Open Thread for May 7, 2010

Good morning, Open Thread! Every day’s like an Open Thread! (sung to the tune of “Good Morning, Baltimore”, what, it’s a good song, anyway) The big pop culture news this weekend: some comic book movie is kicking off summer movie … Continued

Good morning, Open Thread! Every day’s like an Open Thread! (sung to the tune of “Good Morning, Baltimore”, what, it’s a good song, anyway)

The big pop culture news this weekend: some comic book movie is kicking off summer movie season. Iron Man shocked audiences two years ago by being fun, well-paced and written with smarts. Can Iron Man 2 live up to the unreasonable standard of being a palatable comic book movie? Question: well? can it?


Fifteen years ago, Robert Downey Jr and Mickey Rourke headlining a movie would be a Jay Leno punchline, not a summer blockbuster.

In more important news: if you weren’t in Boston last weekend, you missed Overthinking It Live at ImprovBoston! It was part of their Geek Week spectacular! We only told you about it, like, six or ten or thirty times. It’s okay. We understand. Here’s what you missed.


Sheely (L), Shechner (C) and Fenzel (R), ready to deliver commentary.




Fenzel presents on the thesis, antithesis and synthesis of Mr. T.


Lee leads the theater in a rousing chorus of I'll Be Back.


The panel takes questions from the audience.


We played to a packed house both nights.

Want to invite Overthinking It to your hometown? Do you have a favorite story from seeing us live last weekend? Do you have a billion-dollar suit of powered armor that you’d care to loan us? Sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.

17 Comments on “Open Thread for May 7, 2010”

  1. inmate #

    Iron Man 2 is greater than or equal to the original. Although preliminary Overthinking showed that the plot boils down to “Who Gets Some Defense Contracts”, it was revealed that it was pleasantly intricate, especially for a summer blockbuster. Really, it became obvious at about the halfway mark that it was all just a big lead up to the forthcoming Avengers movie.

    The post credits clip was well worth the wait.

    (Midnight Premiere FTW)


  2. S75 #

    Well, First of all: Guys, FLASHFORWARD?. anyone?.

    I wish I could have been at OTI live, but I’m kind of Geographically challenged. Anyway, it looks like quite a successful event so kudos and let’s hope it happens soon again.

    “Want to invite Overthinking It to your hometown?” Yes, but hometown being Punta arenas, Chile, the plot thickens a li’l I suppose.

    As for Ironman 2, it opened here on April 26 and has done quite well, and even I had fun but it’s not my cup of tea (It is that kind of “safe” movie). but Thor might be something bigger (clearly I’m not concerned with commecial success) with Kenneth Branagh directing, gee, it’s not M. Bay nor J. Schumaher.


  3. Gab #

    Well, I’m hoping _Iron Man 2_ is as good as its predecessor, but if it’s not, I won’t be surprised, simply because sequels tend to be less awesome. But, again, I hope, so mayhap it will be an anomaly, like that *other* franchise of which a sequel came out right after the first _Iron Man_. You know what I’m talking about. Yes, yes you do.

    FLASH FORWARD?! My mind was blown and my heart was stabbed, each a few times, and I’m quite worried about a few characters’ health/survival/futures. Where was Janice? What I kind of like about the show is how there are some things pretty darn easy to call before they happen, but then suddenly you get thrown a total curveball that seems to come from absolutely nowhere (or what you call is right, but there’s something a little extra along with it that), so you never know how “on” you’ll be in a given episode. It’s not _Lost_, no, but similar. It’s much more fast-paced, for one thing, and second, we’re shown more conflicting points of view, so the audience can at least think (if not shout, ahem), “Don’t say that, he’s a bad guy!!!” etc. more frequently while watching. This adds to the intensity of the viewing experience, and the adrenaline rush is what keeps me coming back.


  4. Mark #

    @Gab: I assume the ‘other’ franchise with the anomalously awesome sequel you’re talking about is “Step Up 2: The Streets”, although I’m confused by your use of the phrase “right after” since it actually came out in February that year, a couple months before “Iron Man”. Must have been a typo.


  5. S75 #

    @ Gab: I’m guessin’ FF has certain similarities to LOST because it was aimed to replace it, but my knowledge of LOST is zero.

    FF is building up to something big, let’s hope it’s not a big dissapointment (:.
    Why are there so many women playing for the bad guys?.
    There’s more but i gotta go….


  6. Count Spatula #

    @ Mark: I thought Gab was talking about The Dark Knight – that came out in July, so two months after Iron Man. TDK’s arguably the best comic book movie ever made, much better than it’s predecessor Batman Begins.

    I liked Iron Man 2; thought it was about as good as the first one. I didn’t get how he discovered an element in an afternoon, but seeing as it’s just escapism, I’m prepared to overlook it. Also, I love RDJ’s Tony Stark, though I’m afraid he might get type-cast into wildly eccentric enigmatic geniuses.


  7. DaveW #

    @Count Spatula: You know, I think I’d be ok with that particular typecasting :)

    As for IM2, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first. Of course, that may have been due to my substantially higher expectations and the fact that the theatre I was in, frankly, sucked.


  8. inmate #

    @Count Spatula: RDJr’s favorite actor *is* Robert Downey Jr.

    I also like the majority of this review:


  9. Mark #

    @Count Spatula: The “Step Up 2” reference was facetious. I agree that “The Dark Knight” was certifiably awesome, and I’m truly sad that Heath Ledger won’t be around to keep playing roles like that while other, lesser actors just won’t die. You know who I’m talking about. Yes, yes you do (to paraphrase Gab).

    Of course, TDK was (loosely) based on awesome source material. How awesome? A couple weeks ago I saw “Kick-Ass” (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and a couple nights later I dreamed that I was in a Kick-Ass-style fight, except that I was fighting alongside some Sons of the Batman (with the bat symbol face tattoos) from “The Dark Knight Returns”. So seeing one comic-inspired movie prompted my subconscious to dig up minor characters from a different comic that I haven’t read in 15 years. That’s awesome.


  10. DaveW #

    Ok, having now seen it again in a non-crappy theater, IM2 was decidedly more awesome than my initial impression.

    Far as TDK and IM1, I am of the opinion that while TDK was the better movie overall, I personally consider the first Iron Man to be the superior superhero movie. TDK feels more like a “movie that had a superhero in it” than a “superhero movie” to me, whereas the original Iron Man I consider to be the best superhero movie I’ve seen.


  11. Timothy J Swann #

    @Gab ‘so the audience can at least think (if not shout, ahem), “Don’t say that, he’s a bad guy!!!” etc. more frequently while watching.’
    Me and my brother meet up from the busy work of our degrees (well, he has busy work…) to watch FlashForward (and How I Met Your Mother – they are our staple shows – actually, I’d like to see the conceit of that show basically being ignored most of the time being Overthought) every week, and we totally do this!


  12. Count Spatula #

    @ Mark: I had a feeling you were being sarcastic – the answer was much too obvious. X) Silly me.

    @ DaveW: I always thought “The Dark Knight” could be more aptly named “The Joker”. I felt it was more of a psychological thriller than a super-hero movie, which is only to be expected seeing as Nolan directed it. At the same time, I wouldn’t want “super-hero movie” to automatically mean over-the-top-action, entertaining popcorn movie, because it should be so much more than that. After all, you’ve got to be at least a little fucked up to be a super-hero in the first place, which is what films/comics like Kick-Ass and Watchmen try to tell us. Tch. The term “comic” is so misleading these days.


  13. Gab #

    Haha, yes, I did indeed mean The Dark Knight. Oh, that all just made me chuckle.

    In response to the blossoming discussion(s), though.

    RDJ: I find it difficult to imagine him being completely type-cast, if only because his previous roles were so diverse. I know I may sound like a broken record, but he has proven himself capable of myriad kinds of roles in the past- unfortunately, his lifestyle necessitated a “comeback” movie, and he happened to get it with Iron Man. But just look at how different some of his most recent AND SUCCESSFUL roles were, Tropic Thunder v. Iron Man- and while Zodiac didn’t get a whole lot of attention media-wise, critics loved him in it; also, Sherlock Holmes was given good reviews for the acting, if not the story. In my idealistic, Platonic society where everything runs perfectly and such, RDJ would make an action movie one month, a rom-com the next, and finish the season out with a psychological thriller. But that’s just me. I’d be sad about the loss of talent if he were type-cast, but I’d still enjoy whatever he was type-cast in.

    TDK v. Iron Man: The point that it’s more like a “movie with a superhero” is apt. I wouldn’t necessarily go so far as to say it should be called “The Joker,” but I do think it had more Batman-as-Detective in it- which, imo, actually makes it a good BATMAN movie, since he’s supposed to be “The World’s Greatest Detective” and all that kinda jazz. I’ve found my favorite graphic novels are ones where he’s doing lots of investigating and doesn’t really *need* to be dressed up as Batman for very long, because by the time he suits up, he has everything he needs to take the person down (or if he’s dressed up, he’s not punching things, but instead figuring things out, so he may as well NOT be dressed up). The methodical, almost ridiculous success (to a point- there was always another twist in the movie, but so too on paper) is kind of awesome to see unfold. Sort of like James Bond movies- you take for granted that whatever is happening is possible and, well, of COURSE you’d need saltanium nitrate to mix with distilled baby tears in order to break the seal on the safe so as to get the key to everything because, DUH, that’s SO obvious (totally pulled that out of my ass, but I think you get what I’m trying to convey). I like it that way- Bruce/Batman or James can do as little or as much thinking for me as I feel like letting them.

    Tony Stark does spend a significantly greater amount of time running (or rather flying) around in his Iron Man suit in his first movie, which does make it feel more like a SUPERHERO movie. I actually don’t know which I think is “better,” though, between TDK and Iron Man, since they were different films. By that, I mean Iron Man seemed as though it was meant to be “funner” and “brighter.” I’m not saying there aren’t dark themes or events in the movie, but its overall tone was presented both pre- and post-premier as a different kind of experience the audience was supposed to derive. So I guess I prefer one over the other if there’s something specific I’m after, otherwise, I’m torn between the two.

    Flash Forward: I think the most obvious similarity it has to Lost is the Fate v. Free Will dispute. FF is a *lot* more blatant with it, though, going to far as to use words like “fate” and “destiny” openly, whereas Lost is at least a tiny bit more subtle. FF characters literally ask, “Can we change the future?”

    @Timothy- the gal I watch with sometimes grabs me as she shouts while we’re watching it, and vice versa. It’s kind of pathetic, but hilarious.

    @Count Spatula and in re: “The term ‘comic'”- I’d have to agree, I think that word has definitely been… changed, for lack of a better term. Or, rather, comics have evolved and dovetailed into different categories. Nowadays, when I hear the term “comic,” I tend to think of the funnies in the newspaper. Things like the newer Batman, Spiderman, X-Men, etc., I think of more as “graphic novels.” I wouldn’t call _Watchmen_ a comic. Maybe this is because I’m only in my mid-twenties, but stuff like that gets placed in an entirely different category in my mind from _Dilbert_ and _Garfield_. And when I look back at old issues of, say, the _Archie_ comics or, yes, the old ISSUES of superheroes, I put those into their own category, as well, one I label “serial comics.” I’ve heard that term before, but use it in my own way, so it sometimes seems. I’m rather opinionated (j.i.c. you didn’t realize that already, heads up! ;p), so that’s just how I roll in regards to “terminology” or whatever in my own head. And it doesn’t really *bother* me when someone calls _The Long Halloween_ a “comic,” I’d just rather use “graphic novel” when talking about it, myself.


  14. Count Spatula #

    @ Gab: Yes, I’m sorry. I agree I shouldn’t have called “Watchmen” a comic, because it is definitely a graphic novel. Kick-Ass, however, would technically be a comic because it was released in a serial format.
    I just think people nowadays (at least people who aren’t that interested in comics) tend to put all comic book movies under the same umbrella of action-rich, popcorn movies suitable for everyone. Of course Iron Man and TDK are completely different films, it’s just they are both comic book/super-hero movies so we try to compare them, and it just wouldn’t make sense to do that if they were in any other genre.


  15. Gab #

    @Count Spatula: Oh, it’s not an “I’m sorry” kind of thing. I agree 100%, and it’s something that totally gives me geek-rage, like how everyone assumes that if a person plays DnD, they dress up in costumes every Friday night and walk around in full-plate armor on a regular basis, or if a person plays Magic: The Gathering, they’re into cults and worship the Devil. It all comes from the same place, which is a lack of understanding of that particular breed/brand of nerdery, an assumption of the “worst” of it, and ignorance of the nuances and sub-genres within the overarching category. Not all comics are for kids, not all RPGers LARP, not all MTG players are heretics, etc. It’s a form of bigotry, imo, and, like bigotry, can range from inconvenient to downright hurtful.

    And I’ll clarify that while I don’t get too worried when someone *calls* something like _Watchmen_ a “comic,” I *DO* get extremely flustered when they *treat* it the same as *Peanuts*- I mean, really, just because the original was drawn with pictures DOES NOT MEAN your seven- and -three-year-old sons should come with you when you see it in the theater, dumbass parents!

    Of course, if you’re interested, I could tell ya how I *really* feel. ;p


  16. Ekey #

    Overthinking it could come to MY hometown? Yes, please. Where do I sign?


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