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Archive for the ‘Samuel L Jackson’ Category

laodedweapon1There was a time in my 46 year life that the name National Lampoon meant hilarious comedy. I was first introduced to the name as a small lad while watching National Lampoon’s Animal House.   Boy that was a great movie for an 8 year old.   So many breasts so little, little time, but, I digress.  The National Lampoon name gave us such classics as the above mentioned Animal House, Vacation, and Christmas Vacation.  Now that seems like a 100 years ago because over the last 20+ years the name is associated with garbage.  I saw the beginning of the demise of the name in a large movie theater in 1993 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  I remember it because in a movie theater that could seat 250 people there was myself, and two other people, in the entire theater.  The name of that movie was National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1.

The movie is a parody of the first two Lethal Weapon movies as well as a host of other successful films of the late 80’s early 90’s.  Detectives Colt, played by Emilio Estevez (Bobby,) and Luger, played by Samuel L. Jackson (Iron Man 2,) are looking for the killer of Luger’s former partner York, played briefly by Whoopi Goldberg (Sister Act,) and how its connected with the distribution of Cocaine by selling Wilderness Girl Cookies.

Thanks to wonderful comedic spoof movies such as Airplane and, more importantly, The Naked Gun franchise, in the 80’s, spoof movies became a part of the comedic movie landscape.  Unfortunately almost all of them suck.  But that didn’t keep people from making them.  The problem is that the spoof movies all suffered from the same thing in that they largely ignored the story and instead used a constant barrage of one time gags that weren’t even related to the film’s story but had more to do with pop culture of the time.  The reason why Airplane, The Naked Gun, Hot Shots, and two of the Scary Movies, are funny is that the story is the driving force of the comedy and the gags that are written into it are overblown examples of the movies they are spoofing.

The problem for Loaded Weapon 1 is that most of the films gags are all based on other movies of the era and even though they are blown out of proportion that don’t add to the humor of the film.  The gags that were spoofing the movies Silence of the Lambs and Basic Instinct didn’t really work.  Although I will say that the interrogation scene that was from Basic Instinct was somewhat humorous because of the “gratuitous beaver shot” in which they movie showed a stuff beaver was somewhat cleaver.  Nowhere near as cleaver as the “Nice Beaver” gag in The Naked Gun, but it did cause me to giggle when I saw the film, which is few and far between.  The writing is the weak link in the film.  Too many of the pop culture references, while they may look good on paper, just don’t work.  Besides the above mentioned movie references there is a scene where the Colt and Luger are in a hotel looking for their informant and they move up the stairs where they see gunfire.  When they get to the second floor they see a motorcycle policeman with his cycle, shooting at someone.  This isn’t any ordinary motorcycle cop but Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello from the 70’s and 80’s TV show C.H.i.P.S. (unfortunately being remade into a movie coming out this year for some reason.)  While I would assume many of us would get the joke by this time it is 10 years after the TV show was canceled and nowhere near funny enough.

The actors were a mix bag of both funny and unfunny.  While I am a fan of both Emilio Estevez and Samuel L. Jackson, neither of them really seemed to have any comedic timing in the film but then again it could be because they didn’t have anything funny to say.  It was almost as if they were both the straight men and the rest of the cast got to have all the fun.  Since a certain amount of over acting needs to take place, the main villain of the film, General Mortars, played by William Shatner (Star Trek,)is perfectly cast because no man overacts like Shatner and has a great time doing it.  General Mortars henchman Mr. Jigsaw, played by Tim Curry (Clue,) is also enjoyable in the film.  I will admit that the one actress I wanted to see in this film is a horrible actress but a gorgeous super model…of the 1980’s.  Her name is Kathy Ireland and she is very hot…for the 1980’s.  She is horrible in the film but wonderful to look at.

kireland

If you want to watch the film, you watch for the Shatner over acting, the fun work of Tim Curry and the plethora of cameo’s from many comedians of the day (and one gorgeous actress named Denise Richards who is in a very short scene with Dennis Leary.)  This movie is a portent of all of the bad spoof movies to come in the late 1990’s and 2000’s and also the beginning of the end of the name of National Lampoon being synonymous with comedy.  It did make a brief showing in Van Wilder, but thankfully now has been put to bed.  Lastly I will say that I forgot how bad this movie was and was thinking about buying it online because as I am getting older I am having a serious nostalgia bug as well as today a real bug because the idiot M.I.T. at work got me sick.  Fortunately I only rented it because something told me this was not worth buying.  I was right in that it is not worth buying but it is also not worth renting, ever.

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I was a comic book fan as a child and into my early teens. I was a DC guy and stayed loyal to my DC heroes with a few exceptions.  I don’t remember how I picked my heroes back then.  I have been and always will be a Green Lantern fan.  I could recite the Green Lantern Oath when I was a kid.  I think I am one of maybe 126 people on the planet the like the Green Lantern film with Ryan Reynolds.  Then I read Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Graphic Novel and it was a wonderful read and I became a Batman fan and have been ever since.  Three years after that discovery of The Dark Knight I watched the wonders of Tim Burton’s Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker and loved it.  Then Joel Schumacher happened and I was lost.  The disgrace that was the movie Batman & Robin pissed me off so bad.  I was a fan of Batman as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Schumacher destroyed both of them.   Fortunately Marvel decided to start making movies and gave us X-Men and Spider-Man which ultimately lead to Iron Man and the Marvel Universe.  While that was happening Christopher Nolan created three masterpieces of Batman lore.  Now we are in this heaven of super hero movies a I have to create a list that will definitely show my favoritism.

This is a tough list to create because it could possibly be a very fluid list. We are still in what can only be considered the Golden Age of this genre of film.  Since 2000 we have been given the X-Men franchise, two Spiderman franchises, the rebirth of the Batman saved from the horrid Joel Schumacher era.  Most importantly of all we have seen the birth of and are in the middle of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Not to be out done, DC will be kicking off its universe this year with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.  So I should say that this is my top 5 as of now, who knows, it may change.

The criteria for me in making this list are pretty straight forward.  Only movies made from 1970 onward, sorry, no campy Batman from the 1960’s with Adam West.  Also there has to be a super hero in the film, so that takes out Frank Miller’s 300 and Sin City.  So without further ado, here is my current list of Top 5 favorite Comic Book Super Hero Films and 5 Honorable Mentions.

 

Number 5: Batman Begins (2005)

batman beginsTruth be told, any of my honorable mentions could have taken the place of #5, but I went with Batman Begins because it gave back to me one of my most beloved characters as I have talked about above.  I was a huge Batman fan as a child and loved what Tim Burton did when he put it to film.  However, if there ever was a line between how a movie can be projected into the real world or in an obvious fantasy one, then Batman Begins gives us a real world Batman as opposed to the fantasy gothic world of Tim Burton.  Christopher Nolan brought realism to the character and it had a negative tone in it that I liked.  I thought Christian Bale was the perfect Batman as a man who must constantly balance his need for revenge with his idealism of justice.  I like to think of this Bruce Wayne as a 51/49 good guy versus bad guy.  The only difference between this Batman and, let’s say Deadpool, is that Batman will not kill but Deadpool would, but both fight for justice.  Or maybe, if I channel my inner 80’s nerd, Bruce Wayne is Chaotic Good while Wade Wilson is Lawful Evil.  Unlike the Michael Keaton Batman, who I thought would never cross the line; I had the feeling that Christian Bale Batman might if pushed in the wrong direction, at least in Batman Begins, we find out in The Dark Knight that he won’t. I also thought the casting of Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman were wonderful choices that only added to the film.  The musical score is probably my favorite movie music not made by John Williams.  The only weakness, if there was any, was the casting of Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes.  She didn’t have the best chemistry with Bale and her personal life was still hellish as she was married to Tom Cruise at the time. My review of the film is here.

 

Number 4: The Avengers

the avengersThe strength in this movie is very similar to the strength in the Thor movies and its because of the same reason, Loki.  Tom Hiddleston has brought as much life to the Loki character as did Heath Ledger to the Joker character in The Dark Knight.  He was a very menacing villain by acting very casual about the entire situation.  Of course he had his playful side throughout the entire film which added to his role as the villain.  I can’t completely dislike the guy because he is so nice and funny, even if he wants take over the world.  Plus I like the whole evil army attack and all the action it created

Another reason why I like this film is that I got to see separate characters from solo films come together and to form one big group and one big movie unlike the Fantastic Four or X-Men that all started out as group movies. There is something very cool about that.  Plus they added in some of the minor characters from the solo films like Pepper Potts, Professor Selvig, Agent Coulson, etc.  It was cool to see all these people from different movies come together for one big one.  I liked how the story put the team together but you get the feeling that they don’t completely trust one another.  This theme pops up over and over in the movies going forward leading to this summer’s release of Captain America: Civil War, but it started here and it made for an enjoyable story to watch.  The only odd thing about this film is that this is the start of the odd love story between Black Widow and The Hulk, but it’s not the worst idea ever.  This is just a fun movie.

Number 3: Captain America: Winter Soldier

CAptain America tws  For me this movie is all about the story.  Despite the one minor plot hole, (If Tony Stark found out about all of the secrets of SHIELD in the Avengers, how did he not know about Hydra,) this story just had me going from beginning to end and left me wanting more.

First off we have the concept of Captain America not sure he wants to fight for SHIELD and having doubts about his life as a super soldier.  Combine that with all of the shady dealings going on within SHIELD and then the sudden murder of Nick Fury only seems to galvanize his desire to not want to work like this anymore.

Then we have the old nemesis HYDRA coming back to haunt Cap in the form of a mad scientist and high level people placed in SHIELD.  Maybe its my love of all things World War II that causes me to love this part of the plot line, even if it’s a fictitious storyline involving WWII, but the nostalgia of it makes me happy.

The action in this movie was particularly fun and I would say that this movie probably has the most action of any of the individual movies outside of the Avengers movies.  There are multiple scenes that have more than one hero fighting the bad guys.  Plus this movie had Black Widow, played by ultra hottie Scarlett Johansson, and she had an even bigger role in this film then she did in The Avengers.  She is an enjoyable kick ass super hero who isn’t a 100% good guy and she isn’t really a super hero in the sense she doesn’t have a suit or something flowing through her veins or is a Norse God.  She just is a super spy who saves the super heroes more than they save her.

Again it’s a fun movie with few issues and memorable characters.  It’s a better sequel to The Avengers then was the actual Avengers sequel.

Number 2: Iron Man

Iron ManI have already done a review of Iron Man and I will link it here.  Why it is currently my second favorite movie is that it is nearly perfect in almost every way.  In fact the things I don’t like about are small.  One of them is that they make the main villain, Obadiah Stane, a one off bad guy and kill him at the end of the film.  Of the many things I do like about the film is that this is all about Robert Downey Jr.  This role was made for him.  Although I have seen other movies with him in them, this will always be the baseline for his performances for me.

The thing that makes this so successful is the mixture of humor and action.  I feel that all of the MCU movies, with a few exceptions, have the right amount of that and that is what makes them so fun to watch.  The scene that had Tony Stark learning to use the Iron Man suit is so fun to watch it makes me giggle all the time.  Especially the first time when he flies into the ceiling falls and then his robot sprays him with fire extinguisher.

Another thing I like about the Iron Man movie is that we get to see some revenge and I like that in my action movies.  The scene where Tony Stark uses his suit for the first battle against the terrorists who are wiping out the town that was the home of the scientist who helped him escape them was satisfying to watch.    The fact that he is willing to dispose of the bad guy is a nice thing to see.

There really is nothing wrong with this movie for me.  As a child Iron Man was my third favorite super hero and fortunately the movie that was made for the character was wonderful.  My favorite super hero, Green Lantern, well we know how that movie went.  My favorite super hero movie goes with my second favorite hero and to me is still the standard bearer for all super hero films.

 

Number 1: The Dark Knight

dark knight I am going to start off telling you why this is my favorite super hero film by telling you what bothers me the most about it, Maggie Gyllenhaal.  As I stated in my number 5 favorite movie, I was not a big fan of Katie Holmes as Rachel because I didn’t feel like there was any chemistry between her and Christian Bale.  That being said every scene the Gyllenhaal is in just is painful for me to watch.  I find her to be obnoxiously confident for no reason, her timing is horrible, and I just don’t think she is a good actress.  The scene where she is interrogating Lau is painful and it lasts for 2 minutes.   At no time was she in charge in that scene, it was totally between Lau and Harvey Dent and there she was running back and forth like a messenger dog.  And this won’t matter for some but I find her highly unattractive as well.  Not that it affects her performance but at least I could have been watching an attractive woman act horribly, alas, that was not the case.

I love this movie for many reasons but the obvious reason is the performance that Heath Ledger gave as The Joker.  His performance, which I argue is the best character performance of all time, is iconic and one that won’t be forgotten.  How many phrases are still in our culture to this day?  There is the big one, “Why so Serious?”  Or maybe I imagine that he had more phrases that are used then and now than really are said.  But I could swear that I heard people say or saw posters of, “Introduce a little anarchy” and “I’m a dog chasing cars.”  At any rate the fact remains that for me almost every entrance he makes is memorable.  When he is still masked in the opening bank robbery scene and the mob bank manager asks, “What do you believe in?” his unmasking and quote “I believe whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you stranger.”  At that point I realized we were getting a different Joker than the one Jack Nicholson gave us in Batman.  That’s key for me because I though Nicholson’s Joker was awesome and couldn’t be beat.  His Joker is awesome, but pales in comparison to what Ledger brought.  Anyway, scene after scene Ledger stills it from the other actors or was his to begin with.  His entrance to the mob meeting where he does his magic trick, when he kills Gambol and says his infamous “Why So Serious?” line, his whole speech looking for Harvey Dent at his fundraiser and when Batman tells him to let Rachel go, the Joker says “Very poor choice of words” and he drops off the side of the building.  I could go on and on.  But I won’t because you get the point.  I believe Heath Ledger created the best character performance of all time.

Of course I felt everyone, outside of Gyllenhaal, were magnificent.  In my review, which is here, I was harsh on Christian Bale saying is performance wasn’t as good as his was in Batman Begins, but I now believe that he was just as good in this movie as in that one. it’s just Ledger ran rings around him and the rest of him.  The writing is key as well.  The writing of the characters allowed the actors to bring them to life.  I have talked about humor being important in super hero movies and there was some in this film, but at a much smaller level.  Actors need good lines to deliver and writers need good actors to give them the life they deserve and this film has both.

I also like the character development for Bruce Wayne.  As I mentioned above in Batman Begins I got the feeling that if push came to shove Bruce’s desire for revenge could send him over the edge. In fact it did in a way because he did not save Ras Al Ghul at the end.  In The Dark Knight we see that despite all that The Joker has done, when Batman could have let The Joker fall to his death he made sure to save his life.  I just like the growth of the character between two movies.  I know you can say that he let Two-Face die but Batman didn’t have a chance to save him as he had to save Gordon’s kid.  I felt that these character growths in the movie made it an even better film.

One last thing I will mention that causes me to love this film is the music.  I have always liked motion picture soundtracks.  My dad made me play a musical instrument when I was in elementary school and junior high.  Plus while my friends parents were listening to rock from the 60’s or 70’s disco music, my dad raised me on the big band era music and he had every album from the Boston Pops.  And being a child that loves Star Wars and Indiana Jones, its hard to like those movies and not think about the music by John Williams.  Well for me the soundtracks in all three Batman movies, created by Hans Zimmer, are the next best thing to anything Williams has done.  Not better, and not close, but no one else is close.  But for me, the next in line is this Batman music.  Especially in The Dark Knight, the music provides a sense of foreboding, sadness, melancholy, and hope.  The music that is played at the end of the movie when Batman has taken the blame for all of Harvey’s acts and we are hearing Commissioner Gordon’s speech gives me chills every time.  In fact there are times if I am in the right mood, and I don’t know what that mood is, my eyes will start to water.  Mind you I am not crying because that isn’t manly but I come close.

This is my favorite super hero film.  I don’t see anything surpassing it anytime soon but then again I never imagined what Heath Ledger could do for The Joker.  Now I will get to see what Ben Affleck does for Batman in Batman v Superman and what Jared Leto does for the Joker in Suicide Squad.  Hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised.

Honorable Mentions in no particular order

The Man of Steel –

Again I feel like I am in the minority in this one because I have seen other people talk negative about the film as a whole.  My review mentions how much people did not like Henry Cavill’s performance.  I liked it all.  I thought the tone was right in going a different direction than the Christopher Reeve era Superman films.  I liked the sense of “realism” in the film in that bad things will happen and while he gives us hope, Superman can keep everyone safe.  I am a big fan of the music as well.  Not a lot of humor in the film which is a little unfortunate but I can live with it.  My review for it is here.

 

Ant-Man

This movie for me is Iron Man light.  The plot in Ant-Man is virtually the same as Iron Man just switch out ex-con for playboy billionaire.   For me this movie is successful for the same reason Iron Man is successful and that is the lead actor in this film, Paul Rudd, is wonderful.   I like the concept of a tiny man kicking ass which is a switch because my childhood is filled with me watching movies of huge men kicking much ass in films.  As I mentioned in the review which you can see here, I wasn’t a fan of the female lead in the film Evangeline Lily and in the review I said that I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I didn’t like it and now I think I have figured it out and it’s going to make me sound like an asshole.  Here it is: her hairstyle in this film is not attractive to her face.  She needs long hair.  Not long like elf long in The Hobbit films but more shoulder length.  The cut she had for Ant Man just didn’t work for me.  Sorry ladies.  But I still love this film and it could have easily been my number five choice but that would be repetitive.

 

Iron Man 2

Speaking of repetitive here is Iron Man 2 in my Honorable Mentions list so that would be two of the three Iron Man movies and Ant-Man i.e. Iron Man Light that are 10 of my favorite super hero movies.  I won’t apologize for this but since I will need your forgiveness later you can say what you will about my having Iron Man 2 here.  I liked this film so very much because they took the Tony Stark character to the next level.  I liked how the biggest villain in this film was probably himself dealing with the fact that he couldn’t solve the problem of his machine that was killing him and keeping him alive.  As I said in the review, which is here, I also thought that Sam Rockwell was incredible as the very douchebag like Justin Hammer.  I also mention that I wasn’t a big fan of the character Whiplash played by the one handsome and now battered Mickey Rourke.  It just was an annoying character and I could barely understand his Russian but that’s because I can barely understand his English.  Boxing is more brutal than football for head injuries but where is the outrage?  Anyway, I also like Iron Man 2 because much like Captain America:  Winter Soldier this movie is a mini Avengers film in that we get to see two more super heroes other than Iron Man, War Machine, and the introduction of Black Widow who is played by ultra-hot Scarlet Johansson.  Ill just leave this here:

So yeah…Iron Man 2 awesome and could be number 5 but I went with Batman Begins instead. Now as you move on to the next Honorable Mention please give me the forgiveness I asked you to not give me for this film.

 

Green Lantern

I liked this film.  I am not going to apologize for it but I still want your forgiveness.  As I said in my review which is here, I thought this film was the best way to set up the lore of the Green Lantern Corp.  It’s an intergalactic police force you are going to need special effects to do a movie about them.  Now it doesn’t make my top 5 because the villains are either poorly chosen, parallax, or poorly portrayed, Hector Hammond.    In order to save the movie from the necessity of giving the background and history of the Corp, the producers should have made Hal Jordan, Green Lantern, go against his biggest enemy first, Sinestro.   Instead they gambled that this film would do well and they could make a second Green Lantern film and have Sinestro as the villain but that didn’t happen.  This film ended up being the last non DC Universe film to be made.  The success of Man of Steel gave the owners of the DC Comics movies the idea to use that as the starting point of the DC Movie Universe.  I understand why they did but because of that we won’t get a Green Lantern film for at least another 4 years and an appearance from a Green Lantern until the proposed Justice League 2 and that may even be John Stewart and not Hal Jordan.  That would annoy me because Hal Jordan is the only Green Lantern.  I mean he isn’t but it’s like fans of Captain America will say Steve Rogers is Captain America and not his replacement.  You can’t replace the defining character of the super hero and expect fans to be happy.  Every time DC has replaced Hal Jordan in its comic book of Green Lantern they book does poorly.  So they have to have Hal Jordan as Green Lantern.  I am getting off track because if you couldn’t tell, Green Lantern is my favorite comic book character.  I like him more than Iron Man and even more than Batman.  This is why this film is in the Honorable Mention list even though the film itself doesn’t really deserve it.  Deal with it, it’s my list.

 

The Crow

This is my only true out of the box super hero comic book movie.  Unlike my friend Benn whose list, which you can find here, has more than me, I went with the traditional ones for all but this one.  To be honest of all of the Honorable Mentions this one was actually Number 5 at one point.  But when there is a tie I go with the movie I have watched the most so I went with Batman Begins.  Another reason was on a recent visit to Best Buy I found the Blu-Ray of The Crow in the $5 bin and bought it and brought it home only to discover I had already done that some time ago and forgot all about it.  That being said I love this movie.  It’s Deadpool light.  The Crow, which I will do a review for someday soon, is about a man who is murdered along with his girlfriend and his spirit will not rest until he has his revenge on those who have murdered him and his girl.  The crow in the film is the living spirit totem, if you will, for the ghost that is the man who is seeking revenge.  Anyway the film came out in 1994 and the look and feel of the film was beautiful, in a bleak dire sort of way.  I was first shown the film by my Ex-wife who, when we were married, was quite the Goth girl, I say girls because she was 18, and lived the music and style of the film.  Now there is much more to that culture but that’s another conversation.  I will say that it was a fun movie and since I like revenge movies anyway this one was right in my wheel house.  The movie became part of Hollywood lore because the star of the film, Brandon Lee, tragically died during filming when a prop gun used in a scene fired a projectile into Lee killing him.  Brandon was the son of former Karate legend Bruce Lee who also died under mysterious circumstances.  Coincidentally Brandon’s death happened around the time where his fathers’ Bio-pic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, had been released and did well at the box office.  The Hollywood lore being that some think Bruce was killed by Chinese Triad and many other things instead of a reaction to the drugs.  The rumor was that Brandon was killed by the Triad for what his father may or may not have done.  All of this is bogus but made for good copy.  What this has to do with the movie is nothing.  The movie is great and I like it.  The backstory is entertaining.

 

 

 

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Iron Man 2.jpgSo here is the second Iron Man movie and the third installment in what became the Marvel Cinematic Universe MCU.  This is the first of those films that really embraced the concept that these movies are all tied together and while the star may be Iron Man or Thor or Captain America, other heroes will have parts in the film and be important.  The most important part of this film is that it gave us the hot, sexy, and deadly S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanov played by the hotter and sexier Scarlett Johansson.

We pick up the story in Iron Man 2 with Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man,) dealing with the consequences of his announcement to the world at the end of Iron Man that he is said Iron Man.   He has US Senator Stern, played by Gary Shandling (Over the Top,) who wants the government to take away his Iron Man suits.  He has a competing weapons developer Justin Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell (The Green Mile,) who is trying to keep his defense contract and develop his own Iron Man suits.  He has Ivan Vanko a.k.a. Whiplash, played by Mickey Rourke (Man on Fire,) who holds him responsible for the death of his father and develops his own suit that is powered by the same technology that powers the Iron Man suit.  Lastly, and perhaps his greatest enemy, is the power supply that is keeping the shrapnel out of his heart that he received in the first film.  The supply is creating a poison throughout his body and he is unable to find a cure.  His imminent demise has caused him to make some questionable choices and alienate everyone around him.

So when I first saw the movie I wasn’t as excited as the first Iron Man because I thought that the Whiplash villain was a downgrade over the War Monger/Obadiah Stane character in the first one.  In fact the first fight between the two only last so long because Tony is not in his suit for most of the fight.  Once he gets the suit on the fight is over in about 20 seconds.  Plus Mickey Rourke looks bad.  I thought that most of his looks in the film Sin City were makeup but a lot of it is actually Mickey Rourke brutalizing his body over the last 30 years.  I know he became a boxer but damn.

oldmickeyrourkeyoung Mickey rourke

But as I watched the movie more and more I realized that Vanko, Hammer, and the Senator really aren’t the villain in this film, it’s Tony himself dealing with the disease. I’m sure it may have been obvious to everyone else but it wasn’t to me.  So this is the basis for the fights he was having between his assistant/girlfriend Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man,) as well as his good friend Lt. Col. Rhodes, this time played by Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda,) and this fight creates the new super hero, War Machine, that we see in future films.  But the fact that Tony pushes away his friends to try and do this alone is a cool character development that was a nice addition to the franchise.

In addition to adding War Machine to the MCU we get the aforementioned ultra-hot, sexy, gorgeous Scarlett Johansson (The Island,) as Natasha Romanov/Black Widow.  She works for S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson (Kingsman: The Secret Service,) and she has more of a role in the film than Pepper Potts character and really becomes a star in her own right in this film.  She continues to get larger roles as the MCU continues its films as she played large parts in both Avengers films as well as Captain America: Winter Soldier, which yeah for men because even in fight scenes, and yes I know there is a stunt double, she is damn hot.

I would also like to give a shout out to both RDJ as Stark for constantly having to act with green screens and the such because there are so many special effects intensive scenes and to have to have so many close ups and make so many hand motions and movement in general and be so good at it has to be practice and a tribute to his skill.  The other shout out goes to Sam Rockwell for playing Hammer as a very enjoyable d-bag.  Every time he is on screen he is just impossibly annoying and funny.  The dance he has at the start of his Stark Expo presentation is excellent in is douchebag-ness, makes me laugh every time.

Ok, one more shout out to Don Cheadle taking over for the Rhodey roll from Terrance Howard.  It became news that Howard was going to have to take a pay cut to keep the roll and his pay went to RDJ and Howard didn’t like that.  While he wasn’t bad as Col. Rhodes, in my opinion, Cheadle brought more humor to the roll and I have never seen Howard in a comedic roll of any kind.  So again, Howard is not bad, but Cheadle is much better.

Oh and lest I forget, even though its a very small barely a 10 second part, the very gorgeous Olivia Munn (Ride Along 2,The Babymakers) makes a cameo as a reporter at the Stark Expo.  Yes, its important not to forget.

Since this movie is 6 years old most of the world has seen it and a great majority of those who saw it has it in their collection.  While I do like this movie I still feel it’s a step below the top tier of MCU movies Iron Man and Captain America: Winter Soldier.  But this is still a very good film and better than a lot of action movies out there.

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Iron ManAs of January 29, 2016, Iron Man is my second favorite Super Hero action movie.   I put the date stipulation in just because we have so many new super hero movies coming out over the next year that you never know what we will get.  This movie gave us back Robert Downey Jr. with a roll that was perfect for him and it was so successful that it helped launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that has given us so many wonderful action movies over the last 8 years.  Iron Man is a keeper and a good fun film.

Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr. (The Judge,) is the billionaire son of weapons developer Howard Stark and owner of Stark Industries.  While Stark is out in Afghanistan giving a demonstration to the United States Military on its latest weapon his convoy is ambushed and he is injured and captured.  While in captivity he discovers that almost all of the weapons in the hands of the enemy are from Stark Industries and he is forced by his captures to replicate the weapon he just demonstrated in order to go free.  Knowing that the terrorists will not set him free he goes about and creates a power source to help him with his injuries as well as power source for a machine that will help him escape captivity.

The star of the movie is Robert Downey Jr.  I find him to be the perfect combination of ego, narcissism, humor, and hero and damaged goods that this Tony Stark needs to be.  The cool thing is that no matter if he is acting like a egomaniac or pompous ass he is never a jerk.  I suppose if you are an angry feminist you probably don’t like the way he treats women but, I don’t care. As Tony Stark, RDJ makes a very likeable hero.  Maybe its type casting I don’t know but I don’t see how you can’t like him as Tony Stark.

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I am curious to know how much the producers of this film had the future in mind while the movie was in production. I am not talking about the “Easter Egg” at the end of the film with Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson (The Incredibles.)  With the whole “I am Iron Man” ending maybe they were just thinking about the trilogy that all successful movies seem to get these days.  Plus the next MCU film, The Incredible Hulk, didn’t make its money back at the box office, so how confident could the producers be in the success of the next movies.   They laid the foundation for Iron Man 2 but was the original plan for that movie to be the jump start into The Avengers?  Like I said I am just curious and its not that important.

Anyway, as for the rest of the cast I loved them all EXCEPT for the one guy that got replaced.  Mind you I don’t think Terrance Howard (Prisoners,) who played Rhodey, did a bad job at all.  I just think that his replacement was a better at it in Iron Man 2.  I was sad that they apparently killed off Obadiah Stane, who was played by old man Jeff Bridges (R.I.P.D.) In the MCU I believe he has been one of the best singular bad guys with the exception of Loki.  Oh and surprising for me is that Gwyneth Paltrow (Proof,) who played Stark’s assistant Pepper Potts, was quite enjoyable and fun to watch and not insufferable like she can be in most of the movies she is in.  So bonus!

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I have to mention the humor in the film because I believe it made the movie as enjoyable as the action sequences did. Most of it comes from RDJ and its him and not so much the writing because his wit and sarcasm is very much the same as his role in The Judge.  But it is wonderful to see him do his thing especially when he is test flying the Iron Man suit for the first time.  From the first test of trying to fly and hitting the back wall to the first flight in full suit, all hilarious and the use of area around him from his robots to the cars (that’s from the writing I’m sure) all added to it.  Humor is a big part of the film and it adds to it.

Iron Man is a great movie and I believe still the best movie in the MCU.  My only complaints are small and if you like super hero movies, you probably already have the Blu-Ray sitting in your collection.

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I have seen this movie twice and loved it both times, yet I can not express exactly why I like it so much. The movie is well written with a story that is real. This doesn’t make any sense because not only is this a cartoon movie, but it’s a cartoon movie about super heroes. However, I feel this is the best way to describe “The Incredibles,” real.

The story revolves around Mr. Incredible, Bob Parr, voiced by Craig T. Nelson (TV’s Coach) and his attempt at trying to live a normal life, because super heroes have been outlawed. He is married to Helen, Elastigirl, voiced by Holly Hunter (Thirteen) who is at home taking care of the kids Dash, Violet, and Jack Jack.

The government has put all superhero’s in hiding and gave them real jobs. The problem for Mr. Incredible is, he is more concerned about helping people than making money for his company. He then gets hired by a woman named Mirage, to help capture a robot her company has lost control of on an island. It turns out the robot was made to destroy Mr. Incredible by his child fanatic and now nemesis Buddy Pine, Syndrome, voiced by Jason Lee (Chasing Amy). Mr. Incredible finds out Syndrome has killed off almost all superheroes except for himself, his wife and their friend Frozone, Lucius Best, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction).

The story is great, because it deals with the real life scenario of how a person fits in today’s society when he or she is different. The struggle Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl have with each other and their environment is easily translated to the real world. There are also the underlining tones of what money does to people and the evil corporations of the world. However, nothing is so out of whack, making the comments unreal. This is amazing, considering we are talking about a cartoon movie.

The actors did a great job of interpreting characters’ emotions and providing the right comedic tone for the movie. I thought Jason Lee was perfect for the role of the nerdy villain. I also was turned on by Holly Hunter’s lisp given for Elastigirl.

Overall, I think this is one of the best movies of the year. The only thing I did not like was the animated short movie before the regular feature, called “Bound.” I thought it was a bad short, and I hope it doesn’t get nominated for an Academy Award®. However, it has nothing to do with the feature “The Incredibles,” so it’s more of a small annoyance. Go see it. The movie is everything it is cracked up to be.

Brian – the Naked Gun

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