DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Darkmatters Review: The Losers

The Losers (12a)

Dir. Sylvain White

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

As the soppy ’80s ballad went ‘Every Loser Wins’… But does this apply to a maverick bunch of revenge-hungry U.S. Special Forces who are double crossed and left for dead on their last mission?

These ‘Losers’ compromise of Clay (Watchmen’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Jensen (Fantastic Four’s Chris Evans), Roque (The Wire’s Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short) and Cougar (Oscar Jaenada).
The action is ripped from the pages of the stylish graphic novel by Andy Diggle and a guy named ‘Jock’ – and it looks a treat on the big screen. Imagine the hyper- kinetic whiz bang visuals favoured by Tony Scott blended with the macho posturing of Guy Ritchie you’ll have some idea of what to expect.

The plot is a low on brain cell but high on explosion ‘revenge mission’ against powerful Bond like baddie known only as ‘Max’ (hammed up to the um, ‘max’ by Jason Patric). Max might not have a back story but he gets some good including: “It's like giving a handgun to a six-year-old, - you don't know how it's gonna end, but you're pretty sure it's gonna make the papers.” The Losers are aided by mysterious and beautiful Aisha (Avatar’s Zoe Saldana) but the odds are stacked against them all the way.

"all action babe!"

There are some fantastic set pieces that set this apart from the mire of many B-movie forgettable action flicks including an audacious helicopter hijack and a superb ‘human weapon’ scene where Jensen backed up by sniper Cougar pretends to have the ability to shoot people with his fingers.

Fans of the graphic novel will be delighted to see the film effectively capture the look and feel of the original material much like Watchmen or Sin City before it. Director Sylvain ‘I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer’ White scores his best film to date with this likeable and genuinely exciting rollercoaster action ride which even sets up a welcome sequel should this one make enough cash at box-office.

"she likes a man with a big gun!"

Throw in some high-tech future weaponry, sizzling interactions between Clay and Aisha and a ‘Glee’-tastic comedy rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" – sit back and let the good times roll. The Losers might not have an original element to its name but if you’ve a hankering for some tasty action then this will deliver just enough until the heavy artillery of The Expendables and The A-Team arrive later this summer.

By the way, The Losers clocks up as my 500th review for the award winning Johnson Press titles which include the ‘must read’ Luton News and ‘groundbreaking’ Biggleswade Chronicle…


The Losers run into The A-Team and have to battle to the death...

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 tasty shootouts out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 9 / Style 8 / Babes 8 / Comedy 7 / Horror 5 / Spiritual Enlightenment -1

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Darkmatters Review: ModNation Racers PS3

ModNation Racers
– Play, Create, Share, Kick Some Racing Ass!!

PlayStation 3 (and PSP)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Sony have many many cool exclusive games hitting the shelves this year, you can taste the anticipation for Little Big Planet 2, Gran Turismo 5, The Last Guardian etc etc…

But here is another big hitter in the suped up form of kart racer ‘ModNation Racers’ which is all kinds of awesome!!

As a massive Mario Kart fan (spent days of my life playing the original SNES version), I’ve been hoping and praying for a suitable Sony equivalent which could look Mario Kart in the eye and deliver sublime racing action…

And the killer sell with ModNation is that it comes with a virtually infinite customisation engine which allows you to design your driver, your car and even your track. Pretty much anything you can think of can be created – your creations can then be uploaded and shared world wide. The joy is that if you see a creation that someone else has made, you can simply download it, use it, remix it a bit if you like – you get the idea…

It’s an audacious play and the big question is can United Front Games really deliver a world class new racing phenomenon or are we destined for a shoddy ‘me too’ effort. ModNation Racers on PS3 (and portable on PSP) is the future of racing…

Instead of menus you get the ‘Modspot’ is a mini town that you can drive around, choosing to stop off at different areas to check out things like the creation zone, where you can get stuck in to building or modifying or the racezone which is where you can jump straight into online (multiplayer) or offline (vs AI or split screen) races. When online you’ll see other players zooming around the Modspot too and you can challenge them, message them or just check out their creations – or just have a mini race around with them… It’s seamless and a real joy – and it’s not often you can say that just about a menu!

You’ll probably be inspired to make your ‘mod’ next (no, not the Quadrophenia kind), these are your racing avatars and again the creation / editing interface is very nicely implemented and simple to use. If you can’t be bothered to make you own, there are a nice selection of prebuilt mods and some wicked user created ones too – from Simpson characters, Mario, Killzone Helgast Troopers, Spiderman… The ones with the most votes get showcased in the modspot and only take a few seconds to download. Loading times however can be the only real annoyance – mostly because you’ll basically be highly anticipating getting stuck in. It’s the only thing I could find to moan about and it’s not a deal breaker…

Then it’s on to your car / kart, lots of options for design innovation here and masses of style tweaks to allow you create something truly bespoke and utterly awesome. The user created ones again can be downloaded and people have made some killer machines.

Finally the track editor, this is excellent too. The level-sculpting tools reminded me of those in Far Cry 2 which hit the sweet spot between usability and powerful creation options. To lay your basic track you simply drive a tarmac laying machine around, and the AI can help you out if you get stuck or want the PS3 to take over and complete the track for you once you have the outline you want. The landscape can be raised and lowered, populated with all manner of terrains, trees, buildings, rocks… At any point you can jump straight in to a ‘test drive’ and see how your track handles. There are speed boosts to be laid, weapon / power ups, barrels (both exploding and water filled) – it’s a lot easier to build with than the Little Big Planet levels. It took me under ten minutes to create a fairly cool track – and seconds later I was hosting a race on it against some online rivals.

The joy in uploading your creations to the PlayStation Network and share them is pretty much user generated nirvana. You can comment and ‘rate’ the content uploaded by others – and download those that you like the look of.

And so to the racing itself… MRN offers up some seriously slick racing thrills. The karts handle nicely (very very reminiscent of Mario Kart control wise, right down to the drifting around corners – which leave tasty ‘Back to the Future’ style flaming tyre tracks here). It really is a joy to partake of and is very easy to pick up and play, yet there is lots of challenge which will see it take some time to master – and the weapons add a Wipeout like wild card to the proceedings. Use em straight away or collect a couple and see them power up!?

ModNation Racers is fantastic fun, Sony have a potentially supernova hit on their hands here – there really isn’t anything to match this create, share, race package. Nintendo should be worried, Xbox owners should cry, there is nothing on the market to match the high speed creativity of ModNation Racers – what’s that lying bleeding in the road? Look a lot like some guy in a plumber’s outfit…

Play, share, create – BUY THIS GAME!!

Darkmatters rating: öööööööööö (10 burning laps out of 10)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Street Dance 3D

Street Dance 3D (PG)

Dir. Max Giwa & Dania Pasquini

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Na na na naaiaaa… Watch me while I stand here, Watch my feet, my stance, my body language - I’m not someone to be messed with!” So goes the pumping N-Dubz ‘We Dance On’ - soundtrack to this slick new British dance movie that brings street dancing to the big screen like never before – in 3D.

You don’t need to be Simon Cowell to know that the Street Dance phenomenon has been red hot since Diversity beat Susan Boyle to win Britain’s Got Talent with their inventive, creative, eye-popping moves. In Street Dance 3D we follow the attractive young Carly (Nichola ‘Donkey Punch’ Burley) as she struggles to lead some aspiring street dancers to glory after her boyfriend and former leader of their ‘Jay2-0’ troop Jay (Ukweli Roach) leaves them in the lurch.

With the crew falling apart and Carly nursing a broken heart – whilst rival dancers (and reigning champs) Source strut their stuff, glory in the UK Streetdance Championships looks unobtainable… But maybe, just maybe Carly can find some new members for the rechristened ‘Break Point’ troop, oh and a rehearsal studio too… What are the chances that a snooty ballet school might just be the answer??

OK so the plot won’t win any awards but the dance moves might as the various competitions, training scenes and climatic championship face off are really impressive. For once the 3D is used effectively to bring the action alive and even add watchability to otherwise average scenes. I have to confess that I could watch Nichola Burley doing nothing all day in 3D, but it is exciting to see a British film seamlessly blend 3D to improve the overall experience – as oppose to it being tacked on to try and jazz up the lackluster action cough ‘Clash of the Titans’ cough…

"Britain's got Ballet..."

My two sons loved this with one proclaiming that it was his ‘film of the year’ but then he’s a big N-Dubz fan so he was sold by the admittedly cool soundtrack (oldies note that there’s some Vega4 on there to help balance out all the Grime and Garage tunes). Younger son likened Street Dance 3D to the recent Fame remake and it does have that pleasing Brit Fame-alike vibe just with the added bonus of genuinely talented dancers including Flawless, George Sampson and Diversity who all won fans on Britain’s Got Talent.

Whilst Charlotte Rampling stands out a mile by actually being able to act, the cast of Street Dance 3D all do what they can with the horribly clichéd plotline. The best thing to do is to sit back and enjoy the flashy, eye popping visuals whilst letting the ‘seen it all before’ story wash over you.


The 'Kids' from Fame turn up and challenge Break Point to a dance battle - it goes to the wire with the two blonde hottie leads (Burley from SD3D and Kherington Payne from Fame) wrestling each other...

Darkmatters rating: ööööööö (7 wicked dance moves out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 7 / Style 7 / Babes 8 / Comedy 6 / Horror 3 / Spiritual Enlightenment 3

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Heartless

PlayStation®Network Download Premier: Heartless (18)

Dir. Philip Ridley

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“I’m the patron saint of random violence…”

Philip Ridley makes a deliciously alternative type of movie – his two previous features The Reflecting Skin (1990) and The Passion Of Darkly Noon (1995), both of which helped introduce the world to Viggo Mortensen but both were serious Marmite ‘love it or hate it’ flicks.

Now Ridley is back and he’s not lost his love of exposing the grotesque, dark underbelly of human nature… Much as David Lynch does so effectively. Indeed Heartless brings deep desires to the screen and twists them into horrific nightmares – this is horror fantasy on a par with films like Pan’s Labyrinth, TV shows like American Gothic or Twin Peaks or the many works of Clive Barker. You could call Heartless:

‘Hellraiser for the Hoodie generation.’

Set against the bleak housing estates and gang turfs of a Daily Mail reader’s nightmare vision of London. Violence and suffering are the order of the day here – as the Satan-alike Pappa B (Joseph Mawle) says:

“Love ain’t eternal… only suffering can be eternal…”

So this is the unhappy tale of young Jamie (Jim Sturgess), a decent enough lad born with a ‘heart’ shaped birthmark on one side of his face. But that is the least of his troubles when he comes up against a brutal gang of fire bombing hoodies – whose ‘demon’ masks are just a little bit too realistic…

Heartless is set to premiere on PlayStation®Network Video Delivery Service simultaneously with the film's release in cinemas. From 21st May, members of the Sony Computer Entertainment (SCEE) PlayStation®Network Video Delivery Service will be able to rent an Exclusive Edition of Heartless, direct to their PlayStation 3 or PSP from only £5.99. The exclusive edition includes Dynamite Sky a 25 minute bonus feature covering the Making of Heartless.

"You might remember me from such films as Angel Heart!?"

I was impressed by the sheer verve and creativity on display here – some people will hate the twisting pretentious plot but those willing to delve into the darkness and invest a little thought energy will come away challenged. The cast are strong and include Noel ‘Kidulthood’ Clarke and the brilliant Eddie Marsan, who plays a character called ‘Weapons Man’ who could have been plucked from The Matrix.

Be warned though that Heartless is not for the faint of heart as it deals in gory death as much as it’s theological issues…

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 creative and thought provoking fire bombs to the brain out of 10)

Official site: www.heartlessmovie.com

Enjoy the PlayStation®Network Video Delivery Service at: http://videostore.uk.playstation.com/

Darkmatters Review: Robin Hood

Robin Hood (12a)

Dir. Ridley Scott

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

It is said that in times of tyranny, outlaws rise and take their place in history…

So here we have everyone’s favourite forest based outlaw in an all new, grittier, glossier and bigger budget take on the Robin Hood myth. Ridley Scott directs his Gladiator star Russel Crowe as Robin Longstride – a sharpshooting archer in the service of Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston). When the king falls in battle whilst pillaging a French castle, Robin is tasked with returning the crown to England which is under threat of civil war from the nefarious meddling of Sir Godfrey (a nicely evil Mark Strong).

This prequel tale strives to give an insight into how and why Robin became the tight wearing, Sheriff baiting, wealth redistributing hero of lore. Scott’s Robin is a noble fighter who gets to almost single handedly save England from our swarthy French invaders, bring honour back to the house of Loxley and woo the spirited Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett). Along with the nasty French, Robin also has to stand up to baddie King John (Oscar Isaac) and the obligatory Sheriff of Nottingham (under-utilised Matthew Macfadyen – but as Arnie would say ‘he’ll be back’ – in the sequel).

Robin’s formative band of ‘Merry Men’ are on hand too – with Little John (Kevin Durand), Will Scarlet (Scott Grimes) and Allan A'Dayle (Alan Doyle) backed up by the jolly Friar Tuck (Mark Addy). Thanks to Crowe’s erstwhile manfully grim lead, it falls to these guys to provide what little comic relief there is and they certainly do lighten the mood but don’t really get enough screen time.

Everything ticks along nicely but somehow this Robin Hood doesn’t really engage your heart. In true blockbuster style the plot builds up to a massive climactic battle and it’s a good one. Imagine the beach landing scene from Saving Private Ryan just with swords, bows and cavalry. It’s quite something to behold and is a major payoff for having waded through two hours of averagely entertaining ‘obvious set up for part 2’…
"For England... Harry and King George?"

If this makes enough money, we can only hope that the next chapter gets made because to be honest, it’s the stealing from the rich and giving to poor stuff that is much more watchable. Robin Hood fans are likely to remember this version as their ‘Phantom Menace’…


In a shock unseen twist ending Robin hood is confronted by Maximus from Gladiator (Crowe playing both roles) and the two heroes have to team up for a two on two fight with King John and his champion warrior...

Darkmatters rating: öööööö (6 expensive arrows almost missing their targets out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 7 / Style 7 / Babes 5 / Comedy 5 / Horror 5 / Spiritual Enlightenment 4

Fancy some old school Hoodness?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

Hot Tub Time Machine (15)

Dir. Steve Pink

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“It must be like some kind of Hot Tub Time Machine…”

Strip off, jump in, and revisit the 80s with John Cusack as he teams up again with Steve Pink who previously worked together on the awesome Grosse Pointe Blank.

Hot Tub Time Machine takes a winningly crazy male bonding plot and adds unlikely time travel to excellent comic effect. It tells the tale of middle-aged pals Adam (Cusack) who has put his careers before his friends, Lou (Rob Corddry) your average suicidal alcoholic nutter, and Nick Webber (Craig Robinson), a husband who is completely under his wife’s thumb. Also along for this gross out time trip is Jacob (Clark Duke), Adam’s chubby uber geek nephew.

On a quest to recapture some of the thrills the group experienced ‘back in the day’ they revisit their favourite ski resort but the highly likeable quartet get transported back some twenty years to music festival Winterfest '86, which was a key weekend for them when they were young.
Cue some potentially classic goofball comedy which hits hard on the ‘guilty pleasure’ low brow comic targets whilst dealing in a fun sideline of coming of age shenanigans and some ‘space-time continuum’ hi-jinx.

It’s very rude and crude but also seriously funny with a non-stop blast of bad taste jokes as the guys have to re-enact their eighteen-year-old loves and misadventures. You’ll watch through your fingers a recurring limb severing gag, friends betting more than they ever dared on events they think they ‘know’ the outcome of and a brilliant pre-emptive strike where Nick phones and berates his cheating wife-to-be (who is only 9 at the time). Hats off to the writers for some really memorable scenes!

The only weak link is the slight romantic side plot which sees Adam fall for April – a free spirited music journalist (Lizzy ‘True Blood’ Caplan) but even this can’t derail the riotous joy of this sex-em-up comedy.

"booze fuelled Hot Tubs... not such a good idea"

Indeed, you don’t even have to have experienced the 1980’s to enjoy this madcap full frontal assault on your funny bone, although if you were there then the excellent ‘80’s soundtrack is likely to blow you away.

If you liked The Hangover (and I hope you did as it was the funniest film of 2009) then you should make a date to take a dip in the Hot Tub Time Machine ASAP!


The guys from the Hot Tub Time Machine run into the guys from The Hangover in a comedy genius cross over...

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 '80's good times out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 7 / Style 7 / Babes 8 / Comedy 9 / Horror 5 / Spiritual Enlightenment 3

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Van Diemen’s Land

Van Diemen’s Land (15)

Dir. Jonathan auf der Heide

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Hunger is a strange silence…”

Feeling peckish? You might not be if you witness writer-director Jonathan auf der Heide’s debut feature… We’re back in 1822 where gritty cannibalism is the order of the day as a bunch of neer-do-well convicts turn on each other to survive during their escape break across the harsh and unforgiving Australian wilderness.

Van Diemen's Land was a penal camp, rightly feared as being a place that would be un-escapable from due to it being situated at the end of the world (near Macquarie Harbour, which was nicknamed 'Hell’s Gate').
A nicely stereotypical bunch of inmates made up of Irish, English and Scottish make a ill prepared dash for freedom, only to be cowed by the barrenness of the land… As their rations run low and physical exhaustion sets in – the band look to kill and eat each other to survive.

Oscar Redding stars as Australia’s most ‘notorious’ convict, Alexander Pearce, he makes an interesting character and is ably backed up the motley escape party which includes Mark Leonard Winter, Arthur Angel and Paul Ashcroft…

Heide creates some fantastic dark and deeply foreboding atmosphere using the freaky natural landscapes of what is now Tasmania and shoots it through with an unnerving washed out palette. You’re effectively drawn in deeply as the characters strike up some lively banter, form cliques and eventually come to fatal blows. The suspicion and tension ratchet up nicely and all the while are the haunting, lingering landscapes that act as a major character in themselves.

I’m not a very squeamish film viewer, so the cannibalism didn’t freak out too much (it’s not as grim as in say 1999’s Ravenous which deals in similar dark subject matter). Everything ticks along as you might expect, there are no real surprises, just the gritty outplay of some very grim events. It is effectively put together and worth a watch if you like your dramas “meaty”…

The big ‘buy in’ is the sixty-four-million question of “what would you do?” Assessing that moral dilemma is what will either have you shaking your head and tut at the very premise or agonise with the characters throughout their harrowing misadventure.

Darkmatters rating: öööööö (6 hungry convicts out of 10)

If you fancy it, why not pick it up when it’s released on the 24th May, try here: http://tinyurl.com/2uwfqx7

Friday, May 07, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Four Lions

Four Lions (15)

Dir. Christopher Morris

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

When it comes to taking your own life in an act of jihad, it seems all you really need to ask your self is:

“Do you want to be in the queue at Alton Towers…

or would you rather be on the Nemesis, Oblivion or the Rubber Dinghy Ride?”

If you choose to queue, then put down the nail bombs and stand quietly by.

If you want to a quick pass to ‘ride the rubber dinghies’ then strap on your destiny and say farewell to your nearest and dearest…

This is the sort of dark dark satire that Christopher ‘Jam, Brass Eye, The Day Today’ Morris does best. Taking a character based approach to such an inflammatory subject matter as suicide bombers targeting the UK, Four Lions kicks your teeth in with incendiary, biting, wit mixed with cuttingly tragic repercussions.

Lead character Omar (Riz ‘Centurion’ Ahmed) is a decent chap, happily married, devoted father and yet also the ring leader of these ‘lions’ – for whom martyrdom has become a goal through which they want to strike a holy blow against the West.

"these are not the men who stare at goats..."

His ‘crack’ team comprise of Barry (Nigel Lindsay), a white convert to Islam who agitates his new ‘brothers’ (is he really a racist underneath?) who thinks that the best target for their attack would be a mosque - to radicalise all UK Islamists. Also on hand is Waj (Kayvan ‘’Fonejacker’ Novak), a simple chap who often gets confused – and so if ripe to be encouraged to blow himself up.
Completing the set are the meek Fessal (Adeel Akhtar) – the only one who actually has some bomb making skills but who isn’t as convinced about the dying part, and Hassan (Arsher Ali) – a likeable wide boy who actually enjoys the British way of life.

The one thing they have in common other than their wish to be walking bombs is that none of them are very good at being terrorists… This is the film’s richest source of comedy gold as the group’s incompetence is manifest in many highly dangerous and completely shambolic situations.

At one point the news flashes a headline: ‘Asian Man’s Head Has Fallen Out Of A Tree’ which leads you ask just ’‘Who will survive and what will be left of them?’ This very real threat keeps your nerves ratcheting up whilst fate ticks down to their planned acts of atrocity… Morris is aided and abetted by Peep Show’s Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain in bring a meticulous spotlight into the lives of these fictional followers of Islam. Despite the slapstick and stupidity on offer, underneath it has a very real feel to it, which makes you care for these enemies of the State.

"best laid plans...don't often include outfits like these"
Four Lions is a tragedy as much as it a comedy but the laughs are frequent and brilliant… There is an unforgettable scene outside a terror training camp in Pakistan when two of the group are faced with a U.S. spy drone. The repercussions of their rocket launcher action only gets its full pay off if you watch through the end credits – it is this kind of set up that makes the film fly.

It isn’t just the bumbling terror cell that cops comedy flak from Morris though, my favourite scene sees police sharpshooters arguing about whether a bear is a type of Wookiee – and targeting the wrong fancy dressed runner as a result.

As a Christian I found the depiction of the Islamic faith interesting – one of the bombers has a taking teddy bear that is programmed to say his prayers to Allah for him… Yes Morris fearlessly goes for the comedy jugular even in matters that many comics would shy away from.

In the end Four Lions will leave you dazed and confused, challenged and inspired. This is a brilliant film that deserves to be seen – prepare to laugh, cry and wince, probably all at the same time!!


The 'Four Lions' get drafted into the England Football Squad when Capello thinks they are an upgrade of the 'Three Lions' (on the shirt)!?

Darkmatters rating: ööööööööö (9 exploding comedy moments out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 7 / Style 7 / Babes 47 / Comedy 9 / Horror  / Spiritual Enlightenment 4

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 (12a)

Dir. Jon Favreau

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Prepare for a heavy-metal super sequel that ignites 2010’s blockbuster season…
Director Favreau (who gets a fun cameo) makes sure that absolutely everything is in place for a successful follow up to 2008’s jaw dropping origin tale. Fun loving billionaire Tony Stark (Robert ‘Sherlock Holmes’ Downey, Jr.) blasts back as Iron Man. The action picks up straight after the first film where Stark had announced his ‘super’ alternate identity to the world.

New villainous baddie ‘whiplash’ comes in the form of a crazed Russian scientist Ivan Vanko (Mickey ‘The Wrestler’ Rourke) – a serious threat due to the fact that he has created a weapon based on similar tech to Iron Man. Rourke eats up the screen on a growling, arrogant collision course with Stark and he brings a mean pair of laser whips with him…

Super sexy Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson who hasn’t looked this good for ages) is another great new character who can kick ass and add a spunky extra option to the love interests in Stark’s life.

Iron Man’s lone wolf image could be threatened by a new ally in the heavily armed shape of Lt. Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhode who steps up to become ‘War Machine’ (Don Cheadle playing it straight). The sight of these two battle suited heroes going for it hammer and tongs, side by side, against some daunting odds in the climactic showdown is an absolutely wonderful adrenaline rush that elicited yelps of excitement from the audience.

Returning characters include Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) but whilst she was great in the first film, here she is so comprehensively upstaged by Johansson that she feels somewhat redundant. Also back is Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the man who manages a certain superhero team – which Iron Man is destined to form a part of… Keep you eyes peeled for some great hints as to which other heroes are going to be turning up in the same universe as Iron Man very soon. Oh and make sure you don’t leave until you’ve caught the after the credits tease which is enough to make comic book geeks freak right out.

Downey Jr. brings his infectious charisma to the lead role and is a hero that has real issues to deal with but who keeps the audience onside even when making a bit of a dick of himself. Iron Man 2 is a crunching success, a good time super hero adventure that deserves at least one more sequel!



Iron Man gets into a sticky situation after hooking his suit up to a Xbox 360 for a Call of Duty battle simulation and unwittingly develops a hard to trace error which sees his suit overheating and his chest circle flashing a ‘red ring of death’…

Darkmatters rating: ööööööööö (9 armoured battle suits out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 8 / Style 7 / Babes 7 / Comedy 6 / Horror 3 / Spiritual Enlightenment 4