And with the clanging of metal, the whiz of bullets, and deafening explosion after deafening explosion, the Summer Movie Season has opened. No more having to deal with schmaltzy dramas. No more passing our days feasting on a less than appetizing table of films high on useless fillers like "plot" and "character development" and "Oscar buzz." It has been a long wait since the antics of Jason Bourne graced the screen last August. And explosions have been few and far between. And we all know that is what movies are all about - blowing stuff up.
Seriously, with the arrival of Iron Man, the summer movie experience has begun. Sure, not every movie during the summer will satisfy everyone. And there are sure to be a few clunkers along the way. But this is Hollywood's finest hour. This is when no expense is spared. Huge flowing gowns waistcoats are left in the closet in favor of body armor and metal suits. The screenwriter is nowhere near as important as the special effects supervisor. Things have changed over the years, and these films have far more credibility than before. The four main actors in Iron Man have seven Oscar nominations between them. Edward "Serious Actor Man" Norton plays the Hulk. And Batman sports numerous Oscar-friendly stars.
But, no one can argue that the main point of summer movie season is to entertain. Sure, other movie seasons can be entertaining, but not like summer. There are very few mentions of Oscar buzz these months. Which is honestly one reason the Oscars have gotten so irrelevant. People as a whole love the summer movies. Critics love the "serious movies." If I had any doubts about this, they were answered when I saw Iron Man last night -- late last night. Through my stupidity, I had to go to a theater I usually avoid (ordered my ticket online from the wrong place and missed seeing it with friends). I was at a theater stuffed fulled of loud, obnoxious people. They were talking and joking and screaming.
It was awesome. I think the crowd can change the whole experience of a movie. Sure, I missed a couple lines due to the hooting. And the argument/discussion that the four people had right behind me during the entire movie was a bit distracting. And sitting in the front row was a bit irritating. But it was fun to hear them cheer and scream at every exciting part. And then all the annoying people left and half the theater stayed for the scene after the credits. Talk about yelling in excitement! That was incredible. But during the previews, the crowd whooped and roared in laughter at the latest Adam Sandler and Mike Myers films. This is why these movies get made - these people. A couple hundred people crammed in a theater - every showing sold out. Sure critics can't stand Sandler and Myers - and they try to convince everyone else not to like them either. And the movie blog snarks are in the same boat - relentlessly ripping their films. But those movies are going to pack out theaters just like every other film those guys made did. And the divide between critical favorite and popular will continue to grow.
As for Iron Man, look on my movie review page (link to right) later this weekend for my full take on it. The short of it - I loved it. It was fun and exciting. There was a surprising amount of time spent on setting up the story - but in many ways, those parts were more fun than the fighting stuff. Robert Downey Jr was perfect casting in the main role. In fact, all the casting was great - as well as the direction and effects. And it was full of explosions.