By Kyle | May 14, 2010
Jon Favreau doesn’t know what the story will be but he likes the idea of the Mandarin as “Iron Man 3” villain.
By Kyle | May 5, 2010
Meet Tony Stark — Capitalist Tool. I liked “Iron Man,” and liked it even more the second time I saw it, but it didn’t overwhelm me. And I felt it was a little wishy-washy on questions of capitalism and patriotism.
Not so with “Iron Man 2,” in which Tony Stark is a Randian hero who all but goes Galt when seemingly the only force that could ever defeat him — the U.S. government — begins to make the outrageous demand that his Iron Man technology is somehow public property. Because … well, it’s really important. And everyone knows that when it comes to important stuff, only the government can be trusted to handle it.
Stark makes the argument that the opposite is the case. He says he has made national defense a triumph by privatizing it (!). Yes, he actually uses the word privatize, and though I part with pure libertarians about this subject (no, I don’t think cops and the military should be privatized), to hear a superhero outlining such a bold stance is a tonic to say the least. (As I write virtually every time the subject is a superhero movie, these things are so predictable that I can barely pay attention to the latest by-the-numbers plot.) Moreover, Tony is unapologetic about getting rich (he’s simply smarter than the competition), openly mocks the senators who are grilling him about his alleged selfishness and warns the government about handpicking winners in the weapons business (such as Sam Rockwell, who plays a rival industrialist who, though this is never explicitly mentioned, has obviously won Pentagon contracts by buying off lawmakers). He notes that evil-axis-dwellers such as the Iranians and the Norks are five to ten years from developing Iron Man technology, and that the cocky-but-inept Rockwell character is “more like 20” years away. In a very Howard Roark/Galt-ish moment, Stark chastises the government that it cannot take away his private property.
“Iron Man 2,” which contains a sight gag at the expense of Barack Obama (I doubt liberals, who are humor-deaf when it comes to the One will even notice how openly their hero is being mocked) and even makes fun of Christiane Amanpour (there is also a Bill O’Reilly joke thrown in for the liberals) is a full-throated cheer for capitalism, entrepreneurship and individualism. What a joy (and a laugh) it is to realize that now both of Hollywood’s biggest superhero franchises are striking a robust conservative stance.
By Kyle | May 4, 2010
Now that I’ve seen it, I’m starting the backlash to the “Iron Man 2” backlash right now. “It’s called being a badass,” as Tony Stark’s best bud (now Don Cheadle, thanks very much) puts it. Yes, sir. “Iron Man 2” is my new favorite movie of the year and one of my top five superhero movies ever. It’s far superior to “Iron Man.” As soon as it was over, I wanted to get back in line to see it again. It’s so not “Spider-Man.” From me, this is major praise.
By Kyle | April 29, 2010
Ignore the body of my esteemed colleague Reed Tucker’s blog post about how he didn’t see any post-credits Marvel-centric gag in “Iron Man 2,” which he got to see early. At the end he reverses himself and gives a hint of what happens after the credits roll.
By Kyle | April 16, 2010
Matthew Vaughn’s big-screen adaptation of the comic book “Kick-Ass” turns out to be a thumpingly good deconstruction of the superhero genre. My three and a half star review is up.
By Kyle | February 25, 2010
I’m not sure David S. Goyer is the right guy to hand the reins of the Superman franchise to. Sure, he cowrote one of my favorite films of the decade, “Batman Begins.” But…the guy has done some mediocre work. “The Invisible”? The script to “Jumper”? Warners would be better off sticking with Bryan Singer, not that “Superman Returns” worked. Warners is under the gun as they must get another Superman movie re, er, booted by 2011 if they don’t want to pay a hefty penalty.
By Kyle | August 31, 2009
A massive $4 billion deal brings Marvel into the Disney fold. That could be not-so-hot news for Marvel fans, though; Disney’s live-action unit has, for several years, struck me as by far the worst of the six major studios. (Its animation unit would be, if it were its own studio, by far the best, and you could make a case that it is its own thing, although not all of the Disney animated movies — “Bolt,” for intance, and “G-Force,” both of which were fine kid entertainments — are Pixar movies.) Disney makes movies like “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” and “Hannah Montana” and the Jonas Brothers movie without giving a thought to quality; these movies are made exclusively to fill market niches and crafting the screenplay seems to be the last thing on any Disney exec’s mind. Indeed, these movies appear to have been written in a long weekend. Marvel, of course, which made “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” last year, distributed respectively by Paramount and Universal, wasn’t a real studio as it lacked a distribution arm. But let’s hope that Marvel’s stable will creatively rejuvenate Disney.
By Kyle | March 12, 2009
I don’t believe it when someone says 25 percent of the audience ankled a screening of “Watchmen,” as this dubious report claims. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people leave a screening.
I am, however, willing to believe that lots of people think the film is so complicated that it requires them to pay attention. It is, for a movie, dense. That’s why it’s brilliant. And my estimate of the incidence of idiocy among the population attending superhero movies is considerably higher than 25 percent. But let’s be clear about one thing: This movie is not that hard to follow. If you are capable of reading a book that has more going on it than a Nicholas Sparks paperback, you can figure it out. It isn’t “Gravity’s Rainbow.” What sayeth you, Hunter Tremayne?
By Kyle | March 11, 2009
Is “Watchmen” conservative? Not really. Author Alan Moore is an anarchist who frequently excoriates conservatives in interviews. And the movie doesn’t stake out a clearly defined political position. But if the news media were as harsh on both sides of the political aisle as “Watchmen” is, Republicans would never lose an election. More in my Sunday column.
And thanks to libertarian anarcho-capitalist comic book maven Todd Seavey for his input. He thinks the soothing, alternative fuel-promoting, action-figure hawking Ozymandias (who, obviously, was dreamed up long before Obama came on the political scene) has a touch of our new president about him.
By Kyle | March 6, 2009
In my Sunday column I’ll have more to say about the politics of “Watchmen” and why conservatives can find much to delight us there (despite author Alan Moore’s anarchism. He has in public disdained both sides but especially the right; I think “Watchmen,” unlike “V for Vendetta,” is harsher on the left). In the meantime, kindly check out my Jedi master Todd Seavey’s interesting review on reason.com. Todd thinks the movie is a perfect adaptation of the comic book, of which he is an extravagant admirer, and writes his review in Dr. Manhattan tones. Another conservative, my erstwhile editor at Culture11.com, Peter Suderman, has a different point of view, arguing that what works on Moore’s pages doesn’t translate to the screen. He calls the movie too literal, “stilted and lifeless.”