It’s that time of year again, summer. That special time of year full of barbeque, fireworks and most importantly summer movies. That time of year when Hollywood takes pull out the big guns and goes for broke. Of course in Hollywood summer starts about mid April but that’s neither here nor there. So without wasting any more time on my awful introductions lets dive into what I like to call the Summer Movie Scorecard. Which honestly isn’t too different from a regular review besides keeping scores on a thumbs scale. Because I like to make things more complicated. Now for reals welcome to the Summer Movie Scorecard!
Iron Man 3
Coming a year after The Avengers Iron Man 3 had a lot to live up to. I mean how do you follow up one of the biggest movies in history? While it sounds silly the answer is dealing with the aftermath which is exactly what they did. Taking place a year after The Avengers we catch up with Tony Stark. Days without sleep and constantly working he is clearly dealing with PTSD. To me this is far and away the best part of the movie; watching Tony handle life after facing Gods and literally dying. Instead of going the easy route writer/director Shane Black tackled a subject rarely seen in action movies let alone superhero fare. Heck he was able to pull off the kid sidekick trope without it becoming to schmaltzy.
I also think The Mandarin reveal was a nice twist to the story. I know there are comic purists out there that went crazy but I didn’t see it as a big deal. Anyway if we wanted to be authentic we would go with a villain representing the worst of the Yellow Terror-style racism. Unfortunately these plot twists also lead to the biggest negative of the movie, Aldrich Killian as the lead villain. Before we had The Mandarin who was an international terrorist and larger than life. In a flash we shift over to Killian who is a generic “Revenge for the past” villain that we have had the past few years. This is a shame because I think Guy Pearce was good in the movie, particularly in an early flashback scene.
Still despite that flaw I found Iron Man 3 to be the perfect follow up to The Avengers. After a cataclysmic event like “New York” a smaller, more intimate character driven movie made for a great epilogue to Marvel: Phase One.
RATING- A (Thumbs Up)
Pain & Gain
I’ll cop to it and say that I don’t hate Michael Bay. I’m sure it’s blasphemy but I think that when it comes to action movies I think he can be in the upper tier of directors. Of course the key word in that is can. While he has made some fun action movies (Bad Boys, The Rock) his movies generally crap the bed (Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, any Transformers movie). So for him to tackle a dialogue heavy movie is an interesting choice. A choice that didn’t turn out so well.
The biggest issue is how uneven the movie is. It shifts from serious to comedy so quickly that it has trouble establishing flowing right. Another issue I had was the length of the movie. Did it really need to be 2 hours? While not necessarily filler you could have cut a good 15 or 20 minutes of the movie and had a movie just as enjoyable. What keeps this from falling on its face is the comedic timing of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Anthony Mackie. Without them this would quickly become about unlikable people doing unlikable things without any charm. Something no amount of style and slow motion can save.
Rating- D- (Thumbs Down)
Star Trek Into Darkness
Random fact- Star Trek Into Darkness has 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. To put this in perspective this is a higher rating than Gremlins, The Monster Squad, The Goonies and both Kill Bill movies. Now think about those movies and their classic scenes. Those moments of cinema that are etched in your brain. The scenes that you will always remember fondly. Now remember a scene from Star Trek Into Darkness. More importantly is it a scene based on something from Wrath of Khan? If it was then you found my biggest problem with this movie.
While the movie looks stunning it is the constant callbacks and relying on the source material that kills this movie for me. While 2009’s Star Trek would reference the original series it also made its own path; adding its own bit into the Trek mythology. This movie felt more like a greatest hits album; a couple of new cuts but for the most part replicating the classics. Shame because it is a fun visual spectacle. While I’m sure this worked for most people it just didn’t work for me.
Rating- C (Thumbs in the Middle)
Thumbs Up- 1
Thumbs in the Middle- 1
Thumbs Down- 1
So far the summer off to a fairly average start. Yay mediocirty!