Marvel-ous Day 2

June 25, 2020 at 11:57 pm (Reviews, TV/movie review, With a list)

Uh… spoilers, by the way. For all of the MCU so far. I’ll try to stick to the film I’m in so if you haven’t seen them all you can skip the relevant entries if you’re that far behind the nerd curve.

 

***IRON MAN 3 (2013) Disney +

One-sentence summary: Stark makes way too many suits then blows them all up.

Superheroes: Iron Man (Tony Stark), James “Rhodey” Rhodes (War Machine, currently unsuccessfully rebranded as the Iron Patriot).

I barely remembered this movie but it’s actually incredible. Iron Man’s PTSD is severe, causing him to have manic episodes, constantly building better and better suits. And he has his first major panic attack early in the movie, which is very accurately written and acted. He responds to a kid, Erin, asking him to sign her Iron Man picture by scribbling on it and writing, “Erin help me” and then rushing outside and activating his suit to tell him whether he’s having a stroke or a heart attack. A lot of people with panic attacks believe they’re having a heart attack (and go to emergency wards), so this scene is bang on. (Happy has also picked up Stark’s paranoia.) He has several more panic attacks over the course of the film, panting and stressing and being annoyed at himself for having them.

I know what it’s like to be manic (why do you think I stayed up all night last night?) and I am all too familiar with panic attacks. This film has already won three stars for doing such a good portrayal of a brave person suffering through panic attacks, and of what that feels like.

Oh, and there are Christmas trees throughout the film (not to mention a giant bunny), which means this is a Christmas movie. That’s the rules.

*

Happy sees two bad guys looking stressed, and questions one about his “junkie girlfriend”. C’mon Marvel, stop using gay jokes. It’s painfully obvious that way, WAY too many of your writers are straight white men.

And minus many more points for not grabbing the chance to use an Asian actor for the Mandarin character.

*

Like an idiot, Stark publicly dares the Mandarin to attack him at his house, and publicly gives out the address. The Mandarin obliges, to which I say, “Nooooo! Don’t hurt that beautiful house!”

(Although, Stark throwing the suit onto Pepper is an awesome move, and she handles the suit pretty well too.)

*

Stark ends up stranded in a small town, holing up in a kid’s barn/workshop. Stark is so horrid to that (brilliant and cynical) kid, and somehow it’s charming. Also, the man is literally insane. (Speaking as someone who knows what insanity means from the inside; I’m aware that in a few years the classic cry of, “Are you insane!?!” will become offensive but it doesn’t actually bother me.) And the kid shows up again, briefly, in Avengers: Endgame.

*

Stark has a cool little fight scene against a mutant (lady) while he’s in handcuffs. Kids, THAT is how you up the stakes in a sequel (not with galaxy-spanning villains, who are too big to be truly interesting).

*

And the scene in which Stark is zip-tied to a bed frame and he knows his suit is on the way but it takes much longer than he expects is hilarious and brilliant…. What’s more, in the middle of the scene there’s a standoff with Stark and a low-level minion who raises his hands and says, “Honestly I hate working here. These guys are weird.” And Stark lets him go.

*

The reveal of the Mandarin as this wonderfully awful actor is even more fun on the rewatch, because you know it’s coming and can enjoy how utterly disgusted Stark and Rhodey are rather than focusing on the revelation itself.

*

Another iconic scene, as Stark saves thirteen people falling from a plane using the “Barrel of Monkeys” system. Genuine chills. And a nice BLAM at the end, complete with rolling head.

*

The final battle is excellent. Lots and lots of iron men doing cool stuff, without losing sight of the humans and human faces involved. And then there’s the heartbreaker moment, when Stark promises to catch Pepper, and… he misses. She falls 200 feet into a fire. His worst nightmare has come true, and all his manic preparations aren’t worth a damn.

Then, a bit later, she emerges from the fire, in a sports bra and pants, burning from within. And she takes out the big bad, who (let’s not forget) betrayed her more than Stark anyway.

And then, finally, Stark blows up all his spare suits. They couldn’t save him anyway, or protect Pepper, and it’s time to let go of his #1 defense mechanism. Which in his case is rather literal.

And the genius kid gets a fully-equipped lab.

And Stark sorts out the shrapnel still in his chest, and chucks his best arc reactor heart off a cliff where his mansion used to be. Then he ends a movie a second time with the line, “I am Iron Man.” Because he is who he is, even without a suit.

The credits do a nice visual recap of the whole Iron Man trilogy. The indulgence is richly deserved. It is one of the great film trilogies of all time.

Thank goodness for credits, by the way. They’re the closest thing to a break I’m taking 😛

I got up at 10am, so operating on maaaybe four hours’ sleep today. I began watching this on my laptop over breakfast, then on my phone at the doctor (with headphones…not realising that the headphones were 100% not working so I was blasting it to the whole waiting room at full volume for twenty minutes), then on my laptop at home, then on my laptop at the in-law’s house while fetching TJ, then on my phone at a playground on the way home, then on my laptop in my room.

I’m forgetting words. Objects. Things. My vision feels… slippery. I put my shirt on backwards. I’m doing FINE.

But Chris came and told me he needs the car for work tomorrow, which somehow turned into him agreeing to run my errand for me. So I must be pretty sharp.

Post-credits scene: The Stark voiceover that bracketed the movie turns out to be Stark talking to Dr Banner, who has fallen deeply asleep. He tries and fails to explain to Stark that he’s “not that kind of doctor”. It’s a fun scene, and a satisfying end.

 

**THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013) Disney +

Superheroes: Thor and Loki (arguably Captain America).

Stones: The Aether, red, which is powerful and which makes Jane Foster (human love interest and scientist) sick, so it must be removed. Plus the dark elves want it in order to destroy the nine worlds.

One-sentence summary: Thor and Jane get back together.

I was almost dreading this one. I couldn’t remember anything about it, and it’s got a reputation for being meh. But this—this, my friends—is the film in which Loki begins his somewhat bumpy redemption arc.

So sure, there’s a lot of blather. But then there’s Loki.

Partway through the film, the arrogant trickster is brought low, not by prison, but by the death of his mother. Thor comes to him for help, and tells him to drop his illusions—which he does.

He is sitting on the plain floor of his cell, with basic clothing, tangled hair, and bare and bloody feet. Wretched.

Moments later he’s iconic again: briefly shifting form to (among other characters) Captain America. It’s a fabulous moment.

And then, after faking his death (again—in a beautifully balanced farewell scene that is exactly 1% over the top so absolutely no one believes it’ll stick) he shapeshifts into King Odin and takes over ruling Asgard.

And the final iconic moment happens mid-battle, as the big bad and Thor fight in and out of portals connecting all the nine worlds—and Thor ends up at a train station and has to get back to the battle by riding the subway.

My 6 year-old (who is very emotionally sensitive) loves superheroes, and so I let him watch bits and pieces here and there. We did some ‘acting practice’ (lots of dramatic dying) and talked about makeup and prosthetics to help ground him in the real world, and when I explained how the battle kept shifting from world to world he understood how silly it was and laughed out loud.

Post-credits scene 1: Lady Sif and friends give the red stone to The Collector for safekeeping, since the Asgardians have another infinity stone on Asgard and they shouldn’t be stored together. Lotsa aliens.

Post-credits scene 2: Jane Foster is waiting for Thor to show up (kinda like he absolutely didn’t during the events of Marvel’s The Avengers)… and he does.

Post-credits scene 3: A giant dinosaur-like creature, still loose in London after the worlds-spanning battle, is chasing crows in an abandoned carpark. Oopsie.

 

***CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014) Disney +

Superheroes: You guys can probably remember who’s who by now.

One-sentence summary: Shield is mostly evil, but the Winter Soldier gets mostly un-brainwashed, yay!

I’m now off the clock kid-wise so it should be super easy to finish this one. My goal is three movies and a lot of sleep today. I’m so very tired. Luckily this is a great film.

The opening scene is a (“nonromantic” wink wink) meet cute between Steve and Sam Wilson (who will become The Falcon). It’s great. Marvel doesn’t succeed because of their budget, but because they remember to have character moments like this. Wilson is jogging laps around a giant pool (I don’t know the name of it but maybe the Lincoln Memorial Pool?) and Captain America says, “On your left” as he passes—over and over again. From that, the two become friends.

Steve’s list of cultural things to catch up on is a great moment.

The first major iconic moment is when Steve visits his girlfriend, Peggy Carter, in hospital. She’s bedridden and ancient, having lived a very full life that included founding S.H.I.E.L.D. and having a husband and family. And Steve is so sweet and gracious, and glad to still know her, and the contrast between their young and old faces is a beautiful, painful thing.

It’s incredibly cathartic to see the famous and familiar badass, Fury, in a serious fight.

Then comes the famously unsettling revelation that Shield itself is compromised… and the famous scene in which Captain America is trapped in a glass elevator with just so, so many baddies. He knows they’re going to beat him up and they know he know. The elevator stops, and Steve says, “Before we get started, does anyone want to get out?”

No one moves for a long beat. Then Steve beats up everybody.

And we see the Falcon flying, yay!

These two Captain America sidekicks are both so iconic. I love wings. And also long-haired men with a tragic past.

In other news, I’m very bad with faces, so the reveal of the Winter Soldier being a brainwashed Bucky Barnes didn’t come to me for a long, long time. When we first saw it, Chris whispered who it was, and why that mattered. But from then on I was in love with Bucky and with his arc.

I am very much looking forward to the TV show.

So of course it’s iconic when Bucky’s mask comes off and Captain America has a chance to look at him, and sees his friend properly for the first time in seventy years, and says, “Bucky?!”

To which Bucky says, “Who the hell is Bucky?”

Fury’s life hangs in the balance, Shield is mostly evil, Captain America is on the run with his world falling down around him. But of course it’s the revelation that Bucky is, somehow—sort of—alive that hits Steve the hardest.

Everything around him in this movie is custom made to crack Steve’s incredibly moral core. But he doesn’t crack. He doesn’t obey orders any more, but he is still the thoroughly good person he always was. Without all his pain and suffering, he’d probably be quite dull. Instead he’s compelling. And he still believes in the good in others, too. Amazingly, he is an influence on the cynical Fury and Black Widow, rather than them being an influence on him.

And then there’s the climactic helicarrier fight, in which Captain America is trying hard to save Bucky rather than quickly kill him. He puts hundreds of lives on the line because he loves his friend, and he’s incapable of giving up hope.

He saves the day, and then stays on board the doomed helicarrier to try to save his friend. And hope wins.

Post-credits scene 1: Hydra has Loki’s sceptre. And we see “the twins”: Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

Post-credits scene 2: The Winter Soldier is in the Captain America exhibit we all saw earlier, reading about himself. He has a beard, so has clearly been a-wandering for a while since he saved Captain America’s life.

1 Comment

  1. Summary of a Saga | crazy talk said,

    […] 2 (part 1 and part […]

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