Tag Archives: Robert Downey Jr.

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming is in my humble opinion the best of the Spider-Man movies and arguably should sit near the top of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Release Date: July 7, 2017
Writer: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daily
Director: Jon Watts
Cast: Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton

Thankfully, we fans are spared a Spider-Man origins story as the events of Spider-Man take place soon after the airport battle in Captain America: Civil War. Also, this tale of Spider-Man is clearly a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spider-Man: Homecoming is the story of sophomore high school student Peter Parker (Tom Holland).

Like any new adolescent, Peter is trying hard to find his identity. His only notoriety at school is his internship at Stark Industries, but even that is hardly the credentials he needs to be popular or land a date with his senior crush, Liz (Laura Harrier). As Spider-Man, Peter wants to impress the world by becoming an Avenger.

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) returns Peter to his Aunt Mae (Marisa Tomei) with his new Spider suit and with instructions to lay low until he is needed again. This is pretty much a Don’t-Call-Us-We’ll-Call-You situation. Stark leaves Peter with Happy’s (Jon Favreau) phone number for any questions.

Meanwhile…in the past, clean-up specialist Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is hired to clean-up New York City after the Jitari attack. Before work can get started, Toomes is quickly fired by S.H.I.E.L.D. but not before he is able to steal some of that sweet alien technology. Long story short, Toomes begins to sell newly created alien-hybrid weapons to the New York criminal underworld. Toomes is also able to steal more technology thanks to his Vulture-like battle suit.

While waiting for the Avengers call, Peter decides to clean-up the New York crime problem. In the process, he begins to uncover the Vulture’s plans, cause more problems on the streets of New York than he can handle and inadvertently reveal his secret identity to his best friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon).

There is a lot to love about Spider-Man: Homecoming. Let’s first look at it from the perspective of it as a Spider-Man movie. Homecoming ranks right up there as the best Spider-Man movie right next to Spider-Man 2. Tom Holland is perfect as Spider-Man. He has the constant running mouth that the comic book Peter Parker has. He is and remains a high school student throughout the entire movie, and he struggles with the very things high school students struggle with…identity. He wants to be noticed.

There are also brilliant moments where we get to see the limitations of Spider-Man that we haven’t seen in other films. The best example is when Peter attends a party at Liz’s home in the suburbs. He chases down the bad guys, but there are no tall buildings anywhere to swing on. He, basically, runs.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is half action film and half John Hughes movie. Director Jon Watts takes us through the struggles of an adolescent, who has to save New York City from a menacing threat. The story is well grounded and the adult moments are just as effective as the teen moments.

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Movie Details

Coming July 7, 2017 – Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures presents Spider-Man: Homecoming

A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). 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 (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

Directed by: Jon Watts

Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr.

Captain America: Civil War – Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War manages to do everything Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice failed to do. That tells a fantastic story involving way too many superheroes and introduce new characters in a meaningful and exciting way.

Release Date: May 6, 2016
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Director: Joe & Anthony Russo
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Mackie, Scarlett Johansson

Similar to the Marvel Comics event that pitted hero against hero, Captain America: Civil War pits Captain America (Chris Evans) against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in a physical and moral battle. After the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the United Nations demand that all powered humans register with their governments and submit to its authority as well.

Iron Man is for hero registration because even the most powerful hero needed to be kept in check and held responsible for collateral damage when acting alone. Captain America is for civil liberties and can not submit to a government agency, especially when lives are at stake.

A crisis occurs when the debate over the matter is interrupted when a bomb is set off next to the U.N. Headquarters. The explosion kills many including the leader of Wakanda, King T’Chaka (John Kani). Video footage shows that the bomb was set by the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). The U.S. decides to engage supporting heroes to capture and even kill the Winter Soldier. This includes the new hero, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), who decides to avenge the death of his father.

Captain America knows that if the Winter Soldier did set the bomb, he did not do it of his own free will. In fact, a new villain reveals himself in the shadows, Zemo (Daniel Bruhl). Zemo was the one who reactivated the Winter Soldier and turned him once again into a killing machine. Zemo is intent on bringing down an empire and his plan involves finding the secret lab that created ten other Winter Soldiers.

Teams have been formed. Team Iron Man consists of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Vision (Paul Bettany), Black Panther, War Machine (Don Cheadle) and amazingly Spider-Man (Tom Holland) (pun intended). Team Captain America is Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

Captain America: Civil War features three amazing chase/battle scenes. The ultimate battle between the heroes at an airport feel like it leaps directly from a comic book. It’s fun and incredible. The final battle between Captain America and Iron Man is both sad and satisfying.

The tight story from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely makes this long movie feel like you want more. It succeeds in so many ways. First, Let’s face it, this movie has a lot of heroes and it’s easy to be lost in the sauce, but every character has a moment to shine, not only in battle but as individual characters.

Second, the story introduces two characters: Black Panther and Spider-Man. Both characters make a bold statement in the movie. Black Panther is a prince avenging the death of his father as well as donning the new responsibility as the leader of a nation. His motivations of anger are justified and his character arc leaves you excited for the upcoming Black Panther movie.

Spider-man is also interesting in the sense that he really isn’t needed in the movie. Clearly, he was added because Marvel wanted to show off that they have Spider-Man back in the Marvel fold. The movie could have done without Spider-Man. Give credit to Markus and McFeely, they tell the Spider-Man story in a way that is fun and exciting. Tom Holland brings an element of Spider-Man that we haven’t seen in the other films and that’s Peter Parker’s need to constantly comment and make smart remarks throughout an entire fight. His moments with Tony Stark are hilarious, especially the moment that Stark makes Peter admit the kid is “Spider-Man.”

Zemo, played by Daniel Bruhl, is one of the most understated villains so far. Without throwing a punch or threatening to destroy the world, his actions are slowly revealed and the impact of his plan is everything you expect from a villain. He is the reason Captain America and Iron Man fight to the death, making him one of the best villains in the MCU, even though you’ll forget Zemo when you walk out of the movie.

Making a movie like Captain America: Civil War has challenges that need to be faced or the movie will fail. Under the direction of Anthony and Joe Russo, those challenges are met from beginning to end. These challenges include the problem of too many heroes. Everyone has a moment to shine. The reason for the heroes to battle one another are solid and make sense. There is no clear hero. Both Iron Man and Captain America is morally right to do what they are doing and you find yourself shifting back-and-forth regarding who is right. Also a story that has as many holes plugged up as possible.

Captain America: Civil War is the best Marvel movie to date, but it clearly could not have been great without the films before it. Solid story and stunning action pieces with an ambiguous sense of right and wrong make this film the one you see over and over again.

Avengers: Age of Ultron – Movie Review

It is never an easy task to top a great movie. Avengers: Age of Ultron would possibly be a great movie if it were a sequel to the original. You’re going to have a great time, but you’ll always have the first movie in the back of your mind to remind you it’s a sequel.

Release Date: May 1, 2015
Rated PG-13
Writer/Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany, James Spader.

Avengers Age of Ultron 01

There is a lot going on in Avengers: Age of Ultron. If you follow Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you know that the final remnant of Hydra has Loki’s Sceptre, been experimenting on power people (i.e. Inhumans) and building some kind of an army. The movie opens as the Avengers assemble to rid once and for all Hydra and regain the scepter.

After the battle, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) allows Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) to study the scepter. Stark discovers the scepter contains a form of high-level alien artificial intelligence. Stark and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) decide to see if they can leverage this new technology and create an army of robot “bouncers” that will protect the earth from alien invaders.

Unbeknownst to Tony, he accidently succeeds in this dream and creates Ultron (James Spader). Long story short, Ultron believes man is the earth’s greatest enemy and that the Avengers have to be destroyed first. In order to ensure success, Ultron convinces the two damaged power people, Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), to slow the Avengers down.

Avengers Age of Ultron 05That’s the big story, but it wouldn’t be a Joss Whedon movie if it didn’t have more b-story. Banner and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) have a budding romance brewing. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) has a bigger role in Age of Ultron, and we learn a little about his real life. Captain America (Chris Evans) is ready to accept the cards life has dealt him. The Vision (Paul Bettany) is born into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Joss Whedon manages to recreate the team dynamic from the first movie. He again succeeds the balancing the stories of the large cast. He’s also a master of telling a giant earth-threatening story and bring a great deal of humor to the cast. No one stages big fights than Joss Whedon. Whedon lso addressed the issues of collateral damage when a battle of titans go at it in a heavily populated city. Take that Man of Steel.

Clearly, the best part of Avengers: Age of Ultron is the villain, Ultron (James Spader). The tone of Spader’s voice is ominous, intelligent, theatrical and menacing. I doubt he’ll get an Oscar nomination for this performance, but I’m sure people will bring it up.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is a great action adventure and in its greatness still falls short of the nostalgia of the first movie.

Iron Man 3 – Movie Review

Iron Man 3 is just short of being the best Marvel Comics Movie, just behind Marvel’s the Avengers. That said, it’s one of the best movies produced by Marvel Studios and you should go out and see it now.

Review by: Alan Ng
Release Date: May 3, 2013
Official Website: marvel.com/ironman3
Director: Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Writer; Iron Man 2, Writer)

Cast:
Robert Downey Jr – Tony Stark
Gwyneth Paltrow – Virginia “Pepper” Potts
Don Cheadle – James “Rhodey” Rhodes
Guy Pearce – Aldrich Killian
Rebecca Hall – Dr. Maya Hansen
Jon Favreau – Happy Hogan
Ben Kingsley – Mandarin

Iron Man 3 takes place after the events of Marvel’s the Avengers. Tony Stark finds himself suffering from panic attacks after saving the earth from alien takeover. He is unable to sleep and is constantly working to improve his Iron Man armor. In the Avengers, we saw the 7th version of the armor. At the beginning of Iron Man 3, it’s the 42nd, which shows how obsessive he’s become about never being able to protect the one person he loves, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).

Also Tony has to live with the damage his playboy lifestyle and the people he’s used and ignored in the past. The villain is Iron Man 3 is a terrorist named the Mandarin. He’s created human bombs and is hitting targets in the United States. When Happy Hogan is his latest victim, Tony dedicates himself to avenging the attack on his friends. The threat is met with force when Tony’s Malibu Mansion is attacked.

Robert Downey Jr. is the best thing about Iron Man 3. Only an actor of his caliber could literally carry this movie. He can drop his playful one-liners, pull off panic attacks and keep us interested in the development of his character. Ben Kingsley made the perfect Mandarin. He really pulled off the terror aspect of a terrorist.

Ty Simpkins

Special attention to the kid who played Harley (Ty Simpkins). He had some unbelievable banter with Tony Stark.

I also like the tone that Shane Black brought to this movie. It was all about Tony and everything on screen touched on his weaknesses. The action scenes were amazing and the famous Air Force One rescue had my heart racing.

Iron Man 3 is a triology. Is this the end for Iron Man? Ending of Iron Man 3 is the same as other 3 movies, i.e. Dark Knight and Toy Story. The ending is something I didn’t see coming and not in a way of cliffhanger surprises, but with the emotions that you feel for Tony Stark. This third movie ties things up in the end and makes you wonder how will Tony be brought back to the Avengers.

There were a few things that stuck out at me such as the inconsistent way the bio-enhanced soldiers. I never had the sense of this is how you kill them, this is how you destroy them. They just kept coming back.

The Dr. Maya Hansen character was not well developed and I didn’t know how I should feel about her safety.

There were also points that things bordered on the extreme to extreme silliness. The fate of Pepper is what I’m thinking about here.

Overall, I loved the story. I liked the reality of Tony Stark as a person and not as an alien superhero. You will have fun and finally the ending credits are awesome. Not so much the scene at the end of the movie.