Monday, May 03, 2010

Hancock & Iron Man 2

I don't think there are any spoilers here - but you may not want to risk it if it bothers you.

Regular readers - well, not so regular since I haven't been blogging so much in the past year - may recall that I have a thing about people who feel the need to turn their emotions up to 11. Or, more accurately, have their emotions stuck on 11.

These are the people who claim, for example, to "hate" some creative person they've never met (singer, actor whatever). When what they actually mean is "I personally do not like...". They also like to express their opinions as absolute certainties - which one can only ascribe to a severe level of personal insecurity (though that's not really an explanation, but the real cause is probably as individual as each ... individual).

It's these adamant certainties based purely on personal opinion that annoy me. (Plus the people who repeat other people's opinions-as-fact when they have no personal experience of the real truth - one might call them "sheep".) I prefer to make my own opinions.

So, let me make it clear that the following is just my personal opinion - if you agree with me then that's nice, but if you don't, well, you're entitled to your opinion as much as me. And it's as valid for you as mine is for me.

Let's get Iron Man 2 over with: I enjoyed it a lot, but there's a slow patch in the middle. I know exactly why it's there, perhaps it could have been done better, perhaps not, but its existence has nothing to do with Iron Man and everything to do with Samuel L Jackson. (Which is not a criticism of the great SLJ, by the way.)

This blog was partly prompted by the person I came across today who said "Iron Man 2 was rubbish. It was really good at the beginning and at the end, but it was slow in the middle." So basically, they enjoyed it but now they go around telling people it was "rubbish" because there was 5 minutes in the middle where it got a bit slow. Emotions turned up to 11.

Anyway the film is, in my opinion, excellent fun and I recommend it to you.

On impulse I bought a £4 DVD of Hancock at the supermarket. I hadn't seen it on the big screen but having heard so much criticism (including this from Bill Martell) I was curious. (You will notice that Bill does not say he "hates" the film, his viewpoint is based on a good understanding of how films work. He does not need to turn his emotions up to 11.)

The main problem with Hancock is that it doesn't know what it is. It was always presented as a comedy, but as I watched the first 20 minutes I could see clearly that this was no comedy. Yes there were comedic moments but this was serious drama. (Of course, that presents a fundamental problem to people who don't understand SF and Fantasy - how could they possibly be serious drama?) Will Smith is excellent, and Charlize Theron proves once again that she is a superb actress.

People who put their criticisms in writing usually point to the sudden change in the middle as "where it all goes wrong". And if you haven't seen the film you won't be expecting it. It's a plot twist enacted with action only which takes just a fraction of second. You're left going "What!" but it's not a bad "what", it's a "OMG the film has just taken a left turn - what's happening now?!"

In no way is that bad movie making. That is the very best movie making - except that some people don't like having their ideas about a film ripped away so abruptly, they can't handle it. This is one reason why you're always supposed to "foreshadow" things because it lessens the shock - I have my own opinions on foreshadowing.

Unfortunately what follows the twist (and explains it) is based on a premise that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. This robs the final scenes of the power that they should actually have.

My personal feeling about the script is that it did not, as originally written, have enough plot to carry it for 90 minutes (it's actually short for a superhero film anyway at 89 minutes) and the part after the twist was tacked on by someone else.

Couple that with a director who couldn't quite get a handle on how it should be shot and we get what we have: a film that has a very uneven tone, and a very unfortunate premise that makes no sense.

However, did I enjoy it? Yes I did. The first half is pretty solid, the twist was amazing (I knew there was one coming, I just didn't know what it was and it hit completely unexpectedly) and the second half was pretty good - just different.

Just remember, people, opinions aren't facts. Be careful out there.

What's on the turntable? "Dragonfly" by Blondie from "The Hunter"


Eleanor said...

Thursday 6th May ... Marillion seems to be appropriate.
I haven't listened to it in years, but that seems to be all that's playing on the tape recorder today.

Yes tape recorder. It's what us plebs had to listen to before CD and the internet took over. ;)

You listening to anything today Steve?

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Eleanor said...

Of course, the song I was looking for was State Of Mind, which is on Fish's album Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors - which is in my CD collection. Found it this morning. LOL. *rolls eyes*

Adaddinsane said...

Yes, E, I listen to music nearly all the time - at least when I'm working or driving.

But not when I'm talking to people. Because that would be silly.

And rude.

And I won't when I walking, because I like to listen to the world too.

I'm just soooo New Age.

Marillion is good. Fish is also good.

Eleanor said...

I'm procrastinating. Better get back to writing.