Tag Archives: “Heath Ledger”

The Avengers

Forget for a minute that I am a fanboy… (yeah, right.) The Avengers is a good, entertaining movie. It does for super hero groups what Heath Ledger did for the Joker, Zack Snyder for Watchmen, and J.J. Abrams for Star Trek (2009). It transcends its geeky, isolated, basement roots and brings it into mainstream acceptability. It makes me really want to see super heroes duking it out on the streets of New York. Yes, it would be dangerous, but so is a tornado. Doesn’t make it any less awe inspiring.

Let’s run down the list of what we get…

Joss Whedon-The director and brilliant creator that brought us Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. The man is a genius at fleshing out characters and going them another dimension. These heroes were already in place, he brought them to another level. We get a fight and dialogue scene involving Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth)that was better than the whole Thor movie. Joss is also good at throwing in some twists… There are 2 I’m pretty sure you won’t be expecting, and the first happens in the opening 10 minutes. His use of cultural relevance is spot on. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) tells Captain America to have Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) “suit up.” (This works for two reasons, and when you see the movie, I hope you’ll understand.)

Action- Not only that, but action we can see!!! There were 2 instances that caught my eye where I went, “what was that?”, but only a few measly seconds. The rest of the time, we can see Natasha Romanoff, (Scarlett Johansson) the Black Widow, kicking ass. We can tell that Captain America(Chris Evans) just threw a punch, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) even gets into the fray. As a special bonus, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is bas ass! No stupid purple mask thing and dorky costume. He is a top S.H.I.E.L.D agent. Comic book fans may recognize some of their favorite panels brought to life. They may not be literal translations, but you definitely know where they came from. (Pssst-> Iron Man and Thor…) And a nice nod to the Marvel Ultimate Alliance video game.

Comic Book tech- We get a freakin’ Helicarrier! Not some lame ass ship with a S.H.I.E.L.D. logo painted on the side, bit the full blown aircraft carrier that can fly! Did I mention the Quinjets? I don’t remember them being called that by name, be they are there.

Story- What does it take to give us a good hero(s)? A good villain. Loki, The Master of Lies has made his way back to earth. I really can’t tell too much here without spoiling some things, let’s just say his return is like an onion…

Balance- The mix of action, humanity, humor, depth, and story are spot on. I didn’t get bored when they were “dialoguing.” One of the things I appreciate is that is an ensemble cast, and all characters are used well.

What we don’t get is War Machine. Unless you count the 6 yr old that dressed up.

Get a great director (who knows comics and imagination), story, actors, RIGHT & PURPOSEFUL special effects, and what do you get? A huge summer blockbuster that I will gladly go see again. I admit, I did not see it in IMAX or 3D. I have been told they are good, but I don’t think it is required to enjoy the awesomeness. I predict, (ok, hoping like crazy and crossing my fingers), that on the strength of his handling of the Avengers, Joss will be able to revive the Wonder Woman project…

FYI, before there was Siri, there was Jarvis… : )

Update: I’ve seen this movie for a second time, and I have to say, the 3D wasn’t atrocious! Much like the special effects, it looks like it was utilized correctly.

Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus

TheImaginariumofDrParnassusTerry Gilliam. The brilliant mind which gave us Time Bandits, Brazil, Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and multiple Monty Python films. Barring the fact that I was not on a chemically induced high, (which the promos implied that I would need to be), this was not one of my favorite Gilliam productions.

Instead of me trying to explain what the synopsis is, here is a link to the official website. (Trust me, it’s easier this way)

Now that you have read that, here is my take… I got the impression that this was supposed to be a historical Good vs Evil story, but it was more “Eh” vs Evil… Tom Waits was a clearly defined Devil figure, Christopher Plummer was the so-called “good” guy. My compassion level for the Doctor did not even register. He was supposed to be an enlightened person, (this is an assumption as he is shown leading a group of monks in storytelling/chanting)  and yet somehow (unconvincingly) gets duped by the devil, and continues to make ridiculously BAD decisions. After he figures out that that Mr. Nick is a force of evil, does he think that jumping in bed with him again and again again (in the form of wagers) is going to be a good thing, or that there is any way he will ever “win”?!? (Yes, it would make for a possibly much shorter movie if he had thought that way, but come on… make me believe it).

No disrespect to the late Mr. Ledger, but I was not feeling the magic that Heath has exuded in some of his memorable roles. (Of which, I expected this to be one) I am not saying he phoned it in, it was just not special for me. Tony’s story started as an interesting curiosity, found hung and left for dead under a bridge, and ended as a shameful disappointment.

The stand out character is Anton (Andrew Garfield). The awkward performance while promoting the traveling show is almost painful. His unrequited love for the lovely daughter of Dr Parnassus, Valentina (Lily Cole) can almost be felt (unless you have never been in love with someone you could never have). She the only positive result of the Doctor’s relationship with Mr. Nick.

I may have missed it, but other than some not so funny and possibly self loathing “comic” relief, what is the purpose of Percy (Verne Troyer)? He may be the Guardian Angel character, but it is unclear to me. He is shown in the past as one of the many monks, but also in the present and throughout history. We know (from the movie) that Dr. Parnassus has been granted immortality, but why is Percy pulled through time with him? (Sometimes I just need to be spoon fed information… )

Rating: 6 out of 10 stars