A belated sequel to the 2009 revamp this film tries very hard (too hard?) to wipe the slate clean for future films by taking great big chunks from the best Trek film (TWOK) and turning them on their head. Unfortunately it ends up repeating itself and paling in comparison to that film when it comes to the emotional angle. However you can't argue with the action content and here the film certainly delivers. In Cumberbatch we have a villain that seems invincible as if therefore much more terrifying. The fact that he isn't who we originally think is no real surprise but I didn't roll my eyes when I found out his true identity as he plays the role so well. Some die-hard fans will de-cry the fact that his character is included but at least it means that the film can go for something new in the future. In the end the emotional story didn't work for me but it was a fun blockbuster with great action and a stellar performance from Cumberbatch.
This film has to do a lot to top 'The Avengers' and if it doesn't quite achieve that it still manages to trump 'Iron Man 2' and the rest of the Marvel films recently. Mostly this is down to Downey Jnr and his brilliant charismatic Tony Stark but also Black has produced a witty script with dialogue that is similar to his other hits 'Lethal Weapon' and 'The Last Boyscout'. I'd argue that film is a little long and it takes a while to get going (almost as if it's got a 'Avengers' hangover!) but once Stark's home is blasted to pieces the film kicks up a gear and the action never lets up. As well as Downey the film gives Paltrow more to do this time and Pearce is a great threat. Kingsley's character is totally unexpected and I enjoyed the twist (although I suspect comic book fans will be annoyed by it). Another great comic book movie from Marvel. Now let's see what DC can do with Superman!
The film looks gorgeous and I loved the idea of setting most of it within a theatre, although I wish Wright had kept his nerve and had no outside shots in the film. The cast are very strong (MacFadyen is especially funny as Anna's brother and Law is very sympathetic as her husband) but the whole thing is let down by a story that edges towards being boring. I applaud the effort but just wish the whole thing had been done with better source material.
Although the whole things seemed a little lightweight for these talents I liked the fact that there was no villain of the piece and that each character has their flaws and good sides. The film takes a while to get going but the relationship between Streep and Baldwin works really well and Martin (although looking very odd from some obvious recent surgery) underplays his role and is all the better for it.
A great cast certainly help Hoffman with his directorial debut but although it is a nice little film you can't help feeling that you've been here before with both British films and some of this cast (I'm looking at you, Maggie Smith!). It's nice seeing Courtney back on the big screen in a substantial role and Connolly brings some humour but also nice dramatic depth to his role. The real treat is seeing all the real musicians and singers of yesteryear amongst the smaller roles and they all look like they're thoroughly enjoying themselves. I guess the film is a celebration of their talents (make sure you watch the credits to get a full idea of how much these people have done) and to that extent it works well enough.