Iron Man 3 (2013)

ironman3_3Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, Stephanie Szostak, Paul Bettany, William Sadler, Dale Dickey, Ty Simpkins, Miguel Ferrer

Directed by Shane Black

Expectations: Moderate. I do like these Marvel movies, but I’ve heard mixed things.

threehalfstar


It’s always good to see a movie for yourself to form your own opinion. If I had believed the majority of what I’d heard about Iron Man 3, I might have passed on it. Of course, I’m much too invested in Marvel’s cinematic universe experiment to quit now, but to illustrate a point let’s just say that I might have skipped it. In doing so, I would’ve skipped my favorite of the Iron Man films. Iron Man 3 is entertaining from start to finish, filled with humor and excitement and growth for the on-screen Tony Stark character that excites and satisfies completely. This is exactly what the Iron Man films needed after the fun, but ultimately forgettable Iron Man 2.

In the aftermath of the events of The Avengers, Tony Stark is shaken and unable to focus on anything but his work. He’s dealing with anxiety issues that he’s never had to contend with before and it frightens him. Meanwhile, a mysterious terrorist calling himself The Mandarin has arisen, giving Tony Stark a threat unlike anything he’s yet faced. For a summer blockbuster, it’s also strangely set at Christmas, but it isn’t just “colored lights in the window,” as this backdrop provides a depth that enhances the story’s resonance.

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Mini-Review: The Town (2010)

The Town (2010)

Starring Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Chris Cooper, Slaine, Titus Welliver, Pete Postlethwaite, Owen Burke, Edward O’Keefe

Directed by Ben Affleck

Expectations: Low.


Your ability to really dig in and care about the events in The Town hinges on your connection to Ben Affleck’s character. If over the course of the movie, you find yourself wrapped up enough to care about him, then I’m sure you enjoyed the movie. If however, you didn’t particularly care about his character and you thought he was needlessly stupid, then you probably have the same mixed feelings I did when I finished watching The Town.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a pretty good movie. The acting is very good from most of the cast with Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall leading in strong supporting roles. Pete Postlethwaite is fantastic in his limited screen time. Ben Affleck feels a bit out of place in some scenes, but he does a good job overall. A lot of my problem with his acting can be explained through his character’s motivations so I can overlook his presumed shortcomings and chalk them up to being “the way he meant to do it.”

Affleck’s direction is similar to his acting. There are flashes of real talent, but more often than not, the shot selection and editing are so incredibly mainstream and phoned in that any name from Paul W.S. Anderson to Michael Bay could be in front of the movie and no one would be the wiser. I’m all for Affleck branching out into directing, but at least have some sort of personal style.

Despite every shortcoming, The Town is still worth watching for those interested in movies about small-time criminals trying to finish that last big score so they can leave town and start a clean life. Just don’t expect it to add anything to that predefined plot line.

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