It’s probably not fair to judge comic book films against the phenomenal “Marvel’s The Avengers,” but amazingly at times “Iron Man 3” reaches that same level of intensity, fun and exhilaration, which makes it all the more frustrating that a few missteps result in it simply being a good movie and not the post-Avengers game changer it could have been. Continue Reading
2013 FF: Longtime readers here know one of my favorite comedies is “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” so I was ecstatic to learn that two of the stars were reuniting for an uncommon look at a movie staple – the buddy comedy. Here’s my look back at “I Love You, Man.”
“I Love You, Man” stands poised to be the comedy film to beat this year with its unique spin on the importance of best friends. Continue Reading
One of next summer’s, if not the biggest, blockbusters will be “Iron Man 3.” We know Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) finally squares off against his arch-enemy, The Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley) and there’s going to be an appearance from Iron Patriot and regulars Pepper Potts (Gwyenth Paltrow), James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) will be back as well. Continue Reading
“People Like Us” is a great concept featuring an excellent cast that comes up short of being a great movie. Continue Reading
It’s nice to get some post-“Marvel’s The Avengers” news from the Marvel Studios front.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, it was reported that Jon Favreau, who directed the first two installments of the “Iron Man” franchise but wasn’t returning behind the camera for part 3, would still reprise his on-camera role as Tony Stark’s bodyguard Happy Hogan. I loved Favreau’s take on Iron Man, but was probably most disappointed at the thought of him not being in the third movie so it’s nice to see that Happy won’t have to get recast a la James Rhodes with Terrence Howard to Don Cheadle.
The ante will definitely be upped for “Iron Man 3″ as this will be the debut of Stark’s main adversary – The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley. The Mandarin is Asian and Kingsley, of course, is not. Typically, comic movies have to diversify the cast as many of the iconic characters were introduced before diversity was considered a noteworthy endeavor so this is an interesting twist on that front.
And now today, Yahoo’s Spotted on Set caught a few pictures of another of Stark’s foes – Iron Patriot. While the comic-book Avengers were in the midst of a massive falling out after “Civil War,” Spider-Man’s main foe Norman Osborn – The Green Goblin – became the media darling after ending an alien invasion by killing the invasion’s leader. He furthered his new found goodwill by creating his own team of heroes and in a not-so-subtle dig at Tony Stark, takes one of Stark’s Iron Man suits, painted it red, white and blue for that perfect patriot look and dubbed himself “Iron Patriot” as seen in 2009’s “Dark Avengers.” The Dark Avengers was pretty interesting to read and Osborn made for a perfect villain because you couldn’t wait for him to get his tail handed to him by the end.
Since Osborn is a Spider-Man villain and tied up with Sony Pictures, he couldn’t be used in an Iron Man movie, so Marvel Studios has Eric Savin in the role. Savin first appeared in Marvel Comics Presents #26 (August 1989). Savin was a cyborg named Coldblood-7 and among the regular super-strength, speed, stamina, invulnerability, he also can interface with any computer system… like say Iron Man’s armor? James Badge Dale (“The Departed”) is Savin in “Iron Man 3.”
Rebecca Hall (“The Town”) has as of yet an undisclosed role, but it’s no stretch to think she could be one of Stark’s old flames. One particularly interesting one is Madame Masque, a crime lord who blames Stark for her father’s death.
Guy Pearce is playing Aldrich Killian, a scientist introduced in “Extremis,” the 2006 modernized update to the Iron Man story since most younger readers have no clue about Vietnam, the original conflict that forced Stark to don his armor. Killian helps unleash Extremis on the world and it’s up to Stark to stop it from falling into the wrong hands.
Beyond the momentum from “Marvel’s The Avengers,” the Iron Man franchise is a license to print money for Marvel Studios as well and “Iron Man 3″ is pretty much a lock to be one of the best and highest grossing films of 2013. Clearly it’s just a Marvel world and we’re all living in it.
You’d think after scoring the highest-grossing opening weekend with “Marvel’s The Avengers,” that Marvel Studios execs would be content to bask in the critical acclaim, overwhelmingly positive audience reaction of their mega-summer franchise.
After all, these licenses to print money don’t come around too often, but showing the same careful planning that led to “The Avengers,” Marvel Studios is already hard at work on the next installments of “The Avengers” franchise leading to the inevitable Avengers sequel. Here’s what you can expect to see in the not too distant future…
Iron Man 3 (May 3, 2013)
Robert Downey Jr. reprises Tony Stark/Iron Man in his third solo outing and reunites with series mainstay Gwenyth Paltrow and Don Cheadle. This time out Guy Pearce joins the cast as Aldrich Killian, a fairly recently created character in the Iron Man mythos and likely villain. Ben Kingsley has been cast, but there’s no confirmation on his role. Iron Man’s main adversary, The Mandarin (think Iron Man’s Lex Luthor or the Joker) has yet to be introduced in the movie universe so that’s been the popular rumor for Kingsley’s role.
Fortunately there’s no crazy talk of this being Downey’s last time as Stark so we don’t need to panic that this will be a lame farewell episode a la “Spider-Man 3.” With “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2″ director Jon Favreau moving on to other projects, Shane Black, who directed Downey in 2005’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” steps in to lend his take on the Armored Avenger.
Fun Fact: With “The Avengers,” Downey has now played Stark in four movies. Only Christopher Reeve (I almost feel if I have to say as “Superman” you may need to stop reading) and Hugh Jackman (Wolverine in the “X-Men” franchise) have played the same comic book character in as many films. Jackman currently holds the lead with five. **Helpful reader Jon reminded me that Samuel L. Jackson actually holds the lead in this trivia answer as he’s been in five of the six “Avenger” films. Thanks Jon! And Todd reminded me that Jackman’s been in the first two “X-Men” movies, “X-Men: First Class” … and “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” so I’m not sure if I should be thinking him or not. Ha-ha.**
Thor 2 (Nov. 15, 2013)
Not much is known about the second installment of the god of thunder. All of the principal cast and supporting cast from the 2011 hit including main star Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Anthony Hopkins (Odin) and Stellan Skarsgard (Erik Selvig) are signed on for the sequel, which is rumored to also feature Loki’s villainous allies the Enchantress and Executioner.
Captain America 2 (April 4, 2014)
This is the most intriguing of the next round of sequels as the first installment – Captain America: The First Avenger – takes place during World War II. Now in modern times, the script for the sequel has Cap (Chris Evans) continuing his partnership with Nick Fury and SHIELD while trying to make sense of a world still very unfamiliar to him.
Hulk 3 (???)
The green goliath got a much-needed infusion of adoration with his fan-favorite role in “The Avengers.” Mark Ruffalo, who played Bruce Banner in the latest installment, has signed on for six more films and it’s safe to assume one of those should include another Hulk solo project, but the details are sparse as of now.
Longtime Avengers comic fans might have been wondering where fellow founding members Ant-Man and Wasp were as Thor, Iron Man and Hulk formed the team with late arrivals Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow for the movie. Marvel Studios wanted to debut the insect-sized heroes in their own film before putting them on the Avengers.
Hank Pym is a biochemist who creates a size-altering formula, which he uses on himself and finds he can control ants with surprising results. At last word, Edgar Wright was set to direct the film, which doesn’t have a leading man cast in the role yet.
Avengers 2 (2015)
This was clearly in the works as Marvel Studios signed up the main cast for multiple Avengers films, whether in their own solo projects, cameos in other films or main Avengers branch films. Director Joss Whedon is locked in for the sequel so all is right with the Avengers movie world. This is a lock and it’s just a matter of time as to how soon it comes to theaters. Answer = not soon enough.
It’s amazing how imaginative and fun a comic book movie can be when the restraints of making it easier to relate to and more real-world are lifted.
Then the directors and screenwriters can make a film faithful to its source.
Such is the case of ‘‘Iron Man,” arguably the purest comic book-to-film translation ever made. [2012 Flash Forward: Yep. Still pretty comfortable with that statement] And the result is a movie that hardcore comic book geeks and non-fans alike will enjoy and want to see again and again. [2012 Flash Forward: True story. I'm probably at my 10th viewing of it now.] Continue Reading