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Rating History

The Dark Knight
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

It's Marvel vs. DC Again. In Reverse.

The reason I was writing reviews was to let you the reader, make informed decisions of A. whether the movie will appeal to you B. let you know what they are getting into spoiler-free and C. to let you know if you are wasting your money.

Since everyone has and/or is going to see this movie,
I will focus on section B.

The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience. It's by far the biggest, most anticipated movie of the year.

Preamble:
Its Marvel vs. DC again, but in reverse order. You see, back in the 1960's Stan Lee had created a character as a response to Bob Kane's Batman. That character was Iron Man. Both heroes were wealthy, had no superpowers and were self-made heroes. Fast forward to 2008, this time, Iron Man is released first and the movie set the box-office ablaze, surpassing people's expectations and making people's wallets lighter. It currently stands in the #21 position in the All-Time Domestic Money Earning Blockbusters, just squeezing by the first Lord of The Rings flick. Batman is making his return to the big screen, and the standard that Iron Man has set won't be easy to match let alone beat.

Onto the review:

Length/Pacing: At a total running time of 2 hours and 32 minutes, It feels like watching two epic, well-made films for the price of one, with the second half better than the first.. If you like shows like 24, Prison Break, etc. then you probably wouldn't want it to end anyways.

Acting: I've seen Ten Things I Hate About You and A Knight's Tale, so I had no idea that Heath Ledger had it in him to deliver such an Oscar-worthy performance. He stole the movie. It could have been easily renamed "Enter The Joker". I'm not sure if the Academy has ever awarded a Best Actor Oscar to someone posthumously, but if he doesn't win, it would be robbery (knowing the Academy's infamous history, I wouldn't be surprised if he did not win).

Ledger set the pace for the movie. He ran the show. Heath Ledger had to play the ultimate villain in a comic book movie. Mission accomplished. A morbid fascination with the Joker character is established between the audience as the Joker in this film is a man with a mysterious past, we don't know where he came from, for most of the film, we don't even know his motives. He's just a fun and crazy guy who is looking for his place in the world. Although I don't condone his methods, I think most people can relate to finding your place in the great scheme of things.

In contrast to Jack Nicholson's portrayal in 1989, Jack's was exactly that, a portrayal. Ledger's was the Joker incarnate. Ledger's Joker stemmed from unadulterated conviction. Where as Nicholson's Joker seemed straight out of the comic book, Ledger's was something more demented, disturbing and raw as something out of Frank Miller's Sin City universe.

Besides Ledger, the other characters are developed really well, in due part to the high caliber of the actors involved.

Story: Its difficult not to compare this to the Tim Burton original. While this film does not deliver as well as the 1989 original in terms of art direction or style (its hard for anyone to beat Butron in that department), plot wise and script wise, it blows the Burton original away. It's simply superb. It's got plot twists. Most comic book movies have absurd, campy, laughable dialogue, but this one is written so well, it captures that essence of believability, of reality. Like an episode of 24. It breaks the boundaries of how a comic book movie should be made and is multi-dimensional movie: its an action, mystery, drama, thriller, its everything and more an intelligent adult male could ask for in a movie. Basically, it's like 24, just replace Jack Bauer with Batman, and the terrorists with the Joker.

Visuals/Special Effects: Incredible. Seeing it in IMAX makes it even more immersive. For only 3 dollars extra, you really get your money's worth and Dark Knight used IMAX to its advantage. By far one of the best movie experience in all my life, its up there with seeing the T-Rex for the first time on the big screen in the original Jurassic Park.

Select the black box below with your cursor to view the spoiler text

The Two-Face effects were slightly fake-looking, but were about on par with Hollow Man's fleshy CGI.


Music/Sound Effects:
Crisp, powerful, dynamic, this is what an action movie should sound like.
IMAX enhances the film and should be the way to experience it for first time viewers. My ears hurt for a few minutes after the movie.

Profanity:
Nothing memorable.

Miscellaneous:
Finding faults in an incredible movie:

Not For Kids:
It really comes down to this:
Burger King promoted the release of Iron Man. McDonald's, which typically does the promotions for the Batman movies, didn't. In fact no major fast food chain did. That tells you right away that The Dark Knight is the antithesis of a simple, kids movie.
It's very dark and gritty. It may be psychologically traumatic for them. Dark Knight was not built for all age demographics, specifically young children. Content-wise it is inappropriate and as a whole, it cannot be fully understood or enjoyed by them.

The Iron Man Difference:
Whereas Iron Man was a film that was funny, crowd-pleasing, and didn't take itself so seriously, Dark Knight is more of a thinking man's movie, it is richer in plot, is darker and is way more serious, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.

Select the black box below with your cursor to view the spoiler text
Little Details:
Where and when did Two-Face get time to get a suit to match his face?
I still felt like giggling whenever Batman spoke. Is he trying to be Clint Eastwood, suffering from a chronic constipation or has a respiratory infection?
There is still no catchy Batman-theme to dethrone Danny Elfman's Batman opus.

Two-Face:
I really appreciate the fact that the trailers did not spoil the fact that there are two villains in the movie. This is a pleasant surprise and only makes the movie that much better, and the producers that much wittier.

Re-Watchability:
The tunnel scene. Batman's stand off with the Joker before Comiss. Gordon arrests him.


Overall: By the mid-point of the film, I had it in mind to hand this movie a 9 to 9.5, however its not how you begin, its how you end. The latter half was out of the park. It is hard not to draw comparisons to the equally excellent Iron Man and it is in this reviewers opinion, that Iron Man was the best comic book movie for all ages. This is by far the best made comic book movie intended for a mature audience.

Historically, I think Iron Man would be more akin to holding the title of the "Star Wars" of comic book movies, universally-appealing and more colorful, adored by the mainstream and the child in all of us. On the other hand, The Dark Knight will take its rightful place as "The Godfather" of comic book movies, adored by even the harshest of movie critics and mature audiences alike.

10/10
(Masterpiece)

Legend:
0- Horrible, unwatchable, what were they thinking? Will get people asking for their money back.
1- Use during a sleep over to put everybody to sleep.
2- Plain Boring, will get people walking out of the theatre
3- Very Bad, poor everything, no redeemable quality.
4- Poor production, with little redeemable quality
5- Wait for the DVD, proceed with caution
6- Decent: Worth a look. Once.
7- Entertaining: Re-watchable x 1 more play
8- Memorable: Re-watchable x 3 plays
9- Classic: Re-watchable x 10 plays
10- Masterpiece Re-watchable x 100+ plays

Iron Man
Iron Man (2008)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

First There Was Godzilla. Now The Iron Man Cometh.

May 02 2008

In 1954, Ishiro Honda helmed a film that was released as a response to an emerging important political issue of the time: Nuclear proliferation. That film was titled: Gojira. You may know it by its more commonly used name: Godzilla. Well, before the innumerable sequels, Gojira was taken as a serious film, an important piece of cinematic history. I recently watched it and it is much deeper than I ever imagined. Behind the rubber suit, it was about
Nature taking revenge on mankind for creating the atomic bomb.

That brings me to Iron Man. How does this relate to Gojira?
For one, both titular characters are by-products of the horrors of warfare.
Under the armor of its guise as a bank breaking blockbuster, a Gojira-like political statement is made. It is not pushed to the same degree, but it addresses the issues of terrorism and chaotic conditions in the Middle East where the people know no rest from war. The audience should not feel like the movie is being driven by its own hidden agenda and rightly so, in Iron Man it is not shoved in our face, in fact most people may not even pick up on it. The issue is treated with respect and with discipline so that the audience is not annoyed by it.

Iron Man goes even further and deals with an even larger issue, the dilemma of relying on war to obtain peace. This has been one the primary causes of humanity's suffering since we were put here on earth. Not to blow your mind or anything, I mean you can watch Iron Man and take it as just another super-hero movie. But when you put it under a microscope, you will find this movie is made up of deeper things. At its core, it is about
mankind taking revenge on itself for its inhumanity to man.


On to the review:

This movie does so many things right, it even follows the tried and true rules of how to tell a good story. Rule # 1 is something bad has to happen in the first 15 minutes. Since I can go on and on about what they did right in this movie, I won't.

This film is not 100% kid-friendly, to be able to follow all the details of the story and all its intricacies I would say it is more suited to those 13 years old and up. But the action is kid-friendly. Robert Downey Jr. mumbles at certain points I wished for a subtitles option. Pacing may be a bit slow for those suffering from ADD, but the movie is so engrossing that you may not even notice it. CG effects were not 100% believable. And that's all I got.

So onto what was right:

Length/Pacing: Spot on. It will take hold of your attention from the start and will not let go until the credits roll.

Acting: Robert Downey Jr. could be nominated for an Oscar for this role. I can't even tell he's acting, it comes so naturally to him that you may say to yourself: perhaps that's the way he is in person. Everyone else did a good job. Robert just outshone them all.

Story: Jon Favreau and co. are master storytellers. Just as Sam Raimi did with the original Spider-Man, Jon Favreau has found his element. They even address the aspect of certain laws of physics and common sense situations not applying in movie land just because we know it is fake and should just be accepted simply because it's a movie.


SPOILER ALERT:
i.e. The part where the guards cant see Tony getting dressed by the Dr. in the cave, how come they don't show up on the cameras and the part where Iron Man flies up at a high altitude and yes, he starts to freeze.
END OF SPOILER

Iron Man made me believe that sometime in the future, with the way our technology is advancing, Iron Man could be real.
Special effects and Art Direction: Stunning and Flawless. From Tony Stark`s pad to the Iron Man suit. Flawless.

Music/Sound effects: Fitting. Excellent.

Profanity: There were about a handful of obscenities. Notably the b word.

Miscellaneous: I appreciate the way that "race" was handled. Instead of only showing Middle Eastern people as villains, they also represented those who are opposed to them and balancing out how this race is portrayed and perceived in the context of the story. This was very mindful of the producers and I feel this was handled with exceptionally careful attention to detail.

The tricky part of reviewing the comic-book-based movie is there are two sides: seeing it as a piece of art in cinematic history and how it faithfully follows its source material. Iron Man excels in both categories. The original origin of Iron Man from way back when is slightly different, but the film's version is almost identical to a recent revisioning of Iron Man's origin as written by Warren Ellis (see Iron Man: Extremis, a 6 part storyline, which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND) and art by Adi Granov, who was the suit consultant for this epic film.

Re-Watchability: This just broke into my list of top 50 favourite movies of all time. It's up there with Robocop and Batman.

Even if you are not a comic book fan, you are sure to enjoy this film, as long as you like action, have an open mind to the fantastical ideas of a comic-book universe, and want to see a product made where the people have put their hearts into it.

'Nuff said.

Overall: 10/10 (Masterpiece, one of the best super-hero flicks made period.)

Legend:
0- Horrible, unwatchable, what were they thinking? Will get people asking for their money back.
1- Use during a sleep over to put everybody to sleep.
2- Plain Boring, will get people walking out of the theatre
3- Very Bad, poor everything, no redeemable quality.
4- Poor production, with little redeemable quality
5- Wait for the DVD, proceed with caution
6- Decent: Worth a look. Once.
7- Entertaining: Re-watchable x 1 more play
8- Memorable: Re-watchable x 3 plays
9- Classic: Re-watchable x 10 plays
10- Masterpiece Re-watchable x 100+ plays

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 (2010)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

WARNING: Don't See Iron Man 2 in IMAX. There are no full screen IMAX scenes. That's right I googled what scene(s) in Iron Man 2 were filmed using IMAX cameras. Answer: 0. This is me, your friend from the internet, helping you save for that 401k. You're welcome.

A Review of Iron Man 2 in IMAX

May 7 2010

Story/Script/Dialogue::
Written by Justin Theroux, I thought it lacked the substance of the first film, it sounded unscripted like the first which was a plus. The way the story was laid out was not as solid as the first, which for movie-buffs had a good balance of dialogue and action about 70% story and 30% action. This one felt like 80% action, 20% story. The last 30 minutes had very little dialogue, which I found disappointing but I am sure the action-buffs/ kids/teens will have a riot.

Acting:
Robert Downey Jr. is the best part of the movie once again. It would have been nice to see more introspective scenes for RDJ such as the whole taken hostage/cave scene from the first film. We need a good balance of narcissism and heroism. Don Cheadle stood out more than Terrence Howard in the last film as War Machine, as I felt his acting style blended better with the rest of the cast.

Mickey Rourke delivered the goods, I join other reviewers when I say this movie needed more Rourke and less Rockwell. Kudos to Mr. Rourke for doing his research, going to a Russian prison, learning, sounding and looking Russian. He (along with RDJ) is one of the finest actors of our time and has that chameleon-like ability to become the character, much like Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep and not like Tom Cruise (who is a fine actor, but seems to just play Tom Cruise except in different settings). There are a lot of IFs here but I felt he was on the verge of a Heath Ledger-caliber performance and dare I say may have stolen the movie if he had more screen time. Say 30 minutes more interplay with RDJ. They had a good screen chemistry and you could feel the adversarial atmosphere. I expected more Stark-Vanko scenes.

Pacing:
The movie felt about 30 minutes too short. Which is a good thing, however, the amount of action in this one is like a response to some of the criticism by action buffs that there was not enough action sequences in the first one. This one is stuffed with action, and I think the story suffered because of that, especially the last 30 minutes. The pacing is excellent overall because the scenes blend into each other and there is not a scene you could cut without affecting the rest of the story flow.

Direction/Cinematography:
Great action sequences.

Visual Effects:
Up to par with the first, and then some. They used their budget wisely.

CG issues: The intro with the Stark Expo at the beginning of the film when he lands, but overall CG was used in the right way, so that you could not tell what was CG.

Sound Effects:
Great.

Art Direction/ Costumes/ Sets/ Etc:
Excellent. The Marvel Universe is blended with our own.

Profanity:
Can't remember any, oh one. Female dog.

Morality:
Alcohol abuse. Misuse of power.

Re-Watchablity:
I think this movie is a grower and I can't wait to see it again as a whole, since the action scenes are placed all around. The final action scene in the Japanese Garden is immensely satisfying. The whole theater clapped during that sequence.

Final Thoughts:
I though this was a more kid-friendly film than the first and I hope the potential third Iron Man will be more like the first in terms of content, plot, dialogue, and subtle yet strong action sequences (see the whole Iron Man Mark III vs. Terrorists vs. Tank vs. Fighter Jets sequence)

Favreau wanted to make this his Spider-Man 2, X-Men 2, The Dark Knight. Was it? Well Whiplash made a bigger impression but did not have as much screen time to make as lasting an impression as Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger. So I have to disagree. I think Iron Man 2 is closer to Spider-Man 3. It is much better than Spider-Man 3, but not as good as part 2. I have a feeling if Favreau and Downey are still on board for 3, they will take into consideration what did not work in Iron Man 2 and we will have an improvement for part 3.

IMAX Score:

7.5/10

Overall:

7.5/10
(Very Entertaining)

I may bump up the score to an 8 after a few more viewings. Based on my first impression, I am sticking to a solid 7.5

Legend:
0- Horrible, unwatchable, what were they thinking? Will get people asking for their money back.
1- Use during a sleep over to put everybody to sleep.
2- Plain Boring, will get people walking out of the theatre
3- Very Bad, poor everything, no redeemable quality.
4- Poor production, with little redeemable quality
5- Wait for the DVD, proceed with caution
6- Decent: Worth a look. Once.
7- Entertaining: Re-watchable x 1 more play
8- Memorable: Re-watchable x 3 plays
9- Classic: Re-watchable x 10 plays
10- Masterpiece Re-watchable x 100+ plays