Happy June! It’s hot out and the theaters are nice and cool, which means there are some fun blockbuster movies to check out. Though I’m not the kind of online critic who sees the latest movies in theaters every week, I couldn’t help but catch a few that I have been looking forward to. Here are what I have seen and how they measure up. Enjoy the images of our stars sitting around:
Iron Man 3
Of all the recent superhero movies (both Marvel and DC universes taken into account) I have been most impressed by Iron Man’s story, as well as his team of Avengers. Robert Downey Jr. brings Tony Stark to life wonderfully, giving him a real personality that is perfectly flawed yet believable and sympathetic. Here, Tony as a character excels, so do his amazing Iron Man suits.
The film is a great mix of superhero action, comedy with just enough drama to feel very human under all that armor. There are some interesting new minor characters and a surprisingly funny twist in this terrorist plot. Though Tony is on a mission to stop the Mandarin, his real obstacle is himself, and this vulnerability in our hero is what makes the film work under all those special effects. This is easily the best of the Iron Man trilogy and I would welcome a fourth film.
The Great Gatsby
I might be a sucker for Baz Luhrmann’s films. Those that I have seen (Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet and now Gatsby) seem the follow similar structures, but I really don’t mind. The beginnings are each so intoxicating, luring me in with bright, enticing images and music that works no matter how illogical it is to the setting. Once I’m hooked, things head downhill in a hurry, but I’m never quite over how drunk I felt at first. Luhrmann’s movies are like partying all night and sobering into a hangover. They lift you up to euphoria, then let you sink back to suck-tastic tragic reality.
While I like and appreciate what Luhrmann is attempting in The Great Gatsby, there are a few things that don’t work for me. Tobey Maguire can easily pull off being an innocent young man but when he needs to change his character into a more jaded man, it doesn’t convey. Also, the lingering love between Gatsby and Daisy is portrayed as too optimistic. Sure, we’re rooting for Gatsby, but sadly he’s just too late and Daisy isn’t helping the situation.
I don’t think this is a great movie, but I did enjoy it, honestly. DiCaprio is perfect in portraying Gatsby and I only wished his surrounding cast could rise up to meet him. The visuals and setting, especially during the party scenes, are well accomplished and give me a grand idea of the roaring 20s that a modern 21st century person can relate to. And the music, I was skeptical when I first Jay-Z was doing it, but it works! It’s simply a translation to us young people of the 2010s to the 1920s. I loved the mash-up between Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Let’s Misbehave.
The Great Gatsby is a whirlwind of color, glitz, glamour, romance and tragedy, and on so many levels it works, but where it stumbles, it falls hard. If you let yourself go, it can be immersive and entertaining.
Star Trek – Into Darkness
I didn’t grow up on Star Trek, I was fully committed to Star Wars. Trek was just too nerdy, so I thought. I didn’t see a Star Trek movie until the reboot in 2009, and though I wasn’t moved to fandom, I have to say that I enjoyed it.
Admittedly, Into Darkness probably made a lot of great jokes and connections that Star Trek fans loved, that I didn’t get (at least that’s what the random fits of laughter in my theater told me). I quite enjoy Spok and his logic to no end, Kirk with his red-blooded heroism and Scotty for being great comic relief with just enough support to the rest of the cast/crew. The villain, a big Star Trek name, fell flat to me. Yeah, he’s menacing but I didn’t find myself caring much.
However, Star Trek is fun. It’s a film for all, welcoming to those who are not Star Trek fans, just movie fans. And that gives me confidence that J.J. Abrams will be good to Star Wars later. There’s plenty of action, big spacey explosions, fights and suspenseful beam-up moments. Most of all, I never realized just how big The Enterprise is, because everyone is running all over that big-ass ship. That must be how everyone on board stays in such great shape. Seriously, there are so many shots of Kirk and the gang running down hallways.