Tag Archives: Gwyneth Paltrow

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) Review

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The Royal Tenenbaums

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Adult themes
Cast:
Danny Glover as Henry Herman
Gene Hackman as Royal Tenenbaum
Anjelica Huston as Etheline Tenenbaum
Bill Murray as Raleigh St. Clair
Gwyneth Paltrow as Margot Tenenbaum
Ben Stiller as Chas Tenenbaum
Luke Wilson as Richie Tenenbaum
Owen Wilson as Eli Cash
Director: Wes Anderson

Three grown prodigies (Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller and Luke Wilson), all with a unique genius of some kind, and their mother (Anjelica Huston) are staying at the family household. Their father, Royal (Gene Hackman) had left them long ago, and comes back to make things right with his family.

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I had heard a little bit about The Royal Tenenbaums, but generally I just knew this as one of Wes Anderson’s movies, and so I knew that I would eventually get around to it. For many, The Royal Tenenbaums is considered one of his best films and having seen it, I would consider that to be the case too. The performances are all fantastic, the direction is outstanding is a joy to watch, and the script and story is really endearing. I really loved watching this movie.

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Compared to a lot of Wes Anderson’s other movies at least, it’s more of a drama than a comedy. At its core, The Royal Tenenbaums is a family drama. You get quite engaged with what is going on, so even if you don’t find the movie to be quite funny, there’s something that you’ll be interested in for this movie. I still did find the movie quite entertaining and also funny at times. It also does work very well on an emotional level, in fact there’s an underlying feeling of sadness amongst most of the characters, and touches upon some serious themes and topics at points. There is a great tonal balance throughout, transitioning between comedy and drama with ease and not taking away from the other tone. I have to say, this is one of Anderson’s best scripts, definitely one of his most complete. The movie is paced steadily across its hour and 50 minute runtime, and if you aren’t into the movie and the plot by the first 30 minutes, you might find it a bit of a drag to sit through. But the plot, quirky dialogue and especially the well realised characters all come together to make a film that I was personally invested in from beginning to end.

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There’s a massive talented ensemble cast involved in this film, and everyone is great here. If there’s a standout among them it is Gene Hackman in the lead role as Royal Tenenbaum, he’s fantastic and I think this is one of his best performances, if not his best performance. The rest of the cast are great too, including Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson, all of them performing their memorable characters very well, and having excellent on screen chemistry with each another (Paltrow and Luke Wilson particularly shine in this movie).

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Wes Anderson directs this so well, with his distinct style. Anderson’s attention to detail is really enthralling to watch and aesthetically pleasing, from set decoration to costume to shot composition and the colour pallet. There are some great visual gags that you can easily miss if you look away for like a second. I liked how the movie was structured in a storybook way, in fact it is divided into chapters, and it really gave it a different feeling. The soundtrack work well and is utilised perfectly, as expected from Wes Anderson at this point.

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I thoroughly loved The Royal Tenenbaums, even more than I was expecting going on. The all star cast were all great and played their memorable characters greatly, it was directed wonderfully, and it is written excellently, with an entertaining and emotionally engaging story. I think that this is going to revisit this movie quite a lot, and I see it becoming potentially one of my favourite movies. Definitely watch it if you haven’t already.

Avengers: Endgame (2019) Review

Time: 183 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man
Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Danai Gurira as Okoye
Benedict Wong as Wong
Jon Favreau as Harold “Happy” Hogan
Bradley Cooper as Rocket
Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts
Josh Brolin as Thanos
Director: Anthony and Joe Russo

Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) sends a message to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers – Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) — must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos (Josh Brolin) — the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe.

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Avengers: Endgame was not only one of my most anticipated movies of 2019, it was also one of the most anticipated movies of all time. It’s the conclusion of an 11 year long story arc and it had a lot it needed to pay off on. Infinity War surprised me with how much they pulled off considering all the hype, however I said back then that whether or not it’ll hold up will depend on the follow up, Endgame. It could easily just reverse the impact that Infinity War had, making so much of that movie feel inconsequential. However, Endgame not only makes some of the other MCU movies better, it is by far the best movie in the MCU to date, and a more than satisfying conclusion to the main MCU storyline.

There are a lot of surprises in Endgame, so I will keep my description of the movie very vague. It’s been said that the trailer footage would only show the first 15 minutes of the movie, and for the most part that is true, it does not go at all how you think it would be in the first half hour alone, and the marketing managed to hide a lot of the movie. The movie is 3 hours long and personally I was actually invested in the characters and story from start to finish. I also thought the pacing was actually really good, Infinity War’s pacing doesn’t give you a chance to breathe, for better or for worse. Endgame on the other hand takes its time with its story (it definitely helps that it doesn’t have to focus on as many characters all in one movie), but isn’t too slow either. Make no mistake, while there definitely are big action sequences, it takes its time with its story and characters. It’s surprisingly one of the most character driven MCU movies, with most of the major characters going through their own arcs, in fact there wasn’t any clear weak link with the characters. You also really feel the incredibly high stakes throughout. Most of the MCU movies feel like no major character is going to die or that there are going to be major repercussions, but with Endgame you are on edge the entire time. The first hour is very sombre, the pacing is going to not work for some but I still loved it. I might have a different opinion the next time I see it, but I felt like every scene was necessary and really did a good job at humanising our main characters, in some cases much more than previous MCU appearances have done. If you found the first act to be too slow, the second hour is when the movie really picks up. Yes, there is a lot of fanservice, but with it being the last movie, a lot of these moments are earned, and I really had fun with all of them. As this is a MCU movie you can expect quite a bit of comedy thrown in and most of it works in Endgame, not taking away too much from the seriousness of the situations. There are multiple story bits that might not entirely make sense and you can really nitpick certain plot details if you want to, but it’s the kind of thing you’ll just have to roll with. I know that some people will be taking issues with the ‘plot holes’ but personally I didn’t have too many issues with it.

The third hour is also one of the all time best comic book movie third acts. All I will say is that if you remembered how great Thor’s entrance in the Wakanda battle in Infinity War was, there are plenty of even better moments in Endgame. The third act and movie ends some characters’ story arcs, while leaving others for expansion, and it was all done very well. Yes, you do need to see all the other movies in order to get the full experience, however that’s what makes the MCU stand apart from other cinematic universes. Not many cinematic universes have over 10 films all building and tying into each other, let alone 22 of them. It even ties together little elements from other MCU movies, even making some of the previous movies even better. It may not be the last MCU movie, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping any time soon, however this really does feel like the conclusion to the main story arc, and you could easily stop watching the series here and be perfectly satisfied with how it ends. Since we are talking about endings, no, there aren’t any credits scenes. Nonetheless I do recommend sticking around for the credits of the cast before leaving at the very least.

The cast all bring their A game to their roles, most of whom give the best performances as their characters. First, with the main trio, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, giving possibly their best outings as their characters (certainly in the case of Downey and Evans), you really see how far each character has come from their first film appearance. Downey’s Tony Stark is particularly a standout from the case, it’s not really a surprise but he is truly great here. I was wondering what was going to happen with Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk. Pretty much everyone agrees that he was the weakest link in Infinity War, and I was very disappointed by his use in that film as most of the time he just felt like the butt of many jokes. Thankfully I can say that he is back to being really good in Endgame. It wasn’t quite what I initially expected and it will be initially jarring for some people but I really liked what they did with his character and was a logical enough next step for the character. Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner also give their best performances as Black Widow and Hawkeye respectively. One of the big surprises was Paul Rudd as Ant Man, he was one of the most natural players from the main group, especially with the humour but also with the emotion, he fit in so well into the group of Avengers. Don Cheadle’s War Machine is a character that’s always good in the movies he appears in but he’s often sidelined, here though he gets to play a significant part in one of the plotlines and they really gave him a lot to do. Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), who is the last of the Guardians of the Galaxy, also works well in the group, as does surprisingly Karen Gillan’s Nebula. With the exception of her villainous role in the first Guardians of the Galaxy, in her previous appearances she’s only been defined by her relationship with Thanos, and has come across as a bit weak as a character. In Endgame she’s given a lot more to her character and they develop her quite a bit. The newest addition to the MCU, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel is also here. Despite having a significant role, she’s actually not in the movie as much as you’d think she is. Still she does good in the scenes that she’s in. One of my worries about her is that she’d overshadow the rest of the Avengers and be the simple solution to Endgame since she’s significantly more powerful that them, thankfully the focus is still on the main Avengers while she gets to have her OP moments. As for Josh Brolin’s Thanos, unlike Infinity War it’s not really his movie so you don’t get as much of him, but he’s still just as powerful and menacing whenever he’s on screen, and once again the performance and visual effects are just as good. There is a take on a major character which I know is going to divide some people (I won’t say who it is, when you watch you’ll know who it is pretty quickly). All I can say without revealing too much is that it was played a little too much for comedy at certain points (however I get the feeling that my audience misinterpreted certain serious moments as being comedic instead), but his story arc still worked well enough for his character and I overall liked the direction they went in.

Infinity War was really well put together by The Russo Brothers and Endgame is no exception, everything feels like they’re on such a large and epic scale. The visual effects in Infinity War were stunning, but Endgame takes it to a whole other level. I’ll have to watch it again but I don’t remember any glaringly bad CGI moments like most comic book movies occasionally have. While there aren’t as many action sequences as you’d think there’d be, they are really great. The third act particularly is truly spectacular. The score by Alan Silvestri (who has now done ¾ of the scores for the Avengers movies) is really good as to be expected and elevated the movie even more.

Avengers: Endgame is an emotionally satisfying conclusion of a conclusion 22 films and 11 years in the making. The cast and characters all do fantastic work, with everyone’s story arcs executed in a very satisfying way, it’s a large scale epic yet character driven at the same time, it’s astounding that they managed to pull it off this well. It is legitimately one of the best comic book movies made, and I don’t say that too often. I feel like with so much in this movie, I’ll need to watch it again so I can fully process it fully. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid spoilers this long and not watched it yet, go into the movie knowing next to nothing. I’d be surprised if Endgame is still not one of my favourites of the year by the time 2019 is over.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Review

Time: 149 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange
Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine
Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther
Paul Bettany as Vision
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon
Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/White Wolf
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Idris Elba as Heimdall
Peter Dinklage as Eitri the Dwarf King
Benedict Wong as Wong
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord
Pom Klementieff as Mantis
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer
Zoe Saldana as Gamora
Vin Diesel as Groot
Bradley Cooper as Rocket
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
Benicio del Toro as Taneleer Tivan/The Collector
Josh Brolin as Thanos
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet — the evil Thanos (Josh Brolin). On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

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Avengers: Infinity War wasn’t just one of the most anticipated films of 2018, it’s also one of the most anticipated films ever. I’ll admit that in the lead up to the release of this film, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, the Russo Brothers directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, one of the best films in the MCU. On the other hand, they also directed Captain America Civil War, and while it was decent it was rather underwhelming compared to what it could have been, and felt a bit disappointing. Even without taking into account their previous movie, there was still a lot they had to achieve: they have to handle so many characters, and this is the culmination of about a decade’s worth of films building up to it. It is easy for Infinity War to end up being a disappointment. So I went in with my expectations in check, expecting a decent and entertaining movie. However, Infinity War truly blew me away, The Russo Brothers have truly achieved something amazing here.

I need to preface that although there is a lot of things I want to say, there’s a lot about this movie that I can’t say. So I will do my best to avoid spoilers. First thing that is worth noting is that unless you are heavily into the MCU movies, you probably won’t enjoy this as much as other people. Not just because of the amount of backstory in the other movies, but also because of the characters and build up, it might not feel as impactful. As a fan of the MCU and someone who likes all of the movies, I was thoroughly satisfied with the story here. All the moments that were meant to be impactful, really was impactful. I wasn’t spoiled at all before watching Infinity War and there were a lot of surprises, I won’t reveal any of them here because they really were effective. This movie does jump around with places and characters and with that the tonal and style shift is very apparent and it actually works. When it jumps from Thor or any of the other Avengers characters to the Guardians of the Galaxy, it really feels like a Guardians of the Galaxy movie.Infinity War is around 2 hours and 30 minutes long, making it Marvel’s longest movie. The pacing was done very well, I never got bored once. It was actually hard to get bored because there was so much happening, so much to take in. Most of the characters get to do something but some get more focus and attention than others. While this means a lot of characters not getting as much development despite the long running time, that is of no fault to the Russos, it’s a very difficult task to balance out all these characters, and what they have done here is truly commendable.

There is something I know that will concern some and that is the use of humour here. The MCU has recently been having a lot of humour, and sometimes that humour kind of diffuses some of the drama, and for Infinity War, it seemed like it would negatively affect a lot of the emotional moments. There is a lot of comedy here, and it really does work, it worked for me at least. If you’re worried about the humour ruining some of the drama or not, don’t worry, it doesn’t. During the truly impactful moments, no humour is playing during that scene. Besides, the tonal shifts, the jumping from different places is jarring already so it wouldn’t be too much of an issue. Speaking of impactful moments, there are a lot of them here, some of the most memorable in the entire MCU. I’ll just say that if you were disappointed by the lack of things happening in Civil War, you will be pleased by what happens here. And the ending…. I’m not even sure I can describe it. All I will say is that it is a very bold decision and I applaud the Russos for going in this direction. Now make no mistake, this movie isn’t called Infinity War Part 1, but it is a part 1 of 2 movies. Some of this movie’s quality and ambitious quality could change depending on the decisions made in part 2. On a side note, there is one (not two) end credits scene, I won’t say what it’s about but it does get me really hyped. It also (unlike some other MCU films) really feels like it belongs after the credits as a teaser instead of being easily insertable into the end of the actual film.

The cast to Infinity War is absolutely massive, I could probably take up a whole paragraph just listing the entire cast list and who they play. One thing that The Russo Brothers had said was that Thanos, the big villain of Infinity War, was the main character of Infinity War and I didn’t really believe it. I have to say that they were completely right, he has the most screentime of all the characters and the entire film is surrounding him. Thanos has been built up for 6 years, ever since The Avengers in 2012, he seemed like he wouldn’t live up to all the hype that has been built all around him. However he absolutely delivers. Josh Brolin delivers an incredible motion capture performance (the motion capture on him is amazing, more on that later) and really makes this character work. Something I wasn’t expecting from him is that they don’t treat him like a villain, he has reasons for doing what he does. From what I heard his motives differ from the comics but it worked in this movie at least. Thanos not only might just be the best villain in the MCU, but he’s also one of the best comic book movie villains. Threatening, powerful, interesting to watch and surprisingly full of depth, Thanos more than lives up to the hype. All the other actors do quite great in their roles. Most of the other main characters get to have at least one moment to shine. However, some characters are more utilised than others. It’s quite possible that the characters that you expect or want to have a lot of screentime or things to do doesn’t really end up doing that a lot. Stand outs include Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Zoe Saldana as Gamora.

The action sequences are really great, Infinity War has some of the best action sequences of the entire MCU. In the Captain America movies, the Russo Brothers’ often used some jump cuts in their action scenes, and while most of them worked well, it was a little too much. That was cut down a little bit in Infinity War, there’s still a little cutting in the fight scenes but the jump cutting was lessened. Most of the special effects looked good. There are occasionally parts that didn’t look so great, one of the big large action sequences in the third act had some minor CGI issues (mostly in the background), and certain things like occasionally Iron Man’s suit look a little fakish. One impressive CGI aspect however is the motion capture work on Josh Brolin to create Thanos, motion captured and CGI comic book villains are rather common nowadays but the effects here make him among the best, every expression on Brolin’s face is translated by the motion capture, it really enhanced his performance.

Avengers: Infinity War was more than a good movie, it was a great movie. I don’t know where I would rank it among the MCU, but I can say with certainty that it’s top tier Marvel, top 3 at least. I will need to rewatch it so I can be absolutely sure about my thoughts because there is a lot to take in (plus, the quality of this movie will depend on how part 2 fares). What I can say is that it’s entertaining, funny, impactful, shocking and ambitious, and I was more than satisfied with what I got. Stay away from all spoilers, there are so many surprises that you don’t want to have ruined for you. I can’t wait till Avengers 4.

Iron Man 3 (2013) Review

IRON MAN 3, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, 2013. ph: Zade Rosenthal/??Walt Disney Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Iron Man 3

Time: 130 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts
Don Cheadle as Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes/Iron Patriot
Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian
Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen
Stephanie Szostak as Brandt
Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan
Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin
Director: Shane Black

Plagued with worry and insomnia since saving New York from destruction, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), now, is more dependent on the suits that give him his Iron Man persona — so much so that every aspect of his life is affected, including his relationship with Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). After a malevolent enemy known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) reduces his personal world to rubble, Tony must rely solely on instinct and ingenuity to avenge his losses and protect the people he loves.

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Iron Man 3 was the start of Marvel’s phase 2 and while most people would say that Iron Man 3 is better than Iron Man 2, there were still some criticisms of it. Iron Man 3 was a pretty divisive movie upon its release, I’m one of the people who really liked it. It still has its flaws but I still enjoy it. Iron Man 3 has even better action, good acting, a good plot and it’s entertaining. I think the majority of the criticism was because of a certain aspect of the plot, which while understandable, doesn’t drag down the movie in any way.

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Iron Man 3 didn’t really play a big part in the universe, when all things are considered, Iron Man 2 is more relevant than Iron Man 3. However the story is better, instead of multiple plotlines that don’t always move well together it has a pretty controlled story that it follows and all the plotlines are interwoven together much better. Also the writing from Shane Black was good and you definitely tell. This movie is both the darkest and the funniest of the Iron Man movies and it works. Not all the aspects of the movie are great though. There’s a decision that Tony makes early on which is quite possibly the dumbest decision that he’s made, and that’s a lot considering the fact that he created Ultron later on. There is also a plot twist which will annoy some comic book fans that I won’t spoil for those who don’t know. While I can understand why people would be upset with it, it didn’t bother me a lot because it was well done in the context of the story.

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Robert Downey Jr is great, it’s almost pointless talking about how great he is, he is Iron Man. This movie reminded me of Dark Knight Rises, in that there was much more Tony Stark than Iron Man and I think it really payed off in the end. The supporting actors also did good work. Don Cheadle was even better here than he was in Iron Man 2, Gwyneth Paltrow was also good here. Guy Pearce was great in his role, Ben Kingsley is good in his role, Rebecca Hall is a good actress and does fine in this movie but her character was sort of underdeveloped and so she didn’t have a lot to work with.

"Marvel's Iron Man 3" Iron Patriot Ph: Zade Rosenthal © 2012 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2012 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

The action scenes here are even better than the previous Iron Man movies. Tony Stark’s suits are quite different and now he can control them without even being in them, which leads to lots of entertaining opportunities which the film takes advantage of. While the third acts of the previous films have disappointed, the third act in Iron Man 3 is great and is definitely better than in the previous films.

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Iron Man 3 is a pretty good movie but I don’t know if I can call it a great movie. The acting is good, the action is good, the writing is better than the previous film and I was entertained all the way through. Sometimes there are some flaws like some convenient writing and the massive change in the comic books. The only great Iron Man movie that’s been released has been the first one, but in my opinion all of them are good.

Iron Man 2 (2010) Review

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Iron Man 2

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts
Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes
Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff
Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer
Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Director: Jon Favreau

With the world now aware that he is Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from all sides to share his technology with the military. He is reluctant to divulge the secrets of his armoured suit, fearing the information will fall into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) by his side, Tony must forge new alliances and confront a powerful new enemy.

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Iron Man 2 has been given the reputation of being one of the weakest Marvel movies, if not the weakest Marvel movie but it’s by no means a bad movie. It still has good action and some of the subplots are interesting. The biggest problems is that there are too many subplots in this movie and a lot of them don’t really tie together, and overall not much comes from this movie and it feels unnecessary. Still, if that’s as bad as a Marvel movie gets, I think that’s a great sign.

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This film felt like an expansion pack for Iron Man, there is some interesting things like Rhodes becoming War Machine, a subplot involving Tony’s arc reactor which is slowly killing him as well as some more SHIELD information including as the introduction of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. The problem is that there are too many plotlines, all of these plotlines feel separate and for the most part they aren’t really that interwoven well together. I do feel like Iron Man 2 could’ve been much more relevant to the Marvel universe. There are plot points in Iron Man 2 that makes it worth watching for continuity with The Avengers and other Iron Man appearances after that, aside from those couple plot points however, the film didn’t feel like it needs to happen. The story still isn’t bad, it’s just not as strong or as interesting as other Marvel movies, it is a little messy.

RELEASE DATE: May 7, 2010. MOVIE TITLE: Iron Man 2. STUDIO: Paramount Pictures. PLOT: Billionaire Tony Stark must contend with deadly issues involving the government, his own friends, as well as new enemies due to his superhero alter ego Iron Man. PICTURED: SCARLETT JOHANSSON as Natasha Romanoff

Robert Downey Jr is once again really good, he really is Iron Man and was as good here as he was in the previous movie. As I said in my Iron Man review, Don Cheadle replaced Terrance Howard as Rhodes and he does a much better job. It was also nice seeing him become War Machine, which was one of the better elements of the film. Mickey Rourke is the main villain of the film and although that sounds like a great idea as Rourke can have a good screen presence, the film doesn’t use him effectively. There are really only two times when he poses a threat to Iron Man and the rest of the time he’s just doing some other nonthreatening stuff. Justin Hammer is not a very interesting character but Sam Rockwell really made the role and seemed to be having a whole lot of fun. Scarlett Johansson is decent as Black Widow here, if a little underdeveloped but as later film appearances went on, she does get much better, stronger and much more interesting as a character.

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The action scenes are once again really good, like in the previous film. The only real issue that I might have with the action scenes here is that there aren’t that many of them. I also do feel like the final fight with Mickey Rourke was a little underwhelming, like in the previous movie with Jeff Bridges, only this time it was even shorter and less entertaining.

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Iron Man 2 is one of the worst movies in the MCU series but it isn’t bad by any means. It’s got some good acting, some good action scenes and its nice watching all these plotlines unfold. But at the same time there’s too many subplots that don’t tie in well together, a lot of the payoffs aren’t very satisfying and there wasn’t much purpose for this movie to really exist. However I still think it’s worth watching, it just wasn’t as good as it could’ve been.

Iron Man (2008) Review

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Iron Man

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Terrence Howard as Lt. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes
Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane
Shaun Toub as Yinsen
Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts
Director: Jon Favreau

A billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is conducting weapons tests overseas, but terrorists kidnap him to force him to build a devastating weapon. Instead, he builds an armoured suit and upends his captors. Returning to America, Stark refines the suit and uses it to combat crime and terrorism.

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Iron Man was in development for a while and a lot of people didn’t know what to expect. It was based on a lesser known comic book character and starred Robert Downey Jr in the lead role, who was in the middle of a comeback after his personal problems. This was the movie that started off the Marvel Cinematic Universe and relaunched Robert Downey Jr’s career. Iron Man is definitely in the top 5 best Marvel movies for me, it had great action, excellent acting and quite an impressive story.

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One of the risks that this movie took is that it wasn’t based on a well-known superhero like Batman, Superman, Spiderman or Wolverine. Iron Man was an unknown character, or was at least an unknown character for the casual superhero film fan at the time. This film is an origin story for Iron Man and it was really set up well, it did actually give real reasons for Tony Stark to become Iron Man. Even though we know it is a movie, it made all this technology feel like all this is possible in some point in the future, which is something rare to see in a superhero film. The only weak point was the last act. I still enjoyed it and it isn’t bad by any means but it wasn’t as strong as the last two acts. For example when it came to that final act, Jeff Bridges turns from a decent villain to an over the top cliché villain, which was a little disappointing, seeing as how he was set up well. This movie actually knew that it was going to eventually lead to The Avengers, as evident by the post credit scene, which to this date is one of the best post credit scenes in a movie.

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Robert Downey Jr is Iron Man, he absolutely owns this role. He’s a lot of fun to watch but he also does convey the inner feelings of Tony Stark. Without him this movie would still be fine but it would not be as great as it is, he really made this movie. I also liked Gwyneth Paltrow in this movie, she and Downey Jr played off really well off each other and have good chemistry with each other. A lot of people thought that Terrence Howard was miscast and although he does a fine job, it doesn’t feel like he’s the best person suited to it, especially when compared to the recasting with Don Cheadle. I thought that Jeff Bridges made for a decent villain, even though he wasn’t fully developed he is a lot better than most of the villains in the MCU.

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The action scenes looked great, all of the action in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies look great. The CGI also really worked for the film, and the best part is that it looked like Iron Man was really there doing all these things and it doesn’t once look fake. The action also had a lot of grit to it and really helped it look like it could actually happen in the future.

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Iron Man is one of the best films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and that’s impressive considering that it was the film that started everything off for The Avengers. The story, the action and the acting especially from its main lead makes it truly a great movie. Its last act may not be very strong but the movie is worth watching for its first two acts alone. It’s worth noting that 2008 was also the year that The Dark Knight was released, that year established that great comic book movies were no longer the exception, they were now the norm.

Mortdecai (2015) Review

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Mortdecai

Time: 107 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence, Sexual References and Offensive Language
Cast:
Johnny Depp as Charlie Mortdecai
Ewan McGregor as Inspector Alistair Martland
Gwyneth Paltrow as Johanna Mortdecai
Paul Bettany as Jock Strapp
Jonny Pasvolsky as Emil Strago
Olivia Munn as Georgina Krampf
Jeff Goldblum as Milton Krampf
Director: David Koepp

Juggling some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumoured to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.

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Mortdecai stars Johnny Depp as an eccentric character that looks nothing like Johnny Depp. Sound familiar? That’s because that’s what he’s been doing for the past decade, and as you probably predicted, this film is another failure and another nail into the coffin of Johnny Depp’s career. Mortdecai tries to be a funny and witty crime comedy but fails at it big time. This film does have a few funny moments and it is well directed but for the most part it fails as a comedy, it fails as a mystery and it overall fails as a movie.

The plot is a bit of a mystery and the problem is that it is so hard to follow. By the time I got to the halfway point, I honestly stopped caring about what was going on. After seeing the movie I honestly have a hard time remembering a lot of this movie, it was so forgettable. Also despite this movie being a comedy, it’s not very funny. The movie has many running jokes and most of them aren’t funny in the slightest (the most prominent one being about Mortdecai’s moustache for some reason). This movie does have a few funny moments, but the problem is that for one, there aren’t many of them and two, it reuses the jokes over and over again and aren’t funny the second time around. It fails to be smart, it fails to be funny and it fails to be riveting in the slightest. This movie pretty much fails at everything it sets out to do, except with a few good jokes.

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Johnny Depp was pretty much playing the British Jack Sparrow, only less likable and less funny. I think it’s a mixture between the acting and the character but at a point I actually started to feel annoyed at Mortdecai, there’s nothing likable about him, he’s not funny, he’s not smart, his voice was annoying and it’s we’ve seen this from Depp before so many times. Other stars like Ewan McGregor and Gwyenth Paltrow are wasted in this movie, but they are overall fine in their roles. Paul Bettany was probably the best part of the movie, he has the best lines and the funniest moments.

This movie is well directed, I can give the movie that. It does look good but unfortunately the movie isn’t really focussed on visuals, more on the writing and ‘comedy’ and since the movie fails at both it almost feels irrelevant to mention. No one going into Mortdecai is going to remember the look of the movie, I’m just trying to find as many positive things as possible, there is so few of them.

This movie is another low point in Johnny Depp’s career. While the film is directed well and there are some funny moments, for the most part it is an unfunny, uninteresting mess. I heard that Black Mass is Johnny Depp’s comeback, I want to see it and I hope it’s good because Johnny Depp has been playing slight variations of the same character for years. However Johnny Depp isn’t the main issue with Mortdecai, even without him the movie is still very flawed. It’s not like Jupiter Ascending where there are some enjoyably bad moments, Mortdecai is just boring and worst of all forgettable and I really don’t recommend that you watch it. It will be 110 Minutes of your life that you’ll never get back.

Se7en (1995) Review

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Se7en

Time: 127 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Violence, sexual themes and content that may disturb
Cast:
Brad Pitt as David Mills
Morgan Freeman as William Somerset
Gwyneth Paltrow as Tracy Mills
Director: David Fincher

Two homicide detectives are tracking down a sadistic serial killer who chooses his victims according to the seven deadly sins. Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) is a hopeful but naive rookie who finds himself partnered with veteran Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman). Together they trace the killers every step, witnessing the aftermath of his horrific crimes one by one as the victims pile up in rapid succession, all the while moving closer to a gruesome fate neither of them could have predicted.

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David Fincher is an outstanding filmmaker and really establishes it here after the Alien 3 debacle. He isn’t a stranger to dark movies and none of his others are as dark as this one. Its dark feel captivates and holds the attention of the audience. From start to finish, Se7en is a brilliant, thrilling, horrifying, fascinating and well made movie that contains of the best aspects that Fincher has as a filmmaker.

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The tone of this movie seems to always be dark and that tone is established with its opening credit sequence. The film is captivating from start to finish as we see these two detectives try to solve the murders. The murders that they investigate happen before they appear at the crime scene, so you don’t see the murder in process. Fincher also doesn’t show the murder scenes gratuitously, just as much necessary for the audience to see; we also learn more about how the victims died through discussions afterwards and the rest of it is left to the audience’s imagination. Nonetheless, some of the deaths are particularly gruesome, meaning that this movie is probably not for everyone, particularly the faint of heart. Se7en also has one of the best endings however without spoiling it; it’s not pleasant at all. It is haunting, depressing and a bit disturbing however I think that the ending was perfect for this movie.

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The acting by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt were very good. The idea of a retiring detective being paired with a rookie cop at first sounds like some buddy cop movies, but it is handled very well as both Freeman and Pitt play their roles with realism. Most of the best scenes in the movie is when it’s just them talking; investigating all those murders gets them talking about things that are just very interesting to watch. The rest of the cast are also really good like Gwyneth Paltrow who makes quite an impact, despite not having as much screen time. I won’t reveal who the killer is played by, but the actor did such a good job playing him and was on the level of Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt as the best performances in the whole movie. Simply put, the killer embodies evil in all its forms, and it is rare to find many performances that does this successfully.

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The film has a bleak dark feeling, which would be later used in a lot of other David Fincher movies. I’ve also noticed that the sun never shines during the movie, it rains a lot and it was often gloomy, which really added to the dark tone. Everything from the lighting, editing and cinematography is so well used to its fullest potential. The soundtrack by Howard Shore is also quite good, adding to the atmosphere.

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David Fincher has successfully created a dark, disturbing film with a lot of atmosphere. Although the deaths didn’t really disturb me, I will say that this film is not for the faint of heart. It is one of Fincher’s best and as long as you know what you are going into before you watch it, it is a brilliant movie.