ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – Doctor Strange (2016) Revisited

Director: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.


Tagline – Open your mind. Change your reality

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as arrogant, brilliant neurosurgeon Dr Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is involved in a reckless car accident, which was his own fault, loses the ability to use his hands on the same levels as he once could. Stephen learns about one patient that recovered from the injuries that he shouldn’t have recovered from and goes in search for answers.

Stephen searches for Kamar-Taj which should give the mind answers to healing himself through belief, with The Ancient One (Swinton) showing him the way. Here Stephen must train with Mordo (Ejiofor) and soon finds himself joining the fight against Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) who has been trying to gain the power the Ancient One has.

 

Thoughts on Doctor Strange

 

Characters – Doctor Stephen Strange is arrogant brilliant neurosurgeon, he always looks down on people who he sees not completing the operations he can, this has led him to become reckless in his personal life, which leads to his accident and loss of ability to operate. He learns that he could be cured, if he goes through certain mind training as he learns about multi verse which doesn’t need the physical body to get through or fight. Mordo is one of the oldest students un Kamar-Taj, he opens the doors to Stephen, working with him to teach him about what they will be fighting against. Dr Palmer is the only friend Stephen has at the hospital and she goes to him for advice when needed. Wong is the librarian that guards the books about power which the people there could learn from. Kaecilius is the villain of the piece, he has been trying to bring the dark universe to Earth’s and will stop and nothing to achieve this, he was once a student too, but turned evil once he learnt about the power. The Ancient One control the powers in Kamar-Taj, the oldest and most powerful of everyone there, she teaches Stephen the true meaning and powers he could control.

PerformancesBenedict Cumberbatch is better than I remembered in the leading role, it might be because I have gotten used to the character after Infinity War, he does make himself feel unlikeable through the film. Chiwetel Ejiofor is interesting in his role where he is designed to be conflict between everyone involved.  Rachel McAdams is however completely wasted in this role, she barely gets any screen time. Mads Mikkelsen as the villain is somebody we know we can trust, though we do wish we could have had more of his character, Benedict Wong is fun in the supporting role, while Tilda Swinton is always going to be the star of a film with her acting class.

StoryThe story here follows Dr Strange learn to give up everything he thought he knew from science and learn about the mystic arts that control universes. This is once again an origin film and Dr Strange is a brilliant, but unlikable man, he needs to learn that the world isn’t about him, its about the people if he is every going to make it in this new position. We do have the conflict between light and dark, which shows that he will need to learn the lines in this war, while others are fighting to be in control of this world. the story can look weak in places because we put so much time into the visuals of this film, but it does everything required to be an entertaining watch.

Action/FantasyThe action in this film comes from the world we see everybody fighting in, it plays hand in hand with the fantasy side of the film which just makes for some of the most visual fight sequences you will ever see.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to not only confuse the audience, but confuse Dr Strange, we see the different environments he must learn to adapt to with the laws of physics now longer being applied.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are brilliant, it is like watching Inception in steroids when it comes to how the world folds in, moves and evolves.


Scene of the Movie –
The New York fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story isn’t as strong as it could be.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most visually brilliant movies in this universe, it gives us an origin story that is ready to branch in many different directions and prepares us for a new type of hero.

 

Overall: Stunning on the eyes.

Rating

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – A – Ant-Man (2015)

Director: Peyton Reed

Writer: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Anthony Macke, Michael Pena

 

Plot: Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.


Tagline – No shield. No armor. No problem.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Heist Movie

 

Story: Ant-Man starts when Scott Lang (Rudd) gets released from prison, he wants to try and go straight to rebuild his relationship with his daughter, but is struggling. When his best friend Luis (Pena) offers him a score which could fix the problem he jumps at the chance. the job is to break into a house and open a safe, which he does finding a suit.

The suit is the Ant-Man suit which Dr Hank Pym (Douglas) invented and planned to keep secret, until his student Darren Cross (Stoll) has learnt of the technology and has been looking to create his own form of it. Hank wants Scott to use the suit to stop Darren from using the technology that could be dangerous in the right hands.

 

Thoughts on Ant-Man

 

Characters – Scott Lang is a cat-burglar that is freshly out of prison searching for a job, so he can rebuild his relationship with his daughter, who still loves him. He can’t get employment, which sees him return to a life of crime, which sees him get an opportunity to work for Hank Pym that see him use his skills to help him steal his own technology back before it gets in the wrong hands. Scott can see this as a chance for redemption. Dr Hank Pym created the shrinking technology that made Ant-Man, he has seen the danger involved in it and has been gone into business for himself, he needs somebody to make sure his technology doesn’t get sold into the wrong hands, he doesn’t want his daughter to do the job because he knows the danger involved in it. Hope is the daughter of Hank, she has remained in the company watching over Darren’s research, reporting to her father if thing go wrong. She wants to go on the mission no matter how risky it could be. Darren Cross was mentored by Hank, he has always been waiting to step out of the shadow and after learning the secret about technology involved in creating the shrinking technology.

PerformancesPaul Rudd does get to bring us a fun character that has been left with nothing and still remains positive and isn’t the smartest person in the room. Michael Douglas fits his role perfectly as the inventor figure. Evangeline Lilly is strong in her role, even if she does a lot better in the sequel. Corey Stoll does make for a strong villain which is needed in this film.

StoryThe story here follows a former criminal that gets recruits to steal a piece of equipment from his own office that could one day create a new army becoming a threat to mankind. This story does go in a different direction to the previous outings of creating a new superhero, most before hand had been experiments or self-created heroes. Scott is given a chance to improve his life to step into a suit that was once just an experiment. We also have a heist going on which is always entertaining to watch as we do get the colourful characters involved in the film. this might get references for previous Avengers movies which shows how Ant-Man will be part of the universe too.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action in this film has a unique look because it deals with the ideas of most of the fighting happening within the miniature world. the film does target plenty of laughs which with the supporting cast come off regularly and once again we see how the sci-fi side of the film is used for the technology being used in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which does bring us to a new city for a superhero movie which is refreshing to see.

Special EffectsThe effects in this movie are amazing when you think of the world that is created with the ant army being used.


Scene of the Movie –
Training the ants.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We needed more of Luis.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun heist movie with a superhero spin on it which lightens the mood the previous films might have had.

 

Overall: Entertaining Superhero movie.

Rating

 

 

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Director: Shane Black

Writer: Drew Pearse, Shane Black (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Warren Ellis, Adi Granov (Comics)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley

 

Plot: When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.


Tagline – Unleash the power behind the armor.

Runtime: 2 Hour 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Superhero Movie with Consequences

 

Story: Iron Man 3 starts in the aftermath of The Avengers, Tony Stark (Downey Jr) is still dealing with the side effects from going through the worm hole, to make matters worse Pepper (Paltrow) is getting tired of his action, a new terrorist known as the Mandarin (Kingsley) is bombing the world.

After Tony challenges him to fight him, Tony finds his mansion destroyed, with Tony getting stuck in a small town, when the true identity of the Mandarin is revealed and the man who is controlling him Aldrich Killian (Pearce) a man that Tony once rejected working with.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man 3

 

Characters – Tony Stark is back, this time he can’t sleep because of what happened in New York in the Avengers. He can’t cope with knowing he could know lose somebody he loves in Pepper, he keeps busy by improving his suits and challenge the new terrorist. He must go on a journey of self-discovery before fighting the latest enemy. This is one of the best character arcs in the franchise. Pepper Potts is still running the company, but is getting more distant from Tony, she learns how Tony feels about her by his actions in this film. Rhodey has become the lead guardian turned to for his newly rebranded Iron Patriot. He lets Tony get the important information required to learn the truth. Aldrich Killian is the man that Tony once forget or rejected, he has gone on to master a way to fix limp loss, which has helped him grow a group of soldiers that can explode if not treated properly, he has put a mask on his attacks making it seem like he had nothing to do with it. Maya is another lady from Tony’s past, she has her own reasons for returning, where she plays partly as a love rival for Pepper and somebody who still wants her work to mean something. Trevor is the Mandarin, through to be the big threat in the film, while we get a twist in his purpose in the film which has divided fans ever since.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr gives one of the best performances in the Marvel Universe because he must deal emotions unlike any other hero in the franchise to date. Gwyneth Paltrow gets to bring her own stamp to this role, getting more involved in the action this time around. Don Cheadle continues to make his character more likeable than ever. Guy Pearce does make for a strong villain, he keeps up guessing to what he will do next hanging on his words. Rebecca Hall struggles, but this is mostly because the character is written poorly. Ben Kingsley gives us one of the funniest performances in the franchise to date.

StoryThe story involves Tony Stark facing consequences of The Avengers, while dealing with a new threat terrorising the world. This way of looking at the story is impressive because we have seen many superhero films that have never looked at dealing with side effects of the previous films, this brings Tony on a character arc which is easily one of the best in the franchise. The idea a villain has created a way for people to recover from limp loss that could end up becoming deadly weapons is strong because it continues to show rival inventors in Tony’s world. This is one of the stories which does get questions over a certain serve in the story, but it only adds to the way we are getting too.

Action/Sci-FiThe action involved in the film is a terrorist that uses explosive to destroy or fight Tony Stark. Which does show us how the sci-fi world of technology is making a new threat to the world.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show Tony stuck in a town where he wouldn’t ever visit, the action scenes do take us to new settings though which does help.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film show how flawlessly Tony can get in and out of his suits, the way the characters look when they could look to explode or regenerate, which fits the style of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The plane save.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Failure to use Maya well enough.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best character arcs in the franchise to date, we see how he must learn from his mistakes and fight a new threat.

 

Overall: Best character arc to date.

Rating

 

 

Jon Favreau Weekend – Iron Man 2 (2010)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Justin Theroux (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L Jackson, Clark Gregg

 

Plot: With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father’s legacy.


Tagline – It’s not the armor that makes the hero, but the man inside.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Sequel

 

Story: Iron Man 2 starts in the world where Tony Stark’s (Downey Jr) Iron Man has seen the world in peace for the longest time in modern history, the government however isn’t happy with the device and the world is trying to build their own versions of the Iron Man suit. With Tony’s device slowly causing more damage than it should, he is looking for a way to stop the affects being caused.

With Tony searching for answers, he must deal with new member of the law team Natalie Rushman (Johansson), giving Pepper (Paltrow) the CEO position, a rival inventor Justin Hammer (Rockwell) and a jilted victim of his father’s work Ivan Vanko (Rourke) better known as Whiplash, who has his own form of weaponised equipment and wants revenge.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man 2

 

Characters – Tony Stark revealed his identity at the end of the last movie, he has become even more famous as the man that ended conflict in the world, the government want control over the suit and worry that other parts of the world could develop their own version of the suit. He must deal with his own mortality when the one thing keeping him alive, is making him sick. He will also need to fight for his father’s mistakes, pushing his closest friends away. Pepper Potts has been given a promotion by Tony, to CEO, she already runs his affairs, she is now running his company, while trying to control him during his self-destruction. Rhodey is still in his role in the military, he is still challenging Tony, but gets to use his own suit the correct way, for guiding the military. Natasha goes undercover in Stark’s company, she is a member of SHIELD where she uses her skills in combat to keep Tony out of trouble. Justin Hammer is a rival inventor still trying to get ahead of Tony in the weapons business, he has been working on his own Iron Man suit, without much success, he hires Ivan to build him a suit. Ivan Vanko has built his own weaponised suit, he is the son of a rival of Tony’ father, which sees him want to take revenge on Tony for his father’s action, becoming whiplash, the one man that has created a suit that could rival Iron Man.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is still great to watch, he keeps the charisma required for his role, while bringing an emotional factor which is needed for where his character goes in this film. Gwyneth Paltrow does have a bigger role here and brings us a much stronger performance with her character. Don Cheadle is an improvement on Terrence Howard, bringing Rhodey to life more. Scarlett Johansson has the perfect look for this character which is only first jumping into the franchise. Sam Rockwell as another inventor arms dealer who is filled with the swagger required. Mickey Rourke as the villain has good motives he does everything he can even if he character does grumble a lot.

StoryThe story follows up the beginning of Iron Man dealing with the idea that the military would want control of the equipment and the rest of the world will be playing catch up, with their own versions of the Iron Man suit. This is a strong world building exercise to the Iron Man universe, we get to see how SHIELD are operating in the shadows watching over the potential threats. We have a villain that is competition and another one that is out for personal revenge. We up the stakes in this one, Tony does have to deal with his own problems by needing to improve the suit and we get to set up the position of who is one the good side with teases of the eventual Avengers team up.

Action/Sci-Fi The action in this film relies on a couple of big scenes, we have the racing introduction, the mid-life crisis sequence and the showdown, each has their own way to make an impact. The sci-fi side of the film continues to show the technology advances that Tony is dealing with.

SettingsThe film uses the settings more for the action with one of the most iconic action sequences in the franchise, we continue to see Tony’s lab which tends to get destroyed a lot too.

Special EffectsThe special effects in the film make each fight, drone or Iron Man suit look realistic through the film which is what needed for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Monte Carlo entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is a small pacing issue.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun sequel that continues to build the universe we know now, Tony still needs to learn about his place and how to handle the suit which is important and shows the past could come back to haunt you.

 

Overall: Fun sequel.

Rating

 

 

Jon Favreau Weekend – Iron Man (2008)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Characters)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Bibb, Shaun Toub, Faran Tahir

 

Plot: After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.


Tagline – Heroes aren’t born. They’re built

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict:  Great Start to the Franchise

 

Story: Iron Man starts as billionaire engineer Tony Stark (Downey Jr) is captured on a routine weapon visit to Afghanistan showing off his latest weapon, his capturer wants him to build a new weapon, but Tony was injured and is in shock at the number of weapons from his company they have.

Tony builds a suit which he will use to escape and save his own life, one which could be used to fight evil, he becomes Iron Man. His long-time friend Rhodey (Howard) is impressed with his new toy, and his partner Obadiah Stane (Bridges) wants to use the weapon to continue the war effort. Tony will have to learn the position he is know in the world to learn to protect it.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man

 

Characters – Tony Stark is a billionaire playboy engineer who has been developing the latest weapons to defend the home land, he looks down on most the people he meets including the soldiers showing around the warzone. He gets captured and designs a weapon that sees him escape, he makes himself Iron Man which will keep him alive, which sees him looking at life through different eyes, where he doesn’t want to supply weapons in conflict. Rhodey is the military best friend of Tony’s he uses the weapons created to help his men, he can get tired of Tony’s partying lifestyle. Obadiah Stane ran Stark enterprise after Tony’s parents death, he has mentored Tony in business, but is left with a difficult decision after Tony’s decision to stop making weapons. Pepper Potts is Tony’s assistant, she handles the affairs while he gets on with his business.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is fantastic in the leading role, we can believe his confidence and cocky nature that he is showing through the film. Terrence Howard is playing a more grounded character, he would go onto be replaced in this role, he just doesn’t have the complete opposite against that Robert brings. Jeff Bridges is strong as the villainous businessman who is controlled by greed. Gwyneth Paltrow does a solid job as Pepper, where she is going to become a character we get to know through the franchise.

StoryThe story shows us how Tony Stark went from businessman to Iron Man after learning the cost of his weapons which are being used on both sides of the war and must stop the man running his family’s company into the ground with these action. For origin stories we get to see the change in Tony’s mentality over the course of the story which is what will make somebody a hero. We don’t get the completely over the top destruction, with most of the fight scenes blending into the story where we see Tony learning how to control his suit. We get the first steps into the Marvel Cinematic Universe which brings the franchise to life with this just needing to give the hero an early villain that will make him a new hero in the world.

Action/Sci-Fi The action in this film comes war sequences and how Tony learns about his suits capabilities, the first mission shows what we are going to see in the future. The sci-fi elements in this film comes from how the suit is created to keep Tony alive and the new levels of technology involved.

SettingsThe film takes us to a couple of locations, Miami where Tony lives shows his playboy lifestyle, the Afghan locations show how the war is being fought with the two different sides and the same weapons.

Special EffectsThe effects used in this film show us the scale of what Tony will have do to survive, we have the idea of his heart that never looks out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Iron Man’s first mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Rhodey isn’t the most interesting character in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful beginning to the franchise which would go onto change how cinema is experienced, it has the origin of an unknown character to the casual fans of comic book movies, which works for laughs and action, without being a comedy.

 

Overall: Fun, entertaining and enjoyable.

Rating