Sean K. Cureton

Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Iron Man 2

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on May 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Iron Man 2

Directed by Jon Favreau

3 1/2 out of 4 stars

In 2008, the first Iron Man movie came out, and surprised viewers around the world with a film that was not only enjoyable, but was actually good. Robert Downey Jr. made a come back appearance as Tony Stark in the first film, a man so self-indulgent and obsessed with his own desires that the world around him goes largely unnoticed. He then has to reconnect with the world throughout the rest of the film, while at the same time developing the first Iron Man suit, which is treated as a sort of WOMD by other people around him.

Iron Man 2, the sequel to the 2008 blockbuster hit, takes up right where the first one ended, and does not disappoint in any way. Tony Stark, played again by Robert Downey Jr., is still just as narcissistic as he was in the original and is still just as entertaining. Downey is joined in this film by the likes of Mickey Rourke, playing the bad guy Whiplash, Don Cheadle, taking over for Terrence Howard from the first film, and Sam Rockwell, giving a hilarious turn as the slimy Justin Hammer. Other returning actors from the first film include Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and Jon Favreau as Hogan.

While the first film was certainly excellent, the sequel really gives the original a run for its money, and might actually be better than the original. Unlike the first film, where Downey Jr. was the star of the show, in the sequel, every performance given is absolutely stellar. Rourke gives a chilling performance as the spurned Russian physicist, Cheadle runs miles around Howard’s original performance, and even the cameo from Gary Shandling is great. Hands down, this has got to be one of the most fun action/superhero movies I have seen since Spider-Man 2.

Bottom line, Iron Man 2 is one of the most fun movies I have seen in a long time in the theatre. And more importantly, it is an example of great film making among the other numerous pieces of cinematic drivel that is also set to come out this summer (i.e. The Expendables, Kick-Ass). With the success of the first two films, here’s to hoping that there will be an Iron Man 3 in the near future.

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How to Fail At Satire

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on May 2, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Kick-Ass

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

2 out of 4 stars

With all the other super hero movies coming out over the past couple of years, it was only a matter of time before a full-blown satire of the superhero movie was attempted. It’s just too bad that it had to be Kick-Ass.

In theory, Kick-Ass could have worked. The basic plot of a misunderstood teenage guy, unhappy with his life, and longing for the girl next door is standard fare superhero plotline. Throw in a villain, a couple of other heroes, and a whole lot of action, and you have the basic plot of any average super hero movie. Now, you just have to flip what the audience expects to happen upside down. For example, the guy doesn’t get the girl, the villain wins, the hero is completely inept, etc.

Kick-Ass, unfortunately, did not follow this route. Instead, director Matthew Vaughn decided to take a more gritty approach, add a ton of violence and curse words, and try to recreate the Dark Knight in more ways than one.

For starters, the villain in this film is a sort of mob boss/business man who needs to get rid of the hero, Kick-Ass, in order to keep his operations under control. So he hires his son, played by Superbad’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse, to go undercover as a hero named Red Mist. Meanwhile, Nicolas Cage plays a cop who was sent to prison by Red Mist’s father on false charges. Since getting out, his wife has died, leaving him his daughter, Mindy, who he trains to be a super hero, who calls herself Hit Girl. Cage’s alias is called Big Daddy, and they represent the more organized crime fighting team that shows how inept Kick-Ass and Red Mist are.

To make a long story short, and to avoid giving away too much more of the plot, Mist betrays everyone, a final battle ensues, Kick-Ass wins the girl and the fight, and we all go home happy.

Now to get back to what was wrong with the film.

While the film was certainly enjoyable in its own way, the violence went way too far way too many times, and the whole movie felt disorganized and strange because of this violence. None of the characters were terribly interesting, as they all felt sort of recycled from other movies. All in all, the film just wasn’t very original, and fell short because of that fact.

However, there was one truly great aspect to the movie. The performances given by Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz, who played Hit Girl. They were truly hysterical, and their performances were nothing short of stellar. Nicolas Cage delivers as he always does, and Chloe Moretz shows that she has what it takes to survive as an actress.

Even though the film was not that great, director Matthew Vaughn should still be commended for the effort he put in to finding a distributor for the film that would give him complete artistic freedom to create the film he wanted to make. It’s just too bad that the film he made was so repugnant.