Posts Tagged ‘Marvel’

Actually, the real title is: “Is Violence in Movies Okay as Long as it Involves Good Guys like Soldiers, Superheroes, cops, etc.?” 

You can see why I decided to keep cut it down to a couple of words. When I was a kid, I lived on Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and Black Hawk Down. The only other movies I watched beside those involved dinosaurs. (Land Before Time and Jurassic Park marathon, anyone?) However, I wasn’t allowed to watch movies with gangsters until I was much older. When I was allowed to watch those types of movies, I was accompanied by my parents, and that too had a price to pay: a long lecture on why I shouldn’t be a criminal entitled, “Crime Doesn’t Pay.”

Why? Any ideas of mine to become a gangster or a con man were squashed whenever I watched movies like the Godfather, Goodfellas, or shows like the Sopranos or Breaking Bad. They are the single greatest testaments of why you shouldn’t become a criminal. Michael’s descent into the darkness after he is forced to take over the family business is reason enough for anyone to go “straight”. You can see it in his anguished reaction when his pregnant wife is killed. You can see it in the haunted stare he gives his wife in the closing scene.


It sends a clear message. “You may have a mansion, but are you really ready to deal with losing everything you hold dear?” I have watched the Godfather over a dozen times, and I still ask myself that same question after each viewing. This question is also asked in Tv shows. In the past decade, we’ve experienced a growth in ‘prestige television’. The Birth of the Antihero technically began over fifty years ago with Alfred Hitchcock Presents, wherein he regularly made ‘good people’ do bad things. There was an episode called ‘Revenge’ where a woman is raped (implied, of course. This was the 50’s. Everything was implied), and when she and her husband are driving, she spots the rapist walking down the street. Her husband pulls over, and they kill him. They get back in the car, and drive away. A few minutes later, she points again, and says she’s spotted her rapist. 


In that single episode of an anthology suspense series in the 50’s, it approached the subject of rape, psychological trauma, vigilantism, and of course, revenge. So, as you can see, we’ve had morally ambiguous characters for a very long time. I remember watching the Sopranos for the first time. My Dad was worried that I might resort to a life of crime because of it, but I simply kept asking myself the same question I asked during Godfather.

The thing that makes the Sopranos so addicting and visceral to watch is the fact that I would never do anything like it, and the realization that Tony Soprano never thought he was capable of doing it either. He’s unhappy with his family, his work, and more importantly, himself. There is a scene where Christopher (his nephew) talks about his trauma after killing someone, and Tony oh-so-subtly asks him if he ever feels depressed. His sideway glance at him says: “Did I do this?”


Why is it okay for thousands to die in superhero movies (the best example right now is Man of Steel. I assumed by all the screaming and falling buildings that a couple thousand died there), but it’s deemed immoral for a gangster to kill a few people in a movie? Why are children allowed to watch Captain America kill hundreds with barely any effort (as long as there’s parental guidance), but watching Al Pacino shoot the man who tried to kill his Dad and a corrupt cop not allowed? Of course, there’s also a matter of sexual content in some of these movies, and also the amount of swearing. For years, Goodfellas had the most curses in film history. I think Django Unchained got the crown in 2012, but Scorsese stole it back with Wolf of Wall Street. 


I hope someday there will be a PG-13 movie centered around a gangster. I’m not saying it’ll be any good, but the idea behind it will be more than enough. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier (my favorite superhero movie, by the way), no one talks about how Steve Rogers is a cold-blooded killer. It’s mentioned here and there, but our thoughts don’t dwell on the number of men he casually kills. Why? Because they’re bad, and he’s a superhero. 

I’m not asking Marvel to pull a DC, and force Chris Hemsworth to talk like someone kicked him in the throat over a dozen times. (In the eternal Marvel vs. DC debate, I’m with Marvel all the way.) I just think it would be interesting if people took a look at what they’re already allowed to get away with in PG-13 movies, and took it to a different level. There was talk about a Deadpool movie, and how it would be impossible to do a PG-13 version. I think they’re right, but if it’s acceptable to show a dinosaur munching on some random guy, why isn’t it acceptable to show a morally ambiguous character doing morally ambiguous things? (“How ambiguous!” the posters say.)


In the first Hunger Games movie, they used shaky cam a lot to avoid getting slammed with an R-16 rating because of images portraying children killing other children. Ya know, usual PG-13 stuff. Why can’t we do that? I hate shaky cam, but it’s obviously possible to show that kind of stuff, so why hasn’t anyone tried it? As an experiment, it doesn’t have to be big budget. 

Here’s where the big divide between mainstream films and indie films come in. There seems to be this unspoken rule in indie films that they need  to have mature content. It’s as if the director and writer wants to make sure the viewer knows they’re watching an indie movie. “Okay, let’s show them changing clothes here, and talking about killing their estranged father. They’ll never mistake us for the new Avengers movie now!” 

Indie movies are supposed to be showing you something new and different from mainstream movies, but more and more mainstream movies are adopting an “indie” feel. The Wolf of Wall Street is a mainstream film based on its HUGE budget alone. But, its mature subject matter, morally ambiguous main character, and… well, everything in it shouldn’t be allowed. At this point, if indie movies truly want to be different, they should try a PG-13 movie with a hitman as a main character. It could be a failure, but indie movies are already risking a flop every time. It’s strange how they’ve fallen into their own little pattern, or their own safety net. I sometimes feel like you could take ten indie films, switch the actors and titles, and it’d still be the same. 

I grew up watching Saving Private Ryan. I wasn’t mature enough to understand a lot of the things in it, but the images have remained with me after ten years. I despise the idea of war because of it. I understand its necessity in certain situations, but as much as possible, I would avoid war like the plague. Because it is a plague. 

I think it’s time for people to understand that kids aren’t as impressionable as people think they are. I haven’t heard of a thousand kids jumping off skyscrapers to imitate Thor or Superman, so I think they’re smart enough not to copy Tony Montana in Scarface. 







At this point, a lot of you have already seen the movie, but I wanted to talk about it a little bit. In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark is essentially brought down to the basics. This is a tactic we’ve all seen utilized in long-running franchises. Most notably there’s Rocky Balboa (2005) where Sylvester Stalone essentially becomes an underdog again. Here, however, I feel that this is Tony Stark’s first time truly becoming ill-equipped. Sure, in the first Iron Man, he has to build his first suit of armor under duress.

But the difference here is that he spends a very long time in this movie without any of his usual gadgets, fighting against people that are essentially invincible. The movie starts out with Robert Downey Jr. narrating, and we go back to his past as an uncaring playboy. He’s in Switzerland, on New Years Eve 1999, and he’s hooking up with yet another girl. A botanist. A scientist, with a really bad limp, tries to convince him to fund his research, and he blows him off by telling him he’ll meet the guy on the roof in ten minutes.

Now, I could tell you the entire plot, but where would be the fun in that? Odds are, you all could easily find out the plot of the first half of the movie, so I’m just going to tell you what I liked and what I did not like. As always, the acting is very good in this movie. Robert Downey Jr. was born for this role. I’ve read a lot of reviews saying that the actor playing the villain was born for the role, too, but I disagree. I think it could’ve been done a lot better by another actor. That isn’t to say that the actor playing the villain does a bad job, but it could definitely be better.

What I truly loved about this movie is that Tony Stark has no armor for a third of the movie. He has to rely on gadgets he makes up from a Home Depot, and he’s forced to fight some nasty individuals. Why is he without his usual suit of armor? Well, his former bodyguard, Happy, is injured severely in a suicide bombing by this terrorist, the Mandarin. In a fit of rage, Tony Stark challenges the Mandarin and tells him his home address. Yeah, I think we can figure out what happens next.

Long story short, his mansion is destroyed, and Tony Stark is stranded in Rose Hill, Tennessee with his armor no longer functioning properly. Tony Stark is suffering from anxiety attacks since the alien invasion in the Avengers. What I liked about this is that they don’t make watching the Avengers a necessity in order to watch Iron Man 3. I will say this, though. I enjoyed Iron Man 3 more than the Avengers.

The Avengers had a good enough story, a great cast, and amazing special effects. Iron Man 3 has a great story, a great cast, and amazing special effects. The Avengers and Iron Man 3 are about the same length, but I was more aware of time passing when I was watching the Avengers than when I was watching Iron Man 3. And I am pretty sure that The Avengers is a lot more action packed than Iron Man 3.

Another thing I liked was the use of side characters that really appear onscreen for about three minutes, but are utilized for their full comedic value. This movie made me laugh in a good way, and I like laughing. So, I give this movie a lot of props for consistently making its audience laugh in the theatre.

Something that a lot of reviewers have had a problem with is the excuse for the Avengers not being utilized to fight the Mandarin. Apparently, it’s not a superhero problem, it’s an American problem…

Yeah. Don’t buy it. The villain basically says that he’s been forced to do things a lot smarter because “that god fell from the sky”. He’s referring to Thor. Then, in the end, he basically says: “Once I take down Iron Man, the world will be mine!”

Looks like you forgot about the rest of the Avengers. It’s these little things that tick me off, but the rest of the movie is good enough to make me forget about it until after I finish watching it. To be completely honest, I find it odd that S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t get involved.

If we’re going by the comic books, they’re pretty nosy and pry into EVERYONE’S affairs. If we’re going by the movies… yeah, they’re pretty nosy and pry into everyone’s affairs. What makes the Mandarin so different?

Well, those are little nitpicks, really. That’s the thing about reviewing movies – I always feel obligated to nit pick about the little meh-ish things about it, and I really make it sound bad. But it’s not bad at all. Those little scenes that don’t really make sense? In all, they probably last for three minutes. Three minutes out of a two hour movie.

Think about it like that, and I guess you can say I’m drawing at straws here. Now, I know what you’re all dying to ask.

What about the final battle?

I mean. We all know there’s a final battle. This isn’t even a spoiler. Every superhero movie, or action movie, has a final battle. Unless it’s one of those movies that aim to literally set itself apart from the rest by defying convention. But yes, this movie has a final battle, and it is amazing. I cannot begin to describe it because the effects and the action are too great to spoil for you all.

Let’s just say that I found the final battle a bit more riveting than the Avengers. Now, I liked the Avengers. It’s not like I have something against Chris Evans or anything. However, it’s just in my opinion that Iron Man 3 is the better movie. Apparently, a lot of people agree. Iron Man 3 grossed more internationally than the Avengers. The overall box office receipts, however, lean more to the Avengers, but a lot more people internationally watched Iron Man 3.

It’s also been said that it is the best of the solo Avenger movies. Now, you could say that I’m just that much of a big fan of Robert Downey Jr. or Iron Man… and you would be correct. I am a big RDJ fan, and while Iron Man isn’t my favorite Marvel character, he certainly is part of the Top 20.

The thing is, though, I really think that if you like superhero movies, you will like Iron Man 3. If you don’t like superhero movies, then you’ll probably still like it if you like action movies.

The story is fast paced, the action is tense and riveting, the acting is superb, and the special effects are awesome. I suggest you watch it in 2D, though. The 3D visuals weren’t utilized for their maximum potential like in Avatar.

But like I said, I am nitpicking here. So, watch it. I suggest you watch it with a friend or a family member. It’s a lot more fun to discuss it with ’em afterwards.

This movie gets an 8/10 rating for me. This is an awesome movie. 

That’s all I have to say. Hope you enjoyed this review, I sure loved writing about this movie. If you liked it, remember to click the Like and Follow button. If you agree or disagree, please comment. I love to hear about other people’s opinion. And yeah. Thanks a lot.

~J.A. Romano