North American audiences are forced to wait until Friday, May 3, for the domestic release of Marvel’s Iron Man 3, but that hasn’t stopped Tony Stark from drumming up a massive box office take this past weekend in foreign markets. The sequel grossed $195.3 million in 42 markets, which beats out the $185.1-million international debut for The Avengers.
The official plot synopsis: “Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?”
There hasn’t been a movie that has been built up the same way The Avengers has. It all started in 2008, when Samuel L. Jackson – as Nick Fury – showed up in Iron Man after the credits had rolled to tell Robert Downey Jr. that he was not the only superhero in the world and S.H.I.E.L.D. had a little something called “The Avengers Initiative” in the works. Speculation ran wild on the internet with people wondering which members of the team would be involved and who the villain might be. As the years went on the details started to mete themselves out. Films like The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, and Iron Man 2 gave us our heroes, villain, and a lead in to what the plot was going to be based around. Finally on May 4, 2012, four years and two days after Iron Man opened in theaters, The Avengers was released to an audience that had been dying to see it.
This is important to mention because it was almost impossible for a fan of superhero movies to not get excited and to not have high expectations. Interestingly, this makes the movie liable to be judged in an extreme way. If the movie was very good, people’s excitement would propel it to be viewed as great. If the movie was a disappointment, people would rightfully be angry about it after placing more money and hours into it than most other franchises. As it happens, Marvel succeeded and The Avengers does in fact tiptoe the line between very good and great. Currently it appears most people think it’s great (already sitting in the global Top 20), but I found it to be closer to the latter. A solid action blockbuster that exceeded the majority of the movies that came before it in the series. As more time goes by and the honeymoon period starts to fade, I think more people will tend to agree with me. Read the rest of this entry »
Notorious for not playing the game of schmoozing and for picking unconventional movie roles, Val Kilmer has raised eyebrows as often for what he has done as for what he has chosen not to do. At times, he has been presented as a movie star but in truth he’s clearly much more comfortable as an actor. He addressed a packed audience on Saturday, April 15th at C2E2 in Chicago and gamely fielded questions about his filmography. When asked his criteria for choosing a role, he cited its interest to him as the most important factor, emphasizing that he rarely gave much consideration to what the film may do for his career (with one notable exception, explained momentarily). Read the rest of this entry »
A common thread that runs through all of Bret Easton Ellis’ books is the exploration of hollow persons. People who are generally well-off financially yet dead on the inside, so numb to the world around them that even acts of horrific violence and depravity can’t faze them more than momentarily. Ellis has populated his stories with these characters, often set in the 1980s to satirize the excessiveness of the time period. While reading all the books back-to-back is probably not recommended, the author manages to find enough variety and different themes to explore to make them all have some value. If he seems one-note, one does not look closely enough. Read the rest of this entry »