Posts Tagged ‘Drew Pearce’

Tom Cruise and company stick to a tried-and-true formula in the quick-moving ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’

January 24, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 24, 2018

Author’s note: I interrupt my string of Scrabble tournament recaps for at least one movie review. Don’t worry, I’ll recap this year’s “late-bird” event shortly. As always, thanks for reading! MEM

2015’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, the fifth in the action-adventure series based on the old American TV series, has got all its moves down pat. The Tom Cruise vehicle efficiently delivers plenty of fights, thrills, gadgets and clever plot twists, along with a side of comic banter involving Simon Pegg and other supporting actors.

There’s nothing particularly eye-opening or surprising about Rogue Nation, but it’s fun, undemanding entertainment. The plot briskly transports superspy Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and cohorts from London to Vienna to Casablanca and back to London again. There are also brief stops in Havana and Paris and some repeat trips to Washington, D.C., for bureaucratic wrangling between vindictive CIA director Alan Hunlee (Alec Baldwin) and Impossible Mission Force chief William Brandt (Jeremy Renner, reprising his role from the 2011 outing Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol).

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A battered but not fully humbled Tony Stark battles terrorists and mutants in ‘Iron Man 3’

May 22, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
May 22, 2013

The conundrum of the superhero story is simple: A superhero by definition is powerful, but easily resolved conflicts are boring. Therefore, in order to make an interesting superhero tale, his or her or their victory must be difficult to obtain.

Often superhero movie, television and comic book writers make victory hard to secure by pitting the protagonist against a supervillain, an antagonist so strong that the hero’s extraordinary strength is at least partially neutralized. Sometimes the hero is shorn of his abilities. And quite often — see Superman II, a classic of the superhero genre — the writers use a combination of these solutions.

That’s the case in Iron Man 3, where the eponymous hero arrogantly invites an enemy attack upon his home and pays a steep price. Consequently, billionaire genius and ex-playboy Tony Stark (the scintillating Robert Downey Jr.) spends most of this movie — even most of the climactic battle! — outside of the exoskeleton that is the source of his superpowers.

There are two advantages to this approach. One is that it allows us to see more of Downey’s expressive and entertaining face. Another is that it makes this cocky hero incredibly vulnerable.

Will Stark be able to save the president from the Mandarin, his terrorist superfoe? Will he be able to save the love of his life (and the CEO of Stark Industries), Pepper Potts, from a sinister genetic engineer? Heck, will Stark even be able to save himself from low-level goons tied to these shadowy figures?

Isolated and exposed as Stark is, the movie induces real doubt as to what the diminished hero can accomplish.

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