Archive for Happy Hogan

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Following the Battle of New York, Adrian Toomes and his salvage company are contracted to clean up the city, but their operation is taken over by the Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.), a partnership between Tony Stark and the U.S. government. Enraged at being driven out of business, Toomes persuades his employees to keep the Chitauri technology they have already scavenged and use it to create and sell advanced weapons. Eight years later, Peter Parker is drafted into the Avengers by Stark to help with an internal dispute, but resumes his studies at the Midtown School of Science and Technology when Stark tells him he is not yet ready to become a full Avenger.

Parker quits his school’s academic decathlon team to spend more time focusing on his crime-fighting activities as Spider-Man. One night, after preventing criminals from robbing an ATM with their advanced weapons from Toomes, Parker returns to his Queens apartment where his best friend Ned discovers his secret identity. On another night, Parker comes across Toomes’ associates Jackson Brice / Shocker and Herman Schultz selling weapons to local criminal Aaron Davis. Parker nearly drowns intervening, and is rescued by Stark, who is monitoring the Spider-Man suit he gave Parker and warns him against involvement with the dangerous criminals. Toomes accidentally kills Brice with one of their weapons, and Schultz becomes the new Shocker.

Parker and Ned study a weapon left behind by Brice, removing its power core. When a tracking device on Schultz leads to Maryland, Parker rejoins the decathlon team and accompanies them to Washington, D.C. for their national tournament. Ned and Parker disable the tracker Stark implanted in the Spider-Man suit, and unlock its advanced features. Parker tries to stop Toomes from stealing weapons from a D.O.D.C. truck, but is overpowered and trapped inside the truck, causing him to miss the decathlon tournament. When he discovers that the power core is an unstable Chitauri grenade, Parker races to the Washington Monument where the core explodes and traps Ned and their friends in an elevator. Evading local authorities, Parker saves his friends, including his fellow classmate and crush Liz. Returning to New York City, Parker persuades Davis to reveal Toomes’ whereabouts. Aboard the Staten Island Ferry, Parker captures Toomes’ new buyer Mac Gargan, but Toomes escapes and a malfunctioning weapon tears the ferry in half. Stark helps Parker save the passengers before admonishing him for his recklessness and taking away his suit.

Parker returns to his high school life, and eventually asks Liz to go to the homecoming dance with him. On the night of the dance, Parker learns that Liz is Toomes’ daughter. Deducing Parker’s secret identity, Toomes threatens retaliation if he interferes with his plans. During the dance, Parker realizes Toomes is planning to hijack a D.O.D.C. plane transporting weapons from Avengers Tower to the team’s new headquarters. He dons his old homemade Spider-Man suit and races to Toomes’ lair. He is first ambushed by Schultz, but defeats him with the help of Ned. At the lair, Toomes destroys the building’s support beams and leaves Parker to die. Parker is able to escape the rubble and intercepts the plane, steering it to crash on the beach near Coney Island. He and Toomes engage in an open confrontation that ends with Parker saving Toomes’ life from his own unstable equipment, and leaving him for the police along with the plane’s cargo. After her father’s arrest, Liz moves away, and Parker declines an invitation from Stark to join the Avengers full time. Stark returns Parker’s suit, which he puts on at his apartment just as his Aunt May walks in.

In a mid-credits scene, an incarcerated Gargan approaches Toomes in prison. Gargan has heard that Toomes knows Spider-Man’s real identity, but Toomes denies this.

REVIEW:

With all the success Marvel has had with the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), they could not say they truly were a success story until there was a Spider-Man film under their wing. With Sony holding the rights to the character (not to mention the Fantastic Four) hostage, many were wondering if we would ever see the day when Spidey would grace the big screen in the MCU…then we saw Captain America: Civil War. Now, Spider-Man: Homecoming aims to take that character introduction and flesh out a third cinematic version of Peter Parker. Hey, at least this one is age-appropriate, right?

What is this about?

Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark, Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

What did I like?

Fun. Audiences and critics have been noticing something in superhero films (and TV shows). A lack of fun! Think about how bright and vibrant Superman is and now think about what we were forced to sit through with Man of Steel. Somewhere along the way, our superheroes stopped being beacons of hope, and turned into examples of how to brood. Spider-Man has not been exempt from this curse. Toby Maguire’s version started out pretty good, but couldn’t keep it up. I never cared for Andrew Garfield or his take on the character, so I won’t waste time on him. Tom Holland brings a fresh take to Spider-Man in that we haven’t seen him as a high schooler, at least not an age appropriate high schooler. With that, the fun and innocence that Stan Lee intended for the character is front and center, as are the awkward moments of being a teenager. Again, this is what Stan Lee envision when he first created him, not some attitude having, puffy haired, British string bean who ruins the character of Peter Parker.

We know the story. Look, if you don’t know the origin of Spider-Man by now, either through comics, cartoons, Watchmojo.com, Wikipedia, or whatever, then chances are you either don’t care or just haven’t bothered to learn yourself something. With that said, I join the billions of fans who saw this and noticed the absence of Uncle Ben’s murder. As a matter of fact, it isn’t even mentioned! We are more than aware than Ben gets shot and its Peter’s fault, but in the last 5 Spider-Man movies, we have either seen this happen or been privy to a bevy of flashbacks so that we can relive the scene ad naseum. Thank goodness the 6th time they got it right and didn’t include anything about the murder…though I do hope in future films we get something on what happened. I’m mostly curious as to who they’ll cast as Uncle Ben to pair with Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May

Cap must’ve needed the money. One of the best cameos in the picture is Captain America doing PSAs. While I was laughing when Cap showed up in these videos, I couldn’t help but wonder why he was doing them. Did the government make him? Is he just being a good guy and attempting to help the youth? Just some thoughts that popped in my head. I’m sure that I am just overanalyzing and  these were nothing more than a funny thing to include in the film.

What didn’t I like?

Homage or ripoff? About halfway through the picture, there is a scene where Spider-Man has to use all of his strength to hold two halves of a dissected boat together. As I was sitting there watching him strain, I couldn’t help but recall the train sequence in Spider-Man 2 when Toby Maguire is called on to use all of his strength to stop the train. Many people have noticed this comparison and now I must ask…is this an homage or a ripoff? I see it more as an homage, personally. The scene in question is from what is arguably the best Spider-Man film to date, so why wouldn’t you bring something from that great film into this new version? Also, if it was a ripoff, I think we’d have a seen something involving the subway, I’m sure.

What a shock! Shocker is one of my favorite in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. I can’t tell you why, but I have this affinity for him. Maybe it’s the Texas connection?!? At any rate, I was over the hills with excitement when I heard the announcement he was going to be in this film. Then I saw him and my jaw dropped. This is not Shocker. He doesn’t even really don the costume, save for the sleeves on his jacket. How is it we can get nearly every detail right with superheroes, but for the villains they just seem to wear similar colors to their comic counterparts. I wonder why that is!

A change will do you good. My first introduction to the Vulture was as an elderly gentlemen who was running part of the criminal organizations in NYC. Obviously, there are some differences between that idea and the one we see on the screen. Most importantly, the family man version of the character remained intact. So, why would I not like the change in history? Well, just this week, some promotional photos were released for Deadpool 2, specifically images of the mutant, Domino. I bring this up because she’s quite the curvy wonder in the pics, it is the sudden realization that she is now to be played by an actress of color…complete with afro and some weird face that causes her to look like a dog. What is the reason for this change? No real reason, they just wanted someone of ethnicity to play a character who has plae white skin.

Final verdict on Spider-Man:Homecoming? This is the superhero film we’ve all been clamoring for. It has action, humor, sci-fi, crime, and even a love story. What is there to not like? While Marvel and Sony are sure to fight over who gets credit here, really it is the fans and moviegoers that win. Do  I recommend  this? Emphatically yes! The cons are few and the pros are many. Go check it out!

5 out of 5 stars

 

Iron Man 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2010 by Mystery Man

 

PLOT:

Six months after revealing his identity as Iron Man, Stark Industries CEO Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) has helped maintain world peace. He re-institutes the Stark Expo in Flushing, New York, to continue his father’s legacy. A United States Senate committee, led by Senator Stern (Garry Shandling), demands Stark release the technology for military application. Stark refuses, publicly embarrassing rival Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) in demonstrating how competitors are at least five to ten years away from successfully recreating the technology, while he remarks that Hammer is 20 years away.

Stark has discovered the palladium in the arc reactor keeping him alive is slowly poisoning him. All attempts to find a substitute element have failed. Growing increasingly despondent and thrill-seeking as a consequence of what he believes to be his impending death, he appoints his former personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) CEO of Stark Industries, replacing her with Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson).

While participating in a race in Monaco, Stark is attacked by Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), who has constructed a miniaturized arc reactor of his own, including whip-like attachments harnessing the electrical energy. Defeating Vanko with the aid of his briefcase armor, Stark discovers that Vanko is the son of his father’s old business partner, disgraced Russian physicist Anton Vanko, who collaborated on the first arc reactor and has passed the technology on following his death. Ivan blames Tony and Howard Stark for Anton’s fate; Anton raised his son to believe Howard Stark betrayed him, having him deported back to the Soviet Union in order to receive all the credit for the arc reactor. Hammer has Vanko broken out of jail, and recruits Vanko to perfect a line of armored combat units that he will use to upstage Stark at his own Expo.

With the government leaning on him even harder following the revelation that arc reactor technology is in the hands of someone else, Stark throws what he believes will be his last birthday party and promptly proceeds to get drunk while wearing the Iron Man armor, becoming a danger to himself and others. His friend Lt. Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is forced to take the Mark II armor and subdue Tony, delivering the armor to the military afterward. Hammer arrives and showcases several different weapons (Caseless 9mm pistol, Auto shotgun, an FN-2000, Grenade Launcher, Vulcan Rotary cannon) to arm the suit with. Disgraced, Stark is approached by Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D (Samuel L. Jackson), who reveals Natalie is an undercover agent. He also provides Tony with a chest of his father’s old artifacts, which can hopefully be used to find a cure for his palladium poisoning. Fury also informed Stark that his father was one of the founders of S.H.I.E.L.D. Stark realizes his father has left him a hidden message in the original diorama of the 1974 Stark Expo; the model is also a diagram of the atomic structure of an unknown element, which Howard was unable to synthesize due to the limits of his era’s technology. Tony builds a particle accelerator (held up partially by a halfway-constructed shield) in his home with the aid of his computer J.A.R.V.I.S. (voiced by Paul Bettany) and creates the new element. The element is then loaded into a modified arc reactor chest piece and cures Stark’s palladium poisoning. Afterward, Ivan calls Stark, revealing that he is free and set on revenge.

At the Expo, Hammer unveils his new military drones captained by Rhodes in a heavily-weaponized version of the confiscated Mark II armor. Stark arrives as Iron Man intending to warn Rhodes, but Vanko takes control of both the drones and Rhodes’s new armor, setting them to attack Iron Man. As Stark battles against these remote-controlled enemies, Potts has Hammer arrested while Stark’s bodyguard Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) and Natalie race to Hammer’s Queens facility to stop Vanko. By the time they arrive, Vanko has already departed for the Expo in a new, more powerful suit of armor, but Natalie is able to give Rhodes control of his armor again so that he and Stark can fight together.

After taking down the drones, the two fight Vanko in his new armor. Stark and Rhodes try to damage Vanko’s Armor, but to no avail. They defeat him with a combined blast of their repulsor rays, but Vanko’s armor and drones are then revealed to have been equipped with self-destruct charges. As they begin to go off, Stark races to save Pepper, rescuing her at the last minute. After Stark flies Pepper to a nearby rooftop, she quits her CEO position, claiming it to be too stressful for her, and she and Stark finally kiss, thus beginning a relationship. Rhodes departs with the Mark II armor with little objection from Stark.

At a debriefing, Fury informs Stark that while he is “unsuitable” for the “Avengers Initiative”, S.H.I.E.L.D. wants him as a consultant and wants the Iron Man armor on the team with a more suitable person using it. Stark agrees on the condition that Senator Stern present him and Col. Rhodes with their medals for bravery.

In a post-credits scene, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) informs Fury over the phone, “We’ve found it”, as an impact crater in the New Mexico desert is shown to contain Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor.

REVIEW:

Before I get into the review, I have to get on my knees and thank the movie gods that this wasn’t in 3D. Sure, there were some scenes that theoretically could have looked better, but honestly, I think 3D takes hurts more than helps. Fact is, Iron Man 2 is more story driven, rather than effects, which is why 3D would not work. Not to mention, that chances are, at the end of the year, I predict this will still be one of the top films of the year(sequels to Toy Story, Shrek, Harry Potter, and Twilight…3 of 4 of these will be in 3D…will more than likely take the top spot), but to know that a film without 3D is making this kind of bank has to make those that think 3D is the only way to go nowadays, a bit wary.

Continuing where Iron Man left off, Iron Man 2 takes us on a journey with Tony Star after he has reveled himself to be Iron Man and the repercussions and changes that have come along with it.

The story here isn’t as good or deep as its predecessor. Some have said that Iron Man 2 suffered from “sequelitis”. I won’t go that far, but I did feel that this film seemed to be trying too hard to live up the standard set by the previous film. I really hate it when pictures do this. Each film is different, and they need to almost totally forget about what the previous film was like and make another just as good if not better.

The cast is great, headlined by Robert Downey, Jr., wo again seems like he was born to play Tony Stark. Aside from his typical snarky demeanor, Downey taps into the drama of the character of Tony Stark with the whole palladium poisoning angle (I belive this is a substitute for the alcoholism that Stark had in the comics, since Downey is a former alcoholic).

Gwyneth Paltrow was a shining star in Iron Man, but her character has lost some of the lustre here and she just seems to be going through the motions.

There was a lot of hype and controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson being cast as Black Widow, especially since she seemed to have lost her delicious curves just for this role (yet they seem to have returned in the poster). I love Scarlett, but this was not the role for her. Like Paltrow, she came off as cold. Granted, her character is supposed to be a deadly assassin of some sort, but she does have a personality. That is the thing that Scarlett didn’t bring to the screen here. It’s all good to get in shape and do the stunts, but when it all comes down to it, you have to be able to deliver a good performance, which she does not.

Don Cheadle takes over the mantle of James Rhodes from Terrence Howard because of some money issues. This is a huge mistake. Cheadle is a great actor, but he makes Rhodes seem like the jealous little brother who gets his hand on big brother’s prize possession and runs off with it. His attitude throughout the whole picture, except the film’s climax, is that of a lifeless military brainwashed drone, totally forgetting that he and Stark are best friends. I think part of this has to do with how his character was written, but Howard just did so much the better job. On top of that, he just doesn’t scream James Rhodes or War Machine to me the way Terrance Howard seemed to just click. Not to mention, with his size, he seemed better suited to wear armor than Cheadle.

Getting to the villains, I have a beef to pick with the filmmakers for choosing Ivan Vanko. I don’t have anything against Ivan Vanko, but in the comics he is supposed to be one of the Crimson Dynamos. Whiplash is a totally different character, so I have to wonder what made them mix and match like this. I could probably overlook this, but this is a film made by Marvel. They are responsible for creating Iron Man, as well as many other major characters is comic lore. Mickey Rourke does a decent job with the character, but I was distracted with his leather-like looks, not to mention his accent didn’t quite seem to gel for me.

 Justin Hammer is a Stark’s rival in the comics, and Sam Rockwell brings him to life with the same energy and vigor that the character deserves. Aside from Downey, he gives the best performance of the film.

The fight scenes are incredible. It is obvious that Favreau has learned a little bit about directing these action sequences since the first film. Black Widow’s infiltration of Hammer’s compound and subsequent takedown of all his men is impressive, though I’m not sure if that’s because of her skills or because of the skin-tight catsuit she wears.

Adding War Machine to the lineup was great, but that’s enough with these multiple armor fight scenes. In the first film, it was ok to have Iron Man vs. Iron Monger, but here we get Iron Man vs. Mark II (soon to be made into War Machine), and Iron Man and War Machine vs Iron Man drones and Iron Man, War Machine vs. some kind of Iron Monger/Whiplash hybrid. While this was cool, I was disappointed with how the Whiplash fight ended so quickly, especially since he made such an impact with how he was introduced.

If they make a third Iron Man movie, the climactic battle needs to get away from these armor battles. It gets old quick.

Another aspect I didn’t care for was how there wasn’t enough Iron Man. About halfway through, we lose Iron Man and get some kind Tony Stark melodrama. sure it developed his character and all, but it wasn’t really all that necessary and could have just as easily been replaced with some better development for Ivan Vanko.

Speaking of Vanko, he was billed as the main antagonist of the film, yet except for his intro in the racetrack scene and the 10 seconds in the film’s climax, he doesn’t really do much except build stuff for Hammer. That is fine and dandy, but it’s not what you expect to see from this guy…at least I didn’t.

All the S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff really has nothing to do with the plot of the film, except maybe the stuff related to his father and the palladium, so having sp much of it in here was kind of  waste of time. To further worsen things, they had some sort of unfinished Captain America shield that Stark uses when he makes the new element and Thor’s hammer appears at the end to the post-credits. The hammer I can deal with. It was handled subtly, but the shield, especially since Tony was looking for a new element and any good fanboy knows that Cap’s shield is made of some sort of indestructible metal. On top of that, it was just oddly placed in there.

Some sequels live up to or surpass their predecessors, others fall well below the expectations of the original. Iron Man 2 doesn’t totally falter, but at the same time it doesn’t make one forget the original. I think there are two things hurting this flick more than anything, expectations from the first film. If you will recall, Iron Man was being billed as the best film of 2008 and what superhero movies should be until everyone started wetting their pants at the overrated The Dark Knight, which overshadowed shellhead. My biggest complaints re lack of scenes with Iron Man and the lull in the middle that seems to derail the plot. I really liked this film, but not quite loved it. Still has some issues to fix before it ca be perfect. For a good summer flick, Iron Man 2 is a good start to the season, especially since it is in 2D and will probably dwarf almost every other film to be released this year (with the exception of Toy Story 3). It is definitely worth checking out!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars