A movie starring two familiar actors (and few others too). I guess this is what happened to Eiji and Ankh after Kamen Rider OOO.
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Well, I finally watched The Avengers, the latest installment of Marvel’s super heroes movies. It’s the long awaited movie, bringing several previously standalone super heroes together: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk. Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, and Chris Hemsworth reprised their roles respectively, with Robert Downey Jr pretty much stole the show, or probably because Iron Man had the longest gap between his last movie and this one, and thus it felt more exciting seeing him again vs the other heroes. Anyway, here’s my quick impression, and yes, I will spoil the movie.
The story itself is a continuation of the setup from Captain America and Thor movies. Loki made a deal with some alien to use the energon cube, I mean that blue-cube-source-of-energy-thingy, to open a portal so the aliens can invade earth. Pretty straight forward, and the motive were already set for Loki, for revenge against Thor. Thing is, the last time we saw Loki, he fell from Asgard to the abyss. So how did he survive? I guess the “abyss” is space? Anyway, Selvig, the scientist from Thor movie is now investigating the energon cube from Captain America movie, and Loki used the situation to transport himself to earth. At the same time, he brainwashed Selvig and Hawkeye to work for him. Nick Fury then decided to assemble the heroes to get the energon cube back.
It started with Black Widow getting Bruce Banner. With the Hulk having 3 actors now with 2 non-related movies a long while back, it’s hard to relate to the character in this movie. By the way, at the end of Thor movie, Thor destroyed the bridge and thus stuck in Asgard. So how did he manage to go to earth again? And if he could, why didn’t he visit his girlfriend already? Yeah. Oh well, Iron Man is cool as always. As usual, Tony Stark arrived with the eye candy, showing how his landing pad automatically removed his Iron Man armor while he’s walking. Total geek fest. Captain America is pretty much a direct scene continuation from the end of his movie.
What’s great about this movie is the interaction between the heroes, especially Downey Jr as Tony Stark. The other heroes seemed stiff, but Tony Stark is just being Tony, making jokes and insulting everybody. It works great, and thus imo Downey stole the show. They also did a good job in balancing the heroes’ screen time. In movies with multiple main heroes, there’s a threat of having certain heroes taking a back seat. It didn’t feel this way in this movie. Even Hawkeye and Black Widow took quite big parts instead of standing by over the sideline.
How about fan service? This is something that many western movies sometime missed completely. Well, they are in the movies, enough to make fans happy, yet not too much that it makes the movie a bit corny. The best one I remember was when Iron Man and Captain America were fighting the aliens side by side, and Iron Man fired his repulser beam to Captain America’s shield and have the beams deflected to the surrounding aliens. That’s so awesome that the audience was cheering and clapping. Another hilarious part was when Hulk confronted Loki. Loki boasted how he’s a God, and the Hulk simply smashed Loki around like a toy. Again, the audience cracked up. It’s too funny. They did a really good job slipping these things in the movie. Another fan service is the Iron Man mark VII suit, which can fly on its own, matching itself to Stark’s bracelet and armored Stark on the fly, literally. It’s no extremis, but I’ll take it.
Any downside of the movie? Well, Shield is pretty much useless, i.e. they had the energon cube stolen under their nose, and their flying fortress were wrecked and did nothing during the invasion itself. The after credit scene can be hilarious and a huge eye roller at the same time.
Future storyline? It’s clear that Stark is going to use his tower as the Avengers Tower, and Thanos is going to be the next villain. My wishes? To have the X-Men and Spiderman franchise tied together with the Avengers. I want to see the live-action version of the Stark-designed Spiderman suit. Alas, Spiderman is pretty much Sony’s.
In short, The Avengers is a quick and fun action movie with enough toppings to please fans. It’s a great movie to distract me. Thumbs up, recommended. But enough distraction, back to making Accel World AMV now. 😉
Iron Man 2
Just got out from watching Iron Man 2, IMAX lite. In short, pretty good movie, and stay for after-the-credits scene.
*Warning* May contain spoiler.
One thing Iron Man 2 is better than the first one, the action scenes. It’s upped a notch or two for obvious reason, Tony Stark is already Iron Man, while in the first movie, it’s the origin story. The progression of the movie felt a bit rushed though since the studios are trying to push in SHIELD and The Avengers into the movie. Robert Downey Jr’s performance is great, as usual. He just nailed Tony Stark’s character. Now in Iron Man 2, Rhodey is a different dude, Don Cheadle instead of Terrence Howard. For whatever reason, I always felt the character Rhodes in both Iron Man movies to be a bit off, despite him being War Machine in Iron Man 2. There’s no back story, not much characterization, not much story, other than being Tony’s friend, and voila, next thing you know he’s War Machine. I just don’t feel the connection between Rhodes and Stark, and the change in the actor didn’t help.
Samuel L. Jackson has more screen time now as Nick Fury, since SHIELD is obviously taking a significant part of the story. Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts is, well, is fine. They did cut one scene that was in the trailer, where Potts kissed Iron Man’s helm and throwing it overboard with Tony jumping and flying to get it while saying “You complete me.” Yup, that scene was completely gone, which is kinda disappointing as that scene seems to give a better mood to the relationship of Tony and Pepper. Oh well, obviously a DVD extra.
Now, many reviewers online are not too happy with Iron Man 2 having “multiple villains.” Well, to me there’s only one villain, Whiplash (Mickey Rourke). Sure, there’s the obviously corrupt senator (which didn’t seem to get any repercussion in the movie, obviously portraying real life situation), and the “evil” competing company CEO (Hammer), but I don’t count them as villains. In a super hero movie, the villain should be a super hero too, thus Whiplash. I actually like Whiplash’s part in Iron Man 2. He went through pretty much the same turn of events as Tony Stark, starting with a self-made reactor with limited resources, tricking his captor’s resources for his own purpose, and upgrade his weapon to make a comeback. Very focused single villain, unlike Spider Man 3. The climax fight, however, is both refreshing and disappointing. I made my case that I wasn’t too happy with the climax fight in Iron Man 1, where the girl saved the powerless hero. In Iron Man 2, Tony is still fully functional as Iron Man, and saved Pepper, but the fight with Whiplash is very short and not too exciting. Oh well, at least this time Tony used an upgraded reactor for the final fight (I guess it explains why Iron Man’s reactor chest is a triangle instead of a circle. Seeing that in comics and cartoons, I always thought it was just cosmetic), unlike the first movie where he relied on the 1st gen reactor.
Now, let’s talk about the gadgets. Other than Tony’s home computer, in Iron Man 1, Tony used a stupid Verizon LG phone, which magically worked in the middle east (come on, at least use a GSM phone). Iron Man 2 did a better job by giving Tony a small transparent tablet thingy with touch interface. Pretty awesome. Speaking of touch, that’s the main meme in Iron Man 2. They showed Tony doing a search on Black Widow on his table with multi-touch to boot. Then there’s the whole room virtual reality that Tony used to discover a new element. Steve Jobs is right, touch is the next step.
All of those are nice and futuristic, but then there’s a step back. Tony Stark uses Dell XPS. Yeah, Dell. A billionaire uses Dell, while a hacker working at a convenience store (Falcon) has an iMac and a Mac Pro. LOL. Yeah, I’m comparing the techs of Iron Man 2 with Bloody Monday 2. Sure it’s nice seeing the futuristic stuff, but we know those things don’t exist for consumers. It’s more appetizing to see today’s real products. Oh, and don’t even compare the US government vs the Japanese government. In Bloody Monday 2, the Japanese government are all Apple. 🙂 Then there’s a scene of Tony “hacked” the court’s computer using his transparent tablet, but the “hacking” process is just some lame ASCII of his name. They should do it like Bloody Monday 2, where Falcon uses his USB key to boot any PC into Linux, doing command lines. Now that’s more geeky.
As for spoilers, Captain America and Thor. Nuff said. My wish list for the next Iron Man movie? Extremis, which allows Tony to call up the Iron Man suit on command (it will be ultra cool if he yelled “Henshin!” LOL).
Overall, Iron Man 2 is a good action super hero movie. It doesn’t disappoint nor exceed expectations. It’s what it is, a fun movie to begin the summer season.