Here we see our hero at his most anxious and out of control (see his panic attacks, bedside suit scare) but also his most focused and angry (see his workshop insomnia, challenge to the Mandarin); at his most technologically dazzling and powerful (see his army of suits in a great final action scene), but also back to his most humble creative roots (“I’m The Mechanic”). This strong climactic characterization, coupled with a brilliant turn (x2) by Kingsley makes for the best film in the MCU so far.
The good outweighs the bad in this sequel: The “new” Rhodey is meh, but the rough and reserved Vanko and the annoying Hammer are each uniquely entertaining villains. A messy script fumbles its multiple plot threads (the requisite Avengers teasers don’t help), but Stark’s increasing ego and decreasing health, along with his government clashes and sinister copycats remain intriguing, if neglected. Finally, the robot-loaded climax feels weak, but the racetrack action mid-way through is great.
On one hand, Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is a rich asshole, wisecracking his way through a self-centered lifestyle. On the other, he’s a brilliant and hardworking recluse who still puts his nose to the grindstone for his company. He’s a suitably complex leading man for a film that’s otherwise quite standard (though still with some great action) and his moral transformation–while a bit simplistic–perfects him as a protagonist while still taking care to retain the charisma we’ve grown to love/hate.
An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father announces he is terminally ill. (IMDb)
Enjoyably quirky narrated character set-ups lead into a melancholic family reunion drama artistically crafted (memorable costumes and an excellent soundtrack stand out) but saturated with so much deadpan dialogue that it gets a little tiresome at points. Not all of the characters connect (Raleigh is inconsequential; Eli feels out of place) but Royal is a strong lead in his flawed quest for redemption, and Chas (see his guard let down; “I’ve had a tough year”) and Richie eventually hit home too.
Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi. (IMDb)
Starts off a bit slow and muddy (a second viewing might help) but gradually registers and increases in tension and intrigue as it goes on. The spine-tingling mystery plot is complimented by the film’s dark and rainy atmosphere captured by some really cool camerawork throughout, while the grizzled vet/rash rookie dynamic is played off well by Freeman and Pitt, adding some darkly humourous banter to the mix. Spacey, meanwhile, is a chilling villain who hypnotizes in the stunning drawn-out finale.