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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Summer 2013 movie block busters- Iron Man 3 lukewarm at best, Star Trek Delivers

What: Movie Reviews

Summer Block Busters

IRON MAN 3 Lukewarm at Best, Star Trek Into Darkness Delivers

              Well it may not be the official start of summer in everyone’s minds yet (can we say Memorial Day?) it is according to Hollywood whose blockbusters begin to role out the first weekend of May. This year we have two sequels that are leading the way and summer movies with a bang. On one end of the spectrum is Iron Man 3, the third film in the Iron Man franchise with Robert Downey JR as the big man in the iron suite, (four if you count Avengers). On the second end is the sophomore film to the sensational hit 2009 reboot of the Star Trek Franchise, both directed by J.J. Abrams. Abrams is now beginning to work on Disney’s Star Wars and according to many movie sites are planning to combine the two in an ‘Avengers’ type movie in a few years.
            But enough rumors. Lets start things off with the one everyone was all hyped up for-Iron Man 3. Robert Downey JR and most of the cast from Iron Man and Iron Man 2 return (Including Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Don Cheadle as War Machine although in this movie he’s Iron Patriot) to surprise their roles once again. Fairly new action director Shane Black takes the helms of putting together this super hero film, and to date is his second film he’s done with Robert Downey JR. The first was a critically acclaimed action thriller that restarted Robert Downey JR’s acting career several years ago named Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang which startled and surprised many movie critics and put an eye on Downey’s acting abilities.
              Shane Black knows his action, and Iron Man 3 delivers impressive action sequences and a few fairly descent set pieces as well. The CGI is top notch and special affects, especially when you get to see dozens of Iron Man suites flying together and bashing up against bad guys. I say dozens because there are literally an immense number of suites Tony Stark builds in this film that can operate by themselves without anyone actually inside them, which is pretty cool and impressive and the geeks will love the technical aspects of the film.
            Gwyneth Paltrow delivers a good performance as Pepper Potts, who is struggling with keeping a relationship with Tony because of how busy he is and his unusual behavior since the Avengers.
             Being in four Iron Man films, Robert Downey JR surprisingly gives a lukewarm performance as Tony Stark. I’m not saying it was horrible, but nor was it as good as his acting ability in the second Iron Man and no where near as good as the first. The one liners are there as always, but even these feel a bid tired and over used, especially with Tonys' reactions towards a boy he meets later on in the film that helps him out. Robert Downey JR should have put a bit more effort into the role and perhaps changing a few things up wouldn’t be a bad thing, and maybe even turning Tony’s character into a bit more serious role.
               The biggest Disappointment in the 3rd Iron man film is that of the villain’s role and character, the Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley. First off, the film hardly even braces upon the Mandarin’s originality of a villain as the first two films displayed so well with their villains as the Iron Mongrel in Iron Man and even whiplash in Iron Man 2. Those villains had heart, a touch of feeling where you would wish the hero of the film to squash their ever living brains out (which of course Iron Man did). However with Iron Man 3, the actual villain the Mandarin played by Kinglsey hardly gets any screen time, perhaps even less than 10 minutes over all. And most people know how good of an actor Ben Kingsley can be and when it was announced he would be playing this role it seemed like a perfect shoe in. Disney and Marvel should have let Ben Kingsley play the Mandarin to his full potential, and have a back round story to the villain like they did in the previous Iron Man films. And let’s not even get into who the Mandarin was in the Iron Man comics since most fans also know the Mandarin his Iron Man’s greatest villain, not some Budweiser beer drinking patriot as Iron Man 3 suggests.
              While the love story is still there and even stronger in this film between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, even this could have been done a little better. You could also tell that many of the shots were taking just so the camera guys behind the film could get a good picture by itself, such as when one of the Iron Man suites was sitting on the couch in Tony Stark’s mansion when Pepper Potts walks in.
           This Iron Man movie is also a completely different film than the Avengers and had no other super heroes in its roll, which actually was a good thing, and even Tony Stark’s character in the film was a bit annoyed when asked about the evens in New York. Iron Man 3 is its own movie, and to that regard, it should be respected as so and not connected with the Avengers despite it being filmed in time sequence directly afterwards.
             Overall, because of Iron Man’s 3 major setback with a good villain, the acting and shaky storyline, this unfortunately outweighs the action sequences and special affects. Being one of the most anticipated films of 2013, Iron Man 3 is Lukewarm at best. As a friend of my said, ‘This movie is Spider-Man 3 without the piano sequence’, and I can agree there with what he was saying. I maybe critical for this review as many other critics and fans loved the film, but I didn’t feel this movie lived up to the greatness of the first Iron man and was hardly as good as the second. With all that being said, I wouldn’t disagree with there being another Iron Man 3 as long as the storyline and characters changed just a bit.
Grade: C-
          If there’s one summer blockbuster you should see this summer, it should be no doubt Star Trek Into Darkness. (There is no column there!). Directed by J.J. Abrams, this is the sequel to the 2009 hit film Star Trek, also directed by Abrams, that rebooted the series. This film fallows the events of the first and has all the same characters and actors returning to fulfill their roles. Additionally, Benedict Cumberbatch joins the crew as the villain, the mysterious John Henry who Kirk, Spock and company must track down and return back to Earth for crimes he’s recently committed. At the same time, this new villain has a personal beef with Kirk that plays out throughout the film.
         Everything about this film is excellent, and it surely delivers the action onto the big screen. Like the first film, the movie doesn’t skip a beat from the beginning to the very end scene. There’s non stop action and you are at the edge of your seat throughout the whole movie. Star Trek Into Darkness also delivers powerful acting from nearly everyone on screen, especially Benedict Cumberbatch (Who played Sherlock Holmes in the new British version called Holmes beginning in 2009 on television) and a powerful performance by Chris Pine as Captain Kirk. As far as Zachary Quinto is concerned, he is the new Spock. One thing Abrams and the people behind the new Star Trek series have expertly managed is the casting. It’s the best casting I’ve ever seen in any movie up to date, besides maybe perhaps the Lord of the Ring films. Every actor is great for the roles they re create aboard the Enterprise. In this film, all of them seem to have their own shining moments, including John Cho who plays Sulu.
           The first 2009 Star Trek debuted to great reviews and gained even more additional new fan support for the series. Many enjoyed the film, and Star Trek Into Darkness is just as good if not better. J.J. Abrams has a knack for creating set pieces and blending in the action, and he does a fine job here, particularly the first set of the film where Kirk and Doctor Mccoy and the rest of the gang are on a mission on a planet trying to save a society from an erupting volcano. Also like the first film, this movie you don’t need to watch every episode of Star Trek or any of the previous films (including the 2009 one) to enjoy the movie. Everyone is invited to the party, as Peter Travers said. You don’t necessarily even need to know the back story of the previous Star Trek 2009 film because you can be pleased with the characters on screen because of who they are and what they do.
           That being said, it beneficial to if you do know the story or have watched the old Star Trek films because there are a lot of connecting characters and issues that J.J. Abrams have respected and returned for a newer generation of movie goers. Leonard Nemoy does make another surprise guest appearance as the old Spock, and for those of you that did watch the first film you would know he’s in the new series because of time travel. Not giving any spoilers away here because I’d likely be shot down by a Trekkie who reads this review, an old villain from the older star trek movie franchise does appear in this new movie.
           Overall, the new Star Trek movie is a great success. I highly recommend it to not just Trekkies but anyone going to the movie or drive in this summer and wanting to watch an actual good film versus some of the other mediocre and half effort block busters that will come out.  Star Trek Into Darkness has action, a great storyline, good acting from everyone involved and OF COURSE great special effects. I haven’t touched on this issue because we all know that with Star Trek comes amazing special effects no matter what. So what are you waiting for, put yourself into warp speed and sit aboard the Enterprise for a Wild Ride and its second go around this summer in Star Trek Into Darkness.
Grade: A+

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