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Face-Off: Iron Man vs. Thor

Last weeks Face Off was another close battle. Avengers took the win over Dark Knight Rises with a score of 16-15 thanks to you our readers. One wonders if the outcome would have been as close as it was had I waited until the new DKR trailer hit. We'll never know.

This week we're keeping the massive Avengers hype alive with a battle between what I find the two best build up films we've gotten so far in Iron Man vs. Thor. A great intro for both of these heroes filled with a great blend of action and humor. One featured a glorious comeback from an extremely gifted actor, one was pulled off by an unknown at the time. So which was the better movie? Well let's see.
Story
Tony Stark is now the CEO of a weapons manufacturing company created by his father, Stark Industries. On a business trip to Afghanistan during war time, Stark is ambushed and taken hostage by a terrorist group called Ten Rings. When a fellow prisoner saves his life by building an electromagnet into his chest, the two team up to build a super armored suit to aid in their escape. Well we all know, the sh*it worked, heroic activity ensues.
Thor is just your typical god who dreams of one day taking over the family...erm, business(?) from his father one day. But when sonny boy lets his arrogance get the best of him, putting said father in a sh*tty situation, he is banished to the worst possible place imaginable to learn a life lesson in humility: Earth. Redemption, romance, and betrayal to come.
Action
When the first version of the suit is finished and Stark escapes from imprisonment in holy sh*t fashion, we know the bad ass fun we're in for. From there Iron Man kicks his ass into gear and shows up back in Afghanistan to raise some hell and gets himself into an aerial chase with his own people for his efforts, I must say I geeked out. The final battle also did not disappoint.
Thor wasted little time showing us what he was best at. Damn if he didn't show up to that desolate planet with his posse and do everything under the sun but shove that hammer directly up Laufey's ass. He was no slouch without powers either, dude could throw down with the best of him with just his physique to back him up. Also, this films final battle I was a little more invested in because of the villain we had to work with. I'll get to that in about three seconds.
Villain
I love Jeff Bridges just as much as the next guy, but Obadiah Shane did not hit the right notes with me as a villain. Bridges' performances aside, the man did not have much depth to work with. Not his fault, and the villain did serve his purpose in the form of being a formidable enough villain in the long run.
I found myself rooting for Loki. Is that wrong of me? The dude didn't have his bout with arrogance like his brother did until the end when he lost his marbles. Let's take a look at what happened prior to the climax of the film. He asks himself why he's lower in his fathers favor than Thor, until he finds out his father isn't his father? The hell man? That hit home, I felt for the jealous bastard. Put that sense of deception in with a sense of mischief, we know where that goes. Let's just say there's a reason he made it into the crossover film.
Humor
Tony Stark is a wise ass, who is portrayed in this film by the great Robert Downey Jr. who coincidentally on his best day can be a wise ass. His interactions with Pepper Potts and his best buddy Rhodey made for a light tone that just worked. Given this films subject matter, what with the terrorism and the angle with the manufacturing of weapons, the tone of the film could have gone a very different way. Favreau hit it out of the park with the feel of the film we ended up getting.
We got a different kind of humor in Thor, if our hero had his way he would have been all business the whole time. Instead we get to enjoy how out of his element he is on our wonderful blue and green orb. Walking into a pet store seeking a horse and shattering coffee cops in diners isn't exactly the norm in our neck of the woods. I found myself not minding the slower second act at all due to the entertainment I got out of seeing Thor adapt to his new environment. That's a win in my eyes.
Cast
Robert Downey, Jr. Jeff Bridges. Terrence Howard. Gwyneth Paltrow. And the voice of Paul Bettany.

This film is famous for being the stepping stone for Downey Jr.'s comeback after years of obscurity. Talk about bursting back onto the scene in a big way. He had amazing chemistry with everyone else involved in the film. Paltrow is perfect for Potts, who worked great opposite RDJ. Bridges did a good job with what he was given. Terrence Howard did okay with his turn as Rhodes, I did not however have the slightest sense of loss when he was replaced by Don Cheadle for the sequel.
Chris Hemsworth. Anthony Hopkins. Natalie Portman. Stellan Skarsgard. Tom Hiddleston. Kat Dennings.

Chris Hemsworth was new to the game as a leading man when he took on the mantle of Thor, he had a lot to prove. He didn't disappoint. I bought him as an actor and more importantly in this role immediately. Tom Hiddleston was a scene stealer as Loki, he gave us a menacing and often emotional performance. Good stuff. The rest of the cast did a decent job in their roles, with the only semi-negative thing I have to say being Jane Foster was no Pepper Potts. Kudos for the awesome Jeremy Renner cameo as Hawkeye as well.
Iron Man
Iron Man started it all, in a big way. It has the advantage of the first glimpse of what was to come with Nick Fury's first appearance. The success of that film was for good reason, and that success spawned what we're getting in a couple days. Full of action, full of humor, full of bad ass. Will this be less of a close race than what we've been getting the last couple weeks? Let us find out.

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at [email protected] with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

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