Sunday, October 24, 2010

Iron activity

I didn't care much for Iron Man 2, even after having much of my expectations, based on the delights of Iron Man, drained away in the buzz upon release.

Even there, I'm not sure the buzz and I are on the same page. I seem to recall that people thought there was too much S.H.I.E.L.D. material in Iron Man 2, but that was about the only part of the movie I completely enjoyed.

When it comes down to it, I'm tired of the first superhero sequel always being about an existential breakdown. It seems to work for everyone else, until now, nearly all of the number two are generally agreed to be superior to their predecessors. I hope the tired reliance on it will eventually lead to a re-examination of the entire formula.

It's hardly the only flaw in the movie, though. I didn't think much of Jon Favreau's sense of humor in the witless überdouche classic Swingers, and it took a long time for me to get over that and accept Elf and eventually the first Iron Man. But here it's back in force here. Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan are assistants to a superhero and yet break down in "comical" hysterics at him being attacked by a supervillain? Please! You're mocking the characters for the sake of a weak joke.

Mostly it isn't that anything in particular doesn't work, just there's too many things all around, which is the mistake of nearly all Superhero movies. The X-Men and Batman Begins managed it somehow, everything else just makes me crazy... The first Spider-Man and Iron Man movies managed to skip doing the overload part altogether, which I prefer and wish more Superhero movies would take a lesson from.

As it goes, I'm still looking forward to Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, and I'm trying to hold on some optimism for The Avengers. Ultimately, I just wish Marvel Studios would get off their lazy butt and make Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. They can even throw in a return appearance for Black Widow. C'mon!

Paranormal Activity wasn't bad. I certainly beat out the embarrassingly poorly written Cloverfield in having surprisingly believable characters, and nearly all the movies in the relatively new found footage subgenre in making them relatively likeable.

The trouble, for me, with ghost movies generally is that it's tough when you build up a bunch of suspense about something creepy in the other room and having it pay off. Certainly there are exceptions, and they are among my favorite movies of all time, but the majority of lesser ones fall victim easily.

This one had a wonderful moment where the tension built up so well and a noise appears in the other room. It's a great jump scare. Then it turned out to be the chandelier moving inexplicably, and I nearly laughed out loud.

The movie as a whole continues along that line, until it's like the makers realized that they were coming near the end and the climax leaps in and it finishes up. Just kind of like that.

The disk contains two ending, both of which have pros and cons to speak for them. Basically, I preferred the build-up of the theatrical version and the pay-off of the alternate ending, for any paying attention to such things. But neither felt like they had been properly built to by the movie itself.

So, meh all around there.

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