Top talks of 2013 (Part 1)

As I return to reality following TEDActive 2014, I keep thinking about the TED and TEDx talks I’ve seen over the last year, and which ones stuck with me the most.

It feels like an appropriate time to reflect.

Below I’ve included my favourite TEDx talks (that I have seen) from 2013. Some of them I saw after the year was over, and others I saw as soon as they were released or during a simulcast, but what they all have in common is that they connected with me on some level.

I wrote a bit about Amanda Palmer in my TEDActive 2014 recap, where I mentioned that the first time I really started to appreciate her as an artist and a human being was when I first viewed this talk last year. I am one of those people who has always had trouble asking for anything, especially for any kind of help.

Amanda also reminds me very much of my TEDxVictoria co-founder and partner-in-crime CL. Their larger-than-life personalities really seem similar…

I wonder if CL can play the ukulele?

This talk blew open my world the way that Sir Ken Robinson’s did when I was first introduced to TED. Here was someone perfectly articulating the issues that charitable organizations and nonprofit organizations deal with every day, and explaining just why that is the wrong way to approach it. Every person I know who works in that sector — which also happens to be most people I know, since Victoria is filled to the brim with cool people who volunteer for things — we all watched this talk. Here was a man who really understood. I am so happy to see that this talk is making waves now, since it really is an idea worth spreading.

This is not a TED video. It’s just insanely awesome, and if I had the budget, they would open TEDxVictoria. Who doesn’t like classical music, and who doesn’t love Thunderstruck? I mean really.

TEDxCanberra organizer Stephen just sent me this, and it is awesome. I love spoken word poetry. We actually had the Victoria Spoken Word Team during our first year of TEDxVictoria, and an international youth poet at our second year. Words have power, and in hearing them in different ways you expose yourself to other interpretations of language. Just as we could all use more art and more beauty in our lives, we could all use more poetry as well.

Design can help fight poverty. I don’t even know what else to add, except to say that this talk was incredibly inspiring. This is a great example of people changing the ways through innovation on a small scale that can have large-scale impact.

Okay, so this is one of ours. Kathryn Calder’s talk/performance was one of the standouts from TEDxVictoria 2013 because of how deeply it connected with me. Kathryn’s story is just so compelling by itself, and the incredible music she has created because of it is truly inspirational.

Having her on stage at TEDxVictoria 2013, the third musican in a row that I merely asked to be involved – and the third musician in a row to say “yes” immediately – this was a career highlight for me. I’m looking forward to seeing her film, A Matter of Time, when it is completed sometime this year.

But wait! There’s more…

I polled my fellow TEDx organizers earlier this week to find out which talks were their favourites from their own respective events. They are so good! I’m looking forward to watching them, since I now have an enormous backlog of TEDx talks to go through.

I’ll be adding to this list soon.

Review Roundup for 2013

Review: 12 Years a Slave

The last time I felt this awful watching a film was The Passion of the Christ back in 2004.

There will be a lot of discussion over whether or not 12 Years a Slave is the best film of 2012, and it’s well-deserved. Steve McQueen’s (no, not that Steve McQueen) adaptation of Solomon Northup’s acclaimed book is the most relentlessly emotionally intense film in years. The cinematography, script, acting, score — all of it is top-notch, award-quality work. I highly expect it to win at least a half dozen Oscars, probably for Best Picture, Best Actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor’s depiction of a man surviving horror at all costs, and Best Supporting Actor for Michael Fassbender’s career-defining work at the very least. While the film is worthy of nominations for its score, direction, and the cinematography, there is just no way it will beat out Gravity for those.

12 Years a Slave should be viewed by every child in grade school growing up. It is an essential insight into the reason why slavery is wrong, containing the horror that 2012′s Lincoln missed but spent the entire movie trying to abolish.

4.75/5 – harrowing and brutal, but a part of our shared history

 

Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

When you first watched the trailer’s for Ben Stiller’s latest directorial effort, you were likely sucked in by the fantastic indie rock music soundtrack and the promise of a personal journey one man makes to really find himself.

The film almost lives up to that promise.

That The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has a fantastic soundtrack should come as no …surprise. It’s filled with fantastic tracks by Arcade Fire, Of Monsters and Men, Junip, and José González. The cinematography is also stunning. The acting is even pretty great (at least, for Ben Stiller).

What the movie really lacks is depth. When the credits roll and you see that the film is based on a short story, that’s when you realize what doesn’t entirely work about the film — Stiller’s Mitty does go through a profound transformation through the film, and it’s just …abrupt. The entire film takes place over the course of just two weeks, making the transformation of his character less plausible than it needs, and his switch from a man who daydreams about having a life to a man who is too busy living to daydream takes virtually no time at all.

Anyone who has traveled has gone through that transformation at least in part, and when you get back home you’ve changed. But it takes some time — it’s not something that usually happens in just one or two weeks of vacation or sabbatical time. It takes time.

So what’s missing? The details are missing. Yes, going to Iceland and Greenland and witnessing a volcanic eruption and jumping out of a helicopter would be big, poignant moments in anyone’s life. But it’s the small moments when you stop to smell the roses, when you have the time to be introspective and have an epiphany, when you’ve hiked to the top of a mountain over two days just to watch the sunrise over a certain valley… that’s what’s missing. The moments that build character and change you aren’t there.

Ben Stiller is pretty solid as Mitty, but not quite at his best. There is even a moment or two that will make you think more of Zoolander than the film you’re watching. If a deeper actor with more range had the role of Mitty, it could have carried the film further.

Kristen Wiig is great in her limited role. Shirley MacLaine and Kathryn Hahn, as Witty’s mother and sister, are both fun but not particularly memorable. And Patton Oswalt, spending much of the time as a disembodied voice, is pretty fantastic in his limited role as well. Sean Penn gets to steal the crap out of the scenes he’s in, but his screen time is far too limited. In fact, if Penn was the lead, the film might have been a lot better.

The greatest failure of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is that it could have been so much more. As it is, I really enjoyed it. But it could have been a contender for Best Picture, and instead is just an above average feel good movie.

3.75/5 – good but could have been great

 

Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

It’s really hard to review this film because more than any other of Peter Jackson’s adaptations of Tolkien’s works, this film has had a lot of liberties taken with its story. Your feelings about whether or not these changes are good or justified will weigh heavily on your feelings about the movie.

At this point, 5 films into Jackson’s interpretation of Middle Earth, I’m becoming a lot more critical of the films. Part of the issue is that we’re watching a 3-part Hobbit trilogy after The Lord of the Rings trilogy — The Hobbit is not a long book, and it’s a children’s bedtime story. The Lord of the Rings is a mature epic. Putting the epic before the children’s story is just not the right way to go, and because we already know how it ends, the urgency and immediacy of the story in The Hobbit is suffering because of it. It’s like knowing the ending before you see it.

That aside, The Desolation of Smaug is better than An Unexpected Journey, but worse than any of the previous Lord of the Rings films. The new characters and over-the-top long action sequences are top notch but, at times, kind of boring.

But you know what? Smaug saves this film. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Smaug is the reason to see the film. Smaug is absolutely magnificent, gloriously realized, and wonderfully performed and animated. Worth the price of admission by itself.

Hopefully when There and Back Again comes out in December 2014 the trilogy comes together in a way that justifies the incredible amount of added scenes, subplots and characters. But even if it doesn’t, there is something great about getting to journey to Middle Earth each Christmas.

3.5/5 – could go up or down depending on the third film.

 

Review: Frozen

Disney hasn’t put out a really good film in years. Of course, that’s one of the reasons they have Pixar — but they can’t shoulder the burden of being brilliant and releasing animated films every year onto their one small(ish) studio, so they have to get off their asses to make their own films sometimes. And each time they do, what usually comes to mind is “this is not as good as [insert Pixar film name here]“

Frozen is the best Disney film since Beauty and the Beast. I hesitate to say that it is “as good as” since Beauty and the Beast isn’t just an Oscar-nominated animated film (for Best Picture no less), but was also filled with truly iconic and memorable songs. Aside from the apparently-popular “Let it Go”, Frozen‘s soundtrack just isn’t that strong. But it makes up for it by having the best protagonists in the last 20 or so years.

Both the main leads are (gasp!) women! And they aren’t just there to fall-in-love-with/talk-about/pine-over men! Finally! They’re also competent, interesting, and dynamic characters. Heck, they even break some of the traditional Disney tropes: the movie does not end with a wedding! It’s not just about the love between a couple!

Sure, they still kill off the parents early on (because every good story is about Orphans, otherwise they would have people to love/support them), and the princesses are still that tall/thin/model body type (with of course, all the non-royalty being physically less attractive), but other than that they’ve made a strong step forwards in terms of storytelling. Hopefully this is the start of a trend, and along with films like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, can prove that films with female leads can be successful.

4/5 – strong female characters = win.

 

Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I was not excited to see The Hunger Games when it came out. I didn’t read the book. The film itself was simply above average. But it did have an interesting premise, and Jennifer Lawrence was pretty decent in it. It was an enjoyable slightly-above-average film.

That did not prepare me for Catching Fire, which surpasses The Hunger Games in every conceivable way, and is the first film since The Empire Strikes Back to truly outshine its predecessor. The acting is much, much better. The stakes are higher. The emotional journey is more intense. The characters grow by leaps and bounds from the previous film. The cinematography… the score… simply everything is better. All the new characters are interesting and exciting, each getting their own scenes to steal, even Jena Malone, who I generally hate in films.

Catching Fire deserves the praise it gets, and for the first time I am actually excited about where the franchise is going — and thankful that the director, Francis Lawrence, is signed on to direct the last two films as well. Here’s hoping it manages to keep up the fantastic work.

4.5/5 – a fantastic film.

 

Review: Gravity

If you missed Gravity in cinemas, don’t watch it on video — wait for it to play at an IMAX or for it to come back to some kind of 3D screening. The visual element of watching the film truly is that important, because more than any film I’ve seen in the last decade, Gravity is an experience.

Alfonso Curaon’s opus is the most cinematically revolutionary and daring film to come out in the last decade. He has re-written the rules in terms of what can be done visually, and created one  of the most exciting, stressful, visceral thrillers in the process.

Gravity is Sandra Bullock’s film. I think there is a 99% chance she will win her second (and much more deserved) Best Actress Oscar for this film. She’s supported by the always charming George Clooney and the calming disembodied voice of Ed Harris.

But the visuals are the real character of this film. It’s hard to even find the words to describe how stunning of an achievement in cinematography this film is. If Gravity doesn’t win every single technical award at the Oscars this year along with Best Director and Best Actress, then consipracies are real and these geniuses have been robbed, because we’ll be looking back at this film 50 years from now with the same reverence as films like Citizen Kane and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

4.75/5 – losing points only for the fact that you have to see it on the biggest 3D screen possible to truly experience it.

 

Not quite worth full reviews:

Elysium – extremely disappointing post-District 9. Crafted superbly. Acted poorly. Not a great plot. Insane action. Sharlto Copley can do anything. 2.75/5
Despicable Me 2 – Solid sequel. Has equal parts moments of brilliance/moments that are utterly forgetful. 3/5
Fast & Furious 6 – I’m not sure how it is that this series is getting better from one film to the next, but if they keep making films like Fast 5 and now Fast 6, I’ll keep watching them. Awesomely entertaining in the most mindless way possible — and one of few action films to actually pass the Bechdel Test. Looking forward to Fast 7, especially with the antagonist introduced at the end of the film. Hopefully it can be salvaged after Paul Walker’s death. 4/5
Kick-Ass 2 – Aside from one scene where Chloe Moretz dominates her schoolmates with her awesomeness, this movie was a bad/boring/forgettable sequel. 2.5/5
Lone Survivor – Solid action/adventure film from Peter Berg, who directs solid-but-not-great action/adventure films. Great cast. Based on a true story. 3.5/5
Olympus Has Fallen - Better than the above film, if only because Antoine Fuqua is much better at filming action than Roland Emmerich. Not good enough for a sequel, but hey! It’s getting one anyways. 2.5/5
Saving Mr. Banks - Disney cliches. Tom Hank’s being Tom Hanks can’t even save this movie. If it weren’t for Emma Thompson the film wouldn’t have been watchable at all. I can’t help but feel that all the actors were obligated to be in this film. It’s just so… Disney propaganda. I’d rather just watch Mary Poppins again. 2.5/5
The Lone Ranger – Just… bad. I wanted to like this but it was just mindless and forgettable. 2/5
Escape Plan - if you watched this, it was because it has Arnie and Stallone in it. They couldn’t carry the film, it’s just bad. But it’s fun to watch. 2.75/5
The Wolverine – Hugh Jackman finally nailed it and perfectly performed James “Logan” Howlett on screen. Great movie that has a poor third act. The Director’s Cut is far superior. 4/5
Thor: The Dark World - a fun continuation of the character, and better than the first. Still — you’ll never see an award-caliber performance from this series. Entertaining. Chris Hemsworth is still a pretty, beefy man. Natalie Portman is still a hot and strangely petite woman. And Tom Hiddleston is still the best actor to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, equaled only by Robert Downey Jr. 3/5
We’re the Millers – Funnier than it should have been. Less memorable than it should have been as well. 2.5/5
White House Down - Great lead actors (Tatum/Foxx). Good chemistry. Too cheesy. Over-the-top pro-USA film. 2/5

 

Films on my “to watch” list still:

American Hustle – The cast is fantastic, the director fantastic, it’s nominated for lots of stuff.
Captain Phillips – Tom Hanks pretty much always delivers, and I’ve heard great things.
Dallas Buyers Club – Gotta see what the fuss is about Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto here.
Ender’s Game – gotta see if the adaptation of one of the best sci-fi novels of all time is any good.
Her – Keep hearing that this film is sheer brilliance. Excited to see it.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – Idris Elba is the man.
Prisoners – Jackman, Gyllenhaal, and director Denis Villeneuve. Stoked to see it.
Rush – Ron Howard is one of the most talented living filmmakers. Of course, I’m still annoyed he’s making films not called “The Dark Tower”…
The Wolf of Wall Street – I’ll get around to this. Scorcese never fails to impress.

TEDxVictoria 2013: Emergence - Photo by Keri Coles

TEDxVictoria 3

I write this 48 hours after TEDxVictoria 2013: Emergence took place at the McPherson Playhouse. I am tired. Very, very tired — exhausted even.

When I woke up this morning at 7AM — the first time I slept 7 hours straight in I-don’t-know-how-long — I opened my eyes with purpose, took a moment, and remembered that the event I’d spent the last 11 months working towards had already happened. I no longer had a reason to get out of bed.

I have slain my dragon. My quest is complete.

I’m not depressed or anything; It’s just that each TEDxVictoria has taken its toll on me, and this year as the Creative Director it took a much grander toll than either of the previous events. I put in more hours (thousands instead of hundreds), had more meetings, took fewer breaks, had more fun, and just got more involved than I ever did before.

I took on a leadership role in TEDxVictoria 2013 like I hadn’t in 2012 or 2011. This time, instead of having a trio of leaders making the executive decisions on how to run the event, it was just me at the top. And it was tiring. If I learned one single, most-valuable, most intrinsically important fact working on TEDxVictoria, it is this:

You can’t do it all.

Now, I’m not saying I tried to do everything (I didn’t), nor that I did everything (I certainly didn’t). But I pushed myself to do more than I ever had before, and in a way, I was living these past 11 months in the area that Adam Kreek described as being between your comfort zone and your absolute limit.

I needed to ask for more help sooner, but I have a tendency to push myself and push myself and push myself. At this point in my life I can say that I am not yet comfortable with failure (despite being well acquainted with it because hey, me and failure are old friends), and the ambitions I had for what I wanted to accomplish with TEDxVictoria 2013 at times actually frightened me. I feel like this year’s event, much more so than past years, was a reflection of my vision and what I wanted to accomplish, so I was much more personally invested in how everything went.

I was high strung from the moment we started releasing information to the public and tickets went on sale.

But then during the speaker rehearsal and coaching process, after I watched the first version of Adam Kreek’s TEDxVictoria 2013 talk “I Seek Failure”, I became comfortable with my doubts and the possibility that the event might fail. After all, it would only make me stronger, wouldn’t it? I’d be like Batman or something. And Batman is awesome.

Luckily, TEDxVictoria wasn’t just a success, it was an achievement beyond even my high expectations, and I owe it all to the amazing team of brilliant human beings I was working with.

Event day

I didn’t sleep particularly well the evening before the event. After meeting all of our speakers for dinner at Relish Food and Coffee, I went home to fret over last-minute details. I had been aiming to have it so that everything that I was personally doing to make the event happen would be complete before event day so that I could relax and enjoy the show.

Of course that didn’t happen.

If you’re an event organizer you’ll already know this, but if you’re in charge of a large scale event there is no such thing as relaxing. You just can’t not be involved. You’re helping out anywhere you can see a need, and you’re right in there with the other volunteers making sure that everything goes off without a hitch.

This is where having an incredible team comes in. They killed it. I don’t know how the public saw the event, but from where I was sitting (about 3 rows back in the middle of the theatre) everything went perfectly. I hope that in 2014 we can afford to actually pay our production staff with money and not just hugs, because these people are more than willing to volunteer their incredible production skills to making magic on stage — and their professionalism and skill is what makes everything flow so smoothly.

Depending on who you ask, different talks will be their absolute favourites. As the lead event organizer I can say that it is very hard for me to pick out which talks I enjoyed the most. That said, some of my favourite moments of the day were:

  • Jim Townley asking the audience if they drank coffee, if they’ve made friends over coffee, or if they know anyone who drinks coffee. It set the right tone for the day right from the get-go, and he delivered it perfectly.
  • Alan Cassel’s self-deprecating sense of humour. Alan never ceases to be both brilliant and hilarious, and his bucket tub was no exception.
  • Adam Kreek calling the other enormous men on his boat “snugglebears”
  • Rebecca Marino’s humbleness and honesty. I don’t know anyone else who has retired at 22, but I’m kind of jealous.
  • Holy crap, Cameron Fraser can move. I can’t remember a physical artistic performance moving me before quite like his did, and I can’t even put my finger on why. Was it the music? I don’t know.
  • Tiffany Poirier is the teacher every single one of us wishes we had. Wow. And kids ask some big questions!
  • Bob McDonald smashing his own face with the earth. It was hilarious during rehearsal, and equally as funny a second time.
  • Mary-Wynne Ashford getting 800 people to sing together. It was a powerful moment.
  • That moment when Ian MacKenzie took off his Guy Fawkes mask and you heard some audiences members whistle.
  • Watching Kathryn Calder’s performance from the side of the stage was so emotional it was actually tough to get through. I can only imagine how it sounded for the audience.

There were many more moments for me. These are just the ones that stand out to me right this second.

What now?

We do it again.

But we don’t start yet. We have a checklist of things to finish to truly wrap up TEDxVictoria 2013 before we can begin putting together the pieces for 2014. Some of our amazing team may want to move on, while others may want to do more (or less). We also have many bills to pay and people to thank for their efforts — it took 84 volunteers, 20 sponsors, 15 speakers, 3 performances, and 11 months to make this event.

I still feel that the best is yet to come.

Thanks to everyone below for their amazing contributions that made this event happen.

Volunteer list:

Adam Price, Adam Quiney, Alison Root, Amy Willson, Andrea Hayes, Ari Hershberg, Brandon Gains, Breanna Carey, Brett Reid, Caitlin Tally, Carol-Lynne Michaels, Casey Bennett, Catherine Bridge, Charlotte Wood, Charmaine Niebergall, Chris Marks, Christian Lesemann, Christina Barnes, Christine Williams, Christopher Bowers, Colleen McCormick, Connor McCleary, Danielle Pope, Darragh Grove-White, Darren Laberee, David Malysheff, Davin Greenwell, Denise Brown, Emily Shebib, Eric Buchanan, Eric Watchorn, Genevieve Von Petzinger, Gina Bethell, Grady Lawlor, Gregory Johnson, Heather Daynard, Holly Vivian, Janine Wolfe, Jason Dyck, Jenny Chan, John Mardlin, Jordan Gordon, Juliana Niebergall, Katherine Filteau, Katie Ganassin, Keri Coles, Kim Nagle, Kim Perkins, Kirsten Øvstaas, Kyle Gilmar, Lane Schneider, Laura Brougham, Laurel Lindsay, Liam Johnson, Lisa Preston, Marg Rose, Maria Schmidt, Matthew C Davidson, Mayor Dean Fortin, Mick Miller, Mike Roma, Molly Heaney-Corns, Nathan Bengey, Nicole Olszewski, Norman Lee, Reine Jensen, Ross Copeland, Sara Wu, Saraugh Wright, Shawn Newby, Shay Boechler, Sheril Mathews, Sherri Andrews, Spencer Bialek, Stephen Thomas, Steven Saunders, Susy Rudkin, Terri Heal, Vanessa Pattison, and Yasmin Yassin.

Our speakers and performers:

Adam Kreek, Alan Cassels, Angela Moran, Bob McDonald, Cameron Fraser, Dave Morris, Ian Mackenzie, Jim Townley, Jose Barrios, Kathryn Calder, Lee-Anne Davies, Marnie Setka-Moonie and the St. Mary’s Childrens Choir, Mary-Wynne Ashford, Mike Vardy, Missie Peters, Rebecca Marino, Sarah Hunt, Tiffany Poirier, Tom Rippon, and Nathan Docksteader (aka Natron).

Title Sponsor

Royal Roads University

Gold Sponsors

Investors Group, Slegg Lumber, Rifflandia Music Festival, and The Zone @ 91.3FM.

In-kind sponsors

Gabriel Ross, Harbour Air Seaplanes, Langham Court Theatre, The Oswego Victoria, Pizzeria Prima Strada, Social Innovators Network, Social Media Camp, Tectoria, The Lavin Speakers Bureau, Tom Lee Music, Total Delivery Systems, VICFest, Victoria Event Center, Wannawafel, Yelp Vancouver, and each of the 50 people who purchased a contributor ticket to the event.

Stage Design Sponsors

André & Associates – Interpretation and Design Ltd., Ross Taylor at Gabriel Ross, Joey MacDonald at InterArts Centre, Kyle Gilmar at Cue42 Productions, Langham Court Theatre, Rande Cook, and Slegg Lumber.

Review: Pacific Rim

Setting proper expectations

Something that always irks me are the negative reviews some movies don’t deserve, and I place the blame 100% on the marketing campaign for those films. In the last couple years, we’ve had a number of decent/good movies die horrible, horrible deaths because they were marketed poorly (or not at all). These movies aren’t actually bad movies, and I believe that they could easily have found audiences if they were marketed properly.

An awkward trailer will do more damage for a film than help. Trailers usually try to highlight all the best parts of a movie, so if the trailer looks bad, then the movie is probably doomed before it ever opens. Do any of you remember the advertising campaign for John Carter? Horrible, right? The previews made the movie look awful: the tone was strangely morose, the action made no sense with the context (why is this guy jumping so high?), and by taking “of Mars” out of the title of the film, what Disney was trying to sell was a movie about a character who, quite frankly, nobody knows. Here’s the trailer, for reference:

Does that preview interest you? Think about the music in that trailer — why, if you’re making a movie that is very much like Star Wars, would you use music that sounds like the music from the first Gears of War video game advertisement?

I think that the Sad Music With Intense Action trailer fad is doing more harm to advertisements than the Inception Gong. The Inception Gong at least adds to the intensity of what you’re watching and establishes a quick pace for the preview. It’s thrilling, it has action, etc, wheras with the Sad Music With Intense Action previews they’re really just trying to cheat an emotional response out of you, and since there is no context it is, at most, superficial. It’s making for bad previews which I think kills the interest in a film. When John Carter was being marketed, even though I could tell that they were failing hard to market the film I still became disinterested in seeing it. I could actually tell that the marketing department at Disney was screwing up the release of this very expensive film, so I can only imagine that potential viewers who aren’t as media literate as I am genuinely thought it looked like a stupid movie.

John Carter is not a bad movie. It’s a very ambitious sci-fi epic in the vein of Star Wars that falls flat at times but is ultimately a fun film to watch, and if they properly marketed that to people, it might not have been the utter disaster that it was.

 

Why am I talking about this?

I went to see Pacific Rim on an IMAX3D screen this past Friday, and the film is sheer joy. It is the most fun I’ve had at the movies in years. And here it is, making less money its opening weekend than Grown Ups 2, a film with a 7% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 20 on MetacriticPacific Rim, on the other hand, has a 65 on Metacritic from critics and a 7.4 from fans and 71% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Better films and higher ratings, however, do not translate to box office success.

This is a bit upsetting, because one of these films is by an enormously talented director who spent years crafting the film out of pure love for genre films, and the other has someone getting urinated on by an animal for cheap laughs.

That said, different strokes for different folks, and there is plenty of room in this world for both films to find success, and I think once word of mouth starts to get around about Pacific Rim, it will start to earn more and more money at the box office. Inception opened to $21,000,000 on its first weekend and went on to make $300,000,000 domestically, so Pacific Rim still has a chance if it finds an audience.

But is that audience you?

 

Kaiju (怪獣 kaijū) Monster  |  Jaeger (Jäger [ˈjɛːɡɐ]) Hunter

Pacific Rim tells you everything you need to know about its universe in the opening sequence. While the characters, world, and style of the film are truly unique, they’re hardly original: the original Godzilla film, Gojira, came out in 1954, and has stood alongside King Kong as one of the great monsters of movies for more than half a century. As well, giant robots/mecha have been in fiction for even longer, with the first example probably being the Tripods in HG Wells’ War of the Worlds more than a century ago. Since then the universe of giant machines has evolved and grown, the most notable of which probably being Robotech/MacrossGundam, and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Guillermo Del Toro loves monsters. He also loves robots. Pacific Rim is Del Toro’s love letter to the genres of his youth, and when you watch Pacific Rim (ideally on an IMAX screen in 3D, because it is truly spectacular) you can tell that the people who made this film absolutely loved making it. The universe of Pacific Rim oozes detail (and just plain oozes), and every frame of the film is truly a labour of love.

Pacific Rim is the film 8-year-old you wanted to see when you sat down with your toy robots and dinosaurs and made them fight each other over epic Lego cities that never seemed to be standing at the end. It’s a film that wants you to remember what it’s like to get excited and experience simple joy in the theatre. It’s a film that connects you with your inner child.

 

I don’t recognize any of these people

The characters in Pacific Rim are all popular genre archetypes, but rather than coming off as cliche or boring, they feel real because the actors are all 100% on board with the film they are making. They aren’t attempting to set the bar for character development in film, but they’re not trying to bypass it either. The character development is actually really, really strong — something directors like Michael Bay could take note from — because you buy into these characters and you become absorbed into their struggle to save this monster-infested alternate Earth.

Every character has memorable moments, and to describe them would be to spoil it. Burn Gorman (Torchwood, Game of Thrones), Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Horrible Bosses), Idris Elba (Luthor, The Wire), Rinko Kikuchi (The Brothers Bloom, Babel), and Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Sons of Anarcy) all kill it. They’re great. The most wooden of the bunch is Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) and I think that’s because his ability to emote is limited by his bad American accent (he’s British). Despite this, he still manages to be good enough to be the most-central character in an ensemble film that really is about a team. The simple fact that so many of the characters manage to be memorable and each have scenes to steal is a testament to how fantastic of a director Guillermo Del Toro is and how strong the script is that he co-wrote with Travis Beacham. That isn’t to say that the script is filled with the same kind of beautiful dramatic prose that one might expect from an Oscar-nominated screenplay, just that the script takes the time to introduce you to characters and let you get to know them through their actions, their words, and how the other characters see them. They’re not just robots reciting lines without emotion, and though the dialogue is often simple, that isn’t to say that it is bad. Pacific Rim is the kind of film that intends to be cheesy when it is — it doesn’t happen by accident.

My favourite moment of the film might be a handshake. I’ll leave it at that.

 

Tom Morello and the guy from Game of Thrones

You read that right. The best part of Rage Against the Machine worked with the guy who does the music for the best show on television to make the score for Pacific Rim, and it is totally awesome. It’s not iconic like the new score for Man of Steel, but that doesn’t stop it from always being totally awesome and fun. Each jaeger in Pacific Rim has its own theme song, and you recognize them immediately not because they’re so in-your-face that you can’t not notice, but because Ramin Djawadi is actually that subtle in introducing them and by the time the themes show up again, you’re already cheering for what happens next.

The music always fits the mood in Pacific Rim, and it gets you pumped for more and more kaiju versus jaeger action.

 

See Pacific Rim in IMAX3D

ILM is really living up to the “magic” part of their name these days. Man of Steel  was visually astonishing at times, but you can tell that whomever worked on Pacific Rim just absolutely loved what they were working on. You have 300 foot tall robots fighting 300 foot tall monsters in cities and in the ocean, and every frame of it is incredible.

Perhaps more importantly, every frame is believable.

Del Toro has always been masterful at integrating special effects into his films, and he’s only getting better at it with age. The part that really sells the action are the physical sets built for the actors — when the jaegers get hit, it really does look like the actors are feeling it. It’s so much more effective than the just plain mindless CGI action in the Transformers films.

 

Making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS

Every time a jaeger takes a blow, the audience feels it, the performances sell it, and the character development makes you care. That’s the difference that sets Pacific Rim apart from other computer-generated blockbusters: it’s not just about the big budget FX. At the same time, the film embraces what it is: an homage to genres that have lived and breathed in fiction for decades.

Pacific Rim is the purest, funnest, best film of the Summer so far. It aspires to be the best robot versus monsters movie that it can be, and it’s a huge success. Now hopefully people will go see it.

 

Review: Man of Steel

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

…or maybe “once upon a time” might be a better way to start.

Fans of Superman have wanted a great film since Christopher Reeve last donned the blue and red tights in Superman II: Quest for Peace back in 1980 (the two subsequent films were, to be generous, horrible pieces of shit). Brandon Routh had a crack at reviving the film franchise just a few years ago with Superman Returns, a movie that ended up being a colossal bore despite having a pretty solid Superman and an awesome (and overly campy) Lex Luthor in Kevin Spacey.

With the success of Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman from 2005-2012, you knew that the biggest comic book character of all time was going to get a reboot. So how is it?

 

The things nerds think about

Superman is the first character I ever dressed up as for Halloween. Now, I don’t remember much of that time (I think I was 3?), but I do remember my red gumboots and briefs that I wore over my blue long johns.

It was totally awesome, and I was cute as f**k.

I wouldn’t say that Superman is my favourite character; Batman has always fascinated and interested me more because he’s still a man, who lives in a universe filled with gods and he manages to be their equal. Batman has often been portrayed very well, though like the Superman franchise, they pushed it too far and the series went from good (Batman, 1989), to kinda-weird-but-still-good (Batman Returns, 1992), to bad (Batman Forever, 1995), and finally to so-bad-even-the-star-has-offered-to-refund-your-ticket (Batman and Robin, 1997). But unlike Superman, what most fans remember is the cartoon series Batman: The Animated Series, which ran from 1992 to 1995 — basically all of Middle School for kids in my age group.

The Batman cartoon was awesome.

Superman would later get animated representation that was solid, but for the most part he’s always been relegated to the role of “the guy who can be hit the hardest” and he just fights the bruisers and giant robots nobody else is physically capable of fighting. Usually, Batman is the one who saves the day.

Meanwhile, during all of this animated shenanigans, some really, really good writers were defining Superman with their incredible visions: you had Alex Ross do Kingdom Come, which is probably the most epic Superman story ever told. You also had a number of amazing story arcs over the last couple decades like Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman (among the most ambitious stories I’d say), Superman for all Seasons by Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb (who, incidentally, also did the amazing Batman story The Long Halloween), and finally my personal favourite: Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar, which told the story of what might have happened had Superman landed 12 hours earlier, in the Ukraine instead of Kansas.

These writers have done a lot to define what is arguably the greatest comic book character of all time (if not the greatest, at the very least the father of superheroes since all others came afterwards). These inspirational works of fiction have made fans dream of a film version of Superman that lives up to their imaginations: the embodiment of the potential of good, the orphan with a Jesus-like back story who comes to Earth to teach humanity how to be the best we can be.

That’s a lot to live up to. So, does Man of Steel? Kind of.

 

Superman 2013

Perhaps the thing that fans will be most upset about about Man of Steel will be the “deviations” from the established character of Kal-El. They are important to bring up because in every other iteration of the character, Superman has lived up to an ideal, and he doesn’t in this film.

I think that’s a good thing, because it gives him something to strive towards over the course of this new trilogy. But I’ll get back to that later.

The tone of Man of Steel is very much not-your-father’s Superman. It’s much darker than any previous version. Kal-El is much more angry and filled with far more angst than he ever has before (and that includes the started-good-but-turned-to-crap Smallville version). How you feel about Man of Steel will probably be more affected by these tonal choices than anything else, because if you can’t accept that Superman could grow up feeling totally f**ked up and isolated, then you won’t be able to accept Zack Snyder’s vision. And I think that would be a mistake.

I think that the very reason Man of Steel works is because it is this darker version of one of the most beloved heroes in all of fiction. Writer David Goyer, along with the help of Snyder and Christopher Nolan, has tried to imagine a world as if Superman emerged today in 2013. There is a line in the film where the now-African-American Perry White asks Lois Lane the obvious question: can you imagine how the world would react to know that there is someone like this out there?

That’s a very serious question, and I think that question is what is going to drive the sequel to Man of Steel, which they are sure to make because it passed $500,000,000 worldwide as of this post. Never before has there been a Superman who wasn’t just accepted as soon as he emerged, and I think that’s a great direction to take the story. Maybe this time Lex Luthor starts off with the public’s support to deal with a godlike alien that (spoiler) deals upwards of $700,000,000,000 dollars in collateral damage fighting against another godlike alien in a heavily populated metropolis named Metropolis. Someone has to answer for that kind of carnage, and it provides a lot of ammunition for xenophobes and Superman-haters moving forward into other films. Sure, Superman did the best he could under the circumstances, and he saved the human race, but don’t you think people might want him gone? This conflict provides an amazing foundation for a trilogy where Superman has to seriously earn the right to be the hero he is capable of being. I am stoked to see that.

 

How many Oscar winners does it take to make a comic book movie?

Look at the cast of Man of SteelSure, Henry Cavill is largely unproven—though his role in the shallow action film Immortals didn’t exactly test his acting ability, but you have the incredibly talented Amy Adams playing the smartest version of Lois Lane to date. I’m sure there are fans out there who aren’t happy that she knows Clark Kent and Superman are the same person, but quite frankly I always found it incredibly stupid that a pair of glasses could hide Superman’s identity from a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Adams grounds some fantastic scenes in Man of Steel, and has my favourite line in the whole movie at the end. She rocks, and more importantly she is extremely capable and doesn’t sit at the sidelines. Inspired casting.

The two father figures in this take on The Hero’s Journey are played by Oscar-winning actors Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner. ’nuff said. They’re both large departures from previous portrayals, and I think they’re both absolutely fantastic. Crowe gets far more screen time than you’d expect due to the most fully-realized version of Krypton we’ve seen so far, and he kills it. I’m sure many people will have issues with Costner’s version of Jonathan Kent, not the least of which comes from some of the advice he gives his son in this story, but I think that the strength in Costner’s role is all in his presence in this film. He just has that fatherly feel to him — you can tell with every glance how much he cares about his boy, but he’s understandably very afraid of what the world will make of the miracles young Clark Kent is capable of. There is a scene in the film where the mother of another boy that Clark saved is delivering a religious rant about what Clark has done being an act of God, and you can see where Jonathan’s fear is coming from.

The other amazingly-cast character is Zod, this time played by Michael Shannon, who has some very large shoes to fill. He’s awesome. He’s psychotic, but this time you feel like you better understand what motivates him to be the villain he is. Add to that Shannon’s ability to chew scenery and the incredible battle between Zod and Superman at the end of the film, and you have an awesome version of an iconic character.

Finally, there’s Cavill as the last son of Krypton (at least, after Man of Steel has ended). I’d wager that Cavill is the most believable Superman to date. He physically looks more like Superman than any actor ever has, but more importantly he manages to do a great job. At least, with the angst-filled beginnings of Superman. It’ll be very interesting to see what kind of character work they can get out of him moving forward.

The supporting cast of Man of Steel features a number of Battlestar Galactica alumni, Richard Schiff as a scientist who only gets stupid lines that explain what is happening, an awesome, sexy, and dangerous badass Kryptonian female soldier played by Antje Traue (Pandorum), the always-at-least-rad Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White, and Christopher Meloni as Colonel Nathan Hardy, who manages to deliver a really cheesy line in a badass way that doesn’t sound cheesy in the film. Nice work.

The ensemble in Man of Steel is impeccable. The million dollar question is: who could play Lex Luthor in this universe?

 

How do you top John Williams?

Trick question: you don’t. Instead, you do what Hans Zimmer has done with the score of Man of Steelyou go in a completely different direction. It’s brilliant. It’s iconic in its own right. It accentuates every scene in Man of Steel, most noticeably during the climactic battle scenes and during the finale. It’s Hans Zimmer’s best score since Inception, and I’ve been listening to it for weeks now.

 

The battle to end all battles

This is the kind of stuff that nerds have been arguing about for years: how fast can Superman move in reality? What would it be like if he hit a guy as hard as he could? What kind of destruction would actually result from a fight?

Other comic book films have steadily upped the ante in terms of climactic battles, with 2012′s The Avengers increasing the scale of a battle to affect an entire city, while 2013′s other superhero tentpole film, Iron Man 3, instead went the route of having the most complicated finale where 40 or so suits of Iron Man armor battle an army of genetically-modified superhumans.

I read an article recently that was an interview with David Goyer and Zack Snyder where they talked about the reality behind what a Krptonian can do on Earth. They invented rules and did the math to reveal what kind of physics would be behind a battle between Superman and one of his super powered enemies. The result is easily the most destructive one-on-one battle ever portrayed in any film, and easily more destructive than any other superhero film. It doesn’t simply raise the bar for superhero action in film, it punches into orbit (and, in fact, they punch into orbit in the film).

There is a lot of backlash about the violence in Man of Steel. People say that there is too much destruction, that Superman would always force fights out of populated areas, and that there are things in the movie that Superman just wouldn’t do. I find those arguments asinine for several reasons, the first (and most obvious) of which is that Zod doesn’t care about human beings. In fact, he hates them, and the climactic battle in the film taking place in a heavily populated area happens because Zod forces the fight on Superman. This fight also happens to be among Superman’s first: he’s never fought other superbeings before the events in this film, and he’s definitely never fought them in a densely populated city. What would you have him do?

I found this series of events to be very believable in the context of the movie. What, Superman is going to punch Zod out of the city? Zod is just as powerful as Superman, so he just flies right back and tosses Superman through an entire city block. These are gods fighting, not men, and the collateral damage that beings who can move at 3+ times the speed of sound is going to be utterly devastating. And it is.

And I would be willing to put money on that contributing largely to the plot of Man of Steel 2. Can Superman be forgiven for this devastation?

 

Should you see Man of Steel?

If you read through all of this, you already know whether or not you’d be interested in seeing the film. If you do, I strongly encourage you to fork out the extra $10,000 to see it in IMAX 3D — Man of Steel‘s FX are wonderfully realized and textured, and it really does look vastly better in 3D. The final battle is a wonder to behold. When I caught the film for a second time on cheap night on a non-3D/non-IMAX screen, it really did suffer.

I feel sorry for any directors *cough* Joss Whedon *cough* who have to make giant superhero movies after this, because the bar for battles has been re-established, and it’s far above where it used to be. The plot is definitely not as tight as a Nolan Batman film, nor is the main character as incredibly-perfectly-cast as Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, but Man of Steel is an awesome, sprawling epic that deserves to be seen.

Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

Spoilers!

Normally I try to write my reviews completely spoiler-free, to try and inform people as much as possible about the quality of a film without spoiling any key plot twists or content. Viewers have the right to not have their escapist experiences spoiled in advance. However, the most relevant discussions about Star Trek Into Darkness (STID) all revolve around large/key plot points and characters, so rather than give a ridiculously vague review, I’m going to spoil the crap out of this one.

You’ve been warned. Unless you’re skimming this post.

“JJ Abrams’ Wrath of Khan”

Ever since the incredibly fun/successful/cheesy re-imagining of Star Trek came out in 2009 there has been mass speculation about how that film could be topped. Star Trek fans are used to literally half of their movies being awful; it has been said on more than one occasion that every other Star Trek film is good, and all the rest are terrible. Add to that expectation the fact that the second Star Trek film, Wrath of Khan, is not only the best Star Trek film to this date but also a timeless classic, and Abrams has his work cut out for him.

His solution? Rip off everything from Wrath of Khan. And as long as you don’t hold canon as sacrosanct and take offense when people try to take a classic and do something different with it, you’ll enjoy the experience.

Star Trek Into Darkness starts shortly after 2009′s Star Trek. Kirk is still the surprisingly-rookie Captain of the brand new USS Enterprise, Spock and Kirk aren’t close buddies yet, and the rest of the cast seems to have not evolved at all.

Not off to a good start

The ridiculously preposterous and stupid introduction to STID is the weakest part of the film. It is filled with so many plot holes and stupidly-written lines of dialogue one has to wonder how it even made it into production.

Let me be very clear to anyone who writes science fiction: if in the distant, technologically-advanced future the people running around can’t solve an issue that we have solutions to during the present day, you’d better have a damn good explanation for it. Lazy writing does not cut it.

If you can manage to turn your brain off long enough to get through the introduction (which isn’t actually that difficult because it is quite pretty to look at in IMAX 3D and does sound incredible) then you are treated to a very serious, dark Star Trek film that tries its best to do what all good science fiction should do: tell a story with real life parallels that tries to answer some of the questions and deal with the problems our world currently faces.

It’s all quite… logical

Star Trek Into Darkness is a logical followup to the events in 2009′s Star Trek. In that story, events in the regular Star Trek universe that took place after all of the films and television series thus far produced, led to an Elderly Spock and an insanely-well-armed group of Romulans travelling back in time to before/during the birth of James Tiberius Kirk. This created a new timeline, one where the Vulcan homeworld is destroyed before the USS Enterprise begins it’s 5-year mission to seek out new life and civilizations and to boldly go where blah blah blah.

A planet being destroyed by technology from hundreds of years in the future has had a significant impact on the universe of this alternate timeline. The Klingons are, somehow, even more hostile and warlike. The Vulcans have had to find a new homeworld (and I’d be curious to know where that is, since it was chosen by Future Spock). And the Federation, knowing that there are threats out there now that can destroy civilizations, has started to become more militarized.

What does this militarization of the Federation lead to? It leads to Starfleet Admiral Alexander Marcus un-freezing Khan Noonien Singh and using his superior warlike intellect to develop new weapons and ships for Starfleet. This makes sense, because a Federation of explorers and peacekeepers don’t know war like genetically-engineered superhumans who were bred for war do.

It’s an interesting take on a classic character, and arguably the most formidable single opponent/antagonist in any of the Star Trek television episodes or films.

And Benedict Cumberbatch kills it.

The performances

…are all at least as good as they were in the last Star Trek film. The cast truly is an ensemble, and they all get excellent opportunities to grow their characters. The only thing that really bothered me was Alice Eve’s absolutely asinine changing scene, where for no reason at all she strips so the audience can get a strangely-long/creepily-long chance to see her in her underwear.

That might have been the laziest writing I’ve ever witnessed, and the second such time in the film it came right out and slapped me in the face. Alice Eve is a very beautiful woman, but if you can’t be bothered to write a scene with a reason for her to be in her underwear, don’t just throw one in there for no reason. That’s not fan service, that’s misogyny.

Wholesale ripoffs

There are a few scenes and sequences in Star Trek Into Darkness that are re-imagined takes on scenes from Wrath of Khan. Having grown up with science fiction and being myself a fan of shows like Doctor Who, it is easy for me to accept the idea that some thing must happen.

In the 2009 Star Trek, it was absolutely ridiculous that Captain Kirk is born during the opening scene. You have to turn off your brain to enjoy it. Or do you?

To me, Captain Kirk must exist because he is one of the most important human beings ever to live. His impact on the universe is like one of Doctor Who’s fixed points in time — he is so important to the universe that the universe itself makes sure that he exists. That’s the kind of logic that Abrams’ re-imagined Star Trek universe follows, and if you can’t accept it you will likely struggle to enjoy or accept either of his films.

When Spock contacts Future Spock to ask him if he “has ever in his travels come across a man named Khan”, it’s not just fan service, it’s the logical thing for Spock to do. The question people should be asking themselves is, if they had a future version of themselves alive somewhere and they were going through their own crisis, would they call their future selves and ask for advice? I  definitely would. And Future Spock, who doesn’t want to spoil the future for his younger self, immediately realizes the gravity of the situation the Enterprise is in simply by having Spock ask him that simple question. It is logical and it was done tastefully.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that everything that Abrams and co did for STID was done quite tastefully. There isn’t a lot of original storytelling and ideas in this film, but it does manage to take some relevant modern day themes about militarization and terrorism and package them up in the stories of, essentially, the two best original Star Trek movies: Wrath of Khan, and The Undiscovered Country.

No, it’s not a new story. But it’s still a good story. And a few flaws aside, it’s a really fun film to watch. I just wouldn’t pick it over Iron Man 3 :)

Review: Iron Man 3

You didn’t think Robert Downey Jr. could get any more awesome…

…and you were wrong. Not only does Downey absolutely kill it as Tony Stark for the fourth (fifth including the cameo from The Incredible Hulk) time, he manages to exceed and improve upon his previous portrayals in every possible way. There are so many examples to support this conclusion, but since I try to do my film reviews spoiler-free, I’ll shy away from any plot-revealing details for Iron Man 3. The other films, however, I will spoil the living crap out of.

 

SORTA-CRYPTIC REVIEW AHEAD

Iron Man 3 takes place shortly after last Summer’s blockbuster The Avengers, and the effects of the events in that film have made a lasting impact on Tony Stark. You could say he has been scarred from his experience fighting alongside gods and supermen against an invading alien army.

One of the things that sets Stark apart from the likes of Captain America, Thor, and the other Avengers is that he is the only one who is “merely” a mortal man who has spent all of his time only fighting other mortal men — Steve Rogers/Captain America’s experience in the Marvel Universe’s World War 2 involved everything from alien weapons to doomsday devices and supermen; Thor is a god from a distant galaxy who has godlike powers and cosmic knowledge; Bruce Banner/The Hulk is himself a “giant green rage monster” who in is few outings has fought other super beasts; the other humans like Natasha Romanov/Black Widow, Clint Barton/Hawkeye, and Nick Fury have had enough time to adjust to the world of gods and men (I’m ignoring the bit of The Avengers where Romanov and Barton discuss feeling out of their league because I choose to).

The effect of this knowledge and the attempted self-sacrifice Stark made in The Avengers drives the story in Iron Man 3, and it’s brilliant. Add to this the fact that this is the first Marvel film to not feel the entire time like it’s trying to set up other movies, and you’re left with a more complete and enjoyable character arc that really feels like a fresh new story to tell. There is a lot of character development in Iron Man 3, and it comes because Shane Black (the director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, one of the guys in Predator, and the writer of most of the best action movies of the 80s) spends a lot of time making sure that Stark is without his suit of power armour, forcing Stark to adapt and think his way out of situations for the first time since the cave in Iron Man. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any fx-fueled action set pieces using Iron Man armour — there is honestly more Iron Man action in Iron Man 3 than all the other films featuring Stark put together — but you don’t feel like the plot is merely there to set up the action. It feels natural.

Add to the brilliant writing, direction, and leading character, and what do you have left? Oh yeah: everything.

 

Everyone gets to shine

This should be a rule for making any film: that every character with a significant speaking part or integral connection to the story gets an opportunity to shine in the film. That happens here — from Don Cheadle’s sequences as War Machine and Iron Patriot, to Gwyneth Paltrow’s fourth take on Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau stealing a bunch of scenes as Happy Hogan (especially in the prologue), to Guy Pearce playing the most Bond-villain-like role of his career, and finally to Sir Ben Kingsley, who not only owns his role as The Mandarin, but manages to show an incredible amount of depth and diversity with such a small part.

Hell, even the kid-whose-name-I-forget who gets a surprising amount of screentime manages to steal some scenes.

If I were to have one complaint I’d say that the henchmen characters don’t get a whole lot to work with. But the way that the movie comes together, you hardly notice.

 

Easter Egg City

These days you always know to stay through the end of the credits of a Marvel film, and Iron Man 3 is no different. But if you thought that was the only Easter Egg to catch in the film, you’d be missing out. There are many references in Iron Man 3, and I don’t want to list any of them lest I spoil some of the surprises, but they’re great and for the first time in a Marvel film they don’t serve to further the plots of other movies (yet). Instead, they create even more depth to the film and to Tony Stark’s story.

 

Should you see Iron Man 3?

Considering the movie made upwards of $160,o00,000 in North America alone this past weekend, there’s a good chance you went to see the movie already (that’s the second-highest box office opening weekend of all time, behind 2012′s The Avengers).

Yes. Go see Iron Man 3. Unless you don’t like any of the other Marvel films, in which case why did you read this far?

Storyteller, TEDxVictoria Creative Director, Freelance Multimedia Specialist

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