Tag Archives: Robert Downey Jr.

Avengers: Endgame (2019) Movie Review By Gianni Damaia

Avengers Endgame Review

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus (screenplay by), Stephen McFeely (screenplay by)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo

I’d like to now discuss Avengers: Endgame, a film that is by no exaggeration a decade in the making. No, I’m not being political in ranking it just above The Irishman. The simple reality is that this is the movie I always wanted from The Marvel Cinematic Universe. And indeed if this was the one truly exemplary experience I had in the theatre this year, it would already have made for a better year in film than the entirety of last year. A pure nostalgia trip bottled in an emotionally impactful thrill ride. Everyone gets their moment, their own awe inducing spectacle.

It teaches exactly what it means to be a hero, the feverish persistence to do what is right no matter the costs. It features some of the best performances from its all-star cast ever put to screen, some of the best special effects ever conceived, and a devilishly beautiful climax. If all superhero movies were this, I could die happily. The greatest flaws are obvious.

If you have no attachment, this is likely not the movie to sell you (seeing as how it pivots entirely around you having a basic understanding of previous events and characters). And naturally the first act is bloated with jargon designed solely to propel us, not to educate us on the world. But what does it matter? It may not be the best movie in the MCU, but it is the best MCU movie. 9/10

 

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Blu-Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Avengers Infinity War

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus (screenplay by), Stephen McFeely (screenplay by) 
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin, Pom Klementieff, Benedict Wong

The dust has settled, the hype has died down, the fanboys have scrutinised every frame and Avengers: Infinity War has already raked in $2 billion worldwide. Now it’s time to take a deep breath, look beyond the spectacle and obligatory fan-service to assess what is still essentially half a movie (though it’s still a lot better than Age of Ultron). 

I’ve always been pretty dubious over the practice of dividing a single story into two or more separate films. I understood Quentin Tarantino’s motives behind Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2 because they were stylistically different. But two Breaking Dawns, two Mockingjays and three freaking Hobbits were just greedy, cynical cash-grabs calculated to prey on fans whose commitment to their beloved franchises gave them no choice but to open their wallets one more time than necessary.

But after seeing Infinity War twice now (once in theatres with everyone else, the second time for this Blu-ray review), I have to grudgingly concede that the decision to make it two movies might be justified (I’ll reserve a final verdict until next year). As it stands, this film has an unenviable task: Include nearly every major MCU character, work them into the film without regulating anyone to a gratuitous cameo while still moving the new story forward (“new” is relative, though…longtime fans have been aware of this coming war for years). 

For the most part, the film is successful, mainly because Marvel has done a pretty masterful job of laying the groundwork during the past decade of MCU movies. So when Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) engages in verbal chest-thumping with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the story doesn’t need to spend time establishing their personalities the way a stand-alone film must. Speaking of which, the film’s best moments are when these iconic characters are meeting each other for the first time. Those involving one-or-more of the Guardians of the Galaxy are predictably the funniest, and sometimes surprisingly moving.

The downside, of course, is that anyone not fully up-to-speed with the doings in the MCU will be completely lost. Sure, they could (mostly) follow the story, maybe even a few of the subplots, but will have absolutely no emotional stake in any of these characters. And there’s no other film in the MCU that depends more on the audience’s investment in its characters than Infinity War (especially during the final act).

Even without the burden of character exposition, bringing them all together convincingly takes a considerable amount of time (which Infinity War does by presenting three concurrent subplots). Could the rising action leading to its epic climax have been trimmed-up a bit? Absolutely. Infinity War is occasionally meandering and apocalyptic battles are so standard in this franchise that simply making them longer doesn’t necessarily make them grander. However, the story doesn’t feel gratuitously padded just to squeeze-out two movies. Casual viewers may be impatiently checking their watches after ninety minutes, but it goes without saying that anyone who loves these characters won’t want it to end. 

But end it does, with whopper of a cliffhanger that’s more Empire Strikes Back than An Unexpected Journey. In other words, the story may be incomplete, but not the experience. And if all 18 of the previous entries in the MCU can be considered converging roads leading up to this moment, then perhaps two movies is justified. I guess we’ll all know for sure next year.

Until then, because of its size, scope, references to past events and plethora of Easter eggs, Infinity War makes better repeated viewing at home than the usual superhero film. Nobody but the most dedicated fanboys would be capable of catching everything the first time. On a related note, I’m sort-of surprised at how light this Blu-ray is on supplemental material. The featurettes are entertaining, but mostly promotional and pretty short compared to those included on many other Disney/Marvel releases. 

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING.png

Director: Jon Watts
Writers: Jonathan Goldstein (screenplay by), John Francis Daley (screenplay by)
Stars: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr.

Plot:  Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.
Running Time: 2 hours 13 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 92%   Audience 88%

Why I Watched it: It’s a Marvel movie and so far I’ve only missed two, and I love Spider-Man as a character and hope to all that is holy that this is the last reboot and we get to move forward with this character.

Random Thoughts: So Marvel gets Spider-Man back and they make him younger but now they get to have Spider-Man grow inside the Marvel Universe.  At first I wasn’t happy that in a stand alone Spider-Man film, well as stand alone as you can have with Marvel that they put Tony Stark in this, I was a little nervous that Marvel felt they had to hedge their bets.

What I liked: It’s hard to not like a Marvel movie, they put the money on the screen and they know how to tell a story and with the last few films they’re getting better at telling a story with three acts but also tie that story into a larger arc, they’ve come to understand that you have to deliver on the film people are paying to see now and not be so worried about the ten films coming out in Phase Three. They’ve nailed the Peter Parker character and with this film that’s what they seemed to want to do, I would think the next film we’ll deal with Spider-Man more.  Tom Holland is very good here and I like that he’s young enough that he can grow with the character.  He’s funny but he’s also a solid actor, they can go with whatever direction they want cause he has the chops.  I’m very happy that we didn’t do the whole original thing, I like the set up with this film tying in with Civil War and the beginning is very well done.

Another thing Marvel is beginning to do well is have fleshed out villains, if Marvel has had a problem is that their villains are bland and boring and we end up with CGI battles to finish every film, here we get Michael Keaton as a real character, and he’s not only a good bad guy but he’s likable, he’s freaking Michael Keaton, there’s a couple of scenes where he’s just great, the cab ride scene with him and Holland is very good.  They also make him a person and not a cartoon character.  Also there’s a twist that is handled very well. I was very happy to see that Iron Man Tony Stark isn’t in it that much, he’s good without him taking over the movie.  The tech stuff here is of course great, the film is bright and vibrant, the sound is great, the CGI is pretty good, Marvel does this stuff very well. They also nailed the High School pretty well and I like how they’ve planted seeds so certain characters are introduced but not used yet, I’ll call them teases.

What I didn’t like: It’s long, yup my old whipping horse, at 2 hours and 13 minutes it’s a tad too long and yes it does drag, the film could have been tighter.  Also the arc with Spider-Man and Iron Man is very ham-fisted and cliched, it’s the only part of the film where I felt they just cut and pasted scenes from other comic book movies, we get it Tony Stark is a father-figure and Peter Parker needs guidance and he needs to grow up. My only other grips are nit picks, they didn’t use his Spidey sense which is a big thing with his abilities and they wasted Shocker.

Final Thoughts: The film is very good, very entertaining, the other thing I have to give credit to Marvel is they cast their films so well, even secondary and smaller characters have good actors and even name actors, very deep roster.  It’s a good starting point for this Spider-Man.
Rating: 8/10

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Movie Review by John Walsh

SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING

Director: Jon Watts
Writers: Jonathan Goldstein (screenplay),  John Francis Daley (screenplay)
Stars: Tom Holland,  Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr.

Coming off the back of the highly successful cameo in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man returns home once more to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the aptly, double entendres, named Spider-Man: Homecoming. Featuring the directorial talents of Jon Watts, a man I’m not even going to kid on I knew about prior to this, and the refreshingly energetic acting talents of Tom Holland, this is a fantastic film packed full of action, comedy and sheer, unadulterated fun.

It thankfully doesn’t delve into the well trodden backstory of Peter Parker and how he developed his web slinging talents (no spider bites to be seen here). Instead, it quickly introduces the main villain, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), setting up the story of Homecoming off the after events of the alien attack seen in Avengers (his team of salvagers steal and reverse engineer the alien technology), before jumping in pretty much right from where Civil War ended and nicely connecting the two via a cool vlogging style, Spider-Man perspective on THAT airport scene. Before long Peter’s mentor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr) pops up with some pearls of wisdom and a shiny new suit for our web slinger to kickstart the action.

It might not be a typical origin story, but Parker who’s staying with his aunt May (Marisa Tomei), is still very much maturing into an adult and learning how to be a superhero. There’s a sequence early on (Blitzkreig Bop playing out) where he tries on his new Stark engineered attire for the first time and heads out to stop some petty criminals. Trouble is, in his new found eagerness to be a local crime-stopper, he often gets in the way nine times out of ten, decides to intervene in a bank robbery being committed by Toomes’ crew, that ends spectacularly wrong with his local deli being destroyed and, to add insult to injury, he loses his backpack. There’s a shy, underlying awkwardness to his personality (offset by his extroverted alter ego), that manifests itself in his crush for Michelle (Zendaya) and this budding, on-off relationship pretty much fuels much of the events that transpire in Homecoming.

There’s a myriad of positives, including absolutely beautiful visuals, CG and well handled fan service that connects Parker with the already established universe around him. I loved the humour in this film too and the way it was organically introduced into the story. A good example of this being the scene where Stark berates a reckless Parker from a remotely controlled, Iron Man drone, whilst chilling on holiday and even just the silly misadventures he and his friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) get into. The action was exhilarating and complimented the somewhat quieter moments (a rare thing) perfectly. Holland delivered a fantastic performance and was a key player in the comedic moments. For me, he’s already eclipsed both Maguire and Garfield in this portrayal.

Michael Keaton was also tremendous as Vulture. His career has been resurgent lately and this continues that renaissance. Having said that, if I was to have one criticism of this film then it would be the lack of back story or reasoning behind the motivation of Toomes/Vulture and his crew for their wanton lust for destruction. I get that they were feeling disenfranchised by Stark and the establishment after being forced to leave a profitable salvage operation, but their part in the film felt slightly neglected and a little rushed. It certainly wasn’t down to a lack of screen time either. They focused plenty on Toomes and his crew, but it was mostly superficial, never really delving too deep into his psyche, but maybe that’s still to come in future films. Despite this though, Keaton really did take the character and make him a ominous presence from start to finish.

Downey Jnr also has a massive presence despite his relative cameo in the film. I’ll be incredibly saddened when he decides to end his tie (he’s heavily hinting at it) with a character he’s synonymous with and been playing for over a decade. Tony Stark pretty much plays the mentoring role in the sporadic appearances he has, identifying the huge potential Parker possesses to be a new Avenger, but also recognising the impulsive, immaturity that threatens to be his undoing. Hence why he implements a ‘training wheels’ lock on the suit, which of course Parker discovers, hacks and unlocks, and nearly kills himself along with dozens of others after another showdown (Peter’s persistent) against Vulture on a boat. He brings laughs and almost a disciplinarian father figure to the story and his tough love approach ultimately results in Peter maturing.

I absolutely loved Homecoming. Spider-Man has always been one of my favourite superheroes and I have fond memories of the first two Maguire films in the early naughties. It’s great that Sony, Marvel and Disney have finally resolved their differences to bring this great character into the MCU. It’s not a perfect film, there is one or two small issues. I.e. The unnecessary secretive MJ/Michelle thing. These are unimportant in the grand scheme of things however and do nothing to impede my enjoyment of the story or action that unfolds. The lack of real backstory allows Watts to dive right into said action and the pace, often frenetic, rarely dips throughout. I don’t think there’s been a post credit scene that opens up so many possibilities for future instalments too. The second one is a hilarious continuation of Captain America inspirational videos that pop up throughout.

Easily the best Spider-Man film since 2004’s Spider-Man 2. I still rate that above the 2017 iteration, but nonetheless can’t recommend this film enough.

Rating: 4/5