Iron Man 3: Tony Stark Beats the Snot out of Ghandi

May 3, 2013. The rumor forever was that Stark was going to fight the Mandarin in one of the movies and it’s finally coming true, with Ben Kingsley as Mandarin.

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I kid about Ghandi. Kingsley’s range isn’t limited to Indians who preach non-violent resistance against the British empire and who inexplicably get stiffed for the Nobel Peace Prize. At the opposite extreme he was the psychotic Don Logan in Sexy Beast. He can play anything. Guy Pearce has a part, too. Whatever else happens in Iron Man 3, the acting will not suck.

Dirty word alert:

Sabretooth Takes Broadway

Since I only know Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth from X-Men Origins: Wolverine I was surprised to see him in this NY Times theater piece. And with Black Widow on his lap.

So yeah apparently he’s a Tony award-winning stage actor. He and Black Widow are up for Tony Awards tonight. And his first name is pronounced Lee-ev, which I had wondered about.

P.S. I didn’t realize Black Widow was married to Deadpool and that Deadpool will soon be Green Lantern.

PreviouslyFour Broadway Shows: Chicago, The Color Purple, Doubt, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Iron Man 2 and Walt Disney

Rex Hammock pegs the tie-in between Tony Stark’s future-loving dad and Walt Disney’s vision of the world of tomorrow.

Reports: Iron Man 3 villain will be Mandarin

Says IMDB.

6 Word Iron Man 2 Review

Even better than the first movie.

Stark Expo

Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) runs out of toothpicks and has to resort to kicking ass

Iron Man and War Machine

“Ultimate Avengers” and the Marvel Comics Movie Roadmap

A few months ago I read the first two tradebooks of “The Ultimates” comic books, which is a modern re-imagining of The Avengers and their origin story. The Ultimates seems to be the roadmap Marvel is using for their new superhero movies, including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and The Avengers. If you read “The Ultimates” you can get a roadmap of where the movies are going.

Example. If you’re a comic book fan you’ve seen the Iron Man movie by now. If you stayed past the credits you saw Nick Fury talk to Tony Stark about joining the Avengers. In the traditional Marvel universe Nick Fury is a white dude who is the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. In “The Ultimates” S.H.I.E.L.D. head honcho Nick Fury is a black dude who looks like Samuel L. Jackson. In the Iron Man movie S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury is a black dude who looks like Samuel L. Jackson because he is Samuel L. Jackson, bitches!

Another example. In the traditional Marvel universe Bruce Banner becomes the Hulk while experimenting with gamma radiation. In “The Ultimates” Banner becomes the Hulk while experimenting with the effects of radiation on the Super Soldier formula that created Captain America. The Incredible Hulk movie with Edward Norton as Banner hews closer to the Ultimates origin story.

Here are a couple of plot points from “The Ultimates” that may or may not make their way into the new Marvel movies:

  • S.H.I.E.L.D. and its leader Nick Fury are intertwined with The Avengers from the beginning of the group’s founding. This one seems to be a slam dunk after the Iron Man movie.
  • Thor isn’t the same person he was in the traditional Marvel universe. I can’t say anything else without spoiling the comic book (and possibly the movie) so as they say in Marvel Comics, ’nuff said.
  • Henry Pym is an even bigger bastard than before.
  • Iron Man is paired up with Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2). After the Wasp breaks up with Henry Pym she and Captain America start dating.

PreviouslyIron Man 2 Trailer

Iron Man 2 Trailer

Via Ace of Spades.

Mickey O’Rourke plays Whiplash, who is one of my favorite Iron Man villains. He had a strong personality and over the years he kept reinventing himself with new weapons, new costumes, and at one point a new name (Blacklash).

That’s something I liked about the Iron Man comic book. Other heroes had a set of powers and abilities that never really changed. That always seemed like suicide. Eventually their enemies would upgrade their weapons, try a different approach, team up with other villains, or just plain get lucky one day and it would be curtains for our hero. Tony Stark on the other hand was constantly upgrading his armor to keep one step ahead of the bad guys and to learn from past mistakes. Iron Man villains had to stay on the same Red Queen treadmill to keep up.

Dave Campbell likes to say that a superhero is only as good as his supervillains. Going back and reading back issues of Iron Man old metalhead was clearly lacking in the capable villains department. Here’s a guy with armor, superstrength, repulsors, flight, and dozens of electronic tricks he can mentally reprogram on the fly. A villain with a cool gun and a set of shiny leotards ain’t much of a challenge for a guy like that. The movies are showing good judgment in showcasing the more credible Iron Man villains.

P.S. War Machine (Jim Rhodes) is in the new pic, too, played by Don Cheadle.

P.P.S. Scarlett Johansson plays Black Widow. I tend to think of Black Widow as being part of Spider Man and Daredevil story lines, but she’s Iron Man’s love interest in “The Ultimates.”

Is “The Incredible Hulk” Better Than “Iron Man”?

First there were the X-men movies, then the Spider Man movies, the new Batman reboot starring Christian Bale and most recently Iron Man. Now The Incredible Hulk carries on the winning streak of well-executed comic book movie adaptations starring A-list actors.

The Incredible Hulk movie begins with Bruce Banner living in the slums of Brazil. (You see the experiment that turned him into The Hulk during the credits.) It’s a daring visual and cultural departure from what you’d expect, and it works. The opening scenes are just a hint of the visuals that are in store for the movie. And by visuals I mean cinematography, not CGI. The CGI ranges from mostly good to occasionally great, especially when it’s combined with other elements as it is in the raining cave scene in the second half of the movie.

Part way through I decided that The Incredible Hulk movie was better than Iron Man. Part of it is that vagabond Bruce Banner is a more sympathetic character than billionaire playboy Tony Stark. It helps that Banner has a mutual love interest, while Stark has a gorgeous woman who adores him and that he neglects. Advantage: Hulk.

Iron Man wins on CGI. Part of the thrill of that movie is how well they brought Iron Man to life on the big screen. Iron Man also has the better love interest. Gwyneth Paltrow is both prettier and a better actress than Liv Tyler, who doesn’t even bother to act in her first scene. Two advantages to Iron Man.

For leading men, Robert Downey, Jr. has more charisma than mopey Edward Norton, but Norton’s mopeyness works for him here, and Tony Stark’s character is ultimately a self-absorbed jerk. Call it a draw.

Mostly, though, it comes down to the villains. Dave Campbell likes to say that superheroes are only as good as their villains. Even in the comic book Iron Man lacked for good villains. In the movie treatment the villain is Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), a traitorous friend who steals the original Iron Man armor and develops a more refined suit, but it’s ultimately less powerful than Stark’s version 2.0 armor. The only reason their fight is even a contest is that in uncostumed life the bad guy sneak attacks Stark and steals his improved power supply. Otherwise Stark’s more-advanced armor would have made the fight last all of two seconds.

And what is Stane’s motivation? He wants to be, like, rich and powerful and stuff.

In The Incredible Hulk the villains are more threatening and their motivations are developed from the very beginning. General Ross (William Hurt) was in charge of the super soldier program that accidentally turned Bruce Banner into The Hulk. Now Ross is trying to fix his mistake without admitting he made it in the first place. All the while he’s battling for the affection of his daughter, who is in love with Banner.

Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) is an aging soldier, past his prime, who wishes he had the vigor of his youth. After his team’s first defeat, Ross approaches Blonsky with the promise of regaining the power of youth and much more. All he has to do is take a dose of Banner’s blood to acquire a fraction of Hulk’s powers. When Ross and Blonsky fail to defeat The Hulk a second time Blonsky forces another scientist to give him even more of Banner’s blood, which turns him into the brutish, Hulk-like Abomination for the film’s final battle.

So for the villains we have, on the Iron Man side, The Dude. On the Hulk side, William Hurt and Tim Roth. Advantage: Hulk.

I’ll have to watch both when they come out on DVD to be sure, but I’m pretty sure “The Incredible Hulk” is a better comic book movie than Iron Man, but mostly because Iron Man didn’t bother to spend much time fighting a supervillian.

Saw Iron Man. It Really is Awesome.

The movie is as good as everyone says it is. The effects are believable and the acting talent is excellent. Robert Downey, Jr., is amazing as Tony Stark, the billionaire drunk scientific genius immature self-destructive and occasionally selfless jerk of an action hero. It may actually be better than my previous comic book adapation, X-Men 2. We really are living in the golden age of comic book movies.

Iron Man Opens Today

95% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. I’ve going to let my hopes get up for potential dashing.

Fan of Iron Man? Fan of Cormac McCarthy?

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