You tell me.

Some (not so) random quotes from Nolan’s (often excellent) work…

Memento (2000)

Leonard Shelby: Well, at least you’re being honest about ripping me off.

Leonard Shelby: I always thought the joy of reading a book is not knowing what happens next.

The Prestige (2006)

Cutter: Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called, ‘The Pledge.’ The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But, of course… it probably isn’t. The second act is called, ‘The Turn.’ The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because, of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call ‘The Prestige.'”

[after showing a little boy how to do a coin trick]
Alfred Borden: Never show anyone. They’ll beg you and they’ll flatter you for the secret, but as soon as you give it up… you’ll be nothing to them.

Robert Angier: Many of you may be familiar with this technique, but for those of you who aren’t, do not be alarmed. What you’re about to see is considered safe.

Ackerman: We’ll have to dress it up a little. Disguise it. Give them enough reason to doubt it.

Alfred Borden: A real magician tries to invent something new, that other magicians are gonna scratch their heads over.

Alfred Borden: He’s prograsive, he’s predictable, he’s boring. I mean, Milton’s got success, whatever that means, and now he’s scared, he won’t take any risks at all. I mean, he’s squandering the goodwill of the audience with these tired, second-rate tricks…
Robert Angier: They’re all favorites, please…
Alfred Borden: Favorites? come on, give me something fresh…

Inception (2010)

Cobb: Never recreate from your memory. Always imagine new places!

Eames: You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.

Cobb: I’m just doing what you taught me.
Professor: I never taught you to be a thief.

Cobb: What do you want?
Saito: Inception. Is it possible?
Arthur: Of course not.
Saito: If you can steal an idea, why can’t you plant one there instead?
Arthur: Okay, this is me, planting an idea in your mind. I say: don’t think about elephants. What are you thinking about?
Saito: Elephants?
Arthur: Right, but it’s not your idea. The dreamer can always remember the genesis of the idea. True inspiration is impossible to fake.
Cobb: No, it’s not.

And, finally…

“Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold… leaves me cold. A mean idea to call my own.” – R.E.M. (King of Birds)

I thoroughly enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises. It has a lot of genuinely great stuff in it; especially Bane! e.g. “What a lovely, lovely voice.” Haunting. This seemingly lazy rip of one of the greatest animated movies of all-time is the only thing that really (REALLY!) pissed me off. Nolan’s supposed to be one of the best writer/directors around. Is it a coincidence? If not, what was he thinking?

In the foreword to The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy, Nolan states…

I never thought we’d do a third — are there any great second sequels? But I kept wondering about the end of Bruce’s journey, and once David and I discovered it, I had to see it for myself.

You should have phoned Brad Bird, sir. I’m sure he’d have hooked you up with a copy.

 
Final ratings for what was a damn fine trilogy, in my opinion…

Batman Begins 7/10 | The Dark Knight 9/10 | The Dark Knight Rises 8/10

 

Iron Man (2008)

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MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” Afghanistan. A jeep. Tony Stark, suited and booted, shades on, drink in hand, wise-cracking about banging cover models. Not long after this there’s a scene where Tony comes whizzing into view in his Audi R8, boards his private jet, and the in-flight entertainment is his very own lap-dancing club. This seems to trigger a reflex reaction amongst viewers. Some think, “Cool!” Others think, “Prick!” Instantly there’s a line drawn in the sand. The people who think he’s cool all the way through the film, don’t get it. The people who think he’s a prick all the way through the film, don’t get it. I also think there’s an element of jealousy/envy going on, but we won’t go there. You see, the thing is… he’s supposed to be a wise-cracking prick. It’s the evolution of that wise-cracking prick into something more, something better, that is the crux of the film. The making of the man. Or, as the tagline says…

“Heroes aren’t born. They’re built.”

Tony Stark has inherited his father’s wealth. He’s a genius, a playboy, and yes, he’s also a dickhead. His company, Stark Industries, are a dirty big weapons manufacturer that causes untold misery and destruction throughout the world. Stark doesn’t give a shit because he’s grown to believe his own hype. At an awards ceremony in Las Vegas, that he doesn’t even bother turning up to, a video presentation tells the audience, “Tony Stark. Visionary. Genius. American Patriot…has changed the face of the weapons industry by insuring freedom and protecting America, and her interests, around the globe.”

Soon after, Tony explains his idea of saving the world to a Vanity Fair reporter: “My old man had a philosophy. Peace means having a bigger stick than the other guy. My Father helped defeat the Nazis. He worked on the Manhattan Project. A lot of people, including your professors at Brown, would call that being a hero.” I can’t remember the name of the Vanity Fair reporter; mind you, neither does Tony after he bangs her.

Tony’s life-changing moment comes when he’s taken hostage by terrorists in Afghanistan. Just before his capture he’s in a jeep with some US soldiers and as he’s getting his photo taken with one of them he quips, “I don’t wanna see this on your MySpace page.” MySpace?! People say life’s too short; this film was made only four years ago but it seems like an eternity since anyone last mentioned being on MySpace. While Tony’s getting his photo taken he also makes fun of a solidier making a peace sign, saying, “Yeah, peace. I love peace. I’d be out of a job with peace.” Seconds later the jeep is ambushed by the Ten Rings terrorist group (a nice nod to Iron Man’s comic-book archenemy, The Mandarin). Stark escapes the jeep and is crouched behind a rock when a missile lands near him. On the missile it says, “Stark Industries.” Karma doesn’t bite him in the ass, though, it fires shrapnel into his chest leaving him critically wounded. Tony is captured and taken to a cave where fellow captive Dr. Yinsen (Shaun Toub) saves his life by attaching an electromagnet to his chest. The hostages want Stark to build a Jericho missile for them but he’s having none of it and, instead, with the help of Dr. Yinsen, builds an iron suit (Mark 1) powered by an arc reactor (the fictional God of batteries). They say the clothes maketh the man and that’s what happens to Tony as he bursts from the cave with the suit on, like some sort of resurrected Terminator Jesus. After being blasted by a hail of gunfire, he growls, “My turn!” and shoots flames at the terrorists, and their weapons stash, before flying up through an explosion and into the sky.

The action throughout the whole film is majestically done. Smooth, crisp, clean sequences that look utterly fantastic in HD. Iron Man’s voice, unlike the Bat’s, is perfect. Some of the flying sequences, although far more technically advanced, reminded me of The Rocketeer (1991). It generally feels right and, at some points, is just downright fucking awe-inspiring.

The comedy throughout is clever and never feels too corny or crammed in just for the sake of it, as is displayed when the Vanity Fair reporter (still can’t remember her name) wakes up in Tony’s home only to be told by Pepper Potts that her clothes are ready and there’s a car waiting outside to take her anywhere she wants. Miss Vanity Fair (I dunno?!) says, “After all these years, Tony still has you picking up the dry cleaning.” Pepper responds, “I do anything and everything that Mr. Stark requires. Including, occasionally, taking out the trash.” ZING!!!! Another funny scene is when Tony arrives at an event and a woman says to him, “”Hey, Tony. Remember me?” Tony replies, “Sure don’t.” This is quickly followed up by my favourite Stan Lee cameo in any of the Marvel movies. “You look great, Heff,” Tony says as he taps Stan on the shoulder. Stan just turns round with this hilarious, vacant look on his face. Brilliant.

Gwyneth Paltrow plays Pepper Potts to perfection. Pepper is 100% loyal to Tony Stark and there are some genuinely touching moments between the two. When Tony arrives back in the US after his three months in captivity, Pepper is waiting on the runway for him. Tony says to her, “Your eyes are red. Few tears for your long lost boss?” At no point does any of this “relationship” feel false. There’s a great chemistry between the two and although they come close, they never actually kiss. This, for me, was an astonishingly refreshing development. The easy, and cheesy, way to go would’ve been the slow build-up to an eventual last scene smooch or some other overly sentimental catastrophe, but it never happens. Kudos to Mr. Favreau and the writers.

There’s one scene that I thought was especially touching. Tony asks Pepper to pull a wire out of his chest and Pepper says, “You know, I don’t think that I’m qualified to do this.” Tony replies, “You are the most capable, qualified, trustworthy person I’ve ever met.” On paper it may seem like any other crappy line but on screen it seemed heartfelt and genuine. Afterwards Pepper says, “Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ask me to do anything like that ever again.” Tony replies, “I don’t have anyone but you.” Good quality acting and great chemistry.

The whole sequence where Tony is working on the suit works well. Instead of a quick montage we get to see a relatively slow process. The music, which is top class throughout, builds gently as we get closer to seeing Iron Man’s shiny new getup. It gives you time to take it all in and bask in the awesomeness, unlike, for example, the Transformers movies where there’s far, far too much going on at any given time to take in anything. After the slow build up, the lights switch on in Iron Man’s eyes and he blasts into a superb, seamless flight scene. Great stuff.

As he builds the suit, the building blocks of his new future begin to take shape. He no longer wishes to wear the manacles of the Merchant of Death. His new outlook is made abundantly clear when he says, “I saw young Americans killed by the very weapons I created to defend them and protect them.” He’s slowly, but surely, awakening from his selfish slumber. Thankfully though, there’s no false-feeling tectonic shift. Robert Downey, Jr, explains:

“What I usually hate about these [superhero] movies [is] when suddenly the guy that you were digging turns into Dudley Do-Right, and then you’re supposed to buy into all his ‘Let’s go do some good!’ That Eliot Ness-in-a-cape-type thing. What was really important to me was to not have him change so much that he’s unrecognizable. When someone used to be a schmuck and they’re not anymore, hopefully they still have a sense of humor.”

In the end, the new Tony Stark is faced with an old friend that becomes his greatest foe. Obadiah Stane (played by the legendary Jeff Bridges) wants Stark, and his newfound heroism, wiped off the face of the earth, so he has his own suit made and becomes the Iron Monger. The build-up to the climactic collision between Iron Man and the Iron Monger includes a scene where Rhodey (Terrence Howard) sees Stark in the Iron Man suit and exclaims, “That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” He’s not far wrong; it’s all kinds of cool. At the end of this scene Tony blasts one of his prized cars out of the way and takes off. His materialism is now quite obviously of much less significance to him; he’s a changing man.

As Obadiah Stane takes up the mantle of the Iron Monger he becomes an awesome mechanical monstrosity that, fondly, reminded me of ED-209 in the way that it moved. In a menacing voice he says to Pepper Potts, “Your services are no longer required.” This again reminded me of ED-209 and the famous line: “You have twenty seconds to comply.” A battle across the skies takes place and, obviously, Iron Man wins out. What a memorable ride it is, though. Truly epic.

Robert Downey, Jr’s performance has came in for criticism, in some quarters, with people saying that he’s just playing himself. Who has Jack Nicholson been playing for the last fifty years? There’s a myriad of good acting performances down the years where the actor is ‘just’ playing an accentuated version of themselves. His performance is more than sound; as is the rest of what is, in my opinion, a quality cast.

In 2008, Iron Man was selected by Empire magazine as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. It was also one of The American Film Institute‘s picks for the ten best films of 2008. I wouldn’t dream of arguing with this. I actually hovered on the thought of giving it a rating of 9/10, but then we’re entering Superman: The Movie (1978) and The Dark Knight (2008) territory, and it’s not quite there. It is, however, (in my opinion) the best Marvel movie ever made, and The Avengers (2012) will have to go some to beat it.

“I’m just not the hero type. Clearly. With this laundry list of character defects. The mistakes I’ve made. Largely public. The truth is… I am Iron Man.” 8/10.

Captain America and the Bib Fortuna Three-way.

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MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

Captain America was my second favourite superhero when I was a kid. The other boy in blue, Superman, was always number one. I used to while away endless hours playing with my action figures. DC and Marvel characters would mix freely with Star Wars figures in my own little made-up universe. Solo was usually found giving smart-ass comments to Princess Leia but, sadly, when the cat’s away the mice will play; and play Leia did. While Solo was off helping to save the galaxy, Leia was putting herself about like some sort of intergalactic hooker. She had a torrid two-hour affair with Captain America and was seen on numerous occasions flying around the rabbit hutch with Superman. Don’t worry, Superman didn’t get her pregnant and then fuck off for five years. That’s just preposterous.

Also, rumours of a three-way between Leia, Bib Fortuna and a bald, one-legged Barbie doll are nothing more than vicious lies spread by a mouthy protocol droid. C-3PO’s shiny severed limbs were sent to the four corners of the garden as a warning to the rest of the little plastic bastards to keep their goddamn mouths shut. Anyway, I digress…

The first fifty minutes of Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) are excellent. The look and feel of it all seems just right. We have skinny wee Steve Rogers, riddled with ailments, trying, continually failing and then finally succeeding enlisting in the army. We see him standing up to a bully, pulling a clever trick with the flag pole at army training, and in one act of immense bravery, jumping on a grenade. There’s the expo with the introduction of Howard Stark, where Rogers offers a girl sweets and is given the dirty look of a dirty mare that I’m quite sure would be only too eager to munch his sweets, and more, when he becomes Captain America. We also have what is, for me, the best part of the film when Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) is dying and he points at Steve Rogers’ heart. A genuinely touching moment that elevates the film, for a few seconds, to something more than it is. There’s also the scene with the Red Skull having his portrait done. Cleverly, we don’t get to see the Red Skull or the painting. The look of nervous horror on the artist’s face is all we need to see. Good quality filmmaking!

The dawning realisation when the Nazi’s realise the Red Skull’s maniacal plan is also done quite well. “Berlin is on this map!” says one of the henchmen as the Red Skull blasts them into oblivion with his laser-cannon. The shift from “Hail, Hitler!” to “Hail, Hydra!” is fairly momentous.

We also see Steve Rogers chasing down a Hydra agent, during which he is seen holding a taxicab door with a star on it. Nicely done. Instead of going off to fight, Steve Rogers is left with little choice but to join the campaign for Defence Bonds. Here we see a stirring montage with kids reading Captain America comics, Cap starring in black & white war propaganda movies, signing autographs and one moment where a beautiful woman smiles at him and he realises he’s no longer that skinny little kid that was bullied. The montage ends with rousing zeal, fireworks and then… Well, then, unfortunately, the shit hits the fan.

From now on the film is riddled with an endless barrage of shitty lines. I can’t be arsed going through them all so I’ll randomly list some of the ones that irked me in particular.

The Wall of Cheese:

Peggy, “You’re late.” This is said to Cap when he returns to camp with the four-hundred hostages, and is repeated later after Peggy morphs into T-X and rescues Cap from a bit of bother. Cap turns to her and says, “You’re late.” This old ‘reverse and repeat’ banjo trick is used more than once in the film (“the right partner”) and in the tired fashion of a couple of screenwriters that have, perhaps, spent a little too much time in Narnia.

“I’m a Captain.” – Reminded me of, “I am not an animal, I am a human being.” But not in a good way.

“Who the hell are you supposed to be?” “I’m Captain America.” – Glad he told us. Up to that point I could have sworn he was the Human Torch.

“Wait. Do you know what you’re doing?” “I’ve knocked out Adolf Hitler over two hundred times.” – I knew that was coming. I fucking knew it! I still quivered in disgust, though, when it did come. Ugh.

Stan Lee, “I thought he’d be taller.” No need for this. Stan Lee’s cameo looks like it was crammed in as an afterthought. It’s done far better in X-Men: The Last Stand, Spider-Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, and ,especially, X-Men, Iron Man (Hugh Hefner – see above!) and Iron Man 2 (Larry King).

“Let’s hear it for Captain America!” Nah, let’s not. Let’s just leave it, eh?

Bucky (Sebastian Stan), “You’re keeping the outfit, right?” Cap, “You know what? It’s kinda growin’ on me.” I think this could have been done a lot better. Cap – who is supposed to be a humble, unexpected hero – should have said something along the lines of being too embarrassed to wear the suit because it makes him different from everyone else; something about just wanting to fit in. Then Bucky (or someone else) could have given him a speech that convinced him to wear it, telling Cap that it’s inspirational and an icon of the cause. Actually, forget it. No doubt they’d have fucked that up, as well.

Cap, “I can do this all day.” Red Skull, “Of course you can but unfortunately I am on a tight schedule.” Cap, “So am I.” So am I? SO… AM… I?! Honestly, at this point I was just laughing in disbelief.

This next part is by far the worst part of the film. The Connect Four of corny bullshit; four pieces of shocking dialogue in a row!

Falsworth, “Let’s get going because they’re moving like the Devil.”

Cap, “We’ve only got about a ten second window. You miss that window… we’re bugs on a windshield.”

Falsworth, “Mind the gap.”

Dugan, “Better get moving, bugs.”

Shakespeare is alive and well, and scribing for Marvel.

Soon after that craptastic catastrophe, Cap and Bucky are hanging off the side of a speeding train and Cap shouts, “Hang on!” Now they’re just taking the piss, right? Why on earth would you include that? If in doubt, LEAVE IT OUT!

There’s one line where the Red Skull says to Cap, “Captain America. I’m a big fan of your films.” This is an acceptable level of comic-book style cheese, in my opinion, and also pretty damn funny. This is during the scene where Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) pushes a button that pulls the footbridge back with Cap and the Red Skull on either side. This whole segment was shaping up nicely ‘til the Red Skull pulled off his mask and Cap’s friend said, “You don’t have one of those, do you?” What the fuck are you even talking about?! Pointless. As they start to run away Cap says, “Let’s go.” Again, fuck off, no need whatsoever.

There’s a scene that’s supposed to be rousing and heroic with the returning hero marching into camp with the four-hundred hostages he’s just saved. It’s not rousing in the slightest. Part of the problem is the music, which is shit. The vast majority of the music in the film just doesn’t seem to fit with what’s on screen.

The scenes with Cap on the motorbike are done pretty well and are relatively exciting. The fight scenes, however, are a rickety and amateurish mess. The editing of the action sequences is, on the whole, dodgy as fuck. There are two or three cool action sequences, but these can be seen in the trailer. Once again a trailer shows some of the best parts of the film. Instead of sitting saying, “Wow! Check that out!” you’re left saying, “That bit was in the trailer.” There’s a deep-rooted problem in the production of movie trailers, but that’s for another day.

Chris Evans does as well as he can with what he’s given. Hugo Weaving does a fine job as Johann Schmidt as Werner Herzog as the Red Skull. Dominic Cooper is fine as Howard Stark.  In fact, the whole cast seems to be fine. They’re all just let down, to varying degrees, by the script/screenplay; or lack thereof. My favourite performance in the film is undoubtedly Stanley Tucci as Dr. Abraham Erskine. He seems to have the only part that was written with any sort of love and care. Admittedly, he does have the advantage of dying just before the film begins to perish. There is one particularly bad bit of acting by Hayley Atwell, but I think, again, it’s probably more to do with the dialogue than Miss Atwell’s acting ability. Benefit of the doubt, and all that nonsense.

The part I’m referring to is near the end when Cap is moments away from taking the plane down and he says, “Peggy, I’m gonna need a rain check on that dance.” He’s sacrificing himself for the greater good. This should’ve been touching and epic but it just falls completely flat; due in no small part to Peggy’s response. “Steve. Steve. Steve,” she pathetically slevers. Just after this, Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) looks at her and then walks away with his head down. To be honest, I think Tommy had just had enough.

The Times Square scene at the end was looking promising, until this…

Nick Fury, “You gonna be ok?”

Cap, “Yeah. Yeah, I just. I had a date.”

Gimme a fuckin’ break.

All in all, it’s not a bad effort and, as I said, the first fifty minutes are, in my opinion, excellent. It’s just a shame that the seventy-four minutes after that are a disastrous deluge of diabolical dialogue.

“So, what made you so special?” “Nothing. I’m just a kid from Brooklyn.” 6/10.