Even Longer, Even More Fun Iron Man 3 Spot

There is definitely something to be said for brevity — get in, make your point, get out — but then again, when you have Robert Downey Jr. on hand, why not milk it for you can?

So here is the “extended” version of the excellent Iron Man 3 Super Bowl commercial:

Iron Man 3 opens on May 3.

Saving Face for Hollywood Superheroes

What does this new photo from Marvel’s upcoming summer blockbuster The Avengers tell us about Hollywood suits and what they think of audiences? It reveals that studio suits are stupid — and they think you are, too!

In this scene, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) are standing shoulder-to-shoulder, ready for battle. Only Cap isn’t quite ready… because he doesn’t have his mask — a mask that serves to both conceal his identity as protect his head in throes of combat. Both sensible precautions.
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Review: Iron Man 2 (non-spoiler)

They don’t build ‘em like they used to, and they don’t make Iron Man movies like they used to, either. Iron Man 2 is basically more of the same — but slightly less entertaining. And that’s the movie’s only real flaw: It’s just not as fresh and original as the first film. If you loved the first one, you will be very happy with this one.

Robert Downey Jr. is still the center of the film, and he still plays playboy inventor Tony Stark as light a mixture between a petulant child, a nerd, Hugh Hefner — and Capt. Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. The self-indulgent Stark is (sort of) reined in by his coolly-efficient assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) — until he realizes that she really is better at doing his job than he is.

Stark’s job in this movie is to fend off rival industrialist Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), who could be Stark’s less-competent twin. Hammer teams up with Russian madman Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), who feels that his father was cheated by Stark’s father, Howard, and creates a supersuit of his own that employs energy whips to incapacitate his foes. Rourke certainly looks and sounds like a survivor of a corrupt Russian prison system, but Vanko’s motives are only barely hinted at — a weakness of the script, not Rourke, who gives it his all. He makes Vanko mad in the sense of being both angry and crazy.
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Review: Sherlock Holmes – the Game is Afoot!

Watson, Holmes and Adler

Sherlock Holmes is a big, modern blockbuster that puts a 21st-century gloss on a 19th-century character who has withstood the test of time.

The filmmakers have essentially gone back to the future with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his partner Dr. John Watson (Jude Law). I am not Holmes scholar, but I have a general familiarity with the character, and I can tell you that what the-powers-that-be have done is consult the source material, Doyle’s original stories, and picked up on several background elements – such as Watson’s service in Afghanistan and Holmes’ faculty for self-defense) and brought them to the forefront. Thus we get a Holmes who can crack skulls as well as he thinks with his own, and a fit, dashing Watson who conceals a sword in his cane. TPTB have likewise stripped away a lot of the barnacles that have attached themselves to the property. Gone is the deerstalker cap (popularized in stage and screen adaptations but never mentioned by Doyle) and overt cocaine addiction (replaced by a vaguely hinted-at taste for wild living; perhaps alcohol). Downey’s Holmes is much more of high-functioning party animal than a deep-thinking hermit; he feels more like Batman or even (wink, wink) Iron Man. However, that true Holmesian hallmark, deductive reasoning (which is actually inductive, but let’s not get into that) combined with an amazingly keen eye for detail, continues to figure prominently. And while this Holmes is a bare-chested brawler, he does puzzle things out before acting out. One recurring storytelling device allows us to enter Holmes’ mind as he plans out a detailed series of physical moves, and then executes them to perfection – presumably illustrating his mind-over-matter philosophy. In short, all the elements that should be in a good Sherlock Holmes movie are there; you just have to pay attention. And it all paves the way for chases, fisticuffs, gunplay, not-quite-damsels-in-distress, quippy lines and climactic battles with the fate of all England hanging in the balance. In short, it’s a summer blockbuster wrapped up with a pretty Christmas bow.
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