Catching Up

Oops! It’s been a while since I wrote anything for my blog. It’s not that I’ve forgotten, I promise; it’s just that everytime I think of something I would normally blog about, I get all tired and can’t be bothered.

Having been spending an inordinate amount of time at the Mana Bar, I haven’t really been going to all that many movies. It’s far more common these days for me to go home and shower and head over to the Mana Bar on a Thursday, than catch a movie.

My memory is shoddy at the best of times, but I think I’ve only seen three movies (at the cinema – I get 2 rental movies each week, but I’m only really interested in blogging about current stuff) since I wrote about Alice in Wonderland.

KICKASS: This movie was more interesting (to me) for the “controversy” (for want of a better word, the discussion was actually very short-lived and entirely civilised, held between people who a perfectly happy with the idea that people feel different ways about things) over this movie, than the movie itself. I didn’t enjoy it. Not like “Watchmen made me feel off-balance” didn’t enjoy it, but more a “why are you laughing?” didn’t enjoy it. We all know that my (lack of a) sense of humour rarely aligns with those around me, and if you did find the movie amusing, so be it.

When I walked out of the Watchmen movie, I felt a little squeamish. I had to spend a few days mulling over what I’d seen, but in the end I decided that the story had accomplished what it set out to do: it was supposed to be disturbing.

Kickass, on the other hand, takes a Watchmen view of the world of superheroes (the idea that it takes a rather screwed up kind of person to want to be a costumed superhero), and plays that for laughs. It is a very violent and rather dark comedy. These days, humour is becoming more and more of a minefield, with it being harder than ever to tell if a joke is going to offend someone (misogyny is funny, right?). If you’re okay with rape jokes, pedophilia jokes, and extreme humerous violence, then go for it. If any of these bother you, you might want to give this one a miss.

IRON MAN 2: I was a huge fan of the first Iron Man movie, which was also my introduction to Iron Man as a character. Robert Downey Jr was incredible in this role, and sexy to boot. Stark appealled to me in the same way that Batman had all through my childhood. Batman and Iron Man weren’t just the lucky bastards granted super-strength or super-speed or <a href=""super-mathematics; no, their super power was intelligence (ever since I was a little girl watching Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons, brains was a turn on [I love you, Donatello]). But I digress.

One of my favourite things about the second Iron Man movie was that the villian was smart. I’m not saying that Obadiah Stone was dumb, but he sure wasn’t “build an arc reactor in your basement” smart. Visually, Iron Man 2 was stunning, but we’ve come to expect no less. And Pepper Potts was beautifully characterised as the harrassed, exhausted, but ever strong foil to Stark’s irresponsibility.

Unfortunately, this movie didn’t make the impression on me that the first did. While the psuedo-sciencing was awesome, and the suits and battles and all the good things that come with an Iron Man movie, there were a few points that grated on me.

The initial plot point of the movie is that Tony is dying. As he gradually becomes more unhinged, he is painted as a very sympathetic character (and it did work, I was very much *gasp* “Tony, no!”), but I feel it doesn’t suit him. Most of what I know about Iron Man comes from Marvel’s Civil War series, and Tony is a dick. He’s a loveable dick, but he’s a dick. It seemed like a strange direction to take the character.

The other part that bugged me, and this paragraph contains MAJOR SPOILERS so you may want to skip ahead and just see how many stars I gave this movie, was the Howard Stark Hand of God that Solves All the Problems crap. I’m pretty happy to swallow most psuedo science (unless it’s particularly awful), sometimes I’ll make a joke and then let it slide. So, I’m perfectly happy to swallow Iron Man’s unobtanium element that will magically be perfect for just what he needs.

What I can’t overlook is the absurdly convenient “here take my MacGuffin” moment that just happened to be part of the bloopers reel to some superbly famous footage shot by his father. Apart from feeling that the “the answer was right here all along” approach to resolving part of the plot was a cheap tactic that smacked of poor writing, I feel that the characterisation of Howard Stark was, like Tony, a little off.

I understand that Tony’s perception of his father is skewed, as is the way of how we all view the world, remembered through the lens of who we are. But the big reveal of Howard’s “I did it all for you” is so far removed from Tony’s memory of his dad as to be almost alien. As if his dad had been intentionally setting out to deceive his young son into thinking his father was a cold bastard who hated him. Maybe he thought it would build character or something.

Overall, this movie was fun, and if you enjoyed the first, you will probably enjoy this one.

ROBIN HOOD: This is the 2010 remake with Russell Crowe as the hero “Robin Longstride”. This movie was a fascinating take on the tale, and using the origins angle that has been so popular nowadays. There is no robbing of the rich, no giving to the poor, no “Double the taxes! Triple the taxes! Squeeze every last drop out of those insolent – musical – peasants.” The ending clearly sets up a sequel far more in keeping with what we’ve come to know of the tale of Robin Hood.

There’s not much I can say about this one. If you like the whole Robin Hood thing, hire this one on DvD, it won’t be a waste of your time, but it will be a very different story. I enjoyed myself, and if the sequel does get made I’ll certainly be watching it on DvD, but I don’t think I’ll make a trip to the cinema for it.

Check out the Master List for details of my 6-star rating system.


~ by ghostwolfe on June 9, 2010.

2 Responses to “Catching Up”

  1. “Most of what I know about Iron Man comes from Marvel’s Civil War series, and Tony is a dick.” – Personally, I thought he came across as enough of a dick. Especially around Pepper. But I wanted to say that in the comics the major theme with Iron Man (apart from the suits) is alcoholism. ‘Demon in a Bottle’ is considered one of the definitive Iron Man comics. (there is a scene in one Civil War comic where he pours himself scotch, and it was a Big Deal.) So I really liked the way Tony turned to the bottle and was out of control in the suit.

    I have no issues with the way they portrayed Tony’s downward spiral, just the idea of him playing the “oh, poor thing” role. I don’t think it suits him.

    Robin Hood: From what I’ve heard, this is a similar thing to the Merlin TV series – far closer to the original source material than most people realise. I’ve only seen the trailer (the preview they had at Iron Man 2, actually) and it mostly made me think “William Tell in England!”

    People who say that the Merlin TV series is closer to the “source” material… I wonder what they consider to be the “source”. A merlin wasn’t a person’s name, it was a title. And, you know, the whole magic thing.

    • You’re right, ‘original source’ is a bad way to put it. Earliest source is better, but they (we) generally mean closer to the oldest recorded versions of the Arthur story-cycle.

      That said, google is not finding the discussions I was basing that on (I haven’t seen much of Merlin) – I’m sure I read a middle-english lit. student’s livejournal, who was rather amused at complaints of “they changed the story” since they’d changed it to match an older telling. Perhaps I was reading about the wrong Merlin TV series.

      Are you saying magic isn’t (wasn’t) real? D:

      Maybe you’re mistaking interest for disapproval? I said that it was different, not that it was bad. It was a very enjoyable story, just don’t expect to see a lot of dashing rogueishness and fancy bow-and-arrow work.

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