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Back from the movies... - moonspinner
Back from the movies...
I didn't think I'd ever see the inside of a cinema again and now, I'm not only back from a double viewing, I have the time and the enthusiasm to do reviews. He he.

Spoilers ahoy!

Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr.

There were obvious shades of Transformer in this movie: the desert missions and the giant robot-man at the end of the movie. Tony Stark is a more charismatic hybrid of Batman and Q from the James Bond films. I liked the character-defining scenes where he seduces Christine into bed, then Jim into a good time. It was a cute "show, not tell" way of defining Stark as a man people didn't say no to and it worked. I didn't find his overall arc very interesting though. He saw his weapons being used by the bad guys so he decided to become a weapon against the bad guys. There are some murky ethical issues there that would make this review even longer than it already is. :P

The antagonists could have been handled a great deal better. Having not one, but two un-conflicted bad guys just padded the story. The Afghans terrorists were two-dimensionally stereotyped - stupid, greedy, evil and cowardly. Jeff Bridges' character made sense as the greedy Wall Street terrorist/weapons dealer who uses others to do his own dirty work. Why he decided to done the Iron Man suit and go crazy on the metropolis was nonsensical. I was actually disappointed that it wasn't revealed he was behind Stark's parents' death.

On the upside, I enjoyed watching the characters of Jim and Yinsen. Jim was a good friend - almost too good to be true. I wouldn't have taken being stood up at that Award Ceremony so lightly. I lol'd at the scene where he takes a look at the second Iron Man suit and then says, "next time." There's an interesting relationship there. If I wrote fan fic, that'd be the relationship I'd be exploring. Yinsen was definitely too good to be true. I knew he won't make it out of the camp five seconds into his meeting with Stark. I liked seeing a good Afghan for a change but there's still the part of me that sees him as more stereotyping - the Afghans were all either 100% good or 100% evil, no shades of grey, no attempt to define the reasons for their war beyond World Domination.

As for the XX factor, it's not by much because they both have issues, but give me the ruthless Christine over Saint Pepper any day. In the unlikely event I get into the fandom, I'd be shipping Stark/Christine and not just because I'd like the bad girl to win. Unlike Chloe Sue Pepper who just frets over her boy getting hurt, Christine actually challenges Tony to take responsibility for his WoMD. From a relationship point of view, that is a more equal partnership and it miffed me that her role in his hero's journey was downplayed/ignored because apparently, she didn't fit Hollywood’s token heroine chastity requirements. As for the heroine herself, it was great she didn’t become a damsel in distress and all, but Pepper lost me with the "take out the trash" line.

88 minutes

This a mystery thriller so there isn't much of anything I can reveal without spoilers.

So once again: Beware of Spoilers!!!

For a mystery, it was quite fair. I think they could have played up the possibility of Forster's innocence for a more dramatic impact. I Totally Called the Blonde Chick as the murderer! It was a classic textbook clue - the cries for help, the attacked who mysteriously vanishes into the car park - an attacker whose M.O. has always been home assaults. There were some unfair red herrings: The eye contact between Dr. Grahm's escort and Kim's ex-boyfriend/husband implied a relationship that turned out to be non-existent. Also, no reason was given for Kim's sudden decision to leave the escort's apartment - and it's physically impossible for Blonde Chick to have bodily taken her from there even under duress.

As a thriller, I guess it worked. I'm too jaded to give a fair assessment though. I thought the murder scenes were graphic and horrendous and it's particularly nasty during the first few minutes of the movie.

I am still thinking about the murderer's motivations and her decision to give up her free will to her lover. Was Blonde Chick already crazy and did Forster just provided one out of many possible outlets for her deep-seated mania? Left on her own, would she have become another mass murderer? Or could she have been saved? Did Forster destroy a woman's soul while in prison?

On a lighter note, it was good to see Benjamin MacKenzie again, better known as Ryan from the O.C. I kept calling him "Ryan" throughout the movie. Heck, he was even wearing one of Ryan's shirts.

Current Mood: chipper chipper

6 comments or Leave a comment
knight_ander From: knight_ander Date: May 20th, 2008 01:15 am (UTC) (Link)
but Pepper lost me with the "take out the trash" line.

I loved the "take out the trash" line!! Every man needs a "Saint Pepper" in their life. :p
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: May 21st, 2008 08:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Most men are born with Saint Peppers. They are generally called "Mom". :p
knight_ander From: knight_ander Date: May 21st, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good point. :)
selenak From: selenak Date: May 20th, 2008 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Having not one, but two un-conflicted bad guys just padded the story.

Actually, it was a set-up for the sequel. The organization was called "Ten Rings" which if you're an Iron Man reader means their leader will end up becoming the Mandarin, who is Tony's main arch nemesis in the comics. Similarly, Jim Rhodes' "next time" is that kind of set up - in the comics, Rhodey takes over as Iron Man for a while, during the so called "demon in a bottle" storyline - Tony Stark is probably the first comics character who got a plausible alcoholism story, in that his alcoholism got out of control, he was unable to do anything but drink for a while, he made his first attempt to quit, fell of the wagon, then made his second and hasn't drunk since, which in bendy comics time means about six or seven years, but the fact he's an alcoholic with the control and manipulation issues is an important part of the character. Anyway, after Tony sobered up and became Iron Man again, Jim Rhodes went on to become a superhero in his own right, with the somewhat embarassing title "War Machine".
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: May 21st, 2008 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, it was a set-up for the sequel.

Now that explains a lot. I'd really love to see Jim Rhodes in a suit. Props to the comic book creators for really exploring a superhero with a habit. That must have taken some guts.

Who did Stark end up with - Pepper or Christine?
selenak From: selenak Date: May 21st, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Neither. He doesn't have a One True Love interest the way Spider-man has Mary Jane or Superman has Lois Lane. With Pepper, there was some flirtation but they mutually decided it would be a spectacularly bad idea, just as in the movie. They're still great friends, though; she married his chauffeur and friend Happy Hogan (he's in the film, but barely gets any lines; in the comics, he's as important as Jim Rhodes in terms of closeness to Tony). Christine is vaguely based on a male reporter, so no comics precedent there. The longer-term girlfriends Tony has usually end up dumping him or getting killed; the two most interesting ones were Rumiko (Japanese businesswoman; had an affair with his rival, then they reconciled, then she got killed by a villain) and Bethany Cabe (she dumped him). Also, he had a barely even subtext intense relationship with Steve Rogers/Captain America, and is friends with the actor who played him (Tony, that is) on tv in a series; the two are rumored to have had an affair, and neither Henry (that would be the actor) nor Tony ever denied it, so you might say Tony Stark is one of the few Marvel characters who is more or less openly bisexual. More importantly, Henry quit drinking first and became Tony's sponsor at AA, and Tony later gave him a job in a superhero team when there weren't any more acting roles.
6 comments or Leave a comment