One Marvelous Scene – Iron Man Vs Thanos

iron man v thanosIn many ways, Tony Stark and The Mad Titan Thanos are very similar people. However, in many other more significant ways they are fundamentally different. There was a popular meme that circulated that posed the question of six children and three chairs. Many famously said that Thanos would rather kill three of them while Tony would build three more. While it’s certainly meant to be more humorous than anything else, this also perfectly demonstrates the crucial disparity between Tony and Thanos. Regardless of their similarities, they will always be marked by one stark contrast, pun intended.

The battle between Tony and Thanos is one of the few solo battles any avenger gets with the mad titan. Its purpose is instrumental to the overarching character progression of Tony and the overall tone of the film. Infinity War is very much about Thanos rather than the Avengers. The story is about his journey, to achieve what he believes is a perfect balance. Throughout the film, the audience is constantly reminded through his misadventures that behind almost every villain is a person who truly believes they’re right. Recall that once confronted about his heinous actions by his daughter Gamora, Thanos claims he’s the “only one that knows” that the resources of the world are finite.

The battle between Tony and Thanos is as much about brains as it is about brawn. The power of Tony’s sheer intellect has surmounted itself into his nanotech, armor that can literally morph itself into anything he desires. Thanos’ infinity gauntlet is the epitome of his endeavors he spent who knows how long meticulously planning. It’s abundantly clear both of these men are intelligent. Thanos himself claims that they’re both “cursed with knowledge.”

While the audience has been aware of the underlying similarities between the Mad Titan and the Ironman this is the first time we’ve been made overwhelmingly aware of it. From this, its clear Thanos considers Tony and equal in some respects. Tony refuses to accept their similarities and in his usual snarky fashion responds to Thanos with, “my only curse is you.” Then, the fight ensues.

The fight itself is rather short, at only a minute and a half long. However, much is shown in that battle that adds to both characters. Tony was the first Avenger to make Thanos bleed, a feat that is made much grander once you realize the Russo Brothers have gone on record to say that Thanos has invincible skin. This truly shows the extent of Tony Stark’s power and intellect and, on the other hand, how even at his most powerful, Tony still couldn’t win. Even so, Thanos is impressed if not a bit patronizing. When he tells Tony that he has his respect it almost sounds completely genuine. This line also serves as a reinforcement of the duality between the two.

The battle between Tony Stark and Thanos is one of the most important of the MCU. It’s defining, climactic and most of all, entertaining. These are two larger than life characters bought together by what seems like fate finally meeting face to face. It’s as grandiose as it sounds, and a true spectacle. If only it didn’t end so bitterly.

A few notes on John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum

jwick.jpgI believe the nicest part of watching a John Wick film is that you don’t need to watch them in order. I watched John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum with almost no knowledge of the previous two films and I was still able to enjoy it thoroughly. Were a few plot points and relationships unclear to me? Sure. Did that affect my overall enjoyment of the film? Not in the slightest. In fact, John Wick 3 accomplishes a lot more in its relatively confining genre than its other contemporaries. Action films are about very few things. I’ve overheard a lot of my friends call films like John Wick “brain dead movies.” While that may seem like a rather demeaning term I believe it succinctly describes an entertaining concept. It’s rather refreshing to not have to think so hard about a film and enjoy it for the pure spectacle that it really is, and I think the John Wick franchise captures that idea perfectly.

Another one of the many things the John Wick series of films does well is theming. At the start of John Wick 3, the audience is immediately thrown into the dark side of New York. The parts where angels fear to tread and only the worst criminals would even dare to inhabit. It’s a rather cold open but I think it fits nicely considering the rather dark tone of the film. This immense focus on world building is what makes John Wick a cut above the rest. When the stage is set so purposefully it makes the inevitable action that is bound to come along with it a lot more comprehensive and enjoyable. As I said before, even with no explanation I was still able to get into the film and its plot with relative ease and I believe that’s what the filmmakers were trying to achieve. John Wick uses its simple story very effectively in order to make itself more accessible.

While I still haven’t watched the previous two films it’s my understanding these things have been a precedent throughout the series. Here are a few other things John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum does well that I’ve been told has been done well in the previous films.

  • Fight scenes with no music

A film with no score is like a body without bones. It is an integral part of storytelling that can be used for better or for worse. It is incredibly difficult to score a scene however it is equally as difficult to know when not to score one. However, John Wick 3 is one film that understands when not to score. Many of the early fight scenes in the film have no soundtrack at all. The only sounds that occupy the empty space are the grunts of Wick and the various foley sound effects. Music is typically used to make a scene more tense and exciting but John Wick subverts this common practice opting to take a much more immersive approach. This, in turn, accentuates the ambient sounds and physical noises of the characters. Necks snapping, flesh tearing, arms breaking, and in one scene, horses kicking, all of it sounds and feels so real. As a member of the audience, you really feel like you’re in the film watching it happen live. Long takes and handheld camera movements also add to the overall sense of immersion of the film and when combined with no music John Wick truly feels authentic.

  • Amazing sound design

Every sound is so loud it feels like everything has been dialed up to eleven.  Remember the first gunshot in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and how that was so loud and impactful? Well, imagine that for an entire film. Every gunshot fired, every bone that breaks, every piece of glass that shatters can be heard with a disturbing amount of clarity. This, once again, adds to the authenticity of the film. It makes every punch and hit seem that much harder. There were times where I actually found myself reacting to the punches on screen. The quality of the sound effects is also incredibly polished. There was obviously a great deal of care put into making everything sound and feel realistic.

  • Interesting subtitles

This is one of the more strange things about John Wick 3 but its something I found to be one part comedic and another part fascinating. Often times in films the subtitles are like this omniscient part of the screen. In English speaking films whenever there’s a scene that calls for subtitles I always wonder why they even needed to do it. I’ve maintained the idea that subtitles ruin the immersion and my overall suspension of disbelief. However, John Wick 3 has a different way of doing subtitles. Instead of doing static text at the bottom of the screen, the subtitles themselves are alive and part of the scene. A lot of latent intent can be derived from reading the animated text. It’s quite difficult to explain this idea adequately without any visual aid but honestly, it’s more something to experience than to simply see.

Overall John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum is a good film. Action movies are often grouped within their own little field of mediocrity but what ultimately sets them apart are the choices made by its filmmakers.

Some hard thinking after one year of writing articles for a website almost nobody reads.

I started this website one year ago today with almost no direction. I gave the website a title with almost no meaning,  all I had was this vague ambition to write, and so I did. Somehow kept this place consistent for a whole year. In that year this place has grown far bigger than I ever thought was possible. I don’t like sharing much about myself on here. This place is supposed to be about media, not about me. Be that as it may, this is still my website and everything I’ve released here thus far has been an extension of myself.

There has been one big misconception about me many have been falsely claiming as truth. So I figure I would take the time today to clear that misconception up.

So here’s a revelation: I am not a reviewer or a critic. I know! Crazy! But yes, I do not consider myself a reviewer or a critic. The purpose of this website since the beginning has been to analyze media and entertainment and for the most part, I think I’ve done a good job at keeping that theme consistent, with a few minor exceptions of course.

There’s an awkward stigma associated with critics that I find myself distancing from more and more. After all, this is Turn off the Bright Lights, not Buring the Celluloid. All joking aside, I’ve detested the critic typecast simply because of the little importance it denotes. This is not to criticize people who do reviews. There’s nothing wrong with being a reviewer. I just wouldn’t like to consider myself one. To put things bluntly, I have terrible opinions. I wouldn’t call myself contrarian, but others certainly have. I have a fixed way I view most things and if I were to speak with that perspective constantly at the crux of my articles, I don’t think anyone would bother reading. Not like many people actually read these things, but I’d like the keep the choice few that do.

Some may begin to call into question the fact I’ve done reviews in the past and that is a completely valid point. However, I’ve realized the fault in doing so, and because of that, I’ve only continued my 150-word track reviews but even in just doing those many people still get the wrong idea about my website. I was recently contacted by an independent artist who wanted me to write a review for their new EP. I told them I don’t do reviews and we settled on a track review instead. When I did that, however, something still felt wrong to me.

Originally I did track reviews to fill empty space between articles. At the time I didn’t have a consistent schedule like I do now. As things have progressed here I’ve slowly begun to realize how unnecessary they are now.

So as of today, I’m killing all reviews on this website. Instead, I’m going to be replacing them with a new segment that I call “artist spotlight.” This is going to be my chance to expose general audiences to artists they wouldn’t have bothered to go find otherwise. There is a chance track reviews will return in some form, but their overall structure will be completely reformatted to the point where they will be almost unrecognizable. Anyway, the first spotlight will be out next week.

And with that, my stigma has hopefully been effectively killed. Now I can go on to focus on yet another question. A question that I’ve wanted to answer for a very long time.

Something I’ve asked myself at least a hundred times is why. Why do I write? I’ve mulled it over for a while and the answer has come to me in short bursts. It takes a lot to admit something to yourself, when you’re younger feelings aren’t the most simple thing in the world. Regardless, I’ve kept this website up for a year. While it hasn’t remained entirely consistent I’ve made the effort to always release something. Even if it was just once a month.

Once again, I ask myself, “Why?” Why do I do this? Why even bother? Why do I put up with being called a reviewer by people who have no idea what an analytical essay is? Why do I continue to write despite being ridiculed by people around me? Why do I write for a website that not even my own girlfriend reads?

It’s because I love it. There is nothing in this world I’ve ever felt more accomplished doing and I mean that wholeheartedly. I want to do this forever. I want to release the countless thoughts I have on a regular basis and show them off for all to see. I am a writer and if we want to get really personal, I am an artist.

For every callow comment I’ve received there’s another that inspires me to keep going. Even if I have to pull myself back up there’s never been a doubt in my mind that I love doing this. Regardless of the few people who actually read these things I’ve told myself I have been doing this for me and that intent hasn’t changed. I thank everyone who has supported me through this year. I’m genuinely glad I’ve made it this far and can’t wait to go even farther. The new year is upon us as we are beginning to move into a new era where we turn off the bright lights.

Thank you.