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February 29th, 2016 Movie – The Incredible Hulk

the incredible hulk

I have often wondered what exactly the people who made the calendar/dating system had against February. I mean, why exactly did they decide to give it the short end of the stick as far as the number of days in the month, then decide to throw it a bone every four years and give it an extra day. But enough about that. Today’s movie was the second entrant into the MCU and came out just one month after Iron Man. Hoping to cash in on the success of Iron Man, and hoping that comparisons to Ang Lee’s Hulk wouldn’t keep people away, the studio had high hopes for The Incredible Hulk.

The plot: Bruce Banner, a fugitive from the U.S. Army, is hiding out in Brazil, where he works as a day laborer at a local soda factory. While helping to fix one of the machines, Bruce cuts his finger and has the owner stop the machine so he can clean up the blood, not noticing a nearby bottle that some of the blood had dripped into get filled up with the soda and shipped out. As he leaves work for the day, he saves a famale co-worker that was being harassed by some other workers, then meets up with a man who gives him a package. Returning to his apartment, Bruce pulls out a laptop and after connecting to the internet, begins online chatting with a man named Mr. Blue. The package contains a flower which Bruce hopes will be able to cure the gamma mutation in his blood but when he tests it on a single drop, it doesn’t work. He reports the failure to Mr. Blue, Mr. Blue tells him that they should meet but when Bruce says it is too dangerous, Mr. Blue says to send him a blood sample so he can try to help, which Bruce reluctantly does. Some time later, General Thunderbolt Ross receives a report of a man who received gamma poisoning after drinking a soda. Ross, finds out where the soda is bottled then has a team assembled, including Emil Blonsky (on loan from the British Royal Marines) to go in, tranquilize Bruce, and bring him in. In Brazil, Bruce receives a message from Mr. Blue saying that he might be able to cure him but he needs more data, which Bruce does not have available. That night, Blonsky leads his team to Banner’s apartment but when his dog hears something, Banner decides to run, with Blonsky and his team giving chase. Bruce ends up running into the men that were harassing his female co-worker and they chase him into the bottling plant where they start to beat on him. As Blonsky and his team arrive at the plant, Bruce transforms and quickly dispatches of the men and when Blonsky and his men attack, easily takes care of them before he escapes, with Blonsky being the only one to survive unharmed. Later, Blonsky meets with Ross and asks for some answers to what happened and tells him that if Ross is going after that thing again, he wants in on the team. Ross confides to Blonsky that he was working on revamping the old Super Soldier program from WWII and Bruce’s work was early stage, under the guise of gamma resistance but when he tested it on himself, something went wrong. Ross then asks why Blonsky hasn’t been promoted and after Blonsky responds that he is a fighter and wishes he had the body he had 10 years ago with the knowledge he had now, Ross says he might be able to help him with that. Meanwhile, after waking up in Guatemala, Bruce makes his way back to his old lab at Culver University in Virginia, but seeing the security system in place, does not go inside. He tries looking up Betty Ross, his old girlfriend and Thunderbolt’s daughter, but noticing she is with someone, decides to see his old friend Stanley, who owns a local pizza shop. Stanley tells Bruce about Betty’s new boyfriend offers Bruce the spare room over the shop for him to use to rest. Disguised as a pizza delivery boy, Bruce is able to sneak into the lab and use the computers but is unable to find his old data in the system and contacts Mr. Blue to relay the news. Bruce packs up his things and goes to say goodbye to Stanley but as he starts to walk into the shop, he is spotted by Betty, who had just come in with her new boyfriend, and he quickly runs out the back door. Betty runs out after him but when she doesn’t see him, she questions Stanley as to whether it was really Bruce, then gets in her car and finds him, convincing him to come back to her house. At her home, Betty gives Bruce their data from the experiment, saying that she got it out of the computer before her father and the military took everything. When Bruce says that he has to leave in the morning, she agrees to give him some cash and help him get to the bus station. Meanwhile, Blonsky meets with Ross, who says he will give Blonsky a low dose of the revamped super soldier formula but if there are any side effects, he will pull Blonsky until he is back to normal. The next day, Betty is saying goodbye to Bruce when Bruce notices some military men approaching and tells Betty to run before he takes off. Bruce makes his way through the college grounds, spotting Blonsky chasing after him and makes his way to the college library, where he swallows the flash drive with the data on it. Betty sees the command vehicle approaching and stands in front of it until her father emerges from it and confronts her. When Bruce is cornered in an overhead walkway, Ross orders gas canisters fired to try and knock him out. When Betty runs towards Bruce and is stopped by some of the soldiers, Bruce becomes angry and transforms into the Hulk, smashing out of the walkway. Ross orders his men to attack, and when the guns don’t work, he sends in Blonsky, who is able to avoid the Hulk’s attacks and lure him into the path of two Humvees armed with sonic cannons, which stop the Hulk in his tracks. When the Hulk sees Betty pleading with Ross to stop, he is able to use a piece of metal as a shield to blunt the sonic attack, allowing him to destroy the two Humvees. Blonsky disregards orders and attacks the Hulk but after he runs out of bullets, the Hulk kicks him in the chest, sending Blonsky rolling into a tree. Ross orders his men to pull back as he calls in a gunship but Betty approaches the Hulk. When the helicopter begins firing at the Hulk, the Hulk shields Betty from the bullets, as well as the explosion when the Hulk destroys the helicopter, but the explosion knocked Betty unconscious so he carries her off. Later, Ross has his men take all of Betty’s research from her home while he speaks with her boyfriend, Dr. Leonard Samson, who had tipped off Ross, but Leonard isn’t able to help them, saying the Hulk protected Betty when Ross almost killed her. Meanwhile the Hulk had carried Betty to a cave in the mountains fro the night and the next day, Betty gets a motel so they can rest. While Betty goes shopping for some supplies, Bruce regurgitates the data and after figuring out what they could take, Bruce sends the data to Mr. Blue and they make their way to meet him in New York City. Meanwhile, Blonsky has miraculously recovered from the injuries he received and Ross gives him a second does of the serum but unknown to Ross, Blonsky begins showing signs of outward mutation. Meanwhile, with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s help, the military learn the identity of Mr. Blue, cellular biologist Samuel Sterns, and they set up checkpoints all around the city to try and find Bruce and Betty as they get in. Bruce and Betty manage to slip past the checkpoints and meet with Sterns, who says that he doesn’t know if his antidote will cure just that one episode or if it is a permanent cure, plus there is the risk of killing Bruce. After getting him prepared for the procedure, Sterns initiates a change in Banner but as the Hulk starts to break free, Betty gets onto the Hulk’s chest and manages to calm him down long enough for the procedure to work. Later, Sterns talks about how he doesn’t know if this is a permanent cure as none of his test subjects survived and when Bruce questions him about the test subjects, Sterns tells Bruce that he was forced to replicate Bruce’s blood in order to test his procedure. Bruce wants all of the samples of his blood destroyed so it doesn’t fall into the military’s hands but he is suddenly shot with a tranquilizer and captured. As he is placed into a helicopter, Betty goes to follow, arguing with her father over how he made Bruce a fugitive to cover his mistakes. Meanwhile, Ross’s aide is questioning Sterns on if he can replicate Bruce’s experiment and make more Hulks when she is knocked out by Blonsky, who wants Sterns to give him the Hulk’s power but Sterns worries that the Hulk’s blood, mixed with whatever is in Blonsky, would result in an abomination. After being threatened by Blonsky, Sterns goes ahead with the procedure and Blonsky mutates into a monster, knocking Sterns aside, where some of the Hulk’s blood drips onto his head, causing his head to start swelling. Abomination smashes his way out of the building and the military mistakenly believes it to be the Hulk but when they radio it in to Ross, he knows it can’t be the Hulk as Banner is there next to him. Seeing video of what is going on, Bruce convinces Ross to let him fight it, as he believes he can direct the Hulk at Abomination. After kissing Betty, Bruce drops out of the helicopter in order to help facilitate the change and ends up crashing through the street but emerges as the Hulk. When Abomination sees the Hulk, the two monsters race towards each other but Abomination, being bigger than the Hulk, gets the upper hand. Tearing a police car in half, the Hulk uses the wreckage as a pair of boxing gloves and proceeds to beat down Abomination but Abomination kicks him through a building. As Abomination gives chase, Ross orders the helicopter to open fire on him and Abomination ends up attacking the helicopter. Hulk manages to save the helicopter from Abomination but they end up crashing onto a rooftop. Abomination attacks the Hulk again and overpowers him but seeing Betty in danger, the Hulk gets a burst of strength and manages to beat Abomination, using a some heavy chains to choke him unconscious. Betty approaches the Hulk, who calls out her name, but when a news helicopter shines a spotlight on them, the Hulk takes off. Later, Betty is looking at a picture she took of Bruce before her camera’s battery dies while somewhere in British Columbia, Canada, Bruce is meditating when his eyes turn green, signalling a transformation, at which he smiles. Later, Ross is sitting in a bar when he is approached by Tony Stark, who tells the general that they are putting a team together and the general questions who is doing that.

The Incredible Hulk received mostly positive reviews, holding a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. the consensus among the critics is that “The Incredible Hulk provides the action and excitement to please comic book fans and re-ignite this fledgling franchise.” The movie made over $263 million at the box office, and though it did not seem like it by the numbers, the movie was considered a success by the studio. Though the idea was for another stand alone film to be made, so far that hasn’t happened, but he is supposed to have more prominent roles in some of the phase 3 and 4 movies.

I know I am probably in the minority on this, but I like this movie. The acting was pretty good, with Ed Norton making a decent Bruce Banner, while Liv Tyler (Betty) and William Hurt (General Ross) were also good. I also like Tim Roth (Blonsky) but was bit disappointed in the change to his character. The story was pretty good and while they did change the details on how he became the Hulk, I liked how they chose to recap it during the opening credits instead of devoting a whole scene to it, since that has been shown in one form or another in the previous movie, not to mention the TV show and two cartoon series. I did like the couple of funny inside jokes that were in the movie, such as Betty giving Bruce a pair of purple pants, the cameo by Lou Ferrigno and the pizza owner being called Stanley (a play off of Stan Lee). I know some people might criticize this movie as being nothing but a lot of action but let’s be honest people. with a movie involving the Hulk, you don’t really need plot, you just want to watch him smash stuff, which this movie delivered. It’s not the best movie in the series but it is still fun to watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Flashback Review: March 28th, 2014 Movie – Batman: The Movie

batman the movie

It’s just a super hero kind of day as I review this movie I watched a while back. Now when I was a kid, I remember watching rerun of the old Batman TV show on TV, as well as catching the movie they ma

The plot: Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were going for a drive when they receive a warning that the yacht carrying famed inventor Commodore Schmidlapp is in danger, they return to Wayne Manor and using the Bat-poles, change into their costumes as they enter the Batcave and race off in the Batmobile. Heading to the airport where the Batcopter is waiting for them, they fly off to the yacht’s last known position and Batman uses the Batladder to climb down onto the yacht. Just before he reaches it, the yacht suddenly disappears and Batman ends up plunging into the ocean. Robin raises Batman out of the water but a shark has bit down on Batman’s leg. Robin hands Batman a can of Bat-Shark repellant spray, which he uses to get the shark to let go of his leg, causing it to fall back into the sea, where it explodes. At Commissioner Gordon’s office, Batman holds a press conference to try and answer the reporters’ questions and assuage their fears. One of the reporters, Miss Kitka from the Moscow Bugle, asks Batman to take off his mask for a photo but they refuse, explaining that his and Robin’s identities are a closely guarded secret. After the reporters leave, Batman, Robin, Commissioner Gordon, and Chief O’Hara, learn that Catwoman, Joker, Penguin, and Riddler are all at large and realize that the four crooks have joined forces to commit the crime and Batman and Robin head back to the Batcave to try and find a clue. Meanwhile, Miss Kitka heads to a bar on the docks, where it is revealed that she is Catwoman in disguise and she meets with the other criminals, who have kidnapped Commodore Schmidlapp and tricked him into believing that he is still on board the yacht but it is stuck in heavy fog. At the Batcave, Batman and Robin find an illegal buoy, which they believe was used to project the illusion of the yacht to lure them into the trap. Using the Batboat, they head out to investigate the buoy, unaware that Penguin, Riddler, and Joker are observing them in the Penguin’s sub. Batman and Robin discover the projector unit in the buoy, then notice the sub’s periscope watching them. Before the can get away, Penguin activates the electromagnet in the buoy, holding the two heroes captive while Joker fires torpedoes at the helpless heroes. Batman uses his Bat-transmitter to send super energy waves at the torpedoes, detonating two of them early, but the batteries die before he can destroy the third one. When the torpedo explodes, the criminals believe they have killed Batman and Robin but unknown to them, a porpoise had swam in front of the torpedo, saving the two heroes from being killed. When they reach shore, they witness a missile being fired from the sky and two riddles are written into the sky. At Commissioner Gordon’s office, the crime fighters solve the riddles and realize that they point to Catwoman and Batman theorizes that the 4 criminal masterminds are out to take over the world. Meanwhile, Catwoman discusses the criminals’ plan to take over the United World Organization’s Security Council and how they need to get rid of Batman and Robin. Riddler decides to use each criminal’s strengths to lure Batman into a trap, with Catwoman posing as Kitka to seduce Bruce Wayne and use him as a bait for the trap. Kitka goes to see Bruce Wayne, showing him a note reportedly from the Riddler and Bruce Wayne decides to spend the evening with her to keep her safe, while Robin and Alfred keep watch in the Batmobile. Robin checks in with Commissioner Gordon and has him light the Batsignal, hoping it will cause the criminals to go ahead and make their movie. Seeing the signal, Kitka signals the other crooks and they capture Bruce Wayne and Kitka. At the criminal’s hideout, Bruce manages to trick the criminals into freeing him, then searches for Kitka but unable to find her, he makes his escape. Penguin comes up with a plan to trick Batman into taking him to the Batcave and uses Commodore Schmidlapp’s invention to dehydrate 5 of his goons, turning them into powder and placing them into individual test tubes. Batman and Robin return to the bar and discover a bomb there so Batman jumps down and grabs the bomb and races out to get rid of it, choosing to save the bar patrons in spite of their shady lifestyle. As Batman recovers, the pair are approached by Penguin, disguised as Schmidlapp, but Batman and Robin see through the disguise and decide to play along and see what Penguin is up to. Using gas to knock Penguin out, they take him to the Batcave, where the Penguin rehydrates the goons to attack the Dynamic Duo, but he accidentally uses heavy water to rehydrate the goons, causing them to be unstabel and disintegrate at the slightest contact. Penguin manages to get away but Batman and Robin follow him until they are accidentally knocked out of the sky by one of Riddler’s skywriting rockets. Penguin meets up with the other criminals at the United World Organization’s Security Council, and proceed to dehydrate the nine members, and place them in test tubes. Batman and Robin show up as the criminals are leaving but Catwoman stalls them by threatening Kitka’s life, allowing the crooks to escape. Batman figure out where they are heading and give chase in the Batboat, then use Batcharges to bring the sub to the surface, where the proceed to fight with the criminals and their henchmen. They manage to subdue the criminals but when Catwoman tries to get away, she trips and her mask comes off, revealing her identity as Miss Kitka to Batman and Robin. After calling in to have the criminals picked up, Batman grabs the test tubes containing the security council when Schmidlapp shows up and trips, breaking the test tubes and scattering the dust when he sneezes. Batman and Robin collect all of the dust and use their Super Molecular Dust Separator to separate the different particles into the individual containers. Heading back to the Security Council’s chambers, Batman and Robin re-hydrate the council but realize that the members now speak a different language than their native country and Batman hopes that this “mixing of the minds” will lead to more good than harm before the Dynamic Duo head out the window.

Batman: The Movie was well received by the critics, holding an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus among the critics is that “Batman: The Movie elevates camp to an art form — and has a blast doing it, every gloriously tongue-in-cheek inch of the way.” Producer William Dozier had wanted to do the movie while the TV series was running, to generate more interest in the show, but the studio didn’t want to cover the entire cost of the movie as opposed to only sharing the cost of the TV Show. Many of the characters from the show reprised their roles from the show with the notable exception of Catwoman, who was played by Julie Newmar in the first season of the show but due to scheduling conflicts, was replaced in the movie, and secodn season of the show, by Lee Meriwether. The movie was barely a success, as it only made $1.7 million off of a $1.5 million budget.

You absolutely can not help but laugh at how campy this movie is, which is why it is so much fun to watch. Every actor and actress were so good in their over the top performances that it is hard to list one as a favorite because they all did incredible jobs. The plot honestly felt like it was from and old school comic book, but filled with a lot more campiness. The scene with Batman trying to get rid of the bomb is definitely one of the funniest scenes to watch. The fight scenes were so over the top corny that they are just funny to watch, especially when you add the floating word balloons that would pop up when people would throw a punch or kick. Definitely a must see movie for any comic book fan, especially if you need something to watch and cheer yourself up.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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February 28th, 2016 Movie – Iron Man

iron man

Now I know what most of you are probably thinking. You are all wondering why I didn’t review today’s movie a couple of month’s ago. Well, there is a method to my madness, or at least my organizing ability. You see today’s movie was the first in an ongoing series of movies that have been dubbed the “Marvel Cinematic Universe”, which is why I waited until now to watch these movies. Now, I was a big collector of comic books as a kid, and to a lesser extent now, and mainly picked Marvel over DC, though there were some exceptions, and while I was not a long time reader of Iron Man or the Avengers, I did read enough of the comics to know enough about the character. Hearing that a live action movie would be coming out had me eager to see it so let’s see just how good today’s movie, Iron Man, really is.

The plot: In Afghanistan, Tony Stark is riding in a military convoy when the convoy comes under attack. Tony tries to get to safety and call for help, but an explosive lands near him and he has time to notice that it is one of his own weapons before it explodes, seriously injuring him and he is captured by a terrorist group known as the Ten Rings. In flashback, a ceremony is held at Ceasar’s Palace where Lt. Colonel James Rhodes, Tony’s friend and military liaison whom he refers to as “Rhodey”, was presenting an award to Tony but Tony didn’t show up so the award was accepted by Obadiah Stane, the manager for Stark Industries. James finds Tony gambling in the casino and after they leave, Tony is approached by reporter Christine Everhart, who asks him a couple of questions and ends up going back to Tony’s place with him to have sex. The next morning, Pepper Potts, Tony’s administrative assistant, goes over some last minute items before he heads to the airport to meet Rhodey and they fly to Afghanistan to showcase Stark Industries new Jericho missile system. Back to the present, Tony comes too and finds himself a prisoner along with another scientist named Yinsen, who was able to save Tony’s life by grafting an electro-magnet to his chest in order to keep the pieces of shrapnel still in his chest from reaching his heart. When their captors arrive, they have Yinsen translate and tell Tony that they want him to build them a Jericho missile, revelaing that they already have several cases of weapons for him to use in the process. Tony agrees, but instead of building the weapon, he decides to use the materials to build a way out of there. First, he takes apart several missiles and uses some of the material inside to build a miniature arc reactor, which will help keep the shrapnel from his heart and make him more mobile, as well as power what he wants to build next, an armed suit of armor that will help them break out of there. When the leader of the Ten Rings grows impatient with their lack of progress, he gives them an ultimatum to finish the missile by tomorrow or he will kill them. Stark and Yinsen rush to finish building the armor but when they realize it will take some time to fully power the suit, Yinsen grabs the weapon from a downed guard and heads out to buy Tony some more time and ends up getting shot. Some guards enter Tony’s workspace as the suit finishes powering up and he makes short work of the guards and makes his way out of the cave. Finding the badly injured Yinsen, Stark tries to rescue him but Yinsen’s injuries are fatal and he tells Stark that he will be going to see his family, who are already dead, and tells Tony not to waste his life. Tony exits the cave and proceeds to destroy all of the cases of weapons that were from his company before flying away from there, crashing some ways out into the desert. Tony is eventually rescued by some military helicopters, with Rhodey leading the search, and transported back to the US, where Pepper tries to get him to go to a hospital but he insists on grabbing a cheeseburger and then call a press conference. Returning to Stark Industries, Tony is greeted by Obadiah and they head to the podium for the press conference, while Pepper is approached by Agent Phil Coulson from S.H.I.E.L.D., who asks her to arrange a time for Tony to be debriefed. At the press conference, Tony announces that the experience has opened his eyes and he plans to shut down the company’s weapons manufacturing division, which causes some concern to Obadiah, who voices his concerns to Tony later. At his home, Tony has Pepper help him as he works on replacing the arc reactor he built in Afghanistan with a newer, more powerful model. Tony goes to see Rhodey and tells him he is working on a new project and wants to bring him in but Rhodey turns him down and tells Tony he needs to go back to making weapons. With the help of Tony’s AI program Jarvis, Tony begins building a new suit of armor, choosing to keep it a secret from everyone and keeping the records on his own server. As his work progresses, Obadiah comes to see him after attending a meeting with the Board of Directors and tells Stark that the company’s stock had dropped 56 points but Tony refuses to tell Obadiah what he is working on, even when Obadiah tells Tony that the Board is filing an injunction against him. Tony finishes in building a suit of armor and decides to take it for a test flight but as he tries seeing how high it can go, the suit begins to freeze up and he ends up falling from the sky until he is finally able to reboot his system and regain flight. Returning to his home, Tony works on solving the freezing problem and comes up with some new ideas for a future suit, then heads out to a charity benefit while the new suit is being built. At the event, Tony sees Pepper and convinces her to dance with him and as the two are talking later, they realize there is some chemistry between them. Tony is later approached by Christine, who shows him some photos of an Afghan village, which Tony recognizes as Yinsen’s home, showing the villagers being killed by Stark Industries weapons, including the Jericho missile. Tony questions Obadiah about the weapons being shipped out and Obadiah admits that he is the one that filed the injunction to lock Tony out of the company. Tony heads home and after donning the new suit of armor, flies to Afghanistan and arrives in time to save a group of villagers from being killed/taken captive by the Ten Rings, then heads to the weapons depot that had the Jericho missile and destroys it. As he is flying back, he is attacked by two F-22’s, as the military had observed what had happened and wanted to know what the unknown bogey was. Rhodey is on the phone with Tony and though he denies it at first, Tony admits that the bogey is him and he accidentally destroys one of the planes but manages to save the pilot before flying off. Later, Obadiah arrives in Afghanistan and meets with the leader of the Ten Rings, who had retireved the original armor that Tony had built. Obadiah uses a sonic weapon to paralyze the terrorist, then has his men kill all of the terrorist and take the armor with them, where he assigns a secret lab at Stark Industries to work on reverse engineering a prototype to build. At his home, Tony sends Pepper to Stark Industries to break into the company mainframe and try to find any list of the shipping manifest for the weapons but when she hacks the computer, she finds a video file that shows Obadiah was working with the Ten Rings and had ordered the attempt on Tony’s life. Obadiah shows up as Pepper copies the files and when he realizes what she has done, he starts to go after her but Pepper leaves the building with Agent Coulson. When Obadiah’s people are unable to create a miniaturized arc reactor, Obadiah goes to Tony’s house and uses the sonic device to paralyze Tony long enough for him to steal the arc reactor from Tony’s chest. Pepper calls Rhodey and has him check on Tony while she leads Coulson and some other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to Obadiah’s lab. At his house, Tony makes his way to his workshop and grabs the original arc reactor that Pepper had framed but passes out before he can put it in but Rhodey shows up and helps Tony. Pepper leads that agents into section 16, where they find Obadiah in his new suit of armor, which he calls Iron Monger. Tony dons his Mark III armor but the old reactor is only able to provide 64% power. He arrives just in time to save Pepper from Iron Monger, but he finds himself out matched by Obadiah’s armor. Deciding to use Obadiah’s armor against itself, flying up to the maximum altitude with Obadiah on his heels, but just as Obadiah catches up to Tony, the Iron Monger armor succumbs to the freezing temperatures and shuts down. On reserve power, Tony manages to make it to the roof of Stark Industries but Iron Monger appears and continues fighting him. Tony uses the suit to call Pepper and has her prepare the main arc reactor to overload, resulting in the Iron Monger suit to overload and kill Obadiah, who ends up crashing into the reactor and causing it to explode. The next day, Tony is given a cover story by Agent Coulson to use at his press conference to talk about “Iron Man”  but when he gets to the podium, he ends up telling the reporters that he is Iron Man. Later, Nick Fury shows up at Tony’s house, telling Tony that he is not the only super hero and asks to speak with him about the “Avenger Initiative.”

Iron Man was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus among the critics is ” Director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr. make this smart, high impact superhero movie one that even non-comics fans can enjoy.” The movie was a box office success, earning over $585 million worldwide off a $140 million budget. The movie would be the first in Marvel’s attempt to make a unified cinematic universe with the hopes of incorporating future characters into the film series and having them all be connected.

While I have always gone back and forth as to where I would rank this movie among the others, One thing that never changed is the fact that this is an incredible movie to watch. Robert Downey Jr. was hands down the best person to play this role and he did an amazing job as Tony Stark. Gwenyth Paltrow (Pepper), Jeff Bridges(Obadiah), and Terrence Howard(Rhodey) were also very good in their roles. The story was very good and did a good job of modernizing the origin as well as introducing the audience to a character that most people were not as familiar with as other super heroes. The special effects were really good and had a great blend of the CGI with the suits to mix with the real life people they were interacting with. A great action/comic book movie that really leaves you chomping at the bit for more.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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February 27th, 2016 Movie -The Martian

the martian

There is a running joke among my friends that I never buy/watch “good” movies, which is funny but not entirely true. The joke was made due to my love for B-movies (and some lower grade ones) and my tendency to buy such movies. My reasoning was always that everyone buys the big blockbusters and famous movies but the lower budget movies need love too, especially since I want them to continue being made. So anytime I buy one of the “good” movies, my friends get confused as to why I own it. Today’s movie will definitely have them scratching their heads as I review a fairly recent purchase, The Martian.

The plot: The Ares III manned mission to Mars is on the 18th day of their mission when a strong dust storm forces them to scrub the mission. As they are making their way to the MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle), a piece of debris is thrown by the storm and hits astronaut Mark Watney, sending him flying from the group. Not picking up any signs of life from Mark’s suit, Melissa Lewis, the mission commander, sends the rest of the crew to the MAV while she tries to locate Mark’s body but as the storm grows worse and threatens the ship’s stability, she is forced to give up the search and they blast off from the surface, leaving Mark behind. On Earth, a press conference is held where Teddy Sanders, NASA’s Administrator, announces that the astronauts have returned to their ship, Hermes, and are on their way back to Earth, but that Mark was killed during the storm. On Mars, Mark regains consciousness and finds that a piece of the debris had punctured his suit and wounded him but the blood clotted around the wound and kept him from dying of decompression. Making his way back to the HAB (the mission’s living quarters), Mark treats his injury, then starts recording a log, where he lists what his options are and what he must do to try and survive. After going through all the food supplies, Mark figures he has enough food for 300 sols (days) but figures he might be able to ration it out to 400, but must still come up with a way to grow enough food for 3 more years. Putting his botany skills to use, Mark transforms the kitchen area of the HAB into a greenhouse, using recycled waste from all of the astronauts as fertilizer for the martian soil and extracting hydrogen from leftover rocket fuel and using a fire to oxidize it in order to make water. Mark plants some potatoes that were saved for Thanksgiving and after two weeks, he notices that the plants have started to grow. On Earth, Vincent Kapoor, the Mars mission director, speaks with Sanders to try and finance a 6th Ares mission in order to go to retrieve Mark’s body, but Sanders is reluctant to try. Meanwhile, Mindy Park, a satellite planner for NASA is given some coordinates to check and sees that it is the HAB. When she notices that some items have been moved since the day the astronauts left, she realizes that Mark is still alive and reports the news to Vincent and Sanders. Along with the NASA’s head of media relations, the two men look at Mindy’s findings and try to figure out what they are going to do but Sanders says not to tell the rest of the Ares III crew, as he doesn’t want them to get distracted. Back on Mars, Mark knows that the next Ares mission to Mars will be in 4 years but the landing site is 3200 kilometers away and the Rover that was brought on the mission only has a battery life good for 35 kilometers before it needs to be recharged at the HAB and the site is a 50 day journey. Mark figures out a way to increase his battery life but he can’t use the heater, which would mean he would freeze to death at night so he digs up the radioactive material used for the flight to Mars and insulates it so he won’t be exposed to the lethal radiation but is still able to use the power source as heat, making it possible for him to survive. On Earth, Sanders and the rest of NASA are trying to figure out ways to help Mark survive and Sanders authorizes a probe to be sent to resupply Mark to better his chances while Mitch Henderson, the Hermes flight director, still expresses misgivings about not informing the rest of the Ares III crew that Mark is still alive. On Mars, Mark comes up with a way to communicate with NASA by heading to the sight of the Pathfinder, an unmanned probe that was sent to Mars but fell silent in 1997. Mark finds the probe and brings it back to the HAB, where he is able to get it working. On Earth, Vincent figured out Mark’s plan and heads to JPL (Jet Propulsion Labratory) to speak with Bruce Ng (JPL’s director) and the rest of the men that worked on Pathfinder. Mark is able to establish contact with the Pathfinder demo model on Earth and using it, Nasa is able to communicate with him, then tell him how to link Pathfinder to the Rover so that they can communicate via text. Mark is happy to hear that NASA is working on a way to help keep him alive but when he learns that they haven’t told the rest of the crew that he is alive, he is furious. Sanders finally relents and Henderson sends a video file to the Ares III crew, telling them that Mark is alive and they were deliberately not informed for 2 months. On Earth, the plans to have a resupply probe sent up are on track but Mitch says they will be cutting it close as to when they project Mark’s food will run out. On Mars, Mark is securing the hatch for the night when the door malfunctions and explodes, causing the HAB to depressurize and ruining Mark’s crops. When they learn of this, Sanders tells Bruce that they will have to step up the timetable to get the supply probe to Mark. Mark is able to make a makeshift door so that he can continue living in the HAB, but he still must try and stretch out his rations to last even longer. Sanders rushes the probe’s launch, choosing to ignore the safety checks in order to speed up the launch, but when the probe launches, it ends up exploding shortly after launch. Hearing about what happened, CNSA (China National Space Administration) reaches out to NASA and offers the use of their classified booster engine, the Taiyang Shen, to help send a resupply probe to Mars. However, Rich Purnell, an astrophysicists for JPL, tells Vincent that he has worked out a way to rescue Mark by having the Hermes slingshot around the Earth to help boost it towards Mars and using the Taiyang Shen to resupply them for an extended time in space. Sanders decides not to risk the returning astronauts lives on the maneuver but Henderson secretly sends the details of the maneuver to the Hermes‘ crew. On board, Melissa tells the other astronauts what the plan entails and the consequences should the choose to disobey NASA but the crew all votes to try and save Mark. When the Hermes begins the slingshot, Sanders is forced to use the Taiyang Shen to resupply the Hermes for the trip back to Mars. Meanwhile, scientist and engineers work with Mark to help him modify the Rover to carry all the equipment he will need to survive while making the journey to where the MAV is located for the Ares IV mission. After 461 days on Mars, Mark loads up the last of his supplies and makes his way to the MAV. As he nears the MAV, Bruce and Mitch explain to Vincent that in order to get the plan to work, they will need to have Mark remove all of the computer equipment, as well as the nose cone of the ship, in order to make the shift light enough to reach escape velocity in order to reach the Hermes, while on the ship, Melissa and the rest of the crew work out the plan to retrieve Mark. On Earth, crowds gather around every major city to watch as the mission to retrieve Mark commences. When the time comes, the MAV is remotely launched and Mark ends up passing out due to the G-forces but the MAV ends up falling short of the necessary altitude. Melissa has the Hermes adjust course to match the altitude, but they end up going faster than would be able to safely grab Mark. Mark regains consciousness and after hearing the problem, he offers to puncture his suit to help get him to the ship but Melissa decides to use the idea to blow one of the airlocks on the Hermes to slow them down. Doing this does succeed in slowing them down, but they are still to far away to grab Mark so he goes ahead and punctures the glove on his suit and uses the released air pressure to propel himself towards the Hermes, where Melissa is able to grab him and bring him on board the ship, to the cheers from the rest of the crew as well as everyone on Earth. Returning to Earth, Mark ends up teaching a survival course for future astronauts and 5 years later, the Ares V mission is successfully launched into space.

The Martian was highly praised by the critics, earning a critically fresh rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that it is ” Smart, thrilling, and surprisingly funny, The Martian offers a faithful adaptation of the bestselling book that brings out the best in leading man Matt Damon and director Ridley Scott.” The movie was projected to earn $172 million in the US but would wind up earning over $228 million in the US, and over $620 million worldwide, making it a box office success. The movie has been nominated for 7 Academy Awards. including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

This is a fantastic movie to watch. Matt Damon was great in this role, especially when he would go back and forth from being serious when facing the problems at hand, to more light -hearted and comical, in order to keep his spirits up and not fall into depression. All of the other characters were also good in their roles but this movie mainly focused on Damon and he held up to the pressure. The story was really good and I am sure it helped increase the sales for the book the movie was based on. The special effects were good and for the most part, the science was entirely plausible, with one or two exceptions. All in all, this is definitely one of the must see movies from 2015.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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