Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron-Man-3Roze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

(Spoilers)

The third installment of the Iron-Man series directed by Shane Black gives us a vulnerable Tony Stark post Avengers. Still hung up on the New York attacks not too long ago, Stark suffers from anxiety attacks and insomnia. His obsession with the Iron Man suits hits new heights as he restlessly tinkers left with an excess of suits. Creating fear in the eyes of the American public is newly established villain The Mandarin, who has bombed countless locations with the aim of exposing America’s corruption. His next bomb puts Happy Hogan former Stark bodyguard into hospital. Rashly giving away his home address to the media and ultimately The Mandarin, Stark may have just created new demons.

What I like about the Iron Man series so far is that in each film Tony Stark grows as a person. We see him develop as the films pass which ultimately keeps him interesting and engaging as a character. No doubt he is probably the most popular Avengers character so far just because he fails to get boring. In the first film we see him experience a traumatic kidnapping which opens his eyes to the business he’s in. It pushes him to change his moral values and his business ethics in order to prevent world violence. Creating the Iron Man helps him make up for years of bad business but also to protect him from the villains he has. Iron Man 2 exposes an over confident Stark, he feels immortal to danger and is ignorant to the thought of others greater than him. He’s invented an even bigger rock star persona which leads him to alcoholism. The pain beneath that hard exterior. Once realizing that there are people with special abilities just as powerful as Iron Man he is brought back down to reality. To become a respectable hero he must put others in front of himself, which is concluded in The Avengers film.

In this third installment Tony Stark is in the process of having a fresh start but first he must overcome his anxiety. The alien attack has affected Stark more than you would expect as living in a world which he once knew is now absolute. He learns that the suit doesn’t define him but he defines the suit. It takes a while but his revelation helps rid of the anxiety and tackle his demons head on. Shane Black freshens up the Iron Man series with a much more engaging sequel where Stark is glorified and not the suit. The action is better and so is the comedy.

I think the prospect of having The Mandarin in this film was a huge turn on for all the fan boys out there since he is one of Iron Man’s main enemies. He is also one of the more interesting ones. In the comics he gets hold of these alien rings which he spends most of his early years trying to master. He eventually figures them out and is able to use each ring for different things, for example ice blasts, fire blasts, mind manipulation, electromagnetic rays, disintegration beam, black light, etc. Cool things like that. From the trailer, personally I was freaking excited at the idea of this villain, and I had no knowledge of him at all. He had a menacing voice, genuine look to him and he was being played by Ben Kingsley. I’ll be honest I didn’t do too much research into the villain before going in which is why when we see that Ben Kingsley is actually just a decoy for Guy Pearce’s character I wasn’t too disappointed since for most of the film we just see him sit and talk. He looked cool but we don’t see him do anything impressive. Of course this wouldn’t have been a good thing for any fanboys. For me it was quite a shock but also hilarious. After researching his abilities I think it’s a villain wasted but it didn’t harm the film in any way.

Guy Pearce is always a joy to watch on screen, he’s especially slick, coy and menacing as Aldrich Killian. He is of course the demon Stark makes 13 odd years ago when he ditches him at the roof of a hotel. Killian reinvents himself into successful business man at AIM. He invests into a human regrowth program called Extremis which is anything but stable. As a villain, he’s nothing new, we’ve all seen these pompous, well dressed villains on the screen before, which is another reason why decoying The Mandarin was a miss. But then again he does breath fire.

The lead up to the big boss showdown was great, we see Tony use his wits and mechanical brain to save the day with little help from the suits. Of course they come in handy at the end. What I thought the past films lacked was a good Iron Man vs Villain showdown. This film had a great build up, some good sequences but at the end of the day Iron Man didn’t have the last punch. It just felt off and annoyed me a little that Pepper was the one that ultimately finished Killian off. I mean I can get over it but I just didn’t see the appeal and any reason for it. We go to Iron Man films to see Iron Man beat the shit out of the villains not Pepper. Also when Killian reveals him self as the Mandarin, we don’t really believe in it. It’s not the awesome reveal that I think it intended to be.

For an action film this is definitely a must watch. The sequences may not be anything groundbreaking but they definitely get out hearts racing. From the destructive attack on Tony’s home to the Airplane explosion. Definitely the best action film you will see this year. We get to see heaps of different suits that Stark has made during his anxiety period, their utilized in new ways and have new tech which makes for entertaining sequences when they are on the screen.

One thing that I wont forget from this film is its great theme tune. Past marvel films really lack a good theme song or one that fits. Once the credits hit the screen and that tune started playing, it really gave Iron Man films a comic book film identity.

Overall for a comic book film its incredibly solid and rewatchable having seen it four times now. It has purpose, clear character growth, logical action sequences and enough destruction for us to be pleased with. It’s a great addition to the Iron Man series and would be an exceptional last.

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Skyfall (2012)

skyfall_a

Roze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

This time round the story is centred round James Bond and his loyalty towards M, forcing him to come out of hiding after a failed mission. MI6 is under attack by a mysterious villain who has managed to get his hands on extremely sensitive data which could put British intelligence agents in danger. The more they find out about the villain, the more they realise that he has a strange interest in M, which could put the agency and her life in danger. James Bond meets his match as he tries his best to get one step ahead of his enemy.

The newest edition of the Bond franchise brings a gritty, dark and incredibly polished film, making it one of the best made Bond films ever. It may be technically better than its predecessors, but it still seems to fall short to Casino Royale, but only by a bit. The location shots were incredible and remained incredible throughout the film. You could tell a lot of work went towards finding those perfect locations and the attention to detail aided the success in making them look stunning and extremely sexy. It’s definitely one of those films you have to watch in HD and would make a perfect addition to anyone’s Blu-ray collection. It’s hard not to appreciate the polished aesthetics which you will notice from the traditional music introduction, which will stand as one of the best music intro’s for a bond film to date. It was clean, innovative and really nice to look at, I was literally in a state of awe.

Skyfall totally triumphs in terms of the dialogue, bringing it back to its British roots, exuding sarcasm and good old British wit. This is what Quantum Of Solace missed out on. M and Bond had genuine chemistry in this film, which is what I haven’t seen explored before in the Bond films I’ve watched. They’re both snappy with their replies making for a humorous and fun listen.

The plot is smart and interesting, aided by Bond’s antagonist who is a lot more memorable than past villains. Bond definitely found his match in Silva (Javier Bardem) who is always a step ahead. The villain is one of the major highlights of the film because Javier Bardem puts in an amazing performance playing this insane character who has an obsession with making things right with M. It’s such an unusual and crazy character that it’s actually brilliant. James Bond is of course gritter and darker than ever, which shows in his rusty attitude towards missions. It seems that due to the ending of Casino Royale, the Bond character has been moulded to a specific tone, a dark, gritty, no nonsense James Bond, and it totally works for Daniel Craig. There’s a certain vulnerability that I’ve not seen from past Bond characters and that makes him a more compelling character, and you realise that he is actually human sometimes driven by his feelings. Props to Daniel Craig who has, in my opinion, played this character to perfection making the character his own. There’s some pretty cool appearances as well by Ralph Fiennes, Naomi Harris and Ben Whishaw, which are worth watching for, and make for a promising sequel as they all seem to be sticking around for future films.

The action scenes were realistic and engaging and were stylish at times, continuing the polished aesthetics of the film. But that’s what Daniel Craig has brought to the films from the start, a more believable character with realistic fighting scenes showing true brutality with his kills. Despite that, I think that’s where the film was a let down. It lacked proper iconic, large scale action sequences which Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace had. There were some big explosions here and there but it needed more in my opinion, and then it would have been a perfect film. Luckily everything else about the film compensated for the lack of action and still makes for an incredible watch.

I just hope that Daniel Craig has the capacity for at least another two films, because this character is truly one of my favourites at the moment, and he just seems to fit the role so perfectly. Although, I do think the next films need to be a lot more light hearted and fun, we’ve already had three fairly dark films and I think it’s time for a film filled with gadgets, over the top action and a freaking creepy villain wanting to destroy the world. Thanks to the introduction of Q and Eve I reckon the sequel will give us those gadgets we’ve missed and some sexual innuendo, WOOP.

Argo (2012)

argo-image06Roze-Rating: 5 / 5 

Ben Affleck directs his third film following the successes of “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town”, and doesn’t fail to impress this time round with arguably his best piece of directorial work yet. He takes on a film based on true events which occurred in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution, who were outraged by American support towards the overthrown Shah. In retaliation to the Shah’s fleeing from Iran, a crowd of Iranian revolutionaries raided the American Embassy taking the majority of the American staff hostage, but six managed to escape, taking refuge at the Canadian Ambassadors house. During this crises plans had developed from the CIA to rescue the six unknown escapee’s, only to realize that non of their idea’s were actually viable. It took CIA specialist, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to come up with the next “bad” idea which turned out to be the best of the bunch. The elaborate plan consisted of developing a fake sci-fi film during its production stage so that the six hostages and himself could portray a film crew going into Iran for a location scout. Only that pretending the film crew had entered the country with him and leaving two days later would be bigger than just a white lie.

The film consists of two tones, a comedic and dark tone. During the planning stage of the rescue, which take’s place mostly in Hollywood is the more light hearted mood, which old timer Alan Arkin plays to comedic perfection, stealing most of the laughs. It was great to see John Goodman and Arkin together, playing the experienced boys in the film industry, which really created a good contrast to all the seriousness based in Iran. Once the tones switch to the setting of Iran, there is a much more claustrophobic feeling which is perfectly captured through filming and the performances of the six escapees. I really liked how the film transitioned between these tones, making the film flow smoothly and reminding the audiences that failure remains the most likely outcome.

There was something very genuine about this film, and it had to do with the filming and attention to detail. The fact that you felt as though you were actually in the late 70s possibly watching a 70s film just entices you more. The costumes, hairstyles and props were amazing, evidently shown during the end credits as they compared pictures of the actual people they were portraying with the actors. There was also something very 70s about the filming, there was a certain grain to the picture which gave it a more classic look as opposed to a crystal clear picture. It also helped fit in the real life footage with the film footage, effectively making them both feel connected and set in the same time. This film doesn’t contain adrenaline pumping action but consists of probably the best nail biting scenes you will see in film, which is totally aided from the filming. From the close up reaction shots to the shaky camera work, it all blends together to make something ultimately heart pounding. The scenes where the escapees are together debating their fate, were also my favorite scenes, because you can sense their panic and despair.

The whole cast are amazing and each important character had something special about them. I think the six escapees stole the film in terms of their performances, because they worked together so perfectly that you believed their emotions and their panic and their diminishing hope. Each scene where they are all together exudes pure realism, which I thought was pretty unique in films of this genre. Alan Arkin and John Goodman put in the comedic aspect of the film with their comedic timing. Bryan Cranston gave it his all during the last scenes which lives as one of my favorite performances by him, and Ben Affleck, solid as always. Overall solid performances, can’t fault that.

When looking back at the film in terms of plot, the story line is actually very thin, and doesn’t contain much substance, which is just a huge testament to the importance of filming style, because without the influence of Ben Affleck and the filming crew, this film would have been very unsatisfying. Great film.