Common sense hits the front office at Marvel’s adventure in moviemaking. Until now, they’ve just made bad films. Bad.
The basic problem, I believe, is that the rest of the world is out exploiting the third dimension and Marvel insists on making flat movies. Even Spidermen, where the character lives and fights in space was flat. All of a sudden, Marvel and ILM wise up. This not only matches but excels what we have at this time in terms of complex three dimensional motion.
The camera flies. Objects fly and the two weave in ways new to us. The camera is usually placed in some relatively stationary place to allow you to see what is going on. That place is removed from the action. Sometimes the camera becomes or emulates a POV of a flying or moving object as if it is in the action — or perhaps a character. The game in this new future is a matter of combining the two so that it has the properties of both, but is neither.
Done well, it generates pure cinematic excitement. Done well, it overwhelms everything else and thrills because it is so otherworldly. It is done well here. Done well. And it doesn’t have to be used to cloud deficiencies elsewhere. All is at least competent and some things: Downey, Rockwell and the production design are excellent.
This dimensional thing is done so well that it is mirrored elsewhere. Stark’s computers have a hand and voice manipulatable three dimensional, haptic, multiaffordance holographic interface. The motion is less important here than the notion of projected dimensionality. His nemesis? Well, he manages an entire army of drones by a single QWERTY keyboard and a DOS-like display. The contrast is, I think a deliberate thing. They would have pimped up Stark’s machine anyway, but having the contrast is a subtle narrative reminder of the difference in dimensionality of the thing.
Oh, it is also mirrored in the two women. One is a lighthaired, ponytailed redhead who never leaves the plane. The other is a fiery darker redhead with wild hair (in her real persona) who in a remarkable fight scene is profoundly three-dimensional.
Samuel Jackson has decided to do anything, work anywhere, take any pay cut to be the face of the master organisation that watches us. I think he knows that this legacy will live for generations, planted in juvenile minds eager for explanatory conspiracies. These theories for some reason rarely are discarded as kids age. It is his face now that is often associated with the leader of the new demigods the genre is creating. Smart building of intellectual property for someone with limited range.
Downey. What a guy. Let’s hope he takes some of his power to create projects that matter in some way beyond merely thrilling by advancing the craft of seeing.
Posted in 2010
Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.