Iron Man 3 – Review
By David Baldwin
A man who refers to himself as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is terrorizing Europe and Asia, and making very real threats against the United States. With S.H.I.E.L.D. evidently pre-occupied from the fallout of an alien invasion in New York, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) takes it upon himself to take this mad man down. But after getting cocky and giving him his address, Stark’s home is destroyed along with the majority of his technology. With time dwindling and the sudden appearance of a mysterious project called “Extremis”, Stark begins searching for clues – all the while rebuilding everything he has lost.
It sounds like a lot to swallow, but Iron Man 3 does a more than admirable job righting all the wrongs Iron Man 2 committed back in 2010. 3 may be a follow-up to Joss Whedon’s wildly successful The Avengers, but it is very much its own film. It centres on Stark and any mentions to other heroes or films not titled Iron Man are very few and far between. They are mere dialogue snippets that most audiences may not even register as references. Continue Reading
The Bastardization of the American Dream
By David Baldwin
*Please note this article contains spoilers*
This past weekend, Michael Bay finally unleashed his long gestating Pain & Gain with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson. It made just over $20-million, nearly one-fifth of the opening of Bay’s last film – Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It had its share of problems (a lengthy and verbose first act, an almost criminal use of narration and a really odd tonal structure to name just a few), but it is easily the best work Bay has done in well over a decade. The man is known for spectacle, and this is his least spectacular film yet.
As I left the theatre, I was unsure of how I felt about the film. It certainly was not at all what I was expecting, especially from an “auteur” like Bay. But at the same time, I was very impressed with what I had just witnessed. I felt disgusted with myself, especially after how much I have hated pretty much the entirety of his directorial output (save for The Rock, which remains one of my favourite action films to this day). But there was something about the film, something I did not quite catch onto as I watched it, that acted as the narrative crux of the whole thing. It dawned on me a few days later, rather obviously, that this was the inherent quest to obtain the American Dream. I mention the phrase and immediately it evokes an aura of tall tales and myths, of true stories of glory and failure – the never-ending search for a practically unattainable euphoria. It is exactly what the characters in this sordid and bleak tale crave the most. It drives their actions, reactions, and is ultimately the cause of their downfall. Well, that and their own stupidity. Continue Reading