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Posts Tagged ‘Comic Books’

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So, over on alt. Dark Matter twitter account (@DarkMatter_show) I uploaded the above pic, snapped very early on in the show’s first season.  It’s a beautiful set, beautifully lit, with gorgeous playback displays and…a truly awful star field out the front.  The production purchased it from somewhere in the middle east – and it didn’t come cheap.  It was, I was told, a top of the line star field often used in planetarium shows and displays.  Which would have been great – had I been putting on a planetarium show or display.  On camera though, the stars looked terrible – big and bright and oh-so-fake.  Our attempts to dial them down were less than successful and a consultation of the handy guidebook that accompanied the purchase proved equally problematic given that it was entirely in Farsi.  Despite our eventually securing a translation, the damn star field never quite worked and, in the end, the majority of our looks out the window had to be helped along by VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson and the visual effects department.

When we got our second season pick up, the first thing to go was that pricey star field.  We took a page out of Stargate: Universe’s playbook, replacing it with a simple black curtain studded with tiny lights and tinsel.  At less than a tenth the cost, it looks roughly a thousand times better.

How’s that for behind the scenes trivia?

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Also part of the DarkMatter_show’s twitter feed season 1 flashback were these pics of our cast – back when they were young, oh-so-innocent and, frankly, didn’t know any better.  Jodelle Ferland (FIVE) above, and the boys (Alex Mallri Jr., Roger Cross, and Anthony Lemke) below.

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Anyways, I’ve put a handy little widget in the right sidebar of this blog that will allow you to keep up with the latest twitter developments.  Oh, and before I move on, there was also this –

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First version of the Ferrous Corp guard outfit that was eventually toned down considerably to basic black.

So, hey, amid the prep, post, on-set action, and spinning ideas for season 3, I now have considerably more free time on my hands and have returned to my reading ways.  Here are a couple of recommendations I’m throwing your way:

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Beyond Redemption By Michael R. Fletcher

This title topped the list of author/blogger Terry Ibele’s “Six Amazingly Bizarre Sci-Fi & Fantasy Novels You’ve Never Heard Of” –

https://octotea.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/six-amazingly-bizarre-sci-fi-fantasy-novels-youve-never-heard-of/

Intrigued, I purchased a copy and was absolutely blown away by the most outrageously heinous characters in the most outrageously good fantasy novel I’ve read in recent memory. If you like your fantasy (grim) dark, this is the book for you.

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4 Kids Walk Into A Bank by Matthew Rosenberg, Tyler Boss, and Thomas Mauer

It opens with a D&D dragon-slaying expedition and ends with a diner reveal.  In between, it’s sheer comical, caper-centric, character-driven brilliance.

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At present, my love for this title knows no bounds.  Check it out.

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Turncoat by Alex Paknadel and Artyom Trakhanov

via BOOM! Studios: “300 years since humanity was brutally subjugated by the alien race known simply as the Management. Two years since these invaders abandoned Earth to return to their home world. Following her participation in the brutal massacre of human-alien hybrids left behind by the Management, resistance fighter Marta Gonzalez declines to join the new human government and starts her own private detective agency instead. Gonzalez is forced to confront her own bloody past and acknowledge the fact that the transition from oppression to emancipation is anything but clean.

The latest from Alex Paknadel (Arcadia), one of my favorite comic book writers.

Okay, off to get in a little more reading and a little more season 3 story spinning before tonight’s Game of Thrones premiere.  Who’s watching?

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After last year’s impressive reading tally, I set the bar a lot lower this year but, even so, it looked like I was going to come up short of the 100 book mark.  Over this past month, however, I’ve done some major catching up.  Here are a few of the titles I enjoyed…

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Half A War by Joe Abercrombie

The third and final instalment in Joe Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea trilogy is epic fantasy at its high flying, action-packed finest.  This one has all of the elements one would expect from Abercrombie – colorful characters, heart-stopping twists and, best of all, that wicked sense of humor I’ve come to know and love.

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Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach

The second book in Rachel Bach’s (Aaron’s) Paradox Trilogy continues an SF series that stands out well above the rest.  These books are smart, fast-paced, engrossing and, without a doubt, flat-out the most FUN you’ll have reading in recent memory.

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Get Carter by Ted Lewis

I’m not a huge fan of noir-themed titles but this British classic, adapted into a movie starring Michael Caine back in the early 70’s, hooked me early and held my rapt attention through the entirety of my cover to cover single seating read.  A brilliant and brutal crime novel that has restored my appreciation for the genre.

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Sharpe’s Tiger by Bernard Cornwell

Having worked my way through most of George MacDonald Fraser’s similarly-themed Flashman series, I decided to give Cornwell’s historical anti-hero a shot – and came away mightily impressed.  I loved this book and hope the rest of Sharpe’s adventures are as masterfully detailed.

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Arcadia #4 by Alex Paknadel and Eric Scott Pfeiffer

This mind-bending SF series continues to, well, bend minds.  Paknadel juggles intellectually intoxicating narrative elements to magnificent effect while Pfeiffer’s art dazzles in perfect compliment.

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Descender by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen

From The Underwater Welder to Sweet Tooth to Trillium, Lemire’s work is distinguished by its grounded, at times painfully real characters struggling in fantastic and surreal environments.  In Descender, it’s Tim-21, a child robot who may be the key to averting a looming invasion.  A delightfully sweet and compelling series.

And a couple of screenshots from Friday night’s all-new episode of Dark Matter:

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FOUR against seven.  They’re gonna need more guys!

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Seeing double?

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What do we have here?!

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Well, look who’s coming back to stir things up!

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The boys convene in one of my favorite scenes in this episode.

Don’t forget to join me for a live post-episode Periscope after both airings tomorrow night.

Watch the show…

10 pm EST

7/10 pm PST

Then join me for a Periscope chat…

11 pm EST

8/11 pm PST

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Well, it’s been about two weeks since the move to Toronto and I’m pleased to report we have more or less settled in.  We’ve met quite a few very nice people in that short time – also, a number of weirdoes.  But I suppose that’s to be expected. Toronto is a bigger city.  Also, unlike Vancouver, Akemi and I can’t simply live as recluses.  Necessity forces us to go out, encounter others and, in some instances, interact with them.  The fact that I’ll strike up a conversation with just about anybody helps (or hurts depending on the relative sanity of my impromptu conversation partner).

Jelly and Lulu, best of buds.

Jelly and Lulu, best of buds.

The dogs have also settled into a nice little routine that includes four daily visits to the local dog park where Jelly leaves her stroller to get in her short walks, Bubba does his best to avoid contact with other dogs, and Lulu stubbornly refuses to return home until she has visited the dog run where she too ignores the other pooches in favor of begging their owners for attention.

Dressed for the weather - Jelly in her Anna Suit ensemble

Dressed for the weather – Jelly in her Anna Suit ensemble

I do miss Darlene and the gang at The Book Warehouse in Toronto.  I’ve checked out  a couple of the local book stores and have left underwhelmed.  The sole exception is Bakka-Phoenix Books (84 Harbord Street), a terrific shop specializing in genre fiction.  I spent a good half hour chatting with the staff while Akemi sat patiently by, endlessly perusing an illustrated Miyazaki book.

After you!

After you!

Even though I vowed to stick to digital versions while here in Toronto, I couldn’t help myself and picked up a selection made up of staff member Leah’s recommendations and some titles that caught my eye:

Familiar with any of the above books?

Familiar with any of the above books?

Presently reading Norman Lear’s Even This I Get to Experience.  Just finished – and loved – the first volume of Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga, recommended to me by Prodigy Pictures Development Wunderkind Nat Cooper.  I swung by The Silver Snail and picked up volumes 2 and 3 yesterday.  And also brought home a bunch of other comic books and graphic novels Natalie sent me home with on Friday, among them Buzzkill by Donny Cates that I thought was pretty darn terrific as well. Speaking of comic book, it looks like it’ll be trade paperbacks only moving forward as Marvel has apparently wrapped up (canceled?) the only two single issue series I was collecting: The Thunderbolts and the awesome Superior Foes of Spiderman.  :(

The eating, meanwhile, has been good.  WAY to good.  Some of the highlights –

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The crispy prawn rice rolls at Luckee in the Soho Met.  I don’t even like rice rolls but thought these were great.  I’m not a huge fan of some of the entrees, but their dim sum menu items are uniformly great.

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The sautéed sweetbreads at Le Neuf Cafe (9 Clarence Square) which, by the way, makes the best desserts in town – everything from salted caramel eclairs to their tiny chouquettes that Akemi has become addicted to and now picks up on almost a daily basis.

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Wahlburgers (A Mark Wahlberg burger joint, 46 Blue Jays Way) opened her recently and I checked out their promising-sounding Thanksgiving Burger.  The patty was flavorful but the stuffing and roasted butternut squash were decidedly not.  The side of sweet potato tots (Actually made from yams.  For some reason, people in Toronto don’t know the difference between a yam and a sweet potato) was disquietingly sweet.  Everyone else in line ordered the signature Our Burger. Maybe I’ll order that next time.  Or just go Burger’s Priest which I’ve been meaning to do.

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After stocking up at the St. Lawrence Market this morning, we returned home where I made myself a bacon sandwich using two types of bacon (back bacon and peameal), Bourgogne cheese, and micro greens.

Tonight, we head out to a special event dinner at a local Italian eatery that is hosting a special guest chef from Vancouver: none other than our buddy Chef Robert Belcham (Fuel, Refuel, Fat Dragon, Camapagnolo, Campagnolo Roma).  I will, of course, report back.

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If I had to pick one comic book that I considered “the weirdest” growing up, it would have to be Richie Rich.  The title character was described as “the poor little rich boy” but I never found anything remotely poor about him, either literally or figuratively.  I suppose, one could make the argument that deep beneath the surface, Richie was a troubled soul.  In the end, all the riches in the world couldn’t buy him the one thing he desired most: true friendship.  Of course, in retrospect, making friends probably wouldn’t have been so hard if he hadn’t been such a dick.

1I can just imagine him in his best Crocodile Dundee: “Haha.  That’s not a car.  THIS is a car.”  Then reverses over the kid’s toy.  And quite possibly his little hand.

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How much does it cost to ship in an endangered tortoise from the Galapagos Islands?  And then stud its shell with precious gems?

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DON’T try this at Dodger home games.

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Nothing says “destitute and starved for affection” like a kid taking an old soup can for a walk.  But Richie looks pretty happy.  Happier still when he later fires a full broadside at the enemy ship.

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It’s like: “Dayamn, my top is so brilliant, I need sunglasses to play with it.”

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Structurally unsound, impractical, and energy deficient, but the new President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council has to represent.

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Yeah, I’m just going to look the other way while you finish grading my test.

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100’s are aerodynamically superior to 50’s and 20’s.

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Money doesn’t actually grow on trees. It grows on stalks so, technically, your parents weren’t lying to you.

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This is actually a great idea.  Next time you break a window, it’s automatically paid for.

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If only golf courses came with shops that allowed you to purchase golf-related items like golf balls – or hire non-chatty caddies.  “Yo, Overalls.  I’m putting over here!”

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Which all results in this.  Sad but not surprising.

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“They sure don’t make ’em like they used to” goes the old adage, and nowhere is this more evident than in the ever-evolving world of comic books.  From Superman battling nazis to Spiderman meeting President Obama, comics have a rich tradition of embracing history and reflecting social and cultural norms.  What was perfectly acceptable ten, maybe twenty years ago is now often viewed with an even mix of horror and amusement.  “What were they thinking?”we ask.  But before we get all smug and self-important, let’s remember that ten, twenty years ago, readers were saying the same thing.  And ten, twenty years from now, they’ll probably look back on us and marvel over OUR ridiculous conceits and misguided earnestness.   So adorably/annoyingly politically correct.  It’s a wonder they ever got anything done!

With that in mind, allow me to present Comicdom’s Most Dated Covers: A Trip Down Lois Memory Lane.  We’ve come a long way, baby!

1Note to Lex Luthor: If you can’t get your hands on kryptonite, have Lois bake up a batch of her home made muffins.

1Lois teams up with the villainous…Pat Boone?!  Some 40 years later, Pat shows up at the American Music Awards in leather and sporting a dog collar.  Prescient?

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18lqrzilka2lvjpgThis guy carries around jumbo jets without breaking a sweat.  How much weight DID she gain?!

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Super catfight!

1First Pat Boone, now Perry Como.  Throw in Paul Anka and you’ve got the Triumvirate of Evil, 1960’s version.

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“I’m ashamed of my physical deformity so I’ll just wear this lead-lined safe on my head so that people don’t stare.”

1I’m going to guess: actual biological father.

1Easy there, Aquaman.  Keep yer underoos on.  Until it’s your turn.

1Seems a tad overly-elaborate – but I’m sure it all makes perfect sense in the book.

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In this case, the actual story couldn’t possibly do justice to the kinky version we’re all imagining in our heads.

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Sorry, Lois.  You made your deathbed.  Now lie in it.

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Wow.  She is REALLY desperate to get married.

1Following in the proud tradition of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.

loislane110Hey, do you mind if I borrow your child for this undercover investigation I’m doing?

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1THE SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN

Writer Nick Spencer is at the top of his game here, exploring the private and professional lives of a group of B-team villains, The Sinister Six – who are actually made up of FIVE members hard-luck members.  They’re sneaky, opportunistic, and completely disloyal, but you can’t help but love ’em.  

1RAT QUEENS

Established notions of the fantasy genre are upended in this wild and whimsical series about “a pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing maidens-for-hire”.  Equal parts dark fantasy and dark humor combine for an epic tale of magic, adventure and, above all, friendship. 

1ALEX + ADA

In a near future of advanced technology quite literally on the heels of a robot revolution, mild-mannered Alex Wahl is sent an unexpected birthday present from his grandmother: a Tanaka X5 android.  Bewildered and little creeped out, he decides to return the gift to the manufacturer, but there’s an earnestness and beauty to the android he names Ada that gives him pause.  The Luna Brothers have a knack for cracking dialogue and wonderful character-driven stories (see Ultra), and this title – written by Jonathan Luna and Sara Vaughn – holds the promise of comparable greatness.

5c47b60c1f25f87351b9c5c25a764d82_mTHOR: GOD OF THUNDER

To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of Thor. I’ve always found him – well, kind of dull.  But in the hands of Jason Aaron, the God of Thunder is transformed into a rich, engaging, humorous character.  The latest story arc, The Accursed, is epic high fantasy with a Game of Thrones vibe but a spirt and style all its own.  

JUSTL-25-15-08c83JUSTICE LEAGUE (FOREVER EVIL)

A continuing tie-in to the major “Forever Evil” story arc running through the DC titles.   Alternate/Evil versions of the Justice League from a parallel Earth have orchestrated a take down of this planet’s heroes and triggered a super villainous uprising.  While there are big battles and action aplenty, for my part I’m enjoying the smaller, character-centered stories that shed light on the behind-the-scenes machinations of Earth’s new criminal power brokers.  Double-crosses, shifting alliances, and hidden agendas – writer Geoff Johns does a masterful job of building suspense and doling out the unexpected twists and turns.  Like a comic book version of a serialized cable series. 

Check them out if you get the chance, then report back!

Snow Monkeys update: Down 12 points with three quarters of football still to play!

Today’s entry is dedicated to long-time Stargate fan Jill Bratcher, AKA majorsamfansg1.  All the best for a speedy recovery and return home, Jill!

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Dis would have been a great movie if it had been half an hour shorter. And made a lick of sense.  Monster can imagine script notes session went someting like dis:

Producer: Dis skript full of plot holes and not make much sense.

Writer: Dats okay.  Me fix it.

Producer: By applying logic so it easier to understand?

Writer: No.  By making it so complicated dat audience simply assume dey too stoopid to understand.

Well, me have news for makers of Iron Man 3.  Monster not stoopid. Me have GED from Pyongyang Institute of Higher Learning and Dance!

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Alternate nicknames included Satsuma, Valencia, and Clementine.

Movie begin wit Tony Stark seeing a therapist because he suffering panic attacks after Avengers movie.  How dese panic attacks figure into plot and pay off at end of movie.  Spoiler alert: Dey don’t!

Meanwhile, U.S. government rocked by string of bombings orchestrated by villain called de Mandarin!  Why he called de Manadarin?  Well, in original comic books, he called de Mandarin because he be of Chinese descent and adopt title of Chinese bureaucrats of Imperial China.  In de movie – well, he not Chinese but Middle-Eastern so he called de Mandarin because…mebbe he named after de orange?  It was either dat or Tangerine?

When Tony’s bodyguard get injured in an explosion dat, in retrospekt, not make any sense at all (we’ll get to dat), Tony vow revenge and dare Mandarin to come after him.  So bad guy respond by blowing up Tony’s cool mountain-side home.

Oh, Timmy!  You little scamp!

Oh, Timmy! You little scamp!

At dis point, fairly more-or-less straightforward movie take a hairpin turn when Tony end up in Tennessee to investigate similar bombing there.  He befriend lovable little rascal of a kid who all sorts of quippy and cute and no doubt shoe-horned into story to appeal to young audience.  Dudes, it’s a movie based on a comic book character!

While Tony enlist brilliant kid’s help to recharge his armor, he investigate apparent suicide bombing by local soldier and pay visit to his mom at local bar. COINCIDENTALLY, she happen to be waiting for someone to give dem a top sekret file on her son.  A top sekret file dat, for some reason, also contain information on other soldier blown up in similar explosion.

Why mother have dis information on other soldier?  Why bad guys need to get deir hands on dis file?  Why dey just not go over to her place and take it instead of arranging meeting in a public place?  How Tony be so lucky as to just happen to walk into bar and approach soldier’s mother on exact night she be planning to meet bad guys and hand over file?  How possible – LOOK!  EXPLOSIONS!  COOL!

Tony fight bad guys who turn out to be super soldiers wit super-strength, agility, and healing powers.  And, for no apparent reason later on, super fire breath.  He defeat dem, but barely.

In one of movie’s many ridikulous moments, Tony learns all about super soldiers by hacking into super seckret database containing convenient video recordings of experiments on soldiers wit someting called Extremis.  Sometime it work, making dem superhuman.  Other times it not work, making dem blow up. BUT….

We see one soldier blow up because his body unable to accept Extremis.  Dis be explanation for explosion.  But den how to explain explosion of soldier in Tennessee? If his body rejekted Extremis, he would have blown up in lab, not in public?  And what about soldier who exploded, injuring Tony’s bodyguard?  Why he blow up?  If it delayed reaction to Extremis, what all dat nonsense about him getting a briefcase from bad guy?

Tony track bad guy to Miami and get drop on Mandarin who…turn out to be aktor hired to play part of a wanted terrorist.  Very funny – except for fakt dat, even though he be seemingly goofy and unwitting accomplice who assumed deaths were fake, he couldn’t be stoopid enough NOT to be aware of news reports on terrorist acts in his name. Also, he SHOT a guy on video!

Dis little twist bring up another point.  In comic book, Mandarin be one of Iron Man’s greatest villains – but he played for a joke here.  So dis pretty much rule out any appearance of real villainous Mandarin in future Iron Man movies…unless he be some supervillain who just decide to name himself after a laughingstock rube.

Tony captured.  But get his armor back.  But Pepper kidnapped.  And President!  And Air Force One blow up but Iron Man manage to save flight crew in one of movie’s more inspired sekwences.

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Boy!  Dem some spicy nuts!

It all culminate in big extended impressive but over-long climactic battle pitting Tony and his buddy, Rhodey, against bad guy and super soldiers.  Pepper, who now a super soldier because she be injected wit Extremis, help save de day.  And Tony celebrate by blowing up all his extra Iron Man suits, assuming he won’t need dem because bad guys all dead even though he thought he had killed dem before and dey turned up very much alive later.  Also, FYI,  some of dem not really injured and just fell into ocean so chances are – LOOK!  EXPLOSIONS! SO COOL!

Wait a minute.  Pepper now a super soldier?  No, because Tony be a genius.  He fix her.  Uh, if Tony be such a genius, why he not fix himself?  Okay, because Tony be a genius, he also fix himself and remove shrapnel from his heart.  Happy now?  Uh, if Tony such a genius, why he not remove shrapnel from heart two movies sooner?

Wait another minute! What was bad guy’s plan?  To get Vice President in office?  But if dat de case, why not just assassinate President instead of going through big show of kidnapping him, stringing him up, etc? What was point of de Mandarin?  More me tink about it, more me hate dis movie.

VERDIKT: Great movie for people who love explosions – and not much else.

RATING: 4 chocolate chippee cookies.

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