Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Tag: hancock

Does whatever an iron can.
Presses cuffs, flattens clothes.
Creases pants, just like those.
Look out!
Here comes the Ironman!

Actually, Ironman, as portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr., does absolutely none of those things (he has a personal assistant who performs such functions, as well as, in one of the funniest lines of the movie, “Takes out the trash.”).

What he does do is carouse and carom wildly about the screen; trade witty barbs with assistants, friends, and robots alike; rebuild camshafts with toothbrushes; crack jokes; bed incredibly beautiful women; and basically demonstrate what a thoroughly interesting character brilliant, cool, and badass Tony Stark is.

Oh, and what he also does is blow shit up.

Ironman has gotten a lot of press and deserves every word of it. It’s a terrifically balanced movie, a great origin story about a man coming to terms with his own actions and realizing he has done some bad things but finding in himself redemption to do better. Batman saw his parents killed and, mentally, broke; Superman is just an overgrown Eagle Scout on ‘roids, and Spiderman struggles with everyman troubles while fighting rather outlandish villains.

Ironman is the first superhero movie we can believe in. For the first hour, its main villains are Middle Eastern terrorists, which is, provided, about as cliche as you get, but then it pulls a fast one, because Stark realizes that these terrorists are using the weapons he built. The whole movie is rooted in this world in ways I’ve rarely seen any movie deal with its problems, and I found it an even better meditation on the current, troubled world we live in than, say, Syriana. Sure, both movies had different tones and set to accomplish different things, but I’d argue that Ironman, for all its blow-shit-up/summer-blockbuster status, actually explored those themes more effectively than the more serious but also more ponderous and, let’s face it, more dull Syriana.

I geeked out all over the place throughout (one joke I saw coming; its repetition surprised me enough to make me giggle). There’s a silly cameo of Stan Lee as Hugh Hefner, but otherwise, it’s that rare beast: a socially and personally conscious action movie. Sure, it’s a dude with a make-uped goatee in a red-and-gold titanium alloy suit, but it works, and mainly because Downey, Jr. makes it work. This man is having a well deserved and well earned career renaissance, and it’s terrific, because all the press he ever got about being a ‘bad boy’ and passing in and out of rehab let a lot of people forget the fact that he’s one of the greatest actors ever. He doesn’t have the classic looks or personality one imagines of a leading man, but he has a rare intensity and charm that lends itself to carrying a movie (see: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang).

The trailers included previews of both The Incredible Hulk and The Dark Knight, but, having seen them, I’m not sure either of them will become more than what they are. Sure, they look entertaining, and I’ll catch both (and Heath Ledger’s Joker so far seems brilliant), but they look like they’re going to be superhero movies, and Ironman, somehow, felt like more than that in the best possible way.

The trailer for Hancock sure looks interesting, though.

I hadn’t yet caught the trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So I found it on YouTube:

Looks pretty damned cool. Love the “You’re a teacher?” “Part time.” line.

It does not, however, look like the coolest movie on the way. This does:

I mean, seriously. I hadn’t thought Ledger could do it, personally (I never liked him as an actor). I was totally in love with an idea I still think is brilliant; Christian Bale in triple roles as Batman, Bruce Wayne, and the Joker. But that trailer convinced me Ledger did a fine damned job of a role that is equal parts sick, dark humor and utter psychosis. Can’t wait.

Running a near second in terms of personal anticipation is Robert Downey, Jr., as Tony Stark:

I’ve never had doubts about Downey. Man can act all over the place, and usually does so brilliantly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him terrible. I’ve loved him since Chances Are, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of my favorite movies. Not a huge Paltrow fan, but “Yeah, I can fly,” and “Tell you what, throw a little hot rod red in there” are just full of awesome.

I’m also intrigued by Will Smith’s new one:

Looks pretty funny, and I like the idea of real-life exploration of the superhero genre.

Speaking of funny, two movies got my immediate attention. The first was Leatherheads, due to my unabashed love for George Clooney and Renee Zellwegger. Plus, it’s Clooney doing humor. Clooney is awesome at humor: Intolerable Cruelty is, perhaps, his most underrated movie. And finally, the trailer uses Benny Goodman’s “Sing Sing Sing”:

How could I not love it?

Then there’s Charlie Bartlett. Because speaking of Robert Downey, Jr., how can we go wrong with both him and Hope Davis? Love ’em both. This one’s probably a rental, but it looks pretty fun:

And finally, last but certainly not least, we have what Ocean’s Twelve would have been if Soderbergh went in the right direction (backward), hired Jason Statham, and shot it in London. Seriously, The Bank Job just looks totally freakin’ awesome:

Definitely not a rental. And awesome soundtrack. It’s like the unholy love child of Snatch and Ocean’s Elven. Plus with Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows. How much more awesome could that be?

None. None more awesome.

London calling indeed.