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Countdown to ENDGAME | Iron Man 3


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ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | The Incredible Hulk| Iron Man II Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3|Thor: The Dark World |Captain America: The Winter Soldier |Guardians of the Galaxy  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 |Avengers: Age of Ultron |Ant-Man |Captain America: Civil War |Doctor Strange | Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther | Avengers: Infinity War | Ant-Man and the Wasp 

IRON MAN 3

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 is one of my favorite Christmas movies. Did you forget it takes place over the holiday? It is also smart and fun and directly deals with fallout from Avengers. Though there are many for whom the big reveal of the identity of the Mandarin did not land, it absolutely worked overtime for me. Almost every choice made in Iron Man 3 works. It is a much superior sequel to Iron Man 2. 

It is surprisingly funny and it might be Robert Downey jr’s best performance in the role of Tony Stark which is surely saying something. The movie’s main antagonist, Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian, is a slight improvement over the typical villain. And the chemistry between Downey and Gwyneth Paltrow along with the dynamic between Downey and Don Cheadle is terrific, too.

Iron Man 3 is a very much self contained affair. There is very little world building here and the majority of the plot threads it introduces are not really revisited again. It also takes on some of the most “grown up” themes of any of the Marvel films.

And the initial segment of the closing credits – the Hart to Hart homage, the driving and super-duper theme song by Brian Tyler and the images from all 3 Iron Many movies – is too much fun.

Iron Man 3 plays like the final installment in Iron Man’s solo adventures, and so it has been.

Iron Man 3 premiered before I was blogging reviews, but it receives FOUR AND A HALF DORA THE EXPLORER WATCHES out of a possible FIVE.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • The Mandarin
  • Tony’s army of Iron Man suits (which are, of course, destroyed in the context of the movie)

CONNECTION(S) TO ENDGAME:

  • The kind of artificial intelligence that is seen in the new suits sets up a plot point of Avengers: Age of Ultron which will lead to Captain America: Civil War which will… you get the point.
  • Stay for the post credit scene which continues the development of the so-called “science bros” rapport between Tony and Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner.
  • We know that Tony puts his armor back on before Avengers: Age of Ultron, but the audience is never actually told why or how.

AVENGERS | ENDGAME IS COMING

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Countdown to ENDGAME | The Incredible Hulk


Related Content from And There Came A Day


ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | THE INCREDIBLE HULK | Iron Man 2 |Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange | Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther | Avengers: Infinity War | Ant-Man and the Wasp 

Three: THE INCREDIBLE HULK

Hulk

I really liked Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. He fit the part incredibly (pun intended) well and he makes both the character’s angst and heroism believable. He is, however, no Mark Ruffalo and it is a bit disappointing to not have Ruffalo in the film as he has so completely come to inhabit the character.

Disappointing is, in fact, the right word here. The Incredible Hulk is not a great Marvel Movie (when you’re approaching 20 movies, you get to be your own genre right?) and, as a follow up to Iron Man, it misses the mark and squanders a bunch of good will. Perhaps this is why there are SO MANY plot lines from the movie that remain unresolved: Samuel Sterns’ gamma dosing, whatever happened to the Abomination or Betty Ross or Leonard Sampson and how did General Ross recover from this disaster to become Secretary of Defense? We will, likely, never know…

This is a sub-par film with some good performances (does anyone remember that Ty Burrell of Modern Family is in a major role here?). It pushes the Marvel narrative forward a bit but it is mostly a misfire. And the CGI is remarkably poor.

As it came out before I began blogging, I do not have a full review, but The Incredible Hulk receives THREE BOTTLES OF BRAZILIAN SODA out of a possible FIVE. 


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Bruce Banner/Hulk
  • Betty Ross
  • Leonard Sampson
  • General “Thunderbolt” Ross
  • Gamma Radiation

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • Most of the movie is forgotten by Marvel (see above comments on dangling plot threads), but General Ross goes on to become the Secretary of Defense in Captain America: Civil War, which is this movie’s most critical connection to the Marvel Movie Universe.
  • In Civil War, Ross mentions the Hulk and the destruction of Harlem.
  • The idea that Bruce Banner is trying to be free of the Hulk is as important here as it is in the Avengers movies.
  • When Betty and Bruce think about engaging in romantic activities, Bruce stops them because “I can’t get too excited.” Thematically, this foreshadows the problems he will see with an engagement with The Black Widow.
  • Tony Stark discusses putting together “a team” with a broken and defeated General Ross in what should have been the traditional stinger scene, but one that actually takes place before the credits. This is the ONLY movie on this list without at least one mid or post-credit scene.

Avengers Endgame is coming…

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91st Academy Awards Prediction – Best Actor in a Supporting Role

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE



NOMINEES

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

Sam Elliott, A Star is Born

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? 

Sam Rockwell, Vice

WHO I WOULD LIKE TO SEE WIN

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

I have struggled understanding the backlash that Green Book  has generated since its release. I really enjoyed the film and felt that the performances – especially Ali’s as Dr. Don Shirley, were excellent and genuine. While I understand the bad press is likely to hinder the movie’s chances with the bigger awards of Picture and Director, Ali is very deserving here and I suspect he will walk away with a deserved second Oscar. 

WHO WILL WIN

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Ali is having an extended moment right now and I think this award is his on Oscar night.

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Well, I Keep on Thinking ‘Bout You


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Sister Golden Hair (Trust Me)

Well I tried to make it Sunday, but I got so damn depressed
That I set my sights on Monday and I got myself undressed
I ain’t ready for the altar but I do agree there’s times
When a woman sure can be a friend of mine.

Well, I keep on thinkin’ ’bout you, sister golden hair surprise
And I just can’t live without you, can’t you see it in my eyes?
I been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find
But it doesn’t mean you ain’t been on my mind.

Will you meet me in the middle, will you meet me in the air?
Will you love me just a little, just enough to show you care?
Well I tried to fake it, I don’t mind sayin’, I just can’t make it

Well, I keep on thinkin’ ’bout you, sister golden hair surprise
And I just can’t live without you, can’t you see it in my eyes?
Now I been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find
But it doesn’t mean you ain’t been on my mind

Will you meet me in the middle, will you meet me in the air?
Will you love me just a little, just enough to show you care?
Well I tried to fake it, I don’t mind sayin’, I just can’t make it

I have the best Valentine in the world.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: February 28 – March 6, 2018


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

Untitled

 The best comic I read last week was The Terrifics #1

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Ivan Reis

I love the way Ivan Reis draws a comic book. His style – somehow a cross between Jose Luis Garcia Lopez and Kevin Maguire – is so well suited to DC Comics in general and team books in particular. He is a perfect choice for The Terrifics. My concern is whether or not he can keep up with the book. All too often, he is announced as the penciler for a book and then drops off it all too quickly. I sure hope he stays with this one.

The Terrifics has been described as DC’s answer to the Fantastic Four and, since Marvel is not currently publishing a Fantastic Four title, I am more than happy to have a book that seems like it. However, I am not sure that this one really is a stand-in for the FF. As written by Jeff Lemire, it seems much more its own thing than a Fantastic Four homage or retread.

And that is very good.

This book features a great cast and sets up a fine quest for them. Lemire nails characterization of long-time DC characters like Metamorpho and Plastic Man right out of the gate and gives readers a version of Mr. Terrific that is spot on as well.

This is a promising beginning. Here is hoping the book (and Reis) continue in this vein for a long time!

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Lady Bird – A Movie Review


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Lady BirdSaoirse Ronan is utterly delightful in writer/director Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, an offbeat story about a high school student on the edge of becoming her own person, the mother who cannot quite express what she is feeling and the events in life that push us one way and pull us another. Lady Bird speaks truth about more than a few universal experiences: going to high school, determining one’s identity and leaving home to name a few and does so in an often humorous, always loving fashion. It is very hard not to smile throughout the proceedings as Gerwig has structured a movie to assure us that each one of us will turn out okay in the end.

The Oscar nominated Saoirse Ronan is captivating as the alternately awkward, alternately confident, ever engaging title character. In her first scene in the movie, Lady Bird tells the audience that she has chosen for herself her own name and, with it we understand, she has put herself on a quest for claiming her identity. Watching her do so is a joyous experience. Something tells us, throughout the picture, that Lady Bird is going to be just fine. 

Perhaps it is the love of her mother, Oscar nominated Laurie Metcalf in a terrific role, that reassures us. The interplay between Ronan and Metcalf is so good and so real that one might like them to play all the mother/daughter roles in the future. Metcalf’s is not a swing-for-the-fences, over-the-top performance. Her Marion is a character constructed from quiet moments, side long expressions, heartfelt pauses. It is as though Marion exists in between each scene and Metcalf is veteran enough – and confident enough – to get out of the way and let Ronan shine… not unlike a mother might for her daughter.

The movie hinges on the mother/daughter dynamic, to be sure, but Lady Bird explores love and support through any number of different avenues in the film. She has boyfriends, best friends, BEST friends, teachers and counselors and God. Each-and-every relationship in which she partakes feels genuine and real and the movie itself, for all the attempted histrionics of its main character, is firmly set in reality. It is comfortable and it is charming.

Lady Bird treats its audience as if it is smart enough to work things out on its own (like Miguel had to be adopted, right, and Lady Bird was a surprise to her parents – that much one can glimpse in a note). This is one of its strongest attributes. Though Gerwig’s message of acceptance and love comes clearly through, the movie does not spoon feed the audience, explaining Lady Bird’s every choice (and she makes some crazy choices) or every turn the movie. Rather the story plays out vignette by vignette and the tapestry of each of them is woven together all but seamless. It is an impressive directorial feat and Gerwig is a terrific Best Director nominee.

As affirming of life and love as almost any movie I have seen this year, Lady Bird distinguishes itself from almost any other movie set in high school of which I can think by unapologetically embracing the ideas that family is good, that there is a God, that life does not have it out for you, and that to be young does not mean one has to be painfully and self-consciously ironic. It celebrates the confusion, messiness and joy of a life lived to the fullest and we need more movies like it.

LADY BIRD receives FOUR AND A HALF UNCONSECRATED COMMUNION WAFERS CASTS out of a possible FIVE.

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Countdown to INFINITY… The Incredible Hulk


Related Content from And There Came A Day


ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | THE INCREDIBLE HULK | Iron Man 2 |Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy \ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange |            Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther

Week Three: THE INCREDIBLE HULK

Hulk

I really liked Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. He fit the part incredibly (pun intended) well and he makes both the character’s angst and heroism believable. He is, however, no Mark Ruffalo and it is a bit disappointing to not have Ruffalo in the film as he has so completely come to inhabit the character.

Disappointing is, in fact, the right word here. The Incredible Hulk is not a great Marvel Movie (when you’re approaching 20 movies, you get to be your own genre right?) and, as a follow up to Iron Man, it misses the mark and squanders a bunch of good will. Perhaps this is why there are SO MANY plot lines from the movie that remain unresolved: Samuel Sterns’ gamma dosing, whatever happened to the Abomination or Betty Ross or Leonard Sampson and how did General Ross recover from this disaster to become Secretary of Defense? We will, likely, never know…

This is a sub-par film with some good performances (does anyone remember that Ty Burrell of Modern Family is in a major role here?). It pushes the Marvel narrative forward a bit but it is mostly a misfire. And the CGI is remarkably poor.

As it came out before I began blogging, I do not have a full review, but The Incredible Hulk receives THREE BOTTLES OF BRAZILIAN SODA out of a possible FIVE. 

Entertainment Weekly is also counting down to Avengers: Infinity War. Here is their take on The Incredible Hulk.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Bruce Banner/Hulk
  • Betty Ross
  • Leonard Sampson
  • General “Thunderbolt” Ross
  • Gamma Radiation

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • Most of the movie is forgotten by Marvel (see above comments on dangling plot threads), but General Ross goes on to become the Secretary of Defense in Captain America: Civil War, which is this movie’s most critical connection to the Marvel Movie Universe.
  • In Civil War, Ross mentions the Hulk and the destruction of Harlem.
  • The idea that Bruce Banner is trying to be free of the Hulk is as important here as it is in the Avengers movies.
  • When Betty and Bruce think about engaging in romantic activities, Bruce stops them because “I can’t get too excited.” Thematically, this foreshadows the problems he will see with an engagement with The Black Widow.
  • Tony Stark discusses putting together “a team” with a broken and defeated General Ross in what should have been the traditional stinger scene, but one that actually takes place before the credits. This is the ONLY movie on this list without at least one mid or post-credit scene.

Avengers Infinity War is coming…

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