All these movies have a common thread – take a hero, no, correction, superhero, and make him mortal, human. All four movies have intensely personal issues confronting the hero, which he has to deal with. Firstly, Skyfall, in 24 bond movies, the only other movie which comes close to having a premise as personal as the one in Skyfall, is License to Kill, which had Bond de-licensed, go rouge to eliminate the killers of his friend's wife. In Skyfall, Bond's enemy is not a villain threatening global disaster or trying to be a supervillain, his enemy is someone who has a personal grouse, against one person, M, as played by Judie Dench, a M who now has more Bond movies than all save Moore (at 7 both are tied for the top spot). Daniel Craig has brought a humanism and mortality to a role, whose nature varied from superhero to supercomic to rougish playboy in the past. Not that the playboy part is not there, but it is heavily underplayed to what was in Brosnan's, Connery's or Moore's movies. In terms of an ugly looking Bond, only Dalton does worse. In terms of an effective Bond, only Connery does better, but then Connery defined the role. Craig's Bond is a variety that grows, not for him the usual tricks of the trade – in fact, he didn't use the classic line till the end of his first movie. The one liners still abound, a kiddish looking Q, who probably was born well after Dalton became Bond, provides one of the classier lines in the movie – “If you were expecting an exploding pen, I am sorry we don't do that any more”. Watching this movie, as I did, after watching Brosnan do the exploding pen trick in Golden Eye the day before, the line seemed even more relevant. Javier Bardem, shows why he can play scary motherfuckers, scarier than anyone else, his Silva is an amalgam of a megalomaniac, selfish, psychopath and the traditional over the top Bond villain. Not much of a caricature, as is usually required of a Bond villain, but someone who is way meatier than what was the vaguely amorphous villain of the previous Bond movie, Quantam of Solace. He nicely converges all the evil energy in this movie and provides a very personal antithesis of what Bond is. Dame Dench, is as she is always, quite regal as M – the playoff between Ralph Fiennes, who is there in all his full nosed and haired glory, and her are great. Ralph Fiennes actually is quite good and underplayed and the lead up to how he (spoiler warning) becomes M is quite nice. He again has one of those classic lines – where he tells an overbearing and yakking Minister – “in the interest of hearing something different, can we let the witness speak”. Shows of his action chops too by taking a gun and firing at assorted villains. Nice movie – I liked it way better than Quantam of Solace and almost as good as Casino Royale. It also introduces a new Moneypenny, who moves from being the field agent who shoots Bond to the secretary behind the desk for the new M. A final climax sequence bereft of any fancy pants action, the only fancy gadget is a car machine gun, which looks like it was whacked from the bond movies of the 70s. A little implausible as Bond, M and a gamekeeper take on a dozen or more armed to the teeth mercernaries, but hey this is a bond movie and he is kinda a superhero you know, falls into a lake full of icecold water and instead of getting hypothermic in 4 mins, walks out of it, has enough motor skills to throw a knife into the back of Silva's head, with M's head a few inches away.
Moving over to Thor 2 – Dark World. Nice movie – Chris Hemsworth makes a good Thor, Idris Alba makes a bad ass Heimdahl. The story here though personal, as Thor's girlfriend has a bit of Aether that is needed for the plot to work, also has the usual lets destroy the universe plot point to it. Natalie Portman looks a bit old for Hemsworth. The movie theatre erupted into hoots and screams when Thor walked in. Tom Hiddleston as Loki as usual stole the acting chops here – his Loki has improved with every version that we have seen. The Loki in Avengers was probably the weakest of the lot. Marvel with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor seem to have cracked partly the formula for individual superhero movies congregating into a big bang ensemble movie – with Iron Man 1, 2; Captain America and Thor setting the stage up for Avengers and the next series of sequels setting up the stage for Avengers II. In between, they are going to squeeze of Guardians of the Galaxy movie out. Interesting bit of movie lore being built up here. And an interesting set of actors playing an interesting set of characters.
Star Trek – the reboot – was cool in its own way, of how it gave some basis to the whole Kirk- Spock friendship. Added a bit of masala with the Uhura-Spock angle. But in all if was a creditable attempt at the reboot by JJ Abrams. In Star Trek Into the Darkness – the loony Romulan of Star Trek is replaced by the Khan, played by a Bernard Cumberbatch in a rather stiff necked. I don't remember the Wrath of the Khan, but I would have assumed that a name of Khan would imply some kinda Asiatic features, instead we get Cumberbatch in all his Brit glory. Chris Pine makes a nice rakish Kirk, while Zachary Quinto seems to be the spiritual heir apparent to Leonard Nimoy. The final climatic flip of what happens in the Wrath of the Khan feels kinda overdone a bit, Spock can never ever lose his cool and become emotional. I mean, we are talking about Spock, for chrissakes.
Ironman 3 – hmm, quite different from Ironman 1 and 2. Stark is dealing with his New York issues, again a nice line in by the Marvel team to get this into the mix. He also seems to have built a whole stable of Ironman suits – the suits are all there in the final climax. An attempt again to make the hero human. Robert Downey Jr now owns the Ironman character, difficult to see anyone but him actually bring this character to life again, but then we are always wrong right.