Iron Man 2 (2010)

Alright, so I did a whole nice write-up yesterday for the first Iron Man movie, and well, this one is more of the same.  It’s not The Dark Knight sequel to Batman Begins, it’s more like what Batman Forever was to Batman, if that makes sense.  It probably doesn’t since I just casually omitted Batman Returns, but Forever had sooo much Batcrap shoved into it that the movie actually shat out a sequel.

I just wanna sit back and appreciate that thing that I just wrote.  Man, I hope I didn’t subconsciously steal it from someone, because it is such a perfect description of Batman & Robin.  You can LIKE this review or G+ it or RT it or whatever.  I don’t even want to write anymore.

Alright, fine.  So Iron Man 2 brings back almost the exact same cast and creative team as the original movie, minus the unlikable Terrence Howard (replaced with the awesome Don Cheadle) and bringing in Justin Theroux as the screenplay writer.  At this point The Avengers movie release date was (I think) set in stone and there were preparations and things shoved into the story that seemed to be less about just Iron Man, and more about pumping up the Avengers plotline.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but it gives the whole movie more of an episodic feel.  Like, you can’t have “The Body” episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” without “I Was Made to Love You” which I had to research (and I actually dug that episode too) to remember it took place directly before “The Body”.

I feel like I’m getting all Pitchfork-y with this review, making allusions to other things that seem quite brilliant in my head and maybe seems assholeish when someone else reads it.  Anyways, the film also brings in Mickey Rourke as the main villain Whiplash, Sam Rockwell as Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey, Jr.) main business rival, Justin Hammer, and Scarlett Johansson as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent – and future Avenger- Natalya Romanov or y’know, Black Widow.  There’s also a lovely little appearance by John Slattery as Tony’s dad in archival footage, and the whole Stark family thing reminds me so much of “The Venture Bros.”

So there are parts I like about Iron Man 2 because they remind me of other things, and it’s a competently enough made movie, but not nearly as great as the first movie.

3.5 / 5

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The Wrestler (2008)

Being an almost lifelong professional wrestling fan is tough (there were a couple years in junior and senior high I didn’t watch).  Nowadays, there’s nerd chic, and it’s soooo cool if you’re a sexy girl and wear glasses and play video games.  Nerd doesn’t mean nerd anymore.  However, outside of small windows of extreme popularity (Rock ‘N Wrestling, WWF Attitude) it is still considered somewhat embarrassing to be a wrestling fan.  It doesn’t matter how logically we defend it, we’re looked down upon by people who have no problem watching soap operas, reality TV shows and sparkling vampire movies.

However, ever since this movie was released, there seems to have been a bit of begrudging acceptance of professional wrestling as an art form in the media.  Well, not mass media, but knowledgeable pockets of it.  Even after seeing it a few times, I don’t know if it’s something I’d want to show people as like a love letter about why I still watch wrestling.  For one thing, it’s one of the most depressing movies ever in my estimation.  Sure, there’s celebratory elements to it, and there’s a lot to be said for a character that is willing to sacrifice so much for the thing he does, but it is bleak and sad.  It somewhat confirms what Beyond the Mat showed us way back in 1999: wrestlers lead fucked up lives.

Thankfully, director Darren Aronofsky treats the subject matter with respect, unlike that cinematic implosion Ready to Rumble which is ironic because R2R was created to promote wrestling, not demonize it.  The cinematography is gritty, raw, feels like a documentary at points.  The performances are astounding, and I’d say that the only reason Mickey Rourke did not win the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Randy “The Ram” Robinson was because the Academy looked down upon him originally stating that he would be wrestling at WrestleMania XXV.  Sean Penn won that year for Milk, which was an alright performance but nowhere near as otherworldly as Rourke’s.

Even as a wrestling fan… actually, I’ll say that especially because I’m a wrestling fan, this is a hard, depressing movie to watch.  I know all to well how close to reality this movie is.

4.5 / 5

13 (2010)

I knew nothing about 13 before I started watching it.  It did not contain Evan Rachel Wood in any form.  I’m thinking that was a good choice by the casting director.

13 centres around an underground and highly illegal game of .. well the best way I could describe it would be as a conga-line-Russian-roulette-dealie.  Wagers are made before every round, and every round the stakes go up higher as the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the FLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR.  Now I’ve just wasted LOVED those five minutes of my life where I replayed that clip over and over again.

There are a load of familiar faces, and soon to be famous(er) faces in the film, giving it a nice ensemble feel.  It’s dark, lots of people die, and not much about it is explained, unless I just plain missed those details.  It’s fairly suspenseful, but nothing anyone other than me should write a blog about.  Seriously, don’t horn in on this action of mine, I get little enough traffic as it is.  Is anyone even reading this?  I’VE WASTED MY LIFE.

3 / 5