Anyway, who cares about the plot? Here's the stuff I was talking about in the title of this here post.
1) Vin Diesel and Paul Walker got old
2) The Rock doesn't change his top
3) The film is set in some sort of alternate universe where it's possible to have a drag race through central London.
4) This is not the most ridiculous stunt in the movie
5) I properly love Gina Carano
6) Yes, Rita Ora is in it
7) Flying punches and flying headbutts are better than normal punches and headbutts
Luhrmann and his enormously talented wife/production partner Catherine Martin have clearly spent a great deal of time and effort bringing the Roaring Twenties alive through fashion and set design which is, as expected, appropriately spectacular, but despite his and Isla Fisher's insistence that all the actors took part in an intense workshop so they paid justice to the characters, by the end of the film I hadn't quite understood why anyone had done anything.
There are hints of the themes Fitzgerald explored in his novel but there never seems to be any point in exploring them to give some depth to all the lavish decadence on display. It doesn't help that Carey Mulligan is essentially a clotheshorse desperately trying to give her thin character some dimensions and despite being the narrator and observer of the story, there is no excuse for Tobey Maguire to only show one facial expression. He says he's intrigued by Gatsby and his world but you'd never know to look at him. Oh, and speaking of the narration, was it really necessary to have words flying across the screen? Did Daisy have to appear in the clouds ala Mufasa when Jay spoke of her? Too much, Baz, too much.
There's been a lot of hate thrown at The Great Gatsby and while a part of me enjoyed the insanity of it, it's difficult not to feel like one of Gatsby's party guests: you lived in his world for a bit and enjoyed the fireworks, but once it's over you realise you know just as little about him.
Things pick up pretty much where they left off four years ago: Kirk (Chris Pine) is still a slightly insufferable but sexy-faced ball of arrogance, Spock (Zachary Quinto) is a glorified robot, Bones (Karl Urban) still likes to say "Dammit!" and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Scotty (Simon Pegg) are still battling each other for the 'Most Distracting Fake Accent' award. Shit gets real when a former Starfleet agent John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) destroys central London and attacks Starfleet that leads to a death which forces Kirk to pull his finger out and get to business.
While most blockbusters tend to lead up to one big climactic set piece, Star Trek Into Darkness is turned up to 11 from the very first scene and as a result it feels a bit empty and tiring. Very little time is spent with the characters not running around and shooting stuff and even when there is an attempt at some character development (Spock and Uhura's relationship, Kirk's daddy issues etc) it's quickly wrapped up so we can get to some more action. The film is peppered with cool moments and a few laughs but I can't help but feel slightly disappointed that J.J. Abrams decided to include the most pointless gratuitous shot of a woman in her skivvies since Saffron Burrows had to strip to save her life in Deep Blue Sea.
Iron Man 3 is the first Marvel release since the Avengers Assemble and seeing as all the standalone movies released prior to that were simultaneously used to test the waters while setting up the inevitable crossover, one wonders how Shane Black and co-writer Drew Pearce even approached this. Turns out they did it by maintaining the tone and humour of the first movie, removing all the awful self-indulgent stuff from the sequel and having the story follow on from Avengers Assemble while working on its own. Throw in a few genuine surprises, some awesome action and Gwyneth Paltrow's limited screen time (HURRAY!), and you've not only got a great blockbuster worthy of its hype, but a film that will have Zack Snyder and James Mangold pooping in their respective pants.
Set at Christmas in 2012 (for absolutely no reason), Tony Stark (RDJ) is having trouble moving on from his near-death experience at the hands of Loki's flying aliens and is passing the time by building new machines and trashing his house. Meanwhile Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is running Stark Industries, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is now head of security and War Machine (Don Cheadle) has been re-branded as Iron Patriot. Elsewhere Guy Pearce earns a 'Best Makeover' award for going from looking like Edward Nigma to Felicia Jollygoodfellow's older, but equally buff, brother. He's a slimy bastard looking for funding for A.I.M. which is a company that helps you give powerpoint presentations of your own brain, or something. Naturally there's a new foe about in the shape of the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a powerful and brazen terrorist after the President and Iron Man.
As expected there are some laughs and loud booms but unlike other comic book adaptations that are clearly a sure bet to make money, no-one involved here has skimped on character development. The heroes, the villains and even the bleedin' women have their part to play over 130 minutes and when Stark goes for long stretches without his suit, it doesn't feel any less entertaining. An unexpected sidekick is always charming and never annoying and when the surprises arrive it doesn't feel like a cheap Shyamalan-like trick thrown in for the sake of it.Shane Black practically created the buddy cop comedy in the 80s and there's plenty of zingy quips to quote on the bus ride home but unlike Iron Man 2, it's never to replace holes in the story. He and Pearce have basically taken elements of stories from the comic book and done whatever they liked with them, but who cares when it's this fun? No fanboy is going to be moaning because they'll be too busy fist bumping the air with joy.
Iron Man Three (as it appears in the title card) effortlessly teeters between buddy comedy and action-packed blockbuster and leaves other Marvel movies in the dust while setting the standard for 2013's big movies. Oh, and stay after the end credits, but you already knew that.