Star Trek Into Darkness

star_trek_into_darkness_poster_enterprise

So, as the title says, I went to see Star Trek Into Darkness. I actually saw it the Tuesday after it opened. Sorry it took me so long to get this out. Its one of those rocky situations where the unemployment rate in Canada is atrocious for the younger workers. Anyway, on with the review.

I’m going to try to leave spoilers out as much as possible, but I may slip as I write this. Overall thoughts on the movie, its fantastic, much better than the previous one, in terms of action, and more technical moments of Star Trek mythos. Although there are a few parts to this movie, which are nitpick, being someone who follows science throughout life. The movie is very well written, and the acting is amazing, I went into this with a couple of spoilers from watching a bit of some of the review from Spoony, Linkara and Cinemasnob.

I went and saw the movie in 2D, mainly because of a viewing party situation, where we ended up seeing the movie in a neighbouring city. So the viewings in that city were limited for 3D, which is fine. Also, Tuesdays work the best for me, and since Cineplex is giving an even greater discount for Scene members, it only comes to $4.95, which is always a plus. The movie has 2 primary plots to it, one is the Khan storyline, that we know from the old universe. Then there’s the new storyline which is tied to the old universe, but back in the early days of the original series, involving a type of starship and the klingons. The special effects are still amazing, and unlike the last one, there is one small plot device in it, involving tribble. Where as the last one, it was a glaring plot device involving the red matter.

Now involving the story, we have character arcs. We focus on the primary 5 crew members, Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Uhuru, and Sulu. At least in terms of the characters we know and enjoy from the previous movie. Then we get a small arc for Admiral Pike, and we get Khan’s set up, as well as the movie’s secondary villain. We also get; as Brad Jones (Cinema Snob) made the joke, Admiral Robocop. The reason I say this, other than the aforementioned joke from Brad, is that I too remember Peter Weller in his most iconic role of Robocop from the ’80’s. Although he has played another Admiral in Star Trek Enterprise and did really well in that role too. So having him being a high-ranking Admiral, is really awesome. We also have another of the Khan plot, with that of Carrol Marcus, which if anyone remembers from the old universe, is the mother of Kirk’s future son, David.

One of the weird things and this is not a spoiler, but for some reason in both movies, Nurse Chapel. Whom was always a staple of the old series, especially with Majel Roddenberry, is written out of both movies. We only hear of her character in fleeting moments. Where in the first movie, its McCoy telling her to get him some cordrazone. In this one, its Carrol mentioning to Kirk that due to a fling that Kirk and Chapel had, so Chapel transferred to a different ship. Granted this is new, which is fine, as this is a new universe, but they could’ve had more potential to expand the roster of characters and have another older person to help keep the reigns centered. Don’t get me wrong, Karl Urban does an amazing job playing McCoy.

Not to mention, in the first movie, the actors were trying to emulate the previous cast, from the old universe, more than being the characters, but this time they’re just focusing on being the characters. Another nitpick is that Chekhov, gets even less screen time then he had in the previous movie. I guess because they wanted to focus on certain characters for the plot. So if we get another movie, maybe he’ll get more.

*Partial spoiler alert*
Benedict Cumberbatch, does a fantastic job as Khan. He has all the drive and energy that Ricardo Montalban had, but his is more serious, where as Ricardo was kinda chewing scenery a little, but it’s still good to see. He; to use the saying, Gives No F*&(%. So much so that when in combat, people are flying all over the place, and he curbstomps someone, without a second thought.
*End Of Spoiler Alert*

Back to the points in terms of being more fantasy than reality/science fiction, is that we have a moment in the movie where Scotty’s transwarp beaming technology is adapted to somehow (Don’t ask me the logic of Abrams) transport a someone from one side of the quadrant to the other. If we go by Star Trek Online’s map. Although in the last movie, it made more sense, in the fact that it’s transwarp beaming, beaming a person from point A to point B, while one of the points was in motion.

As in the last movie it was the ship was moving and Kirk and Scotty beamed onboard from Vega. Where as in Next Generation, they do a similar instance where, in the episode “The Schizoid Man”. Where the away team is being transported from the ship, to the planet’s surface, while the ship momentarily stops for half a second and then jumps back to warp. In both instances, they were only within a set distance, being fairly close to each other. Where as in this movie, it’s from Earth to Quo’Nos (Pronounced Cronos, if you’re curious). I dunno, it’s just a knit pick.

So in final thought, go see this movie. It’s definitely worth your time, and if you’re on a budget, like I am. Go for a Tuesday night showing, where its a cheaper price. With that, I’ll close this off, and give this movie my recommendation.

Note: Total Recall I will write the review for soon, I’m going to re-watch it, to keep the thoughts fresh in my mind, because that movie has so many problems with it.

Iron Man 3

Sorry this took so long, and its been so long since posts. I’ve just been rather lazy, haha. Being Laid off due to a lack of orders coming in.

Iron Man 3 poster

So I saw Iron Man 3 on opening weekend. Being a comic book fan and a fan of Iron Man, I am glad I saw this movie, but there are some issues with it.

First off, the writer/director of this movie was Shane Black, creator of the Lethal Weapon movies, and director of a great movie I like, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, which also starred Robert Downey Jr. Both movies have RDJ narrating certain parts, but Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is more of a neo-noir type of narration, where as Iron Man 3, is more of him talking to someone specific. Spoiler: You find out after the credits of whom he speaks to.

The movie is alright, it’s quite funny where it means to be, however do not expect this to be an Iron Man movie, it is much more so a Tony Stark movie, so you’re expecting a ton of scenes with him in the suit battling stuff, like the first two movies, you’ll be disappointed. Being that it is a Tony Stark character development story, it leads into the main plot point as to why. Tony, (if you remember from trailers), is suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Something that anyone involved in war on the front lines, are likely to have experienced after combat.

Now, I have no problems with the story being around Tony dealing with said disorder; Unfortunately, we have the writing that has a few holes in it. We keep seeing this building, and building and over time Tony has a few panic attacks from it. The problem is, we build to his supposed “Revelation” to overcome his PTSD, and its extremely lack luster and rather pointless. It just seemed like it was an idea, with very little execution. This is first major problem with the script, an idea that doesn’t get enough detail to fully develop.

As we delve further into the writing and plot, we find that (like The Dark Knight Rises) we’re going into 2 different comic book storylines. One more recent, which is the Extremis line of 2005-2006, and the second which is older, but major in terms of the comics, The Mandarin. The problem this film has, is that both storylines are very weak when put together in this way. Granted the movie has humor and enough action to keep you entertained, but anyone going in for being an Iron Man or comic book fan, will probably leave a bit annoyed if not angered. I myself did enjoy the movie, for its entertainment value, but it didn’t impress me with the comic book adapting of the first 2.

See, this is something facing comic book movie adaptations, instead of focusing one particular storyline, or one comic, we’re getting multiple storyline adaptation, that are meant to deepen the movie experience, and give us more twists, but we get very little exposition as to why things happen and a proper resolution to the underlying problem, and in the case of this movie, we get a lot of unanswered questions left over. Now, unlike TDKR, where some of us were going “That’s completely uncharacteristic of Bruce Wayne/Batman, he never gives up.” We didn’t have those moments here, at least as much. All of Tony’s attitude was characteristic of him, but there were some things that were very contradictory to the previous films and the lore of the comics.

One thing that kind of bugged me, and may bug the rest of you, is the fact that under normal circumstances for the suit, it’s powered by Tony’s Arc Reactor. In this one, they set it up that all the suits are independently powered by some internal system, and not the arc reactor. So when we have scenes where Jarvis is saying things like “The flight systems have not been restore due to insufficient power, are really thrown askew, when in the first movie, we had that happen, and Tony’s life became at risk, because his electro-magnet starts to fail without power. So what is odd is the fact we have that, but without the risk to Tony. Logic tells us, that if in the previous movies, his suit was powered by the Arc and in this one he’s constantly worrying about charging it, “why doesn’t he connect it to his arc reactor again?”

The other part that kind of loses the comic book fans is the treatment of The Mandarin. All the trailers marketed the focus of the movie as being on The Mandarin, and the shots of the rings and Ben Kingsley being all bad ass in monologue. What we got, was what we perceived as The Mandarin, with all the rings, being written off in the first hour, and reduced to nothing. Then we go into the other half, which had been set up throughout the movie, the major plot, which is Extremis. The problem is, they focused on the idea of Extremis, but didn’t use a lot of the good points of the source material, like what happens to Tony with it.

This is where the Extremis plot begins to fall apart; they focus on the primary part of it and explain with subtle hints and exposition through characters with the setup, but then after the main villain is defeated, they kind of just write it off, much like The Mandarin. As we get to a series of random scenes, with no proper context and basically writing off what we could get in Avengers 2.

In the trailer, we see scenes of Tony having surgery. Well yes we do see this, but its a short scene of the surgery being performed to remove the arc reactor and magnet, along with the remaining shrapnel from his heart. What we don’t get is the fact that they don’t show any exposition as to how he uses Extremis to repair the gaping hole in his chest, and removing of the apparent side effects we’re shown in the movie. Especially with another character whom is also injected with it, I won’t say who.

Acting in the movie is one of the few things keeping the movie interesting, besides the humor. Mainly due to the fact that Robert Downey Jr is an amazing actor and really funny, keeping us interested in Tony. Guy Pearce is kind of wasted in a good chunk of scenes, because while some didn’t find him over the top early on, but I did. He was very stereotypical, as with most of the early scenes of the movie involving everyone. I understand why they had the opening scenes, to give us a reason to care about the rest of the plot involving Pearce, but it’s not really necessary and kind of makes this more of a spin-off movie involving all the characters, rather than being a true Third movie.

Now, with all this in mind, there is still more holes in this movie. I don’t mean to dump on this movie, but there are some things that just annoy me personally about the way some of the comedy is presented. Now all the stuff involving Tony is fine, it works, as its similar to what we’ve seen in the previous movies. With everything else, involving government and Rhodey, is where things start to turn into a bad taste sort of joke. The problem I have with this, is that if Tony were to point these things out in passing, it would work better. What we got was the director showing us these humourous points, in a series of scenes that basically reenact the introduction of The Patriot Act, through War Machine being re-labeled as The Iron Patriot.

The main thing of the Iron Patriot, is that he’s basically being a symbol for the good with the US, which they already have with Captain America… In my opinion, why it doesn’t work, is that they rename the “War Machine” suit, and repaint it to be patriotic, much like Cap, but when you paint “Weaponry” and rename it “The Iron Patriot” with a series of scenes poking fun at the US government during the last war, is kind of bad taste and throws us the usual stereotype of (to borrow a line from Team America) “America! F*&% YEAH!” motif, which we normally relate to red necks.

The problem with doing something like that is that, if its done in a clever way say that of Tony making a joke in a conversation, so that everyone has a cheap laugh, it will work. If we have it in this way, it gets old really, really fast and its a constant reminder throughout the whole movie. One of the few times in the movie, they try to redeem themselves for making that joke, is by Tony making fun of the name change and paint job.

At least William Sadler doesn’t feel too wasted in the movie, since he doesn’t get a lot of screen time, and that he is human in the movie. His character doesn’t make a great President, because they need to show courage in the face of danger, and his character is kind of, a wimp. Then the vice president role goes to someone who is used to playing an a**hole type character in quite a few projects over the years. Miguel Ferrer plays the Vice President, and his role being tied to the plot, is kind of out of nowhere, where he didn’t get a lot of scenes in the movie, but you get the feeling that they wanted more of the role for the plot, but couldn’t quite fit it into the movie.

If things improve on the DVD, my thoughts may change, but for now that’s what I felt about this movie, it was as bad for Iron Man’s franchise, as TDKR was for the Chris Nolan Batman franchise. it just feels there’s too much going on for a simple premise. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still entertaining to watch, it’s just in terms of being an Iron Man movie, it kind of falls short for me.