Iron Man 3

The suit Mark 42 settles in to watch The Avengers on Blu-Ray.

Back when I was reviewing Iron Man 2, I talked about sequels and their outrageous expensiveness. Well, this time around, having seen how popular the last Iron Man flick was, the studio raised the budget and, apparently, told the scriptwriters and the director to go wild with the effects, and gave them full permission to break anything they liked as long as it was dramatic.

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The Avengers

Yeah, it's awfully stagy, I know, but you need the group cast shots.

You probably know the basics already: An impossibly powerful energy source, a Norse god or two, the original 1940’s superhero, a noted assassin, a narcissistic billionaire playboy inventor, and the world’s best archer. Okay, that last one ends up sounding a little lame summed up in so few words, but the effects of a well-placed exploding arrow should not be underestimated. Oh, and there’s an alien invasion. I almost forgot.

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Contagion

The movie poster, since I couldn't possibly choose just one star.

First of all, I’ve seen a few places around the net where people are asking if this is based on the book Contagion by Robin Cook. I’ve even spotted a few places where people are warning others away from the film, because it’s so totally nothing like the book they should just go read it instead of bothering with the flick. Well, here’s the thing — it’s nothing like the novel because it isn’t based on the novel. A guy named Scott Z. Burns wrote the script.

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Iron Man 2

Iron Man gleaming in the sun, repulsor ray at the ready.

The thing about sequels (usually) is that they get more expensive and more outrageous. If you destroy ten cars in the first movie, you have to wreck thirty in the next, and if you make it to four or five, you’re destroying two-thirds of the annual output of Detroit. And the ways in which the cars are wrecked get exponentially weirder. A pile-up on the freeway isn’t enough anymore. A few sequels down the road (so to speak), filmmakers apparently feel required to throw them at airborne helicopters or have them melted down by an erupting volcano or something.

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