Average User Score: 8.1Oct 3, 2014A delicious thriller filled with red herrings, best lies reinforced with cherry-picked truths, and an exploration into the mind of a sociopathA delicious thriller filled with red herrings, best lies reinforced with cherry-picked truths, and an exploration into the mind of a sociopath as well as the inherent rules of a "normal" society that ends up being its own greatest obstacle in delivering justice to the victims.
Truly the star of the show is Rosamund Pike, and its becoming a strange trend that Bond girls 10 years from their performance in 007 movies get to achieve greater things. Famke Jansen in Goldeneye 1995 played that insanely powerful witch-like figure in X-Men 3 (OK let's ignore how terrible that movie is to some). Rosamund here manages to exude the performance necessary for her character, and then some.
Ben Affleck, on the other hand, is less stellar, but probably because of how his character is written. Though a matter of personal preference, I always get thrown off by how similar he looks to Ryan Reynolds. He presents himself as a husband that doesn't seem to be as loving to his wife as some may think, and the movie brilliantly highlights these quirks, and explore why he is behaving in such a manner. Without going into too much spoiler, the reason for his behaviour is central to the plot of Pike's disappearance, but not in a straightforward manner as some might guess from the trailer.
And as mentioned, there is a sociopath in the movie, and its one that is beautifully written and acted. It truly shines on how this character manages to find the weakness in social expectations, behaviour, norms, and the justice system. The court of public opinion is a terrible thing once it goes against you, and this character knows it and exploits it, without remorse. I truly feel hatred for this villain, not because of the genius behind the crime, but because of the very rules of "normal" we as a collective society bind ourselves to that stops justice from being delivered, and this sociopath knows it.
There are some social issues on economic recession, job losses, and the "talk shows" that powerfully influence the public opinion. This is quite strong in the first and second act, but by the third, it does dial down due to how the plot is laid out.
What I don't like about the movie is some of the cinematography involved. Its clear from the opening credits that there are lots of fade in and out effects used in certain scenes, and quick transitions. Whilst it may work for some, there are certain scenes that lowered the intended impact and made me feel like I'm passing out.
This is also an 18+ movie; there are sex scenes here that are very open, though non-pornographic in nature. Just a reminder in case they didn't tell you so in the cinema.
Finally, its 2 hours and 50 minutes long. Its not that bad until the third act, where the direction of the movie could sometimes be a bit meandering, though not painfully dragging its feet. Though considering the emotional impact from how the second act concluded, you might not find what you truly are looking for by the closing of the movie.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.2Aug 23, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. If you want to watch this movie on the merits of the trailer, be warned that the trailer is deceptive. It makes it look like the movie is an action thriller, but its not. It tries to blend sci-fi with incomprehensible philosophy that is badly written in, and whatever "action" you see is monotonous, without conflict, emotion or even any semblance of a good, traditional action scene. Towards the end of the movie, we get to see Luc Besson's ravers dream, with gratuitous use of post-production CG (even though the CG is mediocre at best), that does not add any substance to whatever message he wants to convey in this film. What is he trying to say, that if we go 100% of our brain, we become God??? Even at 20% the film suddenly morphs into X-Men territory.
S. Jo's performance in this is the only worthy thing out of this tripe. She really conveyed the transformation from an ordinary young lady, terrified for being forced into a drug smuggler, into inhuman woman who knows everything and has the power of God. The problem is that the transformation is too sudden. One minute you see her crying, the next she's gunning down anyone who stands in her way. In trailers I feared that the action would make her look like Black Widow from Avengers, but in the movie, with how easily and coldly she could dispatch her foes, she (tries) to look like Famke Janssen from X-Men 3. I say tries because there is no subtle hint of any effort, or conflict, behind the action. Its just there, like she's on God mode.
Morgan Freeman is one of the Lord's of exposition, but when you ask him to do anything but that (especially if its based on dodgy sci-fi that is poorly written), you actually undervalue the actor. That's what happened here. Any scene involving him apart from the first three is crap, because there is no more plot that requires his narration to advance.
Which leads to my point with Lucy; the film is genuinely about her, and any other character is superfluous. The problem is that she's an unemotional woman who is trying to fulfill the basic purpose of life. There is no balancing act, because other characters simply do not make their presence felt at all. There was even a scene, where the French police was asked to follow Lucy shortly after she used God mode on a dozen Korean mooks. He blatantly asked why he should be there, to which Lucy outright kissed him, implying that he's her "balancing act" of reminding her of humanity. WTF, it just came out of the blue?????
Speaking of Koreans, why them?? Is Besson afraid of pissing off the Russians? Can't he use the French mafia, or even Western villains (hell, there was one supporting villain character who was English)?
Finally, what was the point of this movie? S Jo's. intro and ending narration is painting a picture of what is the purpose of human life? In between I see images of chimps, predators, the act of animals humping each other and birth, and the ravers dream of how the Earth was made??? The worst part was that it was clear that these images were meant to pad out the film, with no unifying theme whatsoever. They were used as a sort of analogy; the predator scene was interspersed with scenes of S.Jo being captured by Koreans, the animal sex interspersed with Freeman's lecture.... Why do we need to see this, Besson? It's clear what the scenes are, so stop cutting in and out!!!… Expand
Average User Score: 6.3Feb 13, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Why is it that remakes must always lose the prime essence of the original movie they are remaking, and displease those who have already seen the original? That's the first thing I thought after a few minutes into this movie.
My 1st impression of this remake was, why the heck was the violence downgraded to PG12 levels? Suicide bombers and children were gunned down, and shot at long distance to avoid seeing any gore. The toning down of violence also means that the subtle message behind them in the original is lost, and has not been properly replaced. I swear you'd think the 1980s version is a work of art if you gave it a try. Given that said bombers were Iranians, in which in the future the US invades Iran, and herds their people out like sheep ala Germany post WW2, I was also a bit frustrated at the use of stereotypes and subtle jingoism. And what has this scene accomplished? Nothing of relevance, given that the movie is centered in the US.
Alex Murphy as a human has only two qualities: cowboy cop and generic loving dad and husband. The problem here is twofold. Joel Kinnaman is a kinetic actor; he must use his entire body to truly act. So ironically, when he is a robot, that we actually see more of the human side of him. To be fare, he is great as Robocop, as his voice clearly reflects how his personality changes from human to robot without the use of voice synthesizers up until he become full robot. His kinetic style also means he is decent acting in an action role. But when it comes to drama, any shot of him showing the face alone just comes out as trying a bit too hard, unless paired with body shots that show body language.
The other problem is that this movie does NOT practice "Show don't tell". It is heavily told that Detroit has a crime problem, it is heavily told and implied that Detroit PD is corrupt, but there is nothing really shown on screen (beyond the pair of corrupt cops, but ANY PD in real life is going to have a few bad apples). The cowboy cop trope only garners sympathy from me if you show me that it is a necessary evil because the system is already corrupt. This also affects the secondary villain (the arms dealer) and how Detroit looks in general (e.g. Alex Murphy lives in a decent suburban neighbourhood fit for the upper middle class, and Detroit PD's offices looks like a corporate office. How is this a sign of criminal hold on the city????)
Anyway after the bombing of Murphy (so impersonal, and the PG12 means that I cannot muster as much hate against the villain compared to the vicious gunning in the 1980s version), he awakes as a cyborg with only his right hand and torso upwards (very powerful scene BTW) surviving. Here, Robocop initially has his humanity intact, with his memories intact and no Prime Directives. However, after disappointing trials, the Dr. (Gary Oldman) tinkered with his brain to create a more efficient robot and subdued the man. This is a contrived 'touch my nose by twisting my arm around' method of achieving the same theme as the original version. Also here's a plot hole: Since OCP wants a product with a human in the machine, why can't they let humans be in the decision-making process when a robot performs the action? Isn't the point of an AI-control to substitute the human element, because humans cannot act faster or smarter than the AI?
The Robocop suit here is more streamlined, though the black is more of a reflection of themes. Notice that when Murphy was in the classic Robocop suit, he was more human, yet the black suit made him very robot. It's like cybernetics "blackens" the soul, makes you less human, or some subtle nonsense like that.
Action scenes in this movie is generally decent, but the scene in which Robocop gets into a gunfight in a dark corridor is very disorienting. When I can't see **** I don't appreciate it, no matter how many times you try to switch between dark, night-vision (worn by the criminals), and thermal-vision (Robocop). After gunning down the arms dealer that bombed him, Robocop found out that the Police Chief was protecting him, and promptly tries to shoot her, after shooting the two corrupt cops, even though ONE of them never tried to shoot back. It's at this point that I felt no sympathy for Murphy, even as, in the next scene, OCP tried to kill him, and he goes on a rampage to kill Michael Keaton. Again, just because you tell me that the city is corrupt, doesn't mean it is justified to act like a jerk.
On a positive note, Samuel L.Jackson as Ted Novak is truly a well-preserved homage to the original media satire of right-wing leaning media bias. I truly left the theater with his performance shining brightly at the back of my mind.
In short, if you've watched the original, this remake may displease you. If you want a popcorn action flick, you may wish to switch your brain off at certain points of the movie due to plot holes, and poorly justified characterisations.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.5Dec 16, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Pacific Rim is certainly a step up from the ridiculous padding (and sometimes offensive) movies that make the Transformers films, but it is not necessarily a masterpiece. It is, however, a step in the right direction.
From the beginning this movie absolutely sucked in the originality department. Concepts of kaiju and mechas have already been exploited to hell and back by the likes of Ultraman and Super Sentai. It made no pretenses as to where the inspiration came from. It wasn't even a parody or homage film; it just outright passed it as if its something to amaze the culturally dim Western audiences. Give me a break.
The story is simple; kaijus come to trample around the Earth from undersea, and we built giant mechas, piloted by the minds of two pilots. We get to see our protagonist with his brother. Not 5 minutes in, the brother dies, and its suppose to make the protagonist go into hiding for five years. In that period, international council members of the UN cut the funding of the mecha programme in favour of some big wall that doesn't seem to work. So the chief (Idris Elba) goes after the hero to make one last hurrah to stop the kaijus once and for all.
Already, I see great problems with the film in the first act alone. Senseless deaths that's supposed to mean a lot to the hero, doesn't affect me if I don't connect to the deceased. Cliches are rampant in the film. Arrogant jock ala Iceman from Top Gun, the absent-minded scientist who thinks only of proving himself right above even common sense, politicians from shadowy- omnipotent councils that try to oversee a military operation (think the Council from Xcom). Its really laze writing. I especially hated the scientist because its clear as the movie progresses that he's supposed to be comic relief. His contribution to the storyline is minimal till the end of the film. To which I ask: since when stereotypes become a joke? Blackface and yellow-faces are not a joke.
Unlike Transformers however, any non-action scene in this movie is utilised to some extent for character development. I liked Ms Mori's character being fleshed out, and you slowly begin to see a different dimension to Elba's character as well. The problem is that its the only development you see; the rest, including the hero himself, are stock and 2-dimensional characters. There's even a supposed love tension between the hero and Ms. Mori, but its passed off as weak sauce.
The 1st act is surprisingly long compared to the other two acts. 1st act is suppose to encompass retraining the hero and Ms. Mori, and getting his mecha up and running. It does provide protected periods of character development, but it also dangerously padded up the act. Especially prominent as the 2nd and 3rd acts were action focused, a sudden tone shift from the introspective 1st Act.
CGI in this movie is breath-taking and almost perfect. The mechas and kaijus look very real. Surroundings look very real. Not once did I cringe at an out-of-place CG artefact. Truly the same crew that worked on the CG of Transformers have worked in this movie with the same fervor, or otherwise another team did an equally impressive job as well. CG made the fight scenes between mechas and kaijus very lifelike. Ripped metal, alien blood, and explosions are perfectly showed in detail, as if it happened in the physical world. Its probably the best CGI this year.
How does this movie rate overall? Compared to Transformers, it definitely took a more simple storytelling, but managed to flesh out a bit more dimension into two of their characters. The CGI is equally impressive. It does suffer from superfluous characters that end up padding the movie right until the end (the scientist, though Ron Perlman did ham the scenes quite comedically). The problem though, is that the movie simply has no originality, and half of its story-telling elements are lined with cliches and stereotypes. This easily satiates the appetites of action-maniacs and children, but its painfully obvious how little value the story is. Its very hard to ignore it altogether because they DID take the time focusing on back story and quiet drama moments. In the end, the movie ends up being action oriented, but failed to let the story and characters equally match. Still, at least the main characters ARE the main characters in their own movie, unlike Transformers. Juvenile humour is kept to a minimum. There is not a lot of lore behind the kaijus however, which makes them almost an archetypal alien invaders that have no soul; just targets and objects to kill.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.7Nov 28, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It's late, but I finally watched it in DVD. And I have to say the Wolverine is at most an above average adventure movie.
Hugh Jackman, as always, shows that he is the one to play Logan. Although the character in X-Men is always 2-dimensional archetypal anti-hero, at least here there is some room to flesh out his character. Unfortunately, they didn't give a lot of growth to the character. The essential theme to the film is living past regrets and pain, that the body may heal, but the mind doesn't. You get to see Wolverine trying to live past Jean Grey after X-Men 3 (and kudos to them bringing back Famke Janssen in an effort to internalise the struggle. And succeed they did!). It got him quite stuck in the grieving stage until he falls in love with Mariko Yashida. I can see where they are going with the love plot, and mostly they did an average job. It just needed more chemistry and polishing before I can believe this love story. And the coda to the film does get him past grief, but I hated Logan mentioning that "He is a soldier" and stuff. There is nothing holding him back from living with Mariko, no commitments to the X-Men (at least until the credits), and yet he chooses to live on in conflict. This isn't Batman where he has a purpose to the point of obsession, he is not tied to an altruistic cause.
The action sequences are quite well done. Lots of melee fighting, wire-fu, and good fight choreography. The people that are suppose to fight, can do so in a heart-pounding scene. However, I must stress that the green screen effects are not so impressive. This is true in the bullet train sequence. You just can't believe Logan is fighting people on a 300mph train, because the wind and the actors don't give that sort of impression. CGI is a slight cut above average. The SIlver Samurai's armor is monochromatically silver, making it easy to model, texture and light. But it just needed more polishing before it looks like an actual object in the physical world. Several times during the final fight, the CG almost fell into last-gen video game graphics territory.
I need to mention Yuriko, the red-haired woman. It's mentioned that she is a precog, trained in fighting. She demonstrates the latter very well, but the former is poorly conveyed. In a film, I do not like it when things are told to me, and not showed to me. The vision she had on Logan's "death" could have been shown to the audience using blurry/transition shots, and it would have been fine. As a character, she isn't quite deep; that goes to Mariko.
Ironically the plot of the film ends up revealed to me 10 minutes into the movie. Yashida basically told Logan that he is the villain when he proposed to transfer his healing factor to another person permanently. Given that he himself is dying, and the look on his eyes show that he is a man who gets what he wants, it is no big leap or surprise to me when the big reveal shows that he is the villain. Which is probably why after the 1st action sequence, the writers decided to pull a farce and artificially deepen the movie.
To me, complexity of the story should be reflected in depth and quality, not in the number of subplots you can juggle around with. It confuses people as to who the main players are in each subplot, and to recognise when it starts and concludes, and the magnitude of its conclusion to the main plot. Worse, given that every secondary character in this movie is 2-dimensional, superficial, and otherwise generic, it is hard to get invested. The entire Yashida clan was a nest of vipers after the "death" of the old man. There is a revenge subplot because of being left out in the will, there is the Yakuza, there is the venomous Dr., there is the ronin clan of ninjas who supposedly looks out for the Yashida clan even though they are actively hunting Mariko and Logan in a similar fashion to the Yakuza. Add Logan's grief, his loss of healing factor, and the romance, and you get a confusing web of plots that appear and disappear with no consequence. It just leaves me preoccupied with questions, instead of enjoying the film.
One of the plot holes in the film is apparent when Logan and Mariko do not call for help from the Yashida's even when they could at some points. Its explained in a reasonable attempt later on, and validates it ex post facto, but its not good if the actors appear to read ahead of the script and act as such.
The loss of healing factor plot to me is rivetting, as it finally shows vulnerability on Logan's side, but ultimately pointless in the grand arc. What's the point of making him vulnerable (and probably killed soon), if ultimately you need him alive to extract his healing factor, Mr Yashida? Oops, a plot hole?
In conclusion, the Wolverine is a film about Logan moving past the grieving stage. It showed a decent development for Logan in this regard, but the web of superfluous subplots makes it difficult to enjoy the film as it is. It would be better if they just keep it simple.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.8Nov 16, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. When I saw the trailer, I immediately knew two things. One this is a space survival story, not to dissimilar to Apollo 13 and Marooned. The other was that this film relied on immersion (a feature of cinematography, music and actors being able to express body language), and visual effects. Not a big fan of those movies since they tend to use such features to cover poor plots, character and story. Gravity basically fulfilled my expectations.
The movie is gorgeous visually. The CGI is impressive, and the camera work features continuous shots and a sense that you really are an observer in space looking at the characters. When action sequences occur, most of the camera work tends to be "outside looking in", but there are a few shots that rely on First-person view, or shots that pan to show impending danger as if you are part of the story. It doesn't make you feel nauseous, but probably because I wasn't watching in 3D. In interim scenes between action sequences, the camera just focuses on a particular shot for a few seconds, to let the audience catch their breath. Good since the movie actually has very little transition shots that breaks the scenes apart.
Music is orchestral and compliments the scenes well. I don't usually give credit to composers since their work is supplementary to the movie, but the music here works very well. However there are some flaws that I will address later.
Sandra Bullock gives a believable performance, even if we only see it near the end of the 2nd act. You can really relate to her predicament in the situation she was in, and possibly care about her. If you actually focus on her survival story to get back to Earth, then she gave a good performance. But if you want to believe her underlying motivation to return was in part because she learns to let go of the death of her non-existent daughter, then it becomes nonsensical.
Which leads me to the bad parts of the movie. As I expected, story is simple, plot pacing is adequate. But because there is virtually no B story involved, it becomes extremely distracting when the 1st 5 minutes of the movie is spent attempting to put artificial depth to the characters when there was no need to. Why bother about Bullock's supposed daughter? Why bother about how she got to NASA? It has no relevance to the story, and is padding the movie.
Notice I only mention Bullock, but not George Clooney. His character is superfluous. No reason for me to give two hoots at all. Why? Because he plays the stereotypical wise senior/mentor (ala Obi-Wan) and Bullock plays the rookie in space learning the ropes. No depth or originality. And yes, like Obi-Wan, he dies 2/5ths in the movie and reappears as an apparition of Sandra's hypoxic mind in a suicide attempt, driving her to live. This is pathetic. Clooney is wasted here.
And if you think Sandra and George's name on the poster is just to show two principal characters, in truth, they are the ONLY characters in the movie. The rest are just voices. 10 minutes after the 1st action sequence we are shown how 3 crew members died from the debris impacting the Space Shuttle. This is clearly done for the sake of shock factor, and I'm calling it borderline offensive. Because the director never bothered to show me the character's face, why should I bother about them? Only showing their dead bodies elicits any reaction for me.
Note that because of the genre, there is only one type of conflict and tension in this movie; near death experiences. Sure there is the suicide attempt, and the re-entry scene, but every time the music clinches to a climax, it always had to be a near death experience. And this highlights two flaws; monotony of tension and overpowering effects of music. Since Sandra is the protagonist, and there is very little variation in tension, it quickly becomes boring to see her get placed in these scenarios over and over. And since the composer makes the music according to the scene, there really is only one kind of music he can make; that orchestral heart-pounding apocalyptic type. Also, by act 3, probably out of monotony, I felt that the music, and not the scene, that became the driving emotional force of the setting. Almost makes me want to watch Marooned, back in the day where no music, just plain old acting, carried the scene perfectly.
In short, the film performed as well as expected for this kind of film. But it failed to make me a convert. It did not perform above and beyond expectations. And if I follow my feelings I actually felt bored to a small degree. It didn't make me feel like wanting to watch more of this kind of movies. And if you want immersion in a scene without watching this movie, you probably have better luck going to those 4D theme parks.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.4Nov 8, 2013Bear in mind I have never seen Thor, the original movie, but from what I heard, that movie was somewhat middle of the road. The Dark WorldBear in mind I have never seen Thor, the original movie, but from what I heard, that movie was somewhat middle of the road. The Dark World appears to not move past that mindset, but at least they did it in a competent fashion.
Plot is simplistic and predictable, but the execution was moderate. Simple good vs. evil battle but the pacing and unfolding of events kept me distracted enough. However, some of the secondary plots are quite head scratching. The romance "triangle" between Thor, Jane and that Asgardian female is mentioned, but not shown in great detail and is left as pointless tripe given that it fell apart by the second act. Although it is refreshing to see Loki once again seizing opportunity that passes by, and that is a secondary plot that has effected the movie entirely. The post credits scene (a staple given that it will lead to Avengers 2), does provide a few hints of how this movie's McGuffin would be used in the coming Avengers film.
The characters are very 2 dimensional and flat, with the exception of Loki. What I despise most of the characters however were the Earth humans with the exception of Natalie Portman, and even she is somewhat guilty of this. In the movie, she is clearly there are nothing but a traditional damsel-in-distress. Think of her time as Padme in Star Wars, but at least she has some function. In fact, anytime the movie transitions away from Asgard, the humans only fulfill a comic role. In this sense, it was suffering the Transformers disease; superfluous characters that have nothing to do with the main plot providing comedy. Although it isn't done excessively, and they actually have some use in the climax, it is still very obvious that the writers have no idea what to do with them.
Special effects was passable. Fight choreography and action was almost above average. Particularly memorable was Thor's mother fighting, or the two brothers fighting side-by side. But CGI is quite possible the most horrible I've seen this year. You will never believe any artifact produced actually existed in the real world. The alien ships look poorly rendered compared to those in Star Trek or Man of Steel. Thor's hammer look comically plastic and unbelievable. The "sandstorms" are just clouds of opaque smoke without any resolution or clarity to define the finer details. It's clear CG was not very well refined.
Overall, this is a simple popcorn movie that is enjoyable as long as you do not expect anything above average from it. Otherwise be disappointed by flat characters, shoddy CGI, and unnecessary padded content from characters that clearly should have waited for the third act, or the writer did not bother to fill their time on screen with something more productive (hint: nudity isn't nice to watch). But even with low expectations, I do not have a strong impression of the movie once I left the theater. Leaves no lasting impressions, beyond possible future plot points for other Marvel crossovers.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.5Jul 13, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Lone Ranger effectively made me felt something I have not felt for some time: that awful feeling of having sunk in money to buy tickets to an otherwise lackluster film.
Johnny Depp here was (supposedly) a secondary character to Hammer's protagonist role, but it seems that the director felt that the film should receive the Pirates charm, and asked him to bring Jack Sparrow front and center in his portrayal. As a result you get all the mannerisms of Sparrow sans the eloquence of the British pirate; the familiar behavior of doing random things as part of a larger plan afoot, the manipulation of people around him for his own goals, the oddities of being mad but secretly brilliant. It made audiences laugh, but this isn't Pirates. The comedy in both Pirates and here was supposed to be icing on the cake, but here the icing covered the cake and pretentiously tried to pass on as the cake itself. Depp was supposed to be background, complementing not overshadowing Hammer.
Hammer on the other hand, gave a decent portrayal, if somewhat limited by the screenwriter's need to put Depp front and center, and the movie's generally bumpy efforts in presenting a story. The movie could be summed up in two themes: Upholding justice by the book vs. vigilantism, and revenge or redemption for past sins. Straightforward themes that writers surprisingly took their time milking out to the detriment of pacing and boring audiences badly. When you do get to some of the fleshy part of the story, its actually quite shallow, piecemeal and sometimes outright nonsensical.
This poor pacing issue even infected the action scenes. Never have I seen action scenes so boring despite the amount of napalm being thrown around. And that's because before any scene begins. there isn't a lot of tension being twisted to set up for the scene. When it plays, there is no discernible story to be told, no underlying struggle or emotion that the director is trying to show here. All it serves is to show off Jack Sparrow in a Western setting, coupled with that freakish white horse, and John Reid's awkward efforts of delivering civilised justice, followed by improbable aiming skills with a single shot. In short, the scenes were alien, not even trying to be integral to the story.
One good thing that should be noted was the chemistry between the leading duo. You get the sense of both characters representing what the underlying themes are, and the struggles of being an effective duo here is played somewhat decently, if not sometimes mired by the and giggles that were sometimes too distracting.
The use of flashback and unreliable narrator tropes here actually serves no purpose in the movie at all. The point of using them here was to supposedly show off Tonto's supernatural abilities, that certain missing parts of the story were actually out of divine/supernatural origins. Quite distracting, and frankly a waste of time that could have been used to flesh out a bit more back story, like that of John Reid and that forgettable damsel-in-distress character, which was placed there as a stereotypical damsel-in-distress given how shallow her characterisation was.
In short, if you enjoy turning off your brain at the door of the theater walking in, or you like to see Depp as Jack Sparrow in a Western, or indulge in occasional nonsensical slapstick comedy mixed with average action scenes, go ahead and watch, Otherwise save up your money for more decent films, or at least rent this movie if you're so tempted to watch, coz really, I don't want to even recommend it as a matinee.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.8May 16, 2013The long and short is that Into Darkness did not reach nor exceed its predecessor's glory. It does have enough meat and potatoes to make it anThe long and short is that Into Darkness did not reach nor exceed its predecessor's glory. It does have enough meat and potatoes to make it an above average movie, but once you sink in the cracks start to appear.
There is no doubt that Into Darkness is more focus on action and adventure rather than character development. Such theme shifts aren't bad as long as it is executed properly. My qualm however, is that the trailers present the movie as a development arc for Kirk and Spock to become legends. By the time the movie is over, I'd swear that the development seemed more focused on Spock and somehow aborted for Kirk.
Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison was quite extraordinary, some say even outstanding. Personally, I felt that he pulled a good performance, but compared to Sherlock (TV series), its not quite the spell-binding performance expected from such a prolific actor. The problem was more of a writing issue rather than the actor himself. Into Darkness perhaps wasn't the breakthrough role that could earn him accolades.
The main cast was fairly above average, nothing particularly outstanding to note. Part of the problem was, unlike 2009, the focus was on Kirk, Spock, Harrison and the villain. It wasn't an ensemble so much as it once was, where the previous movie use ensemble casting as a method to establish effective character breakthroughs. One quip I must mention is the occasional random camera shots to random extra characters across the Enterprise's bridge. While I appreciate it as a method to establish the diverse species in this universe, it was very lazy and unexpectedly thrown out at random times.
Thankfully, the lens flare effects that hurts my eyes in the previous movie was trimmed down. This though meant that panning shots on a particular character (hence causing the flares) are few and far between.
The main problem with Into Darkness has to be its story. The first two acts was established as an original writing, with this random backdrop of imminent war, terrorism, acts of subterfuge, and Kirk's personal vendetta against Harrison interspersed with manipulations by a higher power. The establishing of such facts was hurried, but not to the point of being headscratching. Given the film's lack of focus on story, this might be forgiven if you lower your expectations on storytelling.
However, the third act totally put me off the movie. In what can be described as the worst use of time travel ever known to film, Leonard Nimoy basically made an act of pandering to the original Trekkies by hearkening back to the old movies. The whole act actually played like an inversion (hint: role reversal) of that particular movie, and indeed some elements of the second act could retrospectively be seen as such inversions. When your previous movie did everything it could to divorce itself from the mainstream and even used Nimoy as an effective tool to that purpose, this was a disgusting and shocking 180 turn by the writers. Either the writers seriously thought they were making an homage, or JJ really authorised the film to be directed as pandering tool to those he ostricised.
Furthermore, as said, Kirk's development as a character was hinted in the trailers. Even the first two acts did so. By the third's conclusion I was scratching my head thinking "What the hell did we learn here??". It's like they dropped the ball and forgotten that particular story arc in favour of inversions. Worst still, it felt like Spock was the one who evolved, even though it was rather limited. Coupled with a deus ex machina, and you'd think that Kirk would progress from a Messianic role, right? I don't think so.
In short, Into Darkness tries to balance out action with slip-shod but workable story, at least until the end of the second act. By the third act, to keep you on the cinema seat, you may want to just turn off your brain and enjoy the action without picking every single past film reference. Do not however, watch the film on the assumption that there is going to be a good personal development, or even something with the same lustre as the previous film. You will be disappointed.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.4May 4, 2013Generally Iron Man movies are not trying to aim for Academy Awards or anything so distinctive that makes a standing ovation. Iron Man 3 is noGenerally Iron Man movies are not trying to aim for Academy Awards or anything so distinctive that makes a standing ovation. Iron Man 3 is no exception; the film does not pretentiously depict itself as that. Whilst it has toned down on the humour for more character development and darker tone overall, it is presented in a serviceable if not above average manner. Tony Stark's journey from Iron Man 1 is somewhat complete, and I do like how they try to depict a man with PTSD post-Avengers, and how he tries to plan ahead and cope with it. However halfway through, it seems that this arc somehow dropped off the radar, and reached a conclusion without ever seeing any sort of resolution. It is less Iron Man, more Stark (kinda like TDKR), but unlike Rises I do feel that there was a sort of smooth story-telling going on. However, it also feels like there was less exposition on how stuff works in-universe (it sounds anal until you walk out and ask yourself 'How did X did that?'), and it feels like the pacing was meant to distract us from that.
Plot in itself is somewhat complex, which isn't mind-boggling for an Iron Man movie. Nevertheless, there is some depth here and there, but the main villain's motives are somewhat intriguing, yet felt like it was used more properly in other stories or movies. The audience relies upon exposition from characters for the reveal of the villain's plot and motives, and whilst it does build-up quite nicely to a crescendo at the third act, you feel like this takes a back-seat as you get more amped up with action from Iron Man
Perhaps one of the most divisive plot twists in movie I've ever seen was the reveal of Mandarin. Now whilst I am no fan of the comics, I can tell that this is going to upset lots of fans. However, in the discourse of the movie I feel that this twist was suitable. It managed to salvage an overused trope of depicting terrorism in a stereotypical way and give it a bit of flavour, but not by a jaw-dropping degree.
Humour in this movie is very hit and miss. RDJ is still a good Stark, but the dark tones mean that jokes are quite limited to almost cliched and old humour. You aren't going to get much laugh unless your humour limit is quite low.
OK, so for Paltrow, I feel like there wasn't much screen time for her, and the one's she has had such radical shifts in depiction that you feel like missing much of her side of the story. One minute she's a damsel in distress, the next she an ass-kicking hero. Its too radical, and underutilising her to the point you feel that she was but a Checkov's gun. In but one scene, I feel that there was some effort to put in depth to the character, but the main focus is clearly on Stark and she is but an accessory/plot device.
Overall, Iron Man 3 is above average for a superhero movie. Perhaps because it doesn't try to be pretentious to be something jaw-dropping that makes me more forgiving about it. Stark's journey is complete in terms of character development, and whilst his psyche post-Avengers wasn't properly told well IMO, it does come to an end that is somewhat satisfying. The plot is fine, but will piss lots of comic book fans as to how much liberty the director took with the original material (and probably why some reviews down here are quite anal on THAT aspect alone). Action was typical of a superhero movie, and is quite enjoyable while it lasted, but it does not leave quite a lasting impression.… Expand