Sunday, August 10, 2014

Surprise Sunday Reviews - Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013)

It's Superhero weekend on the Scrolls of Wisdom Blog!  Yesterday it was The Amazing Spider-Man, which I didn't particularly care for, and today I saw Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World!  Yea, been a busy weekend.  Well, let's get right to the reviews, because you don't come here to listen to me babble insanely about the weather.  Or, maybe you do.  If so...  You're odd.

Iron Man 3 (2013) is the third installment in the life story of Robert Downey, Jr.  Wait.  No.  That's the actor.  Right.  Tony Stark, that's the guy.  Tony Stark is Iron Man.  I mean, if Robert Downey, Jr went around saying "I am Iron Man" all the time, well, I'd guess he was dipping into the old liquor cabinet.  Again.  The first two Iron Man movies, and let me be clear, aside from the numerous times I have seen Spider-Man done and re-done, the Iron Man and Thor movie series are, in fact, new to modern times, as far as I know.  Although, Thor's story is about as old as the vikings are, so, I mean, it's not like Marvel is telling us anything completely original, there.  Makes me wonder if the Norwegians have any prior claim to Marvel's use of the name Thor, or are getting a percentage of profits from the movies?  But, I digress.

In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark has a semi-stable relationship with Pepper Potts, his former assistant, but he's having a little trouble sleeping.  Apparently, the events of the Avengers movie, where he nearly died after falling through a wormhole, have given him insomnia.  Pffft, pansy, can't deal with falling through a wormhole after fighting an alien army?  Sheesh.  After spending a few days not sleeping, working hard on upgrading his armor, Tony Stark turns on the news to see a series of terrorist bombings, with a super-villain by the name of Mandarin taking credit.  As Tony goes longer and longer without sleep, we come to find out, these simple terrorist bombings are not so simple as we first believed.  Will Tony manage to stop the Mandarin before dozing off?

I wasn't very fond of Iron Man 3.  To be honest, I never really liked Iron Man, the superhero, either.  Sure, it's nice to be a genius (I know how that is), and it's nice to be rich (wish I knew how that was), and it's nice to be adored by millions of babes (I may be overestimating my appeal if I say I know how that is), but the whole rock star life Tony Stark lives just seems so empty to me.  (shrugs)  He didn't even seem all that impressive when I read his comic books, so I don't think it's anything the movies have done to alter the comic book version.  If I had to guess, Iron man is Marvel's equivalent of Batman.  Rich hero, makes his own costume and gadgets, runs his own company, etc.  I guess after two movies, I'm kind of used to Robert Downey, Jr's portrayal of Iron Man, but Iron Man 3 didn't seem to deepen his character any.  I guess the movie itself wasn't bad, but I guess I was hoping for something new, or different, or better, and didn't get any of that.  Suffice it to say, if you want more Iron Man than you got from the first two movies, well, here's another dose.  Sufficiently enjoyable for watching it once for the action, of which there wasn't particularly a ton, but watching it again for the excitement seems a bit overmuch.

One thing I will say is, I thought the super-villain and his cronies could have used more explanation.  I mean, you've got a botanist who says something about regenerating tissue and then something about a glitch and then supposedly Tony Stark drunkenly solves the problem by scribbling down an equation on the back of a name tag.  Look, I'm a scientist here, okay?  I know your average viewer might be happy with "regenerating tissue" + "glitch" + "complicated-looking equation" = "super villain," but I'm going to need a little bit more than that.  Some kind of damned explanation might have been nice, even something a little more detailed about HOW the botanist was trying to regenerate tissue, by funneling the excess heat your body generates naturally into a healing boost, maybe.  See how easy that was?  Now THAT explains everything that happened to the super villain in the movie, and only took me about 3 seconds to figure out.  Why couldn't that have been included in the movie so the people of slightly above-average intelligence out there could just go "Ah, makes sense?"  Don't ask me.  I don't make these movies.

As far as Thor: The Dark World (2013) goes, that movie was only slightly better.  The second installment of the Thor movies, in which the Bifrost Bridge was fractured in the first, begins with Thor and the armies of Asgard settling all the unrest that developed from Loki's actions in the first movie.  Also, they've somehow managed to repair the Bifrost bridge, which sort of makes sense when you consider that they were the people that built it in the first place, but DOESN'T make sense when you consider that even Loki was convinced that once Thor had broken the bridge, he'd never be able to return to Midgard (earth) again.  Of course, the minute one problem is taken care of, another arises.  Isn't that always the way with the life of a hero?  In this case, there's plenty of explanation as to what's going on.  The Dark Elves, or Svartalf, as the vikings called them, were put down millennia ago by Odin's father, but have returned, seeking their ancient weapon of Aether, or basically, liquid darkness, that will allow them to, how shall I put this, put out the lights everywhere?  Yea, close enough.

This movie, much like Iron Man, is more of the same.  More Thor, more Loki, more Odin, more Jane Foster as played by Natalie Portman.  Okay, any movie with more Natalie Portman is a good thing, but still.  There was slightly more violence in this one than Iron Man 3, but still not an entirely satisfying amount.  You want to know of a movie that I consider a satisfying amount of violence in it?  Check out Knights, with Kris Kristofferson.  Yea, older movie, but that movie was just basically one long fight from start to finish, and that's why I remember it so well.

I will say there were aliens with guns in this movie, and I found that a good thing.  Let me explain why.  You've got the Asgards, supposedly so far advanced that their science seems like magic to us.  And yet they are using swords, spears and hammers.  Here's the thing, when you're coming up with Gods, like the vikings did, giving them the most advanced hardware to wield just makes sense.  Hammers, swords and spears were tools of the trade back in the Viking years, so it only makes sense that that's what the vikings had them using.  Nowadays, if a culture comes up with a god, they're going to arm them with guns, missiles, rockets and so on.  Like Iron Man, for instance.  Clinging to the idea of actual, advanced alien species using swords and hammers just seems ridiculous to me.  The aliens in this movie, called the Svartalf by the Asgardians, look like Dark Elves, and use guns, grenades and flying warships.  Now THAT'S an advanced alien species.  I mean, look, I know the Asgardians are supposed to be the good guys, but come on.  Chris Hemsworth walking around in a cape, carrying a big hammer, and smacking people over the head with it...  well, that does not sound very advanced to me.  Sure, you can tell me it's a magic hammer, and Thor has been using advanced technology for so long that he has only a child's level of understanding with the basics as far as explaining it to humans goes, but that's just being contradictory.  The aliens and their guns seemed to rape the SHIT out of the Asgardians in this movie.  if the Asgardians are so far advanced, wouldn't they have realized ages ago that shooting someone from far away with some kind of projectile weapon is TONS more effective than using a sword at close range?  So why are the Asgardians clinging to swords, spears and shields?  Yea, doesn't make sense to me, either, except that that's the way the Vikings came up with them, and human beings haven't invented a god for themselves in over a thousand years.

Might be time to come up with a new one.  I should invent a god.  Why not Iron Man?  Let's do it, let's all worship Tony Stark!  Meh, okay maybe that's not so smart.  Then Robert Downey, Jr. becomes the face of the new god and that's just not someone I want to see plastered all over temples for the next two thousand years.  Okay, okay, it was a bad idea, all right?  Forget I said anything.

That's all for tonight.  On to watch True Blood and The Strain.  Warm as hell here tonight.  Sweating me balls off, even if August is my favorite summer month.  I like it because it's warm, and usually quiet compared to the noisiness of July.  Plus the crickets have been chirping up a storm the last few weeks, which is always nice to hear compared to the oh-so-silent nights of winter, spring and early summer.  Catch you guys next week!

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