Category Archives: film review

Iron Man 2: This Pepper needs a little more kick

It’s been almost a month since Iron Man 2 was released, so I’ve had some time to think about all the things that disappointed me. But I’m sure you don’t want to hear about its many failures from me — just go read any legitimate review.

Nevertheless, one point of pain that still doesn’t sit well with me is the film’s treatment of Pepper Potts. Spoilers ahead.

After being offered the position of CEO at Stark Industries, Pepper seems to take the reins with confidence and determination. Having to clean-up after Tony isn’t an easy job — he’s either acting like a jackass or a drunken fool for the majority of the film — but she deals with the media and tackles her newfound responsibilities with the grace and severity that they deserve. She even puts Tony in his place during an interesting scene that highlights the characters’ role-reversals. Sitting behind  Tony’s old desk, Pepper finally gets to be the boss and tells Tony that his antics have only hurt Stark Industries. And to rub it in, she gets leaves with her own assistant and Tony’s chauffeur, Happy.

At Stark Expo, Pepper proves that she can  handle a crisis with ease. When robots start killing people, she doesn’t lose her cool or suddenly become a damsel in distress. Instead, she calls the police, confronts Justin Hammer (consequently leading to his arrest), and helps the police get civilians to safety.

But she acts like a jabbering fool when it comes to Tony. Her discovery that Tony’s Arc Reactor was poisoning him gets her stammering and shrieking like a little girl — because powerful, confident women must always lose their sense of control when it comes to men — and to top it all off, she resigns from her position because it’s all too much pressure for her.

Wait, what? I’m pretty sure we just witnessed a level-headed, competent and professional Pepper Potts for the majority of the film.  So why does she resign exactly? 

Iron Man 2 gives us no reason to believe that Pepper is incapable of running Stark Industries or dealing with the “pressure” of being CEO, so her resignation not only doesn’t make sense, but has nothing to do with her ability to be CEO.

Instead, the only reason seems to be Tony. Pepper only freaks out when Tony is putting himself or her in danger (which is pretty often), and it all seemed a little too convenient that Tony finally kisses Pepper once she’s professionally inferior to him again.

So thanks Iron Man 2, for reinforcing a sexist and out-dated belief that women let their personal lives get in the way of their professions.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street Review

This weekend I saw the re-make of Wes Craven’s 1984 slasher-horror, A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Directed by Samuel Bayer, the 2010 re-make tells the story of a group of teenagers whose dreams are terrorized by Freddy Krueger — a man who wields a glove with four blades. However, the kids soon realize that if Freddy kills you in a dream, you actually die. As Freddy picks the group of friends off one by one, the remaining few try to figure out what they have in common, and why Freddy is targeting them.

The film wastes no time jumping into bloody violence, but lacks the suspense necessary to really get a good scare out of you. Instead of building tension, Bayer just throws Krueger at you expectantly — until you just start to expect it. If you’ve seen the trailer with the kid in the diner then you’ve already seen the entire opening of the movie and the most suspenseful sequence.

Unfortunately, Freddy isn’t quite the killer that makes you squirm in your seat. His dialogue is full of one-liners that only succeed at subtracting from his scare factor. The serial killer could have benefited from keeping the talking to a minimum, as his chattiness is more of a distraction than intimidation. And there’s only so many times he can drag his blades across a pipe before the sparkles feel trite. Also, the fact that he’s played by Jackie Earle Haley meant that I kept expecting him to break into a Rorschach monologue about how he saw a dog carcass in the alley this morning.

However, what I found the most disappointing about Nightmare wasn’t the flat dialogue or the “surprise! You thought Freddy was dead but he’s not really” ending — I expect these tropes from horror movies — it was the depiction of the modern American teenager.

I’ll admit, it’s been a few years since I was in high school or could call myself a teenager (and let’s be honest, the same could be said about the actors who play this film’s high-schoolers), but the portrayal of today’s 16 to 18-year-old was laughable. Most notably is Nancy. The movie tries to convince us that Nancy is an outsider — even she admits that she just “doesn’t fit in” — but I had a hard time figuring out why. Played by the beautiful and incredibly skinny Rooney Mara, Nancy acts like your typical teenager. So what makes her so different? Oh right, she has a job at a local diner and enjoys drawing instead of “going out.” Because a beautiful young woman who is responsible and creative must be a loner…

Nevertheless, I didn’t go into Nightmare with great expectations, so I couldn’t be that disappointed. There are a couple of killing blows that are full of bloody awesomeness, and a few dream sequences that actually look like some creative thought was put into them. But overall, I’d say skip this movie unless you’re a big fan of the Nightmare franchise, or if you’re in the mood for a mindless slasher flick.

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