Posts Tagged ‘iron man’

by Andrew Mooney

Thor: The Dark World (2013) – Alan Taylor (Dir.), Chris Hemsworth, Chris Hemsworth’s Abs, Chris Hemsworth’s Chiseled Jaw, Chris Hemsworth’s Back, Chris Hemsworth’s Baby Blues into which the Souls of Mortal Hetero Women Have Cascaded into a Furious Epidemic of Blue Tubes, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgaard, Jaime Alexander, Rene Russo, Chris O’Dowd, Ray Stevenson, Anthony Hopkins, Anthony Hopkins’ Body Double So He Can Spend the Day in His Trailer Sucking on a Teat Filled with a fine Chilean Chianti

Natalie: "Is Anthony Hopkins looking at my ass?" Thor: "YOUR arse? Have you even SEEN me?"

Natalie: “Is Anthony Hopkins looking at my ass?”
Thor: “YOUR arse? Have you even SEEN me?”

Ah yes, the Kingdom of Marvel has trotted out one of its lesser champions once more. This time: the eminently lickable and not-in-any-way-turning-me-gay dreamboat that is Chris Hemsworth’s utterly uncharismatic titular Thor. Now, about two years ago, before I had this blog, I charged from the movie theater frothing at the mouth after witnessing Kenneth Branagh’s ham-and-cheese scenery-chewing feast that was the original Norse-hero flagship. It was clear that the poor nerds over at the Marvel juggernaut had zero ideas on how to approach the most absurd chapter in The Avenger’s almost Sisyphean build-up. For some reason, in between coming up with men turning into angry big green monsters and mouthy teenagers getting bitten Jeff-Daniels-in-Arachnophobia-style by inexplicably radioactive spiders, Stan Lee said to himself, “I don’t have any more ideas right now. I mean, I think I’ve run through every animal and DC rip-off I can do…why don’t I just fucking steal an entire mythology?” Luckily aliens with infinitely dense hammers and really gay rainbow bridges beat out his other possibilities such as: Osiris with magical embalming skillz! Or perhaps even Shiva: The Bitch With Too Many Hands (note to self: awesome comic book idea). But no, we were offered a bemusing retelling of Henry IV, just with Frost Giants, indestructible robots, and a bad guy who wears a helmet that looks like a mountain goat after a visit to Bling Night in Boy’s Town.

"I'm confused...so is Loki king of golden dildos? I think he is. I'm going to make him king of golden dildos." Tom Hiddleston on the origin of genius.

“I’m confused…so is Loki king of golden dildos? I think he is. I’m going to make him king of golden dildos.” Tom Hiddleston on the origin of genius.

No. I did not enjoy Thor. Marvel had no idea how to marry a flamboyant romp through various realms of the universe with Iron Man’s pseudo-realistic character study. How do you solve this? That’s right, hire the fucker responsible for the slow motion CGI spear at the end of Hamlet…you know, the uncut 4-hour shitshow where Jack Lemon does to the Bard what I do to the French language (let’s just say ex-President Sarkozy won’t be inviting me round for a croissant anytime soon); the guy who not only directed and produced it, but also starred in it. I half expected the goateed British bastard to show up as EVERY CHARACTER. Also, Kate Winslet’s boobs. But that’s because she is legally obligated to show them in every movie ever. So, what does the Branagh do with Thor? Well, his job. He made it more glittery and Hopkins-ish than a Ke$ha/Silence of the Lambs themed rave. It was confusing. Tonally, it wasn’t just all over the map, it WAS the fucking map. We have ironic, flat hipster humor from Kat “I Have Boobs” Dennings, flashes of greatness of a man who’s diet is composed of nothing more than set dressing, Tom Hiddleston, as well as the best “I’m Getting a Fucking Paycheck” performance from Natalie “I Really, Really Don’t Have Boobs. Have You Seen Black Swan? Yes, the Groping Scene Confused Me Too. Is it Groping if There’s Nothing to Grope?” Portman since Anthony Hopkins was in Thor 2: Into Darkness.

"FOR THE LAST TIME, CHRIS, THOR DOESN'T SURF. STOP TRYING TO MAKE HIM SURF!" ~ Director Taylor fighting a losing battle.

“FOR THE LAST TIME, CHRIS, THOR DOESN’T SURF. STOP TRYING TO MAKE HIM SURF!” ~ Director Taylor fighting a losing battle.

But, guys, time passes. The Avengers happened. It seems that Mr. Hemsworth, a man whose very presence in this movie could be considered lewd and provocative (no joke, the theater applauded during his first shirtless scene. Notice how I said ‘first’?), has had time to settle into the duality of his character. It helps when you have Joss “Bitch, Please” Whedon helming you at some point. Unfortunately, Alan Taylor, of Game of Thrones fame, isn’t up to quite the same standard as Mr. Whedon. On countless occasions he forgets that this is an action movie and not a story enamored with the intricacies of mythological politics. Also, he must have had the job of having to prod Sir Hopkins whenever he was meant to speak, seeing as the guy somnambulates his way through every freaking frame of film. To combat the utterly incredulous battshitery of the first film’s almost Gilbert and Sullivan-esque bombast, he has cured the scenery chewing by simply adding so much goddamned scenery that Mr. Hiddleston would die of asphyxiation before he can gobble the thing down. Throughout the film’s lagging and nearly nonsensical first half, we are offered an expansive and intriguing look into the sure-to-be-a-Disney-ride fantasy of Asgard. Seeing as these days Marvel only needs to waggle its penis in the general director of a movie theater and they make a gajillion dollars, they can afford to throw some cash at the screen. And throw they did. Every second of this film, when not constrained to London, is gorgeous, offering a more vibrant and believable universe than Branagh’s towering columns and Hopkins-bellowing.

So, what is this one about? Well, there’s a lot of shit in it. And I don’t mean that metaphorically. There simply is a lot of pointless refuse tossed into the script-crafting process that both muddles and stretches the run-time to excessive lengths. Much like its predecessor, Thor: Darkness Falls opens with a prologue almost literally torn from Peter Jackson’s excessive LOTR footage explaining more than you would ever need or care to know about the blandest blandies since Blondie bonded with Bono during a Battle of the Blahs. Otherwise known as ‘Dark Elves’. Why elves? Who knows! We have an evil Doctor Who (Eccleston) who seems to have gone full white-face Drow and, like a redneck teenager, grown his rattail to a length that makes everyone uncomfortable. He is Malekith…who we can tell is evil because 1) he’s white and 2) well…his name is Malekith. Also, did I mention he’s white? Anyway, this fella wants to destroy existence. Why? Why not? Sounds legit. He has this thing called the Aether, a catch-all uber-destruction device-cum-evil-infection cum-let’s-give-a-reason-for-Natalie-Portman-to-be-in-this-movie. Aaaaaaaaaaand that’s about it. Thor has to stop him. Now there is far more stuff concerning Rene Russo turning into a CGI bladed whirling dervish and the African guy from LOST turning into a lava rhino…but the entire movie is simply waiting, like a child slobbering over an empty plate, until Mr. Hiddleston shows up.

"So...do I have a character or am I just supposed to get punched in the face?" ~ Eccleston: a pro.

“So…do I have a character or am I just supposed to get punched in the face?” ~ Eccleston: a pro.

Seriously, thank god for Loki. Up until the second act, this movie has about as much humorous glee as a clown at a funeral. Once they finally manage to contrive the character actions and plot twists to the point that Loki can finally escape from prison and leap into a delightful will-he-won’t-he tet-a-tet/knife-in-the-abs with his Goldie Locks of a brother, the movie remembers that it is meant to entertain. And entertain it does. Both Hemsworth and Hiddleston play off of each other like a young Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart…if one of those two were basically Michaelangelo’s David come to life in a bizarrely classy retelling of the seminal Kim Cattrall classic Mannequin. Also, Natalie Portman is there, and this is true, ONLY BECAUSE IT WAS IN HER CONTRACT. I’m not saying that the Oscar winner phoned it in, but let’s just say her relationship with her character is as long-distance as that time my ex-girlfriend moved to China. I’m surprised she didn’t have her assistant carry around an iPad with her skyping into every scene. At least, if they had done that, Hemsworth and Hiddleston could have just started playing Words With Friends whenever the Port-meister got boring.

Luckily, however, the second Hiddleston joins the party, the movie takes off. Even Hemsworth is instantly revitalized, tossing about quips that legitimately made me giggle. It takes a long while to get there, but the director finally realizes that you can frowny face your way through a comic book movie, a la C-Noles, and come away with a pretentious cautionary tale with harshly mediocre fight scenes…or you can have Chris “If He Were an Ice Cream Flavor He’d Be The Opposite of Chubby Hubby” Hemsworth beat the shit out of Doctor Who. Luckily, once Mr. Hopkins was convinced to stop randomly yelling in a Merlot-filled rage at anyone with a beard, the movie leaps into action. I will say this, the final fight is possibly the most inventive the MCU has seen in a long while. It seems as though Marvel, after painting themselves repeatedly into a corner by making every movie in their brutally successful anthology about “THE WORLD IS GOING TO BE DESTROYED. MUST SAVE IT WITH BOOM-BOOMS”, instead of retreading the obvious ground, they’ve simply kicked in the fucking wall and decided they need more square footage. The final fight between Thor and Malekith is not only exciting but freaking hilarious, a flash of genius that, like Pope-Bubbles, the catholic body wash, almost totally washes its sins away.

"Oh...I'm sorry, I was waiting for you to want your movie to be GOOD. Well, you came to the right man."

“Oh…I’m sorry, I was waiting for you to want your movie to be GOOD. Well, you came to the right man.”

In the end, Thor: The Dark Side of the Moon: Transformers: Revenge of the Sith succeeds despite itself. Much like Iron Man 3 and The Avengers, it only truly feels fun when its characters get to banter. The explosions go boom and we get to see more of the same antics we know and love. Also, Tom Hiddleston should be required to be in every movie ever. Right next to Kate Winslet’s boobs. Shockingly, the Marvel gurus have managed to create an action-based universe where the action is the least interesting component. In a way, it’s genius. To see a Marvel movie from, say, Michael Bay or John McTiernan would be horrifying. This is no metallic ballet of mediocre misogyny. No, no! Mr. Kevin Feige, the supposed god of all that is this MCU juggernaut, has harvested a healthy crop of intelligent and unique directors who will hopefully supply us with another slew of quality character studies that just happen to go BANG BOOM. We’ve got Captain America: The Winter Solider: Why the Fuck Are There So Many Colons?: The Andrew Mooney Story coming up next directed by the boys responsible for NBCs insane and brilliant Community, as well as Edgar Wright’s sure-to-be-rikonkulous Antman. Most perplexing of all is the red-headed step-movie/money trap that is James “Slither/Super” Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which gets a teaser in the final credits of this film. With its nonsensical mis en scene and cheaply shot digital framing, to say the footage is out of place is to say the black man who accidentally walked into a KKK rally has a small case of egg-on-face. Let’s just say Benecio Del Toro shows up as his character from The Usual Suspects but if he went through a Liberace cloning device. Poor Jaime Alexander and Ray Stevenson, the two actors look utterly lost on the cobbled together set stolen from a lost episode of Doctor Who, their expressions captured by the most uncomfortable close-ups since my brother snuck into my room with a camera while I was dreaming about that time with the emu and the peanut butter sandwich.

Don’t ask. That story is only meant for my therapist.

Also, I’m really glad that the Marvel Comics Universe has finally incorporated Chris O’Dowd into its cast. I can dream that one day we’ll see him and Richard Ayoade offering S.H.I.E.L.D. IT help. That would be the tits.

by Andrew Mooney

The Avengers (2012) – Joss Whedon (Dir.), Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Jeremy Renner, oh my god so many people…

All hail Joss Whedon.

Alright, let’s get this out of the way now. There shall be no posse. I know. I’m disappointed too. I wish I could have seen the words, “Thanks for wasting my time, jerk” spelled out in raised flesh on Joss Whedon’s scarred and charred rump as he cried for his mother. But, alas, it shall not be. In fact, replace that brand for my lips and you might have a more accurate understanding of my emotional and carnal response to this mass of charming celluloid splayed out before the human population this summer. The Avengers is good. Really good. Like, melt-your-face-off-with-fanboy-glee-and-bake-into-a-tasteful-acne-ridden-face-pie good. I haven’t had this much fun watching a movie since…well…Cabin in the Woods. Not a good temporal marker, I know. But I’m about to say something (read: write something) that will make me want to slap myself. Move over, Independence Day, I have discovered the perfect blockbuster. Will Smith shall weep. Bill Pullman will sob. Jeff Goldblum would…do his closest approximation to normal human sadness, thereby continuing to convince the world that he is not some kind of robot designed to confuse people learning the English language.

Is the movie good? Hell no. Melancholia is ‘good’. Mississippi Burning is ‘good’. This movie is a Blockbuster with a capital ‘B’, thus the metrics are entirely warped. Acting is not measured in nuance and subtlety but in wisecracks and the ability to deliver one-liners without you wanting to punch yourself in the private parts. The cinematography isn’t judged based on its mis en scene and other French words that make American scrotums quiver with fear, but on ‘CAN I SEE WHAT IS GOING ON? YES! CARRY ON!” Even the script cannot be measured with ‘big questions’ asked, rather with ‘Does Hulk smashing his face into a wall make sense? Yes? Then, HULK FUCKING SMASH!” And so, based on a Blockbuster scale, this movie is the next coming of Jesus Christ…but instead of footprints in the sand it’s Iron Man shooting you with miniature rockets. (I don’t care who you are or which religion suits your fancy, if one could worship Iron Man, one would. Immediately. And without question.) And this film, this Joss “Nerd Samosa” Whedon epic, blows every category out of the water. Does it have people saying funny things? Yes. Is it visually coherent? Yes. Is the plot not just a giant pot of octopus piss poured across a typewriter accompanied by a nonchalant shrug, a swill of bourbon and a, “Eh. Fuck it.”? Double yes. This movie, wait for it, actually makes sense.

The Original Not-Giving-A-Fuck Master

Let that settle in. Wait…really wallow in it. Do you know what this means? Think back on every major summer blockbuster you have ever seen. Does it make sense? No, of course it fucking doesn’t. Why would a giant robot spider exist in the old West? How would you use a giant robot spider to take over America? Why did the evil Transformers attack Chicago, out of all the cities in America? Why did Katherine “Queen of Breasts” Heigl decide to have a relationship with Seth “Really?” Rogen? It doesn’t make sense. You know what does? Thor beating the shit out of Tony fucking Stark in a penis-measuring contest. Captain America and Iron Man pissing each other off. Black Widow wearing skin tight clothing…all the time…and the camera dipping so you can see her waistline…

Erhem. Enough of that. I’m not going to give spoilers and plot summaries and all of that obligatory nonsense. You have wikipedia? Use it. I want to ask other questions. Firstly, why is this good? What nerve did Whedon tickle bringing the collective fan consciousness to simultaneous orgasm in just 140 minutes? Well, let’s juxtapose this bad boy with the previous holder of fanboy sexual phantasmagoria “The Dark Knight”. These are different movies in every way possible. While Nolan was taking tired, tried material and exploring the new thematic avenues contained within, Whedon was just making this mess palatable. It was also blatantly apparent that Whedon was aware that Marvel’s strength lies almost solely in its heroes. DC boasts the likes of Scarecrow, the Joker, Harley Quinn, Two Face and Lex Luther. Complex villains, tied inexorably to the hero’s past and/or greatest weaknesses, emotional rather than physical. What does Marvel have, other than Venom? The Lizard? The Vulture? The Shocker? Seriously? Did Stan Lee just begin listing sexual positions and apply them to nefarious entities? Nuance is not his strength.

I suffered through Thor. And Hulk. Two entirely boring pieces of blandness, both about enjoyable as repeatedly licking stamps for a cumulative three hours. I even had to deal with Captain America: The First Avenger: Worst Colon Ever’s inability to conjure a second and third act. Instead of story arc, we had an extended montage of bullshittery ending with Tommy Lee Jones yelling something and driving a car and…wow…I think I just blacked out for a second. It was that pointless. Iron Man was great. Iron Man 2 was a mess of such trannie proportions that it can only be found in Boystown at 5am on Pride weekend. Somehow, Whedon managed to weave all of these mediocre, admittedly charismatic, threads into a quilt of such unprecedented awesomeness, that snugging in it would be preferable to sex with Eva Green. Again…I want to slap myself. Nothing is better than that. (Marry me, Eva. Please. I don’t like to beg…but I will. All you have to do is return one of my annotated fake travelogues of our imaginary trips to Cairo. Just one.)

Coherence keeps me happy. Coherence stops me from screaming like a bag lady at a passing subway train. Beyond that, what keeps me in the theater is having a single, unbroken shot skipping from Black Widow fucking up some dudes, to Captain America fucking up some dudes, to Hawkeye impaling some dudes (thereby fucking them up), to Iron Man flying around and fucking up some flying dudes, to Thor using electricity to fuck up some electrified dudes, to the Hulk fucking up everybody. I was leaping about in my seat like a two year old that had just spotted that last Tickle-Me Elmo and I was going to HAVE IT, no matter who I had to kill. This is synergy of such epic proportions that even God must have crossed his legs once or twice. And that dude is old. He has to use some kind of deity-strength Viagra these days. Why do you think we haven’t had any divinely impregnated virgins recently? Performance issues.

Why did this work so well? Firstly, this is the only instance of a film that combines so many major actors, all of them leading men, into a single narrative. While each of these characters’ respective origin tales required them as the centerpiece and everyone else to fit into the cookie-cutter archetypes required for narrative momentum, this movie didn’t have to. They had their backstories. They had their personalities. And we’ve all seen them. Repeatedly. Thus, all they had to do was combine and let them have at it. The result is copulatory. Seeing Robert Downey Jr. leap delightfully into a tete a tete with Chris Evans is something you will never see again…until the inevitable The Avengers 2: Electric Boogaloo. Thus, we are left with a Blockbuster that does not leave us bored to tears the second the action stops. In fact, we’re all wishing the aliens could fuck off for another ten minutes while Downey Jr. delivers another few zingers. Seriously. That’s just rude.

That is a sandwich I would not mind being in the center of.

Are there any gripes? Sort of. Whedon, for a dude, does extremely well at making his female characters not only competent, but also human. In anyone else’s hands (read: Jon Favreau in Iron Man 2) Black Widow would have been a deadly sexpot with nothing to say other than “I’m flexible”. Instead, she is offered pathos, wit, intelligence, conniving strategy…as well as an incredible body. Goddamn. Even Maria Hill, played bootily by Robin Sherbotsky, I mean, Cobie Smulders, classically the Shrew of Marvel’s ‘Taming of the’ saga, is actually capable of doing things. Even so, this movie woefully fails the Bechdel Test. To those of you not in the know, you sexist pigs, the Bechdel Test is a metric to measure female presence within film plot lines. For a movie to pass the test they must achieve a very simple task: have a scene, however long, between two named female characters that does not pertain to male characters. Think about that. Unless it’s a Chick Flick, try to figure out the last time you watched a movie that passed the test. It doesn’t mean the movie is bad, per se, you just can’t exactly tout it as the bastion of gender relations.

Also, the costumes are degrading. Why is it, in every damn action movie, they all have to be in such skin-tight, non-movable, un-breathable outfits, each of them completely unsuited to the situations at hand. I mean, come on, we know Chris Evans is ripped. We don’t need his skimpy Captain America outfit to reinforce that. You’re ruining it for all of us, Chris. You too Hemsworth. Eat a bloody sandwich. And by ‘sandwich’, I mean ‘keep eating until you are nothing but a blob of flesh, suitable only for ridicule. That teaches you for being famous, you fatass.’ Honestly, anyone of any gender profile will being popping boners/wetting theater seats for the entirety of the film’s running time. Dem some pretty peeps.

Casting-wise this thing is a filmic wet-dream. It also opens up for a few fascinating possibilities… Such as, what if Nick Fury is just Jackson’s character from Snakes on a Plane having found a new purpose in life? (Explains the eye patch, right?) What if all Mark Ruffalo’s romantic comedies from now on are required to have him turn green and grab the female protagonist and fling her about her bedroom like a rag doll? What if Stellan Skarsgard learned a real accent and not that nether-region of a mangled mess of phonemes he currently uses? A better universe for everyone, I feel.

All kidding and strained analogies aside, what The Avengers was able to achieve was something near-impossible for me. I lost myself. I forgot I was watching Scarlett Johansson. I forgot that was Mark Ruffalo. I forgot it was Chris Evans and his insanely toned arms and abs and…FUCK YOU CHRIS EVANS AND YOUR PERFECTION. Each of these actors seemed to lose themselves within their characters, each working towards a benevolent whole. Whedon created a cohesive universe and allowed his audience to take a peek. No one was fighting for the limelight. There was no Steve McQueen hanging out in the background fixing his hat. This is a team. A team of ultimate badasses playing ultimate badasses. It was like witnessing a television special with a $200 million budget. Never before has anything like these even been attempted…unless it has, but I can’t remember it so it doesn’t count. Sorry imaginary film franchise. Whedon beat you. Take it like a man…or concept. Either one.

You have been wasted, Ruffalo. Your existence has been whittled to playing second fiddle to Reese Witherspoon. That’s like playing fifth cello to Sarah Jessica Parker or ninth French horn to Julia Roberts. Achieve your potential.

The Avengers may not have made me question existence. Nor did it make me question really anything at all. I didn’t think. I didn’t analyze. I didn’t do shit. I ate my Swedish Fish, I sat back and I had the most fun I’ve had in a long time. There’s something to be said for that. We have brains that take a lot to switch off. Like Eminem’s Oscar-winning hit says, ‘lose yourself’. Have a blast. Never think about it again. There’s nothing wrong with that. At all.