Tag Archives: Iron Man

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D — “Pilot”

SHIELD1

Welcome to Level 7.

Usually I save my big reviews for films…not TV shows. But last night was a very big occasion not only for Television, but for all fanboys around the world. For the first time in history…we had a comic book based live action televisions show (I could just stop right there and be impressed) … debut on a major network that is…yes…IS canonically connected a film franchise.

Littered throughout the pilot episode of SHIELD was references to all the major players in the Marvel films. Tony Stark was named dropped, Thor was talked about, Hulk was brought up, Captain America and his super solider serum, Black Widow was used as the measuring stick towards all other combative agents…and even more impressively, one of the key elements and plot points of this summer’s Iron Man 3, played a role in the very first episode of SHIELD.

SHIELD2Besides an opening cameo appearance by Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, the true core of the team we are introduced to is headed by fan favorite and death beater, Agent Phil Coulson played greatly by Clark Gregg. We are given what seems like a lame excuse for Coulson’s resurrection at the start of the film, but a quick line turns that on its head in a split second. We are now under the first tease and storyline to be followed up about…what REALLY happened to Phil Coulson to bring him back to life?

The rest of the team consist of a pilot with fighting skills in Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), a scientific pairing of  Agents Leo Fitz and Jenna Simmons (Iain De Casestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge), glorified hands on combat Agent Grand Ward (Brett Dalton) and a civilian that is newly recruited to join the team for her expert hacking abilities, Skye (Chloe Bennet).

So how well does Joss Whedon and co. do in adapting a live action series without the budget of a Hollywood blockbuster? … actually very well. There are some big action moments in the first episode and separating them as usual with any Whedon TV project is a lot of character development. You will never say that a Whedon project is left with one dimensional characters, from the get go, we learn not only everything we need to know for the core group of Agents, but also a little backstory and idea of where they can develop into the future.

Most importantly…Extremis. The key plot point of Iron Man 3, is also the key plot point of this pilot episode. We are introduced to what we think is a new “hero” early on, but only to find out this Michael Peterson is nothing but a down on his luck average Joe that put his body on the line for experimentation with a mysterious group. We are given the term “Centipede Project” which is enough mystery to make us wonder who else has been part of this project. But what is really deep inside of Michael Peterson that makes him super strong and heroic…is a vile dose of Extremis.

CLARK GREGG, BRETT DALTON, CHLOE BENNETWithout the likes of Iron Man, Hulk, and the rest of the Avengers, how well do our new group of SHIELD agents do in taking down their first perp as a team…pretty well. It isn’t just as simple as a man that turns bad and has to be killed…its so much more. Its about an average person who has had nothing but bad luck on his side and thinking with help and a good spirit he can be a hero like the ones he has seen on TV. Its that idea that makes me love this show from the start, because everyone wants to be that hero at some point in their life. Agent Culson doesn’t have a suit of armor, a serum running through is veins, and isn’t a god of mythical perorations. Agent Culson is just a man. A man with a goal, a man with a sense of humor, and more important a man with a heart and that is why he is who he is and why his “death” was important enough to make a group of heroes come together and fight…for a normal man.

I can’t wait for next week’s episode.

I give Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D a NINE out of TEN, on  the merit of great writing and exciting action.

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Stub Review: Iron Man 3

IronMan3Iron Man 3

Iron Man is back and he brought with him…a serious case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder!~

Marvel’s Phase 2 is officially been kicked off and so has the 2013 Summer Box Office. Iron Man 3 is the first Marvel Studios film to come out since last years mega-ultra-super-duper blockbuster The Avengers broke almost every record standing in it’s way to become Marvel’s first ever billion dollar film.

IM2The word of mouth about the box office Iron Man 3 will bring in is already high up there, the film alone has brought in 300 million dollars over seas before even OPENING in the US. Usually I go see these films at their midnight showing, but I don’t know if this was just one rare occurrence or the new standard, but AMC theater was offering not only midnight viewings, but 9pm, 10pm, and 11pm shows for Iron Man 3 in both normal and 3D viewings. I can get behind that.

Ok…to spoil or not to spoil? I’ll put it this way, if you read this review, I wont spoil the BIG stuff in this film that will be talked about for time to come…but I will not fully not speak about some of the big moments of the film. So we begin…

…to party like its 1999. We kick the film off in a throw back to a moment talked about in the first Iron Man film, where we get a cameo of Shaun Toub who played Ho Yinsen. We are also introduced to Dr. Maya Hansen and Aldrich Killian, two people that will soon become the thorn of Tony’s existence for the next two hours.

The basis of Iron Man 3 comes off the excellent comic book arch “Extremis” written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Adi Granov. The name Adi Granov should sound familiar because its his design that help create the look of Iron Man’s armor over the last three films.

The film shows Tony post-Avengers and more importantly in a PTSD situation where even more like the inspiration of his character, Howard Hughes, he is always in his basement tinkering away at his suits. And we aren’t up to Mark VI or VII anymore…Tony has up to 42 different pieces of armor to play with, his own personal Iron Legion. These suits are keeping him away from his life, away from Pepper, and away from sleeping, as every time Tony puts his head down to a pillow, the images of invading Aliens, chaos, and destruction take over his mind and memories.

I absolutely love the first Iron Man film and feel a bit indifferent for the second film, where I think the focus is unclear and plays more of a film going towards Avengers, than just a stand alone Iron Man film. Iron Man 3 falls somewhere in the middle for me, it plays off of so many great things and characters, Guy Pearce’s role as Killian is the best villain we have had in this franchise since Jeff Bridges role as Obadiah Stane aka the Iron Monger. Pearce plays the role of Killian with such bravado and scene chewing evilness, he comes off as an equal to RDJ’s Tony Stark.

IM3Now the question is why no mention of The Mandarin so far? And well that is a tricky nut to crack in a review that doesn’t want to reveal too much. “The Mandarin” has a fantastic look and his presence in the film for the most part is terrifying for every character that see’s his face pop on their television. The fear of “The Mandarin” is very real amongst the people and especially Tony. The idea of “The Mandarin” is that nobody is safe and nobody can trust in Iron Man or in heroes to truly save them from the evil and destruction he can unleash. How that plays out? And how that all comes to a resolution…you should see for yourself and make up your OWN mind about after seeing the film.

Iron Man 3 is easily a stand a lone film that Iron Man 2 wasn’t and that has a lot to do with Shane Black taking the helms of director and writer from fan favorite Jon Faveru, who still plays Happy Hogan in this film and plays Happy with a lot more vigor and fun, I guess having the pressure of the world off your shoulders helps you revel in the fact that you get to play a comic book character. Both Happy and Pepper have much more to do in this film than they ever had in the previous two, especially Pepper who’s role of now CEO of Stark Industries is more important than just being “Tony Stark’s girlfriend.” Both Gwyneth and her character Pepper Potts get something more to do in Iron Man 3 and take a step up in a much bigger way toward the final act.

Iron ManIron Man 3 both delivers and continues the tradition of Marvel putting out their best effort in a post-Avengers world, both figuratively with the marketing of the films and literally with the characters that live in this universe we now come to expect and are anxious to see every summer.

I feel that the big twist of the film is going to polarize the people that see the film and maybe will be the only thing they take away from it, but it shouldn’t be. This is Tony Starks film…and at the end of the film, just like at the end of the first film, Tony helps to clearly inform the audience and himself…”That I am Iron Man.”

I give it an EIGHT out of a TEN, on the scale of film merit and overall quality.

But I also give it a “DON’T BE A PUSSY” out of TEN, on the scale of the great dialogue spoken by RDJ and all the actors in this film. Lot of laughs, lot of great serious, and important moments.

BUT WAIT…It isn’t a Marvel movie….or a Marvel movie review without a post credit scene…

IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED DON’T GO…

…ANY

….FURTHER!~

Bruce Banner Iron Man 3

That pretty image is of a great post-credit scene where we get for the first time in movie history…an actor reprising their role as Bruce Banner. A small cameo from Mark Ruffalo as the not-so jolly green giant, but just Tony’s science buddy.

Top Ten…Superhero Casting Decisions!

Top Ten…Superhero Casting Decisions!

*If there is one thing I love more than talking about movies, its making lists ABOUT movies…or anything in general. No greater good in this world (bar my g/f) gives me more pleasure than an awesome top ten list.

With The Avengers coming out this week, there was a lot of talk about it being the greatest superhero film of all time…that’s a list for another time, but the film does hold one of the most impressive casts that ever has been put together for a Comic Book Film. Names like Sam Jackson, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johannson, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth…so in this top ten list we look at ten of the greatly casted superhero characters of all time…well at least for now.

10) Michael Chiklis as The Thing

With a film as flawed as the Fantastic Four films, they manage to get one thing right and that was casting the great Michael Chiklis as “The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing” In the comic books, Ben Grimm aka The Thing is a man from Brooklyn and that’s all you need to know, because even after his transformation into a rock like creature, he keeps his Brooklyn accent and attitude. That is exactly what Chiklis brought to the role, with a character that could have been done in CGI like The Hulk, Chiklis sat through the makeup process to be put in a prosthetic Thing like costume with gravely skin and big teeth and even with that and some spotty script writing, Chiklis shines through as Aunt Petunia’s favorite nephew.

09) Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus

There are only three villains represented on my list, and Doctor Octopus is the first to show up and rightfully show as the talented Alfred Molina plays him. In the comics Doc Ock was always seen as the second biggest foe in Spider-Man’s rogue gallery, but in the films is where Ock took center stage. Spider-Man 2 is considered one of the greatest superhero films of all time, thus meaning at this moment the greatest Spider-Man film and that has a lot to do with Molina’s both monstrous and heart breaking role as the tortured Doctor Octopus. Alfred Molina as the great Doctor provided so many classic moments in the one film, the fight on the train with Spider-Man, the awaken of his metal arms, the mid air fight, and the bank robbery. While I’m not a fan of seeing villains killed off, Doc Ock went out on his own terms something you don’t see very often and that has a lot to do with the motivation and acting ability of Alfred Molina behind the role, making Doc Ock both murderous man and a sympathetic character at the same time.

08) Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach

Watchmen the graphic novel is a piece of literature, yes comic books can be determined as literature. Watchmen the film is a pretty good movie, that like most comic book films has been overrated by it’s fan base. But something that the two have in common is the portrayal of the hardnosed; make no bones about it style “hero” known as Rorschach. He is famous for his mask that has an every changing and moving portrait of rorschach images going across it, but what made him stand out in the film amongst his other Watchmen is the actor Jackie Earle Haley. Former child star, Haley came back into prominence for his role as child molester in Little Children, which in some sick way perfectly was the stepping-stone to play the demented and righteous Rorschach. He took the character over, even though for 90% of his screen time you never see his face, but you forever feel his emotion and anger behind every spoken word. He is the driving force of the film and a wisely chosen central character perfectly played by a gifted actor.

07) Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Some might think casting Sam Jackson as the famously white Nick Fury was just a stroke of genius by the casting agents…they are half right. It was a stroke of genius, but the casting agents weren’t the one to do it, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, creators of Marvel’s Ultimates (aka The Avengers in another Universe) did when they asked Jackson for permission to draw THEIR Nick Fury as a bald, black, “motherfuckin’” spewing S.H.I.E.L.D director…well maybe not “motherfuckin’ spewin’, but the rest is right. So when it came around to casting Fury for live action…they could of called David Hasselhoff up again, but they instead went for the baddest man on the planet, Mr. Mace Windu himself, Sam Jackson. And it worked time and time again. From the moment he shows up in Tony Stark’s house in Iron Man to him greeting Captain America in today’s world, Fury is an important piece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a lot of that stands on the shoulders of Sam Jackson.

06) Heath Ledger/Jack Nicholson as The Joker

Heading into The Dark Knight before Ledger died, it was all about “Can Heath top what Jack did in Batman ‘89” After Heath decided to go and overdose, all the talk was about “Oh my god, can you believe his last and full performance as The Joker is so breathtakingly amazing.” Both had their own mark on the character. Jack was more in line of the late 70’s/early 80’s style Joker, while Heath embodied what Allen Moore created in The Killing Joker graphic novel. Neither performance is alike, and neither is worse than the other. Both stand on the mantle of amazing comic book casting decisions.

05) Ron Pearlman as Hellboy

When you think of Ron Pearlman, you think of a man’s man, a drinker, cigar chomping badass, gravely voice, tall, frightening, yet charming all at the same time. So when you think of Hellboy, just take all those qualities and add red skin, tail, and giant fist and boom you have great casting. Pearlman IS Hellboy. Even if you know nothing about the characters comic history beyond his look, you can tell from the first 15 minutes of seeing Pearlman in that Hellboy makeup and outfit that he fits, you might not know why, but you just have this tingling feeling down in you no-no parts that tell you that nobody else but Ron Pearlman could pull this character off.  If you never seen either Hellboy film’s before, take your time go order it on Netflix, or see if its on VOD, or just illegally watch it online, either way take in some devilsh good time with the only superhero that could look like the devil, but still love kittens.

04) Michael Fassbender as Magneto           

You are not suppose to dethrone Sir. Ian McKellen in a role that he seemingly made famous for all viewing eyes…but relative and not such more now, new comer, Michael Fassbender did. While McKellen had three films to perfect the villainous ways of his Magento, Fassbender just needed one, X-Men: First Class. Every time I try to describe what Fassbender did in that film, I always come around to saying…it is what X-Men character would be like if written by Quentin Tarantino for a PG-13 film. Fassbender perfectly portrays the hurt and anger all at once as Magneto, with so many stand out scenes you lose count of.

03) Hugh Jackman as Wolverine

Who is Hugh Jackman? That question was all over the comic chat rooms back in 1999, when his casting of famed and overly popular mutant, Wolverine, was announced. Nobody knew who this tall …(tall? Wolverine is suppose to be short, he’s going to suck.)…Australian…(Aussie? Fucken’ hell he’s Canadian, not some silly down under kangroo rauncher.)…singer (What? He dances and sings in musicals? Wolverine is not a FAGGOT!!)…was until X-Men came around in 2000 and shut all the fanboys the fuck up. Not one more word was mentioned about any of that stuff after Jackman wowed and countinuely amazed audiences with his bezerker rage and his physical apperance as a muscled up Canadian mutant who can kick your ass even without the claws in his hands.

02) JK Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson

Surprised to see Simmons ranked so high and above the likes of Jackman, Ledger, Jackson, and Haley? … well don’t be, cause Simmons in my minds eyes the most perfectly casted actor to a role in a superhero film there is. Yes, you read that correctly. While Ledger got an Oscar, while Jackman has his own franchise and while Jackson has acted as the character for four films…its Simmons who completely embodies the character into his performance. Anyone who knows Spidey knows J. Jonah Jameson …the sometimes evil owner of the Daily Bugle. The man the hate Spider-Man, but pays Peter Parker to take pictures for his business ….of Spider-Man. JK Simmons has played both JJJ on the big screen in Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and on the small screen in the latest Spidey cartoon, Ultimate Spider-Man. He was so significantly perfect for the role, they didn’t even both casting for a new JJJ in the new Amazing Spider-Man film out this summer. Its that much of a burden people. JK Simmons hands down in the best man for the job…and that job was to bring to justice that menace known as Spider-Man!!!!

01) Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
I don’t think you can underestimate how important this casting is to an entire brand, let alone a franchise. Without RDJ as Tony, we don’t get the charismatic Tony Stark that pops on the screen in the first Iron Man. Without that Iron Man film not blowing away expectations and doing BIG business, we don’t get a sequel and the Marvel brand name doesn’t go along with the likes of Thor and Cap. Without Iron Man being the success it was, we don’t get The Avengers…or at least don’t get the Avengers that WE got and god damn that was a pretty amazing Avengers movie we got. Robert Downey Jr. in some ways was the homerun swing by Marvel and Jon Favreau that helped transcend superhero films into the next decade as an even bigger medium then it was before.

Honorable Mentions: Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne, Christopher Reeve as Superman, Chris Evans as Human Torch AND Captain America, Tom HIddleston as Loki.

Stub Review: Marvel’s The Avengers

Marvel’s The Avengers

There once came a time when heroes were needed to stop a force, no one could fight…

…And those heroes are known as The Avengers. It is May 4th, 2012 and aside from being the unofficial “Star Wars Day”, it for at least this year be known as Avengers Day, because after 5 years of a set up with solo movies, Marvel studio took the biggest names they had the rights too (damn you Sony and Fox), and put together Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Hulk together in …wait for it… ONE MOVIE! It still feels very unreal and unbelievable to me, because I remember back in ’00 when the first X-Men film came out and just how mind shattering it was to see a team of superheroes on the screen. For the first time ever we saw the likes of Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Jean Grey, and Prof. X all on the screen at the same time doing battle. That felt like it was impressive.

Avengers are IMPRESSIVE!

Its one thing to cast a team and put them on the screen, it is a whole other thing to do what Marvel Studios did and establish a cinematic universe. DC for ages could of done this with Batman and Superman and… well, it’s not like they make movies for anyone else but those two, but they never did. Marvel for a long time dealt out their characters to other studios, only to see the likes of Fox and Sony bring in the big bucks on X-Men and Spider-Man, while Marvel was left in the dark. So when producer extraordinar Kevin Feige realized what untapped potential he had waiting in his company, he righted that wrong and maybe changed the superhero genre in films forever.

In 2008 we saw Iron Man blast on to the screen with the rock star personality of Robert Downey Jr. A few months later, Ed Norton help find his inner green rage and brought a newly looking CGI version of Hulk back to the screen. From the moment you heard AD/DC sound off in Iron Man it was off to the races for Marvel, as RDJ brought credibility and star power to a once unknown character to the mass public. From there we saw Iron Man get a sequel, we saw a newcomer named Chris Hemsworth become the god of thunder, in Thor and saw the formerly fantastic Chris Evans, brand the red, white, and blue in Captain America. Through those films, we were also steadily introduced to characters like Black Widow (Iron Man 2), Hawkeye (Thor), Agent Culson, Nick Fury and the organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D.

So five years of planning, five years of hard work and casting these roles, just to put them all together in one of the biggest superhero teams up of all time…so how did it do?

Well that was a lot of exposition for a film review, but I deemed it necessary, for you to realize I’m a comic book geek. So while maybe I shouldn’t, I take things like this really seriously and overly personal. So I HAD to be there at midnight (thanks to a lovely and amazing girlfriend) to see this all come together, because like any comic geek, as much as you are hoping for the best…you secretly are awaiting the worse.

I’ll try to make this as spoiler free…but I can’t make any guarantees. So if I feel like I’m going into a spoiler heavy zone, ill warn you. The plot is this simple, Loki has made a deal with other worldly creatures to help rule earth. He needs the Cosmic Cube (previously seen in Captain America) to open a portal to let those creatures into our planet and start a war of wars. Fury not wanting this to happen, dusts off the Avengers Initiative he talked oh so highly about and brings together the likes of Iron Man, Thor, Cap, Bruce Banner, Black Widow and Hawkeye to combat this terrorism. There it is…your plot. So how does it all go down?

…actually pretty amazingly. Which is in no part thanks to its director, Joss Whedon. Who is a comic god to nerds, but now just a plain god for making this film work without it seemingly like a clusterfuck of a mess. He gives everyone their own time, works characterization into the plot, and gives us action and real action, not that mindless Michael Bay blow-it-up-until-its-dead type of action. We have conflict. We have resolution. We have … STORY!

Everyone knows what type of film this is and they are all come ready to go, we get hints to how things have progressed from the last time we saw these characters. Pepper Potts and Tony Start are living comfortably together as a couple in love, Cap is still cold to this new world he woke up in, Thor is sent by Odin to Earth to repair the damage Loki is causing, and Bruce Banner is still on the run until SHIELD brings him back into the fold. One aspect of the film that I was looking forward to was conflict and confrontation and we get a load of it. From Tony/Cap to Thor/Tony to Thor/Hulk to Banner/Widow…we see that these people for all purposes shouldn’t be in the same room, but are and make it work. Once the third act begins and we get some real team action going…the movie hits a new gear and doesn’t stop till the credits. We get great fights, big explosions, aliens, heros, smashing, lighting, shields, arrows, bullets and repulsor rays. Its everything you wanted form an Avengers movie in spades.

So in conclusion…

I give it a TEN out of a TEN, on the scale of film merit and overall quality.

But I also give it a giants HULK SMASH!!!! out of TEN, on the scale of how amazing the whole film is overall.

Oh and stay for the post credits because…well…

STOP READING RIGHT NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED

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STOP READING! LAST WARNING!

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THANOS!

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!~ …. AGAIN!!!

First, just watch….

Ok…did you watch? Good. Now let me allow you like myself enough time to go to your closet so you can change your underwear and put on new stain free pair of paints.

I’ll meet you back here.

..

..

Back? Great me too and if you are like me, then A) you have a new pair of pants on and B) are in preparation to clean up your sitting area cause YOUR MIND WAS FUCKIN BLOWN!~

It is rare for a trailer to have that big of an impact on me. I haven’t felt such joy and excitement and …I wont lie tingles … since probably I first saw the teaser trailer for the 2002 Spider-Man film. But this? This is the live action Avengers film. We will be seeing Iron Man, Cap, Thor, Hulk, Widow, Hawkeye, Fury, and even Maria Hill in live action..on screen together..in a film directed by Joss Whedon. Holy shit.

There is no real rhyme or reason for this post, just to get my excitement out and on a public forum, but while I’m typing let me just run down a few key points of the trailer that stood out to be…

1) Inner Team Fighting. IF there is one thing that is a staple of comic book hero team-ups, it is that before you can work together, you must fight. So seeing Cap’s shield withstand a shot by Thor’s hammer. Or seeing the tech based Iron Man versus the God of Thunder. Or the quick snippet of Widow vs. Hawkeye are going to be dreams come true.

2) Heroic Hulk. Seeing Iron Man falling from the sky only to be rescued by Hulk gives value to the idea that Banner/Hulk will be a bit more brainer than per-usual for the previous Hulk incarnations on film. It’s going to be great to see Hulk aware of his surroundings and his capabilities for once instead of just mindless smashing…

3) SMASHING! But fuck that, we love explosions! Buildings being blown up, gun fire, stuff collapsing. How does it get better?

4) WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT THING AT THE END~! Oh hell yeah, Loki starting a war? Might as well bring a robotic serpent looking destroyer.

5) Assemble. I know this visual has been seen before…but I just can’t get over that amazing 180 degree shot of the entire team backed up next to each other ready to fight. It just FEELS like a comic book page come to life.

I can’t wait for May 4th!

Avengers …(SB Teaser)….ASSEMBLE!

I don’t know what to say. My jaw dropped at least 5-6 times throughout that extended trailer (thank you Marvel).

Cap and Stark with their little “Stark…Captain” exchange. The Loki/Stark “I have an army.” “We have a Hulk.” The circling shot around the complete team. Hawkeye with a arrow shot in mid air, Scarlett Jo. looking … like Scarlett Jo.

Avengers can’t come soon enough. I love you Spidey. I respect you Nolan. But damn, do I want me some Whedon stylized Avengers action!

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P.S. Go GIANTS!