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Iron Man 3 (2013) 
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
KWRoss wrote:
Last two posts are right on the money. There really should be an ending point for these Avengers movies. I mentioned this somewhere else, but I'll reiterate it here. The longer you go on, the greater the chances of producing an epic embarrassment like Batman and Robin or Spiderman 3. As long as Joss Whedon-- who really has his finger on the pulse of his audience and what the tone of these movies should be-- is around, I don't see something on that level transpiring. But I thought the same about Sam Raimi....

I disagree about Spiderman 3 being an embarassment, but I see your point. It's going to be tough for Marvel to top themselves.


Wed May 01, 2013 12:36 am
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
Sean wrote:
I loved Iron Man, but I also believe that one of the biggest flaws plaguing the latter three Phase One movies (IM2, Thor, Cap Am) was the fact that they were essentially set-ups for The Avengers. IM2 was practically a commercial for the movie, while Thor and Cap Am had far too many references to S.H.I.E.L.D. Wouldn't it have been just as effective to end Cap Am with Nick Fury rounding up the four heroes together?

The last three Avengers movies were all about setting up The Avengers. Now, it seems that the next few Avengers movies will do nothing but ride on the previous film's success and set up Avengers 2. I have nothing against quality pictures that make a ton of money, but it still begs the question: how long can this possibly go on


KWRoss wrote:
Last two posts are right on the money. There really should be an ending point for these Avengers movies. I mentioned this somewhere else, but I'll reiterate it here. The longer you go on, the greater the chances of producing an epic embarrassment like Batman and Robin or Spiderman 3.


Bingo to both. As I stated elsewhere, the original Iron Man worked. But what Sean stated about the others (Iron Man 2, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk even the relatively thoughtful Thor) is true.

In July of last year, JB wrote a reelthought in which he pondered the question of whether or not Christopher Nolan had taken Batman to a peak it could not reach again. A similar question can be raised about whether or not Joss Whedon has done the same thing with the Marvel Superheroes. Will all Avengers related movies come off as Wings after the Beatles that was the Avengers?

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Wed May 01, 2013 12:48 am
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
Three full-fledged Avengers movies sounds about right, with however many solo adventures squeezed in between as necessary. One of the things I loved about Return of the King is that, as the conclusion, it topped everything that came before it and ended on the highest note possible. For a brief moment, I was sad we would get no more epic LOTR adventures each Christmas, but knowing it'll go down in history as a milestone more than makes up for that. I want a third Avengers movie to follow that template and go out with a Big Bang.

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Wed May 01, 2013 12:56 am
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
Jeff Wilder wrote:
In July of last year, JB wrote a reelthought in which he pondered the question of whether or not Christopher Nolan had taken Batman to a peak it could not reach again. A similar question can be raised about whether or not Joss Whedon has done the same thing with the Marvel Superheroes. Will all Avengers related movies come off as Wings after the Beatles that was the Avengers?

I doubt it with Batman, and I doubt it with Marvel. The cinematic versions of these characters, from what I've seen, still fall well short of their high watermarks in their native medium. Perhaps they're being done as well as they can be in the current circumstances of the entertainment industry, but that's it.

For the 20-somethings here, Marvel's characters have been around as long as our parents and many of DC's characters have been around as long as our grandparents. A lot of them have been in continuous monthly publication ever since their inception. That's a lot of material. A lot of it isn't good, but there are plenty of gems lurking out there. By that comparison, the number of cinematic installments is puny.

But then, probably every generation has favorites that they can't imagine being topped. Once upon a time, it looked like Tim Burton's Batman was as good as the character was going to be done for the screen... which is really funny if you look back on it now.

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Wed May 01, 2013 1:55 am
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
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I doubt it with Batman, and I doubt it with Marvel. The cinematic versions of these characters, from what I've seen, still fall well short of their high watermarks in their native medium. Perhaps they're being done as well as they can be in the current circumstances of the entertainment industry, but that's it.


Yeah, I'm not sure if film as an artform is really built to sustain the superhero genre. Constructing New York entirely inside a computer isn't any different from an animated film that's entirely hand-drawn. The result looks different, fresher maybe, but the process is fundamentally the same. In the end, there's durability in realism. Not just the impression of realism, but the knowledge that Daniel Craig does his own stunts. Jaws was a popular villain not just because of his teeth, but also because of the amusing knowledge that Richard Kiel is in fact a 7"2 scary guy. The realism is really a big part of what makes Bond last so long. More realistic = broader = more possibilities. Bond has had very bad entries, but the basic concept is so broad that it's easy to just push it in a new direction and make people forget the last mistake.

And I do agree about Return of the King, I'm not big on that series anymore, but within its own context they did save the best for last. A good job of escalation.


Wed May 01, 2013 3:59 am
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
My preference is for the avoidance CGI. Even in an effects-heavy movie, the human eye can tell the difference between a physical object that actually exists in real space (say, the model snowspeeders that were overlaid into the environment via an optical printer in The Empire Strikes Back) and an animated object that was cartooned out of pixels in a computer (say, the CGI starships in the dogfight at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith). The former has physical weight and presence; the latter might as well weigh as much as a mosquito for all the "realism" that it appears to have.

Perhaps the current in-your-face CGI era is more hospitable to the high-flying antics of superheroes, but the superhero movies with the most distinctive stylistic signatures--i.e. Superman (1978) and Batman (1989)--are the ones that don't have any CGI to speak of. Whatever the other merits and drawbacks of those movies might be, the filmmakers had to instill them with some visual panache, because film obviously has its limitations when dealing with this kind of subject matter. It takes some additional ingenuity to get the audience to invest itself.

Nowadays, the party line is that those limitations no longer exist, because anything can be done with computers. But that in itself is a limitation, because we're supposed to turn our heads away and pretend we don't see the sloppy sleight-of-hand when Tobey Maguire turns into a cross between Gumby and a Virtua Fighter character.

This is one case where I'll give a big shout-out to Christopher Nolan. While I find his "style" bereft of an artist's touch, he's a big stickler for using CGI strictly as a means of fixing little background details, fudging out visible equipment, and otherwise gluing together the bits of footage that were deliberately shot with practical visual techniques. That, to me, is the best use of CGI--the little fix-ups that streamline the fruits of old-school effects wizardry.

The greatest special effect of all is a team of storytellers who invest their project with sincerity and heart. That goes for the superhero genre just as much as any other. CGI might facilitate the current environment of standardized, assembly line productions, but that's not what makes the difference between just another movie and an experience worth having.

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Wed May 01, 2013 4:26 am
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
As long as the CGI looks good, I don't care how it's used.


Wed May 01, 2013 4:37 am
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
Vexer wrote:
As long as the CGI looks good, I don't care how it's used.

I think we can all agree with that. It's just that we all have our own definition of what looks good. For my money, CGI is at its best when used carefully and subtly.

This, in my opinion, is one of the best effects-heavy productions in recent years, and it's a damned television commercial! It's funny and ingenious. The coolest thing about it is how much it relies on practical effects to create a convincing experience--while it does make use of CGI, it does so in a very sneaky fashion in order to hide telltale signs of the illusion. It's fascinating.

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Wed May 01, 2013 4:45 am
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
I prefer to think of a superhero as a kind of template that can have whatever fashions, problems, world issues, Zeitgeist etc of the particular era projected onto them. Hence why there is always a scope for a possible re-spin. Whether that scope is used well or not is another matter.

As to Ironman, I actually enjoyed the first. But this was mainly because I watched it on the 1st of August 2008 - whilst en route to a 1 month holiday in Australia.

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Wed May 01, 2013 9:35 am
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
Ken wrote:
Vexer wrote:
As long as the CGI looks good, I don't care how it's used.

I think we can all agree with that. It's just that we all have our own definition of what looks good. For my money, CGI is at its best when used carefully and subtly.


The first time I really revolted against CGI was when I saw Blade 2 and parts of it was like looking over someone's shoulder playing Tekken or something. I draw the line at that level of incompetence. And I draw the line at CGI'd nudity too. I'm talking to you The Change-Up


Wed May 01, 2013 10:28 am
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
Johnny Larue wrote:
Ken wrote:
Vexer wrote:
As long as the CGI looks good, I don't care how it's used.

I think we can all agree with that. It's just that we all have our own definition of what looks good. For my money, CGI is at its best when used carefully and subtly.


The first time I really revolted against CGI was when I saw Blade 2 and parts of it was like looking over someone's shoulder playing Tekken or something. I draw the line at that level of incompetence. And I draw the line at CGI'd nudity too. I'm talking to you The Change-Up

I thought the CGI in Blade 2 looked really good actually. For me some of the best CGI is in the Transfomers films, you'd be surprised how much stuff in those films was done practically.


Wed May 01, 2013 12:18 pm
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
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While I find his "style" bereft of an artist's touch, he's a big stickler for using CGI strictly as a means of fixing little background details, fudging out visible equipment, and otherwise gluing together the bits of footage that were deliberately shot with practical visual techniques.


I agree that this is the way CGI should always be used. But still, no matter what the technique is, the superhero genre will never have durability. It's easy to forget now, but in 2007 a lot of people already thought the genre had been oversaturated and that it was time to move on. That's amazing, looking back on it now, but it's true. The thing is, a good gunfight never gets old. A good car chase never gets old. Spider-man swinging between buildings...gets old. Because one is real and the other isn't. And that simple truth is arguably more important than points regarding story/character depth because that IS what people react to on a visceral level. It's why even in a year with Thor and Green Lantern, and Avengers a few months away, people still get a kick out of Tom Cruise hanging off a building. Because it has a psychological and physical component, not just visual.

I mean, why would fans have been pissed if Harry Potter had been an animated series? Because the story and characters would have been lost? No, because it would've been less real. Avengers pissed me off because, to me, it they didn't put enough effort into making it real. The sets looked like sets, the extras like extras, the CGI like CGI. It was way too obvious where reality ended and CGI began. For what Joss Whedon gave us, you might as well just watch the pilot of the Justice League animated series from 2001. There's no difference.


Wed May 01, 2013 8:08 pm
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
CGI, even a lot of it, is okay with me as long as the director has a purpose for it rather than just showing off. It has to blend in well with the action. The Star Wars prequels illustrated this perfectly. And whether an action sequence lets you "feel the weight" of what's going on is of so little importance to me that I hardly notice.

Worst uses of CGI? I can name two easy ones. Die Another Day, which had some scenes resembling a high school project, and Van Helsing, where the final battle (and I use that term loosely) was between an incredibly fake looking CGI wolf and Dracula creature. The Unintentional Comedy scale goes up pretty high on both of these.

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Thu May 02, 2013 12:30 am
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
What about in 10, 20, 30 years, when the audience literally will not be able to tell the difference between what is "real" and "cgi" on screen? It's already hard now with little background enhancements. But eventually, one will not be able to discern the difference between real and cgi people.


Thu May 02, 2013 4:11 pm
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
What about 10, 20, 30 years from that point when the supposedly indistinguishable CGI looks to them how "Money For Nothing" looks to us now? The main reason we're much further along in terms of background details, aside from the simple fact that we don't pay as much attention to them, is that three million years of evolution have prepared our brains to pick up on the tiniest suspect characteristics in the appearances of our fellow human beings, and in other animals to a lesser extent. The characteristics of rocks and trees have historically not been quite as important to our survival.

If there is ever a point when we are able to synthesize photorealistic images, it will most likely be because we've stopped trying to cook it all up in a computer and have developed better methods of integrating real photographic elements into the mix. This is already done in a very limited way with textures, but obviously it's rudimentary. The current attitude within the mainstream movie industry seems to be that the only limit we have now is our imaginations, but I find that this is just a wee bit arrogant. Maybe for them, "convincing" CGI is CGI that people are willing to pay eight bucks to see.

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Thu May 02, 2013 5:01 pm
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Post Re: Iron Man 3 (2013)
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The main reason we're much further along in terms of background details, aside from the simple fact that we don't pay as much attention to them,


This is the main reason, which is odd considering we now live in the age of bluray :?:

One thing that I think will just never be perfected with CGI, no matter how long any of us live, is editing. I dont' think anyone has figured out yet how to edit CGI material together really well. Much of the cutting in Avatar is flat out clunky; my eyelids sank a little bit almost every other cut in that movie. Same with any of these Marvel movies. Tintin is the best example so far of an animated movie that tried to imitate the shooting style of live action to a certain extent. Even so, there's no substitute for covering real action from multiple angles and with different kinds of lenses, and a director who has a real feeling for moving from one shot to the next, from one action to the next.


Thu May 02, 2013 6:57 pm
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