Gift Rap

"Okay. Here's the situation."

To a large swath of Generation X, at minimum, it's danged near impossible to hear those words and not feel the urge to reply "My parents went away on a week's vacation."

Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd as police detectives looking into camera

To a decidedly smaller segment of the population — we few who recall the music
video for "City of Crime", a track played over the closing credits of the 1987 movie Dragnet — a similar trigger is provided by an even simpler and more mundane phrase: "Excuse me."

The Man in the Iron Mask

I found Iron Man 3 a fine kickoff to what Marvel Studios is calling Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Phase One having culminated in the assemblage of nearly every superhero thus far introduced to the MCU in 2012's The Avengers.

A scarred, cracked Iron Man helmet in close-up held by Tony Stark

Given that it builds deliberately on what's come before, Iron Man 3 isn't an optimal entry to the series; a familiarity with the characters and their milieu is recommended.
If you've enjoyed the previous films, however, Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark in particular, grab a ticket. For darn sure it's better than 2010's Iron Man 2, although certain flaws of that movie are revisited. The way in which 3 gets to jump straight into its world, history established, might even make it more fun than 2008's original. In that regard (and in some aspects of the plot) it's not unlike an installment of the Bond franchise, a parallel driven home at the very end and made explicit too in press interviews by co-writer/director Shane Black.

So there's a quickie assessment. I'll add spoiler commentary after the next graphic.
Join me below if/when you've seen Iron Man 3 or just don't care...

Fett Peeve

I'd hoped to have a different post up here for what has become the annual observance
of Star Wars Day — May the 4th (as in, "... be with you"). That ain't happenin', so you get an enhanced repeat instead.

Boba Fett in armor with various accoutrements pointing a gun at something out of frame
Photo of Boba Fett in Return of the Jedi © 1983 Lucasfilm.

My younger friends think Boba Fett's a chump for dying (or not) in the Sarlacc pit. And I get that much of the mystery around Fett was ruined by seeing him as a kid in the prequels; same with Darth Vader, frankly. To many in my generation, however, the prequels aren't real Star Wars. When all we knew of Boba Fett was what you see in the photo above, nothing more than an enigmatic bounty hunter clad in a hodgepodge of beat-up weaponry that got faithfully reproduced as a kick-ass 12" Kenner action figure, I promise you: Boba Fett was awesome.