Movie Review – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Director: Zack Snyder

Stars: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Jesse Eisenberg, Laurence Fishburne

Earlier this week the reviews started coming in and they were middling at best. Empire gave it three stars and IGN gave it 6.8. I didn’t actually read those reviews, but my own predictions were that the film was going to be polarising. I thought that Affleck was going to be good as Batman but Superman was going to be mishandled again, that the film was going to be way too cluttered and it was ultimately going to make loads of money but it wasn’t going to be that good. Well, I can tell you here folks that those critics were wrong!

Yes, they were being too generous with three stars. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an abysmal film. And it disappoints me because I wanted it to be good, I wanted to believe that Snyder could improve on Man of Steel and deliver with this epic. But the sad thing is I’m not even surprised. It was two and a half hours of empty moralising, pretentious speeches, and ultimately felt like a child playing with toys. So there’s lots to talk about here.

It begins in the most unoriginal way possible with the death of Batman’s parents. Oh yes, that again. Then there’s a hamfisted dream sequence (not the last one of the film), then the basic theme of the film is introduced. Can Superman be trusted? Should he be allowed to act unilaterally? Bruce Wayne saw the destruction of Metropolis firsthand and believes that he needs to take action to stop him, because, if he wanted, Superman could destroy the world easily. Once he finds out that Lexcorp has found some Kryptonite, he gets an idea. But the whole notion that people still mistrust Superman…the film is set 18-24 months after Man of Steel, didn’t this come up in that time? Superman is once again brooding, I mean, from what I can recall he maybe smiled once in the whole film? It just shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the character. Snyder shoots his scenes in a way that depicts Superman as a being so far away from humanity, and it reflects the way Luthor thinks of Superman. People always say that Superman is difficult to write because he’s too powerful but that just shows a lack of imagination. They’re forgetting the man.

The bit that got me most mad was when Superman uttered the line, “No man stays good in this world,” and if you’re reading this and you don’t have a problem with that then that’s fine, you might actually get some enjoyment out of the film. I get that some people think that Superman should reflect the state of our culture now, and the sad fact of the matter is that the world is cynical and ridden with angst, but I dismiss the notion that Superman should be a reflection of us. Superman should represent the best of us. The kindness, the compassion, the striving to always do what’s good, to be truthful, to be a hero. Contrast this film’s Superman with the current Supergirl on the tv show of the same name. In a recent episode there was a scene where a little girl, wearing a Supergirl costume, was being picked on by some older kids. Supergirl heard this, swooped down, and acted like she was this girl’s friend. I just can’t see Cavill’s Superman doing that.

Affleck makes a good Batman I think his solo film is going to be really good, especially if he’s directing it. But even Batman isn’t handled perfectly. There are vague dream sequences/ hallucinations that are crammed into the film to set up the sequel, but feel shoehorned in, much like the Thor cave scenes in Age of Ultron, and it simply makes the film more of a mess. Batman though, it was an okay depiction of the character until he flies in the Batplane and kills a load of people in a hail of bullets. By that point I was just laughing at how stupid this all was. And it feels vacuous as well, everything in the film happens so quickly and so arbitrarily that it lacks any kind of emotional impact. The much-vaunted fight between the two titular characters is okay. I liked how Batman made up some traps, but again is was basically ‘Batman is amazing. Superman…ehh’ and the switch to when they form a truce is absolutely ridiculous. There was no organic flow, it was just people doing things because the plot demanded it.

Oh yes, Lex Luthor is a perfect example of this. He’s basically a plot device. And you know how people were saying that there’s more to the character than what we saw in the trailer? Nope. I was hoping that the kinda-crazy was all going to be an act, that it was going to be the mask he wore in front of everyone but no he was just insane. Lois wasn’t much better either.  And this is what makes me really mad, the film trades on Superman’s history. In the film his relationship and love for Lois is said to be important but we hardly see them together. It trades on this history but it doesn’t respect it and Snyder doesn’t understand why Superman is such an enduring figure. Could they not have got some Superman writer to consult on the film?

Wonder Woman is probably the best thing about the film (either her or Perry White) and that’s most likely because she’s not in it enough for her character to be ruined. The conflict with Doomsday is empty, again, there’s no emotion to the battle. In Avengers the heroes were fighting a CGI army but at least there was Loki to give some context to the battle. This was, again, just a kid playing with action figures. But I get the feeling that Snyder probably thinks he’s made a grand, deep, profound film when instead the philosophy presented is shallow.

There are a couple of iconic shots lifted from comics that were kinda cool to see on the big screen, but the few things this film does right are let down by the rest of it. I mentioned Superman’s brooding earlier and I get that sometimes people are filled with a bit of doubt, but his brooding is never contrasted with him being optimistic or hopeful. We never get to see Superman actually look like he’s enjoying what he’s doing, like being the hero to earth is a burden. And the most damning fact of all for the film is this. A Civil War trailer played before this, the first one, the one I’ve seen probably 5 or 6 times now. Yet in those few seconds where Cap says “Bucky’s my friend,” and Tony replies with, “So was I,” I felt more emotion than I did in the entirety of the two and a half hours of Batman v Superman.

The film strives for an emotional ending but it feels unearned due to a misunderstanding of the characters and a rushed story. Disappointing, not surprising.

 

 

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Board Game Review – Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

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Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is published by Ystari games. It is designed by Gary Grady, Suzanne Goldberg and Raymond Edwards. It plays from 1-8 players (although it can have more) and takes as much time as you need to solve the case!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it too much on this blog but over the last couple of years I’ve become quite the fan of Mr. Holmes. I read through all of the Conan Doyle stories, watched Sherlock, the recent films with Robert Downey Jr., Elementary, the old films with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, a number of other films, some with Christopher Plummer, there’s another good film called They Might Be Giants, which is about a man who believes he is Sherlock Holmes, and at the moment I’m working my way through the Jeremy Brett tv series and telemovies. This game is currently in print, although it was originally published in the 80s I believe. In this game you are not in face Sherlock Holmes, rather you are one of the Baker Street Irregulars given leeway by Holmes to investigate various crimes and test your powers of deduction.

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These are the contents of the game. The rulebook is in the top right-hand corner. To the left are the ten cases you will be working on, next to that is the London Directory that has the names of people and businesses and places you can go to pursue leads. There are also newspapers, one for every case, and a map of London. And that’s it!

The game is very simple. You open up the casebook and read the preamble, and don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil anything in this review because the joy of the game is discovering all this for yourself. But after you find out what’s wrong you are sent off with the freedom to go and question whoever you want. Each person in the Directory has a reference, which corresponds to a passage in the Casebook. You will go to that (they’re divided up into NE, SE, NW, SW, although because it’s translated from French some of them are WC and EC, but its not terribly difficult to figure out what the references mean). Then, if there’s a passage you read that, if there isn’t you know that the lead is a dead end. You’ll make a note of how many leads you visit, and at the end the booklet will tell you how many it took Holmes. After answering a few questions about the case you’ll take away points when you compare how many more leads you took than Holmes and then compare your score with the master detective (or, more likely, you’ll end up realizing that you made a huge error in judgment).

So the game gives you a huge amount of freedom as the whole of London is at your disposal. If you get stuck there are a number of people you can always turn to, like Mycroft Holmes, Inspector Lestrade, or even Holmes himself, although I’d hate to be the recipient of his withering disappointment.

So far I’ve played through the first two cases and they’ve been such fun experiences, although I have only played them with one other person so I can’t comment on how they’d play with groups. The game does give rules for competitive play but for me I automatically went co-operative because it’s so much fun discussing theories with other people and debating which leads to follow next or whether you think something is a red herring or not. It’s so fascinating and soon after the case begins you’re completely engaged and before you know it two or three hours have passed.

These are all original cases as well (as far as I know) so even if you are a Sherlock fanatic and know all the cases off by heart this will still give you plenty of surprises. Now, I’m sure I’m not the only one that, after watching anything Sherlock-related instantly wants to go out and solve crimes, this game gives you the opportunity to do so but it quickly shows you why you are nowhere near as good as Sherlock. I played the first case with my friend Jason and we ended up with -60 points! That’s not a typo, we really did get minus, and we got the actual solution wrong as well. We were so convinced and confident that we had it all worked out, and then we realized we had missed so much, and yet being so utterly wrong was so much fun! I played the second case with my friend Ayla and we actually managed to crack it, which made me so happy. I attribute that to the fact that she was more organized at taking notes than either I or Jason were. In all of the games I’ve played since I’ve gotten into the modern board gaming hobby there has been nothing that has compared to the excitement when I developed a theory and had it confirmed by a lead we visited. It’s so utterly, utterly engrossing that you forget it’s a game and you’re on the edge of your seat trying to work out who did what and why they did it.

I love this game so, so much. As a fan of Sherlock I love the flavour it brings out. There’s so much that’s been poured into this game, the casebooks are lovely to look at and read. The passages are well-written, the map is interesting to look at, especially when you get a location and realize how close it is to something else. And then there are the newspapers that all have articles, some of which pertain to the case, some don’t, and some even have references to things down the line, so in every subsequent case you have to refer back to all the newspapers so far, just in case there’s anything there. The Directory is superb as well, with so many names and establishments that it really does give you the feeling you’re going around asking all these people questions.

It’s easy to learn, but I think the free-form nature of the game may be jarring for some people. It does stutter a bit at the beginning after you’ve been introduced to the case and you have to just start. There’s no turn order or first-player markers, no board to track your progression, it’s all up to you, but once you understand that you can do anything you quickly submerge yourself in this murky sea of murder and crime.

So, it’s pretty obvious that I love this game and I recommend it highly, without question. However, let’s talk about a few negative things.

Since it’s been translated from French there are a few typos and these can be jarring. However, given how much text is in the game it’s kinda forgivable and you can always tell what the word was supposed to be. I’m generally forgiving with these anyway, but it’s not like they’re in every paragraphs.

Sometimes it can seem like the game is a bit unfair to the players, as there’s no way that you’ve ever going to beat Holmes. But, you know, he is the master detective and I don’t think you should really be aiming to beat Holmes, you should just aim to figure out what’s going on. However, sometimes it’s difficult because you can’t actually tell whether someone is lying or not, but the technology doesn’t exist for such a game yet.

The other big complaint, and it’s kind of a double-edged complaint really, is that there are only ten cases. Now, that sounds overly harsh because this game is amazing and if there are only ten cases then so be it, they still give ten (well I hope the other eight are as good as the first two) memorable experiences that last for 2,3,4 hours. But once you’re done with the cases you can’t do them again, unless you suffer from memory loss or manage to get your hands on a mind-wiping device. So there’s a temptation to let it linger until ‘the right moment’. I’m trying to savour them and not go through them too quickly, but I’ve still got eight left and the first two have been so good it’s much better to play them than to let the game wallow in anticipation. Plus, once I’m done I think I may lend it to friends or family and spread the love!

There have been a couple of expansions but since they were released in the 80s they haven’t been reprinted, and are very hard to track down. I think they’ve only been published in the original French as well. But I’d love to see more cases from this game because it’s such a good experience. I mean, me and Ayla spent at least three hours playing and then another hour or so talking about it. Sometimes you’ll realize how stupid you are and you’ll laugh at yourself, but other times you’ll hit on a solid theory and you’ll actually work it out, and it genuinely feels like you’ve accomplished something. It’s a special game and there’s not really anything else out there like it. I love it, and I think if you get it you’ll love it too.

Kick-Ass 2 Review

For those of you that follow me, you may have noticed a lack of movie reviews recently. This isn’t because I’ve been taking  a break from watching movies, it’s because I’ve started writing for a website called Flickering Myth! It’s a really cool website with some great features, reviews, news and other fun stuff so go check it out! A couple of other people are covering Kick-Ass 2 so I’m able to post my review on my blog. 

It’s a really fun movie, probably not quite as good as the first one but it was damned enjoyable. Obviously, if you’ve seen the first one you know there’s going to be a lot of bloody violence and a few scenes that will make you wince, so if you’re squeamish it’s probably best that you avoid it. I also should mention that there is a post-credits scene, which I and my friend missed because we’re idiots. 

The film is structured well, although a few bits were predictable, including some lines. I find it interest that it’s called Kick Ass when really Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) is the star of the show, and this is more about her character development. Kick Ass (Aaron Taylor Johnson) himself doesn’t really change throughout the movie. The rest of the cast was great, and Christoper Mintz-Plasse was just hilarious with some quotable lines. I’m very impressed how a character can be so funny yet so dangerous at the same time. 

I do feel, however, that the film goes against its own rules sometimes. They keep saying ‘this is not a comic book’, and yet there are moments that aren’t realistic at all. I mean, I don’t think Hit Girl should be able to take as much punishment as she does. Most of the time it is a realistic film, but Hit Girl seems to have an extra factor. Maybe it’s just because she’s so badass. 

One thing I really didn’t like about the film was the fact that some elements from the first film were just abandoned without much impact. I won’t go into spoiler territory, but there were some things in the first film that Kick Ass strived for, and they were simply pushed aside with a mere line or two of dialogue. I think this may harm re-watches of the first film. Also, it was quite unclear how much time had passed between the two movies. It doesn’t matter so much when you’re watching it, but it’s one of those things that you wonder about afterwards. Another criticism is that the final speech doesn’t really mesh with what he’s setting up to do, and while the first one had some relevant points about the reality of being a superhero I think some of the issues addressed in this film are brushed away in favour of having something shocking happen.

There were some really nice touches from the director. I loved how subtitled dialogue was in dialogue boxes, and I liked the mirroring of Kick Ass integrating himself into his superhero team while Hit Girl was trying to become popular at high school. 

Overall it’s a very entertaining film but Hit Girl really is the star of the show. I think it’s quite damning that a 15 year old girl is more heroic and inspiring than Superman was in Man of Steel. It’s fun, it’s quotable, and even though it’s a little predictable it won’t take away from the enjoyment. 

When a Bad Review Isn’t So Bad

Getting a review is always exciting, there’s the moment of sweet anticipation that either leads to elation or despair. Everybody likes a good review, I’m not going to lie, if I get one I walk around with an extra spring in my step. Bad ones however, well, depending on the content of the review they can often plunge a day into darkness, no matter how brightly the sun is shining. And yet a bad review isn’t always as bad as it may seem.

I used to think the hardest thing about writing was actually working up the courage to share it with others, but I think the hardest thing is to get people to give feedback on the books. Recently I got in touch with a few people, and so far I’ve had quite positive reviews for ‘Fraudulent’ and ‘I, Tomorrow? and Other Stories’ but ‘Angelic Hellfire’ has come in for some criticism. Surprisingly it didn’t bother me that much, I mean, obviously no-one likes to hear that somebody didn’t enjoy their book, but I think there are two main reasons why you wouldn’t like the book; either you don’t like the writing style or you don’t like the story.

It’s a lot harder to take when somebody doesn’t like your writing style because it’s something that is very hard to change. I’m not sure about other writers but I’ve never really put much thought into how I write, I just write in the way that comes naturally to me. So that criticism can sting a little, but if someone doesn’t like the story it doesn’t bother me too much, because not everyone will like everything, and if there is a major problem (like a massive plot hole) it’s something that can be fixed. My stories often have a lot of angst and with ‘Angelic Hellfire’ there’s a big shift in tone between genres, which I think people find jarring (although in my mind it is an organic development). If people don’t like angst that’s fine, obviously my stories won’t appeal to them so I don’t feel too bad, I just hope that the people who do love angst discover my books! 

Indie Book Review – Dragon Killer

I received a free copy of  Rob May’s Dragon Killer in exchange for a non-reciprocal review. I enjoyed this book a lot. It’s very fast-paced and tightly plotted, but it still makes time for world-building, which is always one of my favourite aspects of the fantasy genre. The tales of the old gods were intriguing and I liked how the author showed how religion and superstition would work in a world where the gods had died. I loved the picture of life he gave us, about how the society worked and the economics and even how people in this world gamble, and how it was all relevant to the plot. Sometimes I feel with fantasy stories authors get caught up in constructing a world and a history and they forget about the actual story, so it was good to get a glimpse of the wider world but without drifting too far away from the main plot. I especially liked the history of the gods, and how the people now pleaded instead of prayed. It seems like a world rich with history and since we only get a brief taste it whets the appetite for more.

 The story was well-structured. The first chapter of each part is devoted to a flashback, until the last part, when the climaxes to both stories are told simultaneously and they complement each other well. I liked the characterisation of all the characters, each were given distinct personalities, although the stand-outs were Kalinda and Darklaw. Kalinda especially was a protagonist that I could identify with and root for. The villain was surprisingly nuanced, I say surprisingly because at first he seems a typical power-hungry villain but then we are given a backstory which engenders some sympathy. It’s a fantasy story, so here we have dragons and goblins and I hope in future works we get some more creatures because the author gives us an idea of how the various groups relate with each other (I particularly liked how humans viewed the relationship between goblins and dragons) and it would fun to see how other factions fit into this hierarchy.

Probably my favourite aspect of the story was the attitude it had to superstition and belief, and how it can often blind us to the truth. Kalinda managed to see through all that and her rationality was a core strength to her character. 

 As I said before the story is very fast-paced and there’s a lot of action, but it never feels confusing or repetitive and the climax to the flashback story is particularly visceral. My only complaint is that I feel the romance was underdeveloped. It was quite brief and it seemed to come out of nowhere, and I think if it had been developed more it would have given certain events more emotional impact. But overall it was a very enjoyable read and I have no hesitation in recommending it.

It can be purchased from Amazon here.

– Man of Yesterday

World War Z Review

The much-troubled adaptation of Max Brooks’ book has finally hit the screen. Given the problems it’s suffered I didn’t go in with high hopes, I was mainly expecting a film with good action, a broad scope and to be entertained. Unfortunately it failed to deliver on its promise and was ultimately underwhelming and empty. Spoilers follow.

It’s been a few years since I’ve read the novel so I’m not going to judge the film in comparison to the book, it’s really not the same creature and anyone going in expecting a literal translation is going to be severely disappointed. The main reason why I went to see this film was because I was excited to see a zombie film that wasn’t confined to one city or a mall, and to actually see the ramifications of a zombie outbreak around the world. I was hoping to see a few interesting locales and at first the film seemed to be heading in that direction.

It starts off in America with Gerry (Brad Pitt) trying to save his family, and there are some good sequences. After that we jump to South Korea, although we only see a small base in the darkness, so it wasn’t exactly impressive but I figured they’d start small and build up. We then followed him to Jerusalem and that was probably the high point of the movie. We saw the zombies swarm over a wall in a very impressive sequence and then Gerry was off again.

The person he talked to in Jerusalem said they heard a memo from India that mentioned zombies, but the origin of the virus could have come from anywhere. This led me to believe that we’d see Gerry visit a few different environments as he tracked down the origin, and I was excited to see zombies in the jungle, in the desert, in other cities, maybe see them not function in a frozen wasteland. To me that was the main draw of the film, it’s called World War Z, I wanted to see the world and other glamorous locations, and given the budget I didn’t think it was too much to ask, so given all the possibilities to do something original in an exotic place where does the climax happen? In a small, almost deserted lab in Wales. Right.

It doesn’t help that the climax is incredibly anti-climactic. It involves Gerry and a few other characters running around a confined space trying (and failing) to keep quiet, something we’ve seen in a hundred other films. Then, Gerry injects himself with a virus (something which is actually interesting and was one of the few things the film did right, which I’ll get to in a second) at which point a character says something along the lines of, “If he injects himself with (that) he’ll be dead anyway,” but that’s never addressed and he’s fine by the end of it. At this point I was still hoping he’d go and spread the word about his discovery but then the film ended and I was singularly unimpressed.

One of the things that I love about zombie films is to see the inventive way people kill zombies, and that was another thing lacking. It just doesn’t compare to its lower-budget counterparts.

As for the zombies themselves, they’re quite frightening. They’re not a shuffling, relentless hoard but more of a frenetic swarm, eager to devour. They have a few tics which elicited laughs from a few people around me, but the ghoulish, bird-like cries were a good touch and the chattering teeth were creepy. The transformation was a good effect as well and it was unsettling to see people twist and writhe into the undead.

There wasn’t much in the way of emotional investment. Gerry had a family, but there were there to try and manipulate the audience into caring and it didn’t really work for me. They were present at the start of the film but once Gerry left on his mission they were largely forgotten, and at one point were literally shunted out of the story.

So, the few things the film did get right. Firstly, like I said, the zombies were decent. We did get a few action sequences and they were quite impressive. I liked most of the characters that Gerry encountered along the way, the most memorable were probably the soldiers stationed at the base in South Korea. I also liked ‘The Tenth Man’ concept described in Jerusalem.

The one thing that did actually impress me was the way they handled the virus. Instead of searching for a cure, they decided to look for a way to protect themselves and in the end figured out that the zombies don’t attack those who are terminally ill. I found it quite novel, but for all I know it could have been taken from the book since I can’t remember it that well, but at the moment I’ll give the film credit for it.

Apart from that it was very disappointing. I think there was the potential for a good, original, exciting movie but in the end it was lackluster. My main annoyance is the climax, it just reverted to a typical zombie film when it could have done something so much different. I still hope that eventually a tv company will produce a mini-series that is more faithful to the books.

Also, they probably called the wrong man, they didn’t need this Gerry guy, they needed Daryl Dixon ;).

– Man of Yesterday

Iron Man 3 Review

I went to the midnight showing of Iron Man 3 last night. I was pretty psyched beforehand, but then I watched Iron Man and the last hour or so of Avengers which got me even more excited. The cinema was pretty packed with a good crowd although the actions of some fans at the end mystified me, I mean, surely if you go to a midnight showing you’re a pretty dedicated fan so you should know all the Marvel films have post-credit scenes yet a lot of people left in droves as soon as the credits started rolling. Anyway, first my non-spoiler review.

I have to say that while I like the first two Iron Man films I have a few issues with them. I feel that the final battles were anti-climactic, and Iron Man 2 felt more of an Avengers prologue than a genuine Iron Man film. Iron Man 3, on the other hand, is a seamless mesh of humour, action and drama which deepens Tony Stark’s character whilst providing a lot of laughs and explosions along the way. There were a few twists I didn’t see coming and the relentless pace made the film move along swiftly. While it mentioned the events of Avengers it wasn’t tied down to it which I’m glad about because while I love that there’s a shared universe, I don’t want to feel like I have to see every film to understand the others (having said that I’d probably see them all anyway).

Every character got a lot to do and Robert Downey Jr. was on top form again. There was no unnecessary angst and the conflict present naturally flowed from the characters. Credit has to be given to the editors of the trailer because there is a lot of the story that the trailers didn’t give any indication to, so prepare to be surprised.

Now for spoilers, beware.

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It started with a flashback where we got to see Happy with a mullet and a nice cameo by Yensin, who helped Tony build the first suit in Iron Man. Then we leap forward to the present where Tony is dealing with the aftermath of New York. I like that it affected him so much because he’s probably the one Avenger who is most unused to the horrifying experience he went through. The others were either military, a god or the Hulk so they were used to the trauma whereas Tony wasn’t.

He’s rather on edge to say the least and sends out a message to the Mandarin, daring him to strike at his home. Big mistake. Tony’s house gets obliterated and he’s cast away to Tennessee, presumed dead. He makes friends with a young boy, and their scenes together provide more laughs. He also begins to put the pieces of the mystery together and finds out that Aldrich Killian has been using Extremis to heal people, but in some it has been unstable so they’re used as bombs. The Extremis army is powerful and they all provide worthy foes for Iron Man.

Tony traces the Mandarin to his headquarters in Miami and we get a big surprise. The Mandarin isn’t actually The Mandarin at all, he’s just an actor, played brilliantly by Ben Kingsley. It took me completely by surprise and it was such a good transformation from the cold, calculating Mandarin to the twitchy, spaced out actor Trevor. As I said, the trailers did a great job of covering this up. Meanwhile. Rhodey has been relieved of his Iron Patriot armour and Pepper has been captured and injected with Extremis.

There’s a very impressive action sequence involving Air Force One, where Tony has to fly through the air and collect falling victims. They all catch each other and form a sort of daisy chain, it was an exciting sequence and I can’t remember seeing anything quite like it before.

The final conflict takes place at a shipyard and the industrial setting is a fitting landscape. Tony is suitless by this point, but he instigates his ‘house party’ protocol and an army of armours join them. It was really cool to see a lot of different armours in action, especially the way Tony used them to fight. I like the Extemis army as well. One point my friend raised before the film, and it’s one I agreed with, was that we hoped that the main villain wouldn’t be a variation of Tony’s armour, because the previous two films had both featured that idea. It was nice to see different tactics deployed. There were some points when he transferred from armour to armour, ejecting just as he was about to be hit. It was a frantic sequence but it never became a blur. Pepper was dropped into a great blazing fire, but it was quite predictable that she wasn’t dead because she’d been injected with Extremis, and, true enough she came back. Tony was being put on the ropes by Killian, but then Pepper comes in and saves the day. It was a nice little twist on the usual order of things by having the love interest save the hero. I really like the Tony and Pepper relationship, they’re portrayed as equals and they help each other.

I was a bit puzzled by the end. He destroys all the armours, which I thought was a bit of a waste. Especially given the events of Avengers, surely they would come in handy in case the Chitauri attacked again. But, I suppose they were becoming a bit of an obsession and he wanted to let it go. He also got rid of the shrapnel in his chest, but he assures us as the end that nobody can take away the fact that he is Iron Man. It was a satisfying ending although as I said a bit puzzling, because one would assume he’s simply going to build more sets of armour.

Then we come to the end credits scene. I wasn’t sure what to expect, although usually the end credits scene has been used to set up the next film, but I thought possibly this could hint to Guardians of the Galaxy because not much is widely known about them. The one thing about Iron Man 3 that disappointed me was the lack of Bruce Banner. I thought, given that the two of them drove off together at the end of Avengers he may have had a small role to play. Lo and behold, just as I mentioned that to my friend he appeared! It was a cute little scene which gave some sense to the voiceover which framed the film. It was just a little annoying that they placed it right at the end of the credits rather than after the animated sequence of credits that occurred just at the conclusion of the film.

They assured us that Tony Stark would return, but not when, so is it possible he’ll be in a film before Avengers 2? Interesting to think about, given that I believe he has allied with the Guardians of the Galaxy occasionally.