The Summer of Meh

I love summer blockbuster season. I am marginally a film critic and I do enjoy good, prestige movies. I watch innumerable independent films as well but I love a big action movie and summer is the season for those. I had high hopes this year but it has not panned out very well.

Iron Man 3: The Disneyfication of Marvel. Forget Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan, the Black Widow, and War Machine, let’s give Tony Stark a cute kid sidekick. Can we call him Short Round?

The Great Gatsby: A film adaptation of a book where the director honestly didn’t understand what the book was about.

Star Trek: Into Darkness: The plot is utter nonsense but this was a lot of fun just the same. I mean really just the same.

Fast & Furious 6: The World’s Longest Runway. I’m just saying.

Epic: Generic

After Earth: Hmm I already used Afterbirth for Asylum’s take on this film so maybe Crash & Burn. Sorry Will – people like you but are apparently not so keen on your forcing your son on us. Another nail in Shyamalan’s career.

Man of Steel: The Anti-Superman movie – way to Kryptonite the franchise yet many people enjoyed it and the sequel will feature a non-Bale Batman.

World War Z: IF you can forgive it for not having anything to do with the book (hope you enjoyed the payout Mr. Brooks) and don’t mind a PG-13 zombie movie, it was pretty intense and intelligent.

Monsters University

Monsters University: Fun but not the classic that Monsters, Inc was.

White House Down: White House Dumb, Olympus Has Fallen part Deux

The Lone Ranger: Actually Tonto – the movie would have been a lot shorter if Tonto had let him die.

Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2: Fun but not as good as the first PLUS I had to endure innumerable McDonald’s Happy Meals to get the toys for umm my granddaughter – yes my granddaughter wanted them.

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim: Godzilla Meets Transformers but I still love monster movies. This could have been a lot better but was a bright spot this summer.

Red 2: More nonsense from folks who did not really understand what made the first one kind of, sort of, work. Still I love watching Helen Mirren kick butt.

R.I.P.D.: Men in Black 4, only supernatural instead of science fiction and poor CGI.

Turbo: Generic Cartoon 2: Electric Boogaloo

The Wolverine:X-Men 6 minus all the X-Men save two, and one of those is dead for the whole movie. The saving grace is the post-credits scene.

This was pretty much a summer with no new ideas. Of course the twelve-year-old boy inside of me enjoyed going to all of these movies even if the half-century old man knew most of them were duds.

A Late Iron Man 3 Review

Iron Man 3

First, I have to stress how grateful I am for this, the age of the comic book movie. I grew up with the TV series, The Incredible Hulk, being the pinnacle of what could be achieved with the Marvel Universe. The new integrated Marvel movies are simply wonderful.

Still I have to rag on Iron Man 3. Iron Man 3 is fun if you check your brain at the door and it suffers unfairly for being the first after Whedon’s masterpiece, The Avengers but it is a pretty awful sequel.

My wife is an accountant and a darn fine one if I may say so. I value the profession but I have rarely seen a movie that smacks more of being made by bean counters than Iron Man 3.

A child factors majorly into the picture, presumably to show that Disney touch. He is a decent enough child actor but it smacks of trying to capture the youth market. As usual there is plenty of product placement throughout the film.

Obviously, comic book movies tend to skew heavily male. To combat this, Pepper Potts’ (Gwyneth Paltrow) role has been considerably beefed up in Iron Man 3. This is a very good decision and has a nice payoff towards the end of the film but I think the decision was made demographically and not say, thematically.

For the nerds, we have a wonderful after-credits sequence with a surprise guest star. For the hardcore Iron Man nerds, we have a look at a large number of alternate Iron Man suits, including one that looks like the Hulkbuster.

Iron Man 3 has one of the stupidest plots ever. You have not one, not two, not three, but four separate characters at four separate times placed in, as Dr. Evil would say, unnecessarily slow dipping mechanisms. Yes, the good guys get captured at a near constant rate and the villains keep them alive to explain their evil plans. Don’t worry though one of the major villains kills a minor villain to presumably show that they are evil. This is unbelievably lazy screenwriting.

There are three scantily clad young ladies, I.e. eye candy, that are not apparently evil yet are strangely in a position to know all about the evil plot without doing anything (as is a fourth character but no spoilers). The entire last act makes absolutely no sense but, again, no spoilers. Let’s just say that there is almost no aspect of the chief villain’s plot that makes a lick of sense.

The only redeeming qualities are the cast and some nice action sequences. Robert Downey Jr. spends a lot of time out of the armor. As in Avengers, Paltrow spends a lot of time barefoot so she doesn’t tower over Downey yet she wears high heels in the presence of Rebecca Hall to assert her dominance. Fun but dumb is okay for summer I suppose.

Iron Man 3 and Best. Display. Ever.

Iron Man Marathon

I went to the Iron Man marathon yesterday (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Avengers in 3D, and Iron Man 3 in 3D) and, of course, had a thoroughly relaxing time. I had never seen The Avengers in 3D. The 3D was nice, stunning in some scenes as when Nick Fury is hovering in midair via the glass floor on the helicarrier. Unfortunately for every stunning sequence of depth, there would be a moment of action that was blurry/blurrier from the 3D.

I had the special $5 combo and upgraded my drink to a large bucket of Coke (with a FREE refill) for $0.50. In the evening I had my usual marathon flight of hot dogs (four mini-dogs in a plastic tray for $0.75 more than their price for a single dog). Naturally. we were treated to previews of The Wolverine and Thor: The Dark World.

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 is a lot of fun but is definitely a mess. The trailers are misleading as this Iron Man is very light and fluffy. There are too many instances of placing Tony or Pepper in the unnecessarily slow dipping mechanism and the overall plot makes almost no sense but there are a couple of great action sequences and a lot of comedy. Don’t forget to stay through the credits for the bonus scene.

Comic fans may or may not enjoy seeing the Extremis storyline integrated into Iron Man 3. I write integrated because adapted is too strong. They take many ideas from Extremis but miss the whole point of that story arc.

And now for the best movie display ever. I saw this in the lobby of the Biltmore Grande 14 advertising Despicable Me 2.

Despicable Me 2It’s Whack-A-Mole with six of the Despicable Me minions. There is a mallet attached to the right side of the display.

FREE Iron Man 3 and Marathon

Iron Man 3The summer season is almost upon us. My summer movie season will start with Regal’s Iron Man marathon on May 2nd. A list of participating Regal theaters is here. The marathon is $30 for members and comes with a coupon for a $5 medium soda and popcorn combo. Advice: When you get your combo, ask them to upsize your drink so you can get the FREE refill to last you all day. Same with the popcorn if you are a big popcorn eater.

1:00 p.m. Iron Man

3:30 p.m. Iron Man 2

6:00 p.m. The Avengers in 3-D

9:00 p.m. Iron Man 3 in 3-D

AMC will also have a marathon. AMC attendees will get Iron Man 3 3D glasses. Participating AMC theaters are here.

Red Baron

* If you don’t want to go to the marathon, you can always score a FREE ticket for Iron Man 3 at the grocery store. Specially marked boxes of Red Baron, Freschetta, and Tony’s pizza as well as Pagoda asian food have an offer. Four boxes net you a FREE movie ticket. The advertising is for Iron Man 3 but the ticket can be used for any movie. Limit two offers per household.

* Subway is also having a promotion with their kids meals. It is a sweepstakes with a 1 in 25 chance of winning.