Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #099 – Avengers: Infinity War (Non-Spoiler + Spoiler)

Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #099 – Avengers: Infinity War (Non-Spoiler + Spoiler)

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Review: Iron Man 3 (DVD/BR)


The Review: On paper, the odds are that 2013’s first summer blockbuster Iron Man 3 will be pretty good; hire the writer of Lethal Weapon to co-write and direct, and take the above-average franchise to a new action high.

Now, I’ve seen Iron Man – which I thought was okay, and I never saw Iron Man 2. Nothing compelled me to it. Last year we had the Avengers Assembled, which more than satiated my thirst for Robert Downey Jnr spouting witty remarks and poncing around in an iron suit. The prospect of yet another Iron Man outing was not high on my list. Then the reviews came out, both professional and friendly; Iron Man 3 is very much the cut above we were all expecting. My arm was sufficiently twisted and tonight I found myself sat in a glorious cinema screen with a big tub of popcorn…
… and at about forty-five minutes in, I sank further into my seat fighting off the desire to nod off.

Sorry, everyone – you probably half expect this from me – but Iron Man 3 is, in my humble view, not very good. In fact, it’s repetitive nonsense at its very best.
The early warning signs were there – a flashback to new year’s eve 1999 reveals that Guy Pearce is some techno geek getting cock blocked by Tony Stark and Pepper Pots. I still hate that stupid name. Present day, and there’s a bad guy; an Osama Bin Laden terrorist wannabe named The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley. He intercepts TV channels with old video camera footage of an imminent threat toward the West. He means business. He blows shit up and everyone gets scared. And Tony Stark (via the script writers) make their first mistake – he tells everyone in the Western world his home address and invites the bad guys to attack. Duuuh. Really? Really.

And, sure as shit, they do attack and completely knacker his Cliffside luxury mega-mansion. They nearly kill his old flame and Gwenyth Paltrow into the bargain. Dumb fucking move. Then there’s more iron-stuff flying around, you know; the usual – till Stark finds himself up Iron Street without a suit and befriends a little boy who, no doubt, in the writer’s mind, sort of emulates Tony Stark. The film meanders for a good portion of its middle section with this humdrum shite, till finally, a big revelation occurs with regard to The Mandarin.

Now, The Mandarin is about to have his Pakistan (or wherever – they may as well have renamed Iron Man 3 to “Abbot-a-Boy” – mansion invaded by Stark and co. in a sort of ramped up, metallic reimagining of “Two Hours Thirty”. And it is here that The Mandarin is revealed to be an actor. No, not in any deliberate decoy type way, but as an entire decoy to the real villain of the movie: Guy Pearce, who has since ditched his goofy geekdom and pumped himself into the Dolce & Gabbana centre piece model he so definitely wanted. He’s invented a thing where you can do something that enhances your brain – the cumulative effect rendering you turning orange in your chest and cheek area like some high pitch fever. These things, with Pearce (and let us not forget he was in Prometheus) are the bad guy(s).

Okay, fair enough – but, what the fuck is this all about, anyway? What is that orange stuff, and why do these alien-types explode when they’re real angry? If I was John Carpenter, I’d sue. This is the writer of Lethal Weapon; not Alien nation, or Communion. The whole thing is unexplained. Or, worse still, perhaps it was explained but by that point I stopped paying attention.

Then there’s a whole to-do with William Sadler as the president and his vice president Miguel Ferrer. I have absolutely no clue what was going on there, either. Writing this, I am starting to believe that the projectionist skipped a reel. And if that’s true, I’d like to thank the projectionist personally – this tedious endeavour drones on and on for 130 minutes. It’s Robert Downey Jnr cracking the odd joke. It’s the usual CGI blowhard, try hard stuff. It’s 12A. It’s nothing new.

What the “amazing” reveal about The Mandarin actually does is snap the film’s spine clean in half. It loses the ability to walk, talk and fight as a result. I was really, REALLY looking forward to seeing Iron Man bring down a global threat; a real terrorist. Having seen Olympus Has Fallen twice now, and The Last Stand, I can see Hollywood has lost its boner for soft, cutesy rubbish and regained what razor sharp terrorist teeth it once had. In employing The Mandarin as a decoy and relegating bad guy duties to Guy fucking Pearce, well… that’s like a big middle finger up to people like me. My hopes weren’t high, anyway. I was very suspicious of all this autistic over-praise, anyway.

So in short – you know what you’re getting with Iron Man 3. I will say this, though – Paltrow looks really, really hot in the last scene. I mean that literally, as well. I’ll say something else, too – director Shane’s surname also rhymes with the kind of director he’s become. I’ll leave you to figure that one out.

And if you can’t figure that last one out on your own, then congratulations; you’re the perfect audience for this pretty-looking, deafening yawn-fest.

Reviewed By: Andrew MacKay

NOTE: PHIL, ROSS AND MATT all LOVED Iron Man 3 rating it on average:

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Iron Man

Iron Man

Quick Review Uncategorized
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
First blockbuster of the year sets an (almost impossibly) high standard for those that will follow. IRON MAN is simply superb.

The Hollywood Exec Pitch:
Iron Who? $180million? Jon who? Aren’t there any more famous characters left. Sorry Marvel your on your own…

Marvel has a lot at stake with IRON MAN. Not least $180 million of their own money. This film needed to be good. And with so much at stake it seemed an odd choice not only to use one of your least known properties (Iron Man is after all much less famous than The X-Men et al), put a relatively untested director such as Jon Favreau (at least on the big summer stage) and chose a lead who in Downey Jnr, but a few years ago, didn’t look like he would make it out of rehab alive.

So was the gamble worth it? HELL YEAH! Iron Man is simple one of the best super hero films ever.
From the opening AC/DC backed Hummer ride through to Iron Man Mk1,2 and then eventually 3, through twists and turns and the final showdown IRON MAN hardly puts a foot wrong. At it’s heart is also one of the best scripts a blockbuster has boasted in some time. Funny, charming… the story is lead by the characters and as a result the characters shine.

Shining brightest is Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jnr has had his roubles but he’s always been considered one of the great talents of our generation. Now sober and out of rehab (we hope for a long time) he’s given a role that will thrust him back into the public’s eye. And this time for the right reason. Downey Jnr is so perfect as Stark it truly is impossible to see anyone else playing the role. From humour to frivolity from anger to compassion you never doubt Downey Jnr and that means you never doubt Stark as a character.

The other shinning light is director Jon Favreau . Make no doubt about it IRON MAN will make Favreau one of the hottest blockbuster directors in Hollywood. Whilst considered very much an actors director, he handles the action sequences with the skill and touch of much more seasoned directors like Tony Scott and Martin Campbell.
As for the support cast – an almost unrecognisable Jeff Bridges as eventual bad guy Stane is superb and Gwyneth Paltrow as the oddly named Pepper Potts (an actress who I have never really rated that much) was both sexy and charming. Even Director Favreau even pops up for an extended cameo as Tony Stark’s driver!

What else? Well the effects are flawless and your never sure what’s Stan Winston practical or ILM CGI. The jokes are funny, the action thrilling…

So in short – Favreau has created a comic book origin story that will sit along side the heady tales of Batman Begins & Spiderman…. And that is praise indeed.

A lot to choose from but Robert Downey Jnr is simply the BEST piece of casting ever… he is Tony Stark. More than Bale as Batman or Maguire as Spiderman, Downey Jnr nails the role and is never less than totally believable.

The Bad:
Err…. It’s pretty impossible to pick anything bad in a film full of such greatness. If I HAD to pick anything it’s the twist around Bridges. It was obvious from the start.

The Ugly:

Best Bit: Iron Man flies…

IMDB Rating: 6/10

If you liked this try: Batman Begins (9/10); Spiderman (8/10); Hulk (5/10)

NB: Make sure you stay until after the end credits!