It’s high time I get down below the hundreds, so here we are with the last few games before we get there.
125: Splinter Cell (PC) – The first adventure with Sam Fisher and this was a revelation to me when it was released. I’d always loved the narrative maturity of the Tom Clancy games and this one was no different. You really felt like a ghost sneaking around and taking guys out, but you had to be a ninja, because if you got several guys after you, you were pretty much toast.
124: Geometry Wars: Evolved 2 (Xbox 360) – I didn’t like the first one at all, I thought the learning curve was way too steep. When this was released I was a bit hesitant, but trying out the different game modes sold me on it. What I love about this game is the combined frantic and calm nature that comes with it. There can be a hundred things happening on the screen and in all that chaos, you succeed the most when you stay calm and learn how to prioritize among the targets while figuring out how to move.
123: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (Gameboy Advance) – The amount of time you can sink into this kind of turn-based strategy RPG is mindblowing and I have a friend who’s been almost religious about this genre. Myself, I got about halfway through the storyline while building my team. It’s really addicting trying to plan out how you want your guys to develop.
122: Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64) – I think this is the only N64 game I’ve got on the list because I was never a fan of that console. I did, however, love playing Super Mario 64. It’s been said countless times, but this was the first game that really brought solid 3D platforming controls to gaming. This had everything we all love about the Mario games. Incredibly solid platforming while moving the genre forward. It was just plain fun to play.
121: Diablo 2 (PC) – For the longest time I regarded the original Diablo to be the better game, mainly because it annoyed me that the sequel had you playing in the desert and in the jungle. Those were very un-Diablo-like areas. Still, the game was a lot of fun to play with other people. I didn’t, however, get completely stuck in grinding that some of my friends thought was so much fun. I just thought it was a fun hack and slash. And no, it is no RPG. I hate it when people label it as that.
120: StarCraft (PC) – More Blizzard. I think this was the last RTS I really played extensively. The reason why is because one of my friends got insanely hooked on it and beat the rest of us with no problem. That made me go “huh… so I suck at this… fuck it” and I spent most of my time playing action games from then on. The music still gives me chills and I’m actually curious about the sequel. First time in over a decade that I’m curious about an RTS.
119: Day of Defeat (PC) – Woohoo, even more WW2 shooting. However, this time it’s not some bland single player campaign, so that doesn’t matter. Day of Defeat was the WW2 response to Counter-Strike and it was a lot of fun to play.
118: Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (Xbox 360) – This was a tricky one to rank. On one hand there were many gameplay improvements over the first R6 Vegas, but on the other the story and environments were quite uninspiring. I had a lot of fun with it, especially in co-op, both in story and terrorist hunt, but in the end the game was too bland to get a higher ranking.
117: Batman (NES) – Badass. That’s what this game is. I haven’t sunk my teeth into Batman: Arkham Asylum yet, but I hear it’s the best Batman game ever. Well, before that, this game held that honor. It has it all. Great action, tight controls, awesome music and more atmosphere than 50 other NES games put together.
116: Blood (PC) – One gadget I used to dominate the multiplayer games between me and my friends was the crystal ball. With it I could camp at a spot while I saw the perspective of another player. Then when he was in a good, vulnerable spot, I’d pounce on him and take him out. Worked all the time. The voodoo doll weapon was fun too and Caleb is one of the more memorable one-liner-spewing main characters in any game. Everything brought to us by the good old Build engine.
115: Super Monkey Ball (GameCube) – Monkey Target. That’s all I should have to say here. The minigame that stole the thunder from the regular gameplay. My friends and I spent a lot of time on that, gliding towards the different target zones. We also spent a lot of time playing Monkey Fight, which was very brutal in a cute and fun way. But seriously, this game should be played for Monkey Target alone.
114: Civilization 2 (PC) – Oldie but goldie and a lot of fun in multiplayer, provided you have a lot of time on your hands. I haven’t really sat down with any of the sequels, but I’ve wanted to. If only I had more time… but Civ is always Civ and this classic series was a mammoth early on. I remember one of my friends having the huuuuge manual that came with the original game. You could kill people with that brick.
113: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Xbox 360) – I know this was originally released on the PlayStation, but I never had one of those and played this the first time on Xbox Live Arcade. I really like it, but some of the sequels on the GBA and the DS have been improved on greatly. Some of the funniest moments in gaming are the voiceovers the few times there is dialogue happening.
112: Fahrenheit (PC) – Any game that contains necrophilia has to be good, right? No, it’s not THAT sick. It’s actually fairly romantic necrophilia. Okay, seriously, this game is fantastic for the first three quarters and then it just tanks in a mess of mysticism and weirdness. Before that it is a great detective game with great narrative. The European version wasn’t censored, so we got the love scenes and some other weirdness. It was called Indigo Prophecy in North America.
111: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: The Manhattan Project (NES) – I remember getting this on one of those Japanese import cartridges and what I loved the most about it was that the turtles actually had individual special moves. I liked Michaelangelo’s the most, the way he’d catapult himself up in the air, taking any foot soldiers along with him.
110: Rock Band 2 (Xbox 360) – Multiplayer music! This is just plain fun, although I can’t play the drums worth a damn. But I can still sing and play guitar 🙂 It’s a bitch to do both at the same time if you don’t know the lyrics and melody by heart.
109: MDK (PC) – Murder Death Kill is what I heard this stands for when it came out. It’s one of the more unique games I’ve played, an interesting mix of shooting, platforming, style and humor. One of those that I wish could get a fresh coat of paint for the current generation of consoles.
108: MechCommander (PC) – Ah, yes, BattleTech. This is an awesome strategy game, especially when you get down to the nitty-gritty of how to build mechs and stuff like that. It doesn’t have the prettiest graphics, but I still think it’s a solid game to pull out from time to time. It’s a real thrill to take down a MadCat with a few lighter mechs.
107: Odium (PC) – This was also released as Gorky 17 and I think the developers are Polish. It’s a semi-weird game that gave me a lot of Fallout vibes because of the grid- and turnbased combat while telling a scary story about covert mutations by the Russian army or something like that.
106: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles in Time (SNES) – This is one of the funniest multiplayer games I know. It’s a pretty fast run to go through the whole game along with someone else and the action is as good as it gets on consoles for a turtle lover.
105: Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast (PC) – The best Star Wars game I’ve had the priviledge to play. Going through the game, plowing through hordes of stormtroopers with ease was fun, yes, but not exactly earthshattering. Then, when you started facing off against other opponents with lightsabers and force powers, guys that were not bosses, the game took a turn and got very tense, because you could stumble upon one of these guys at any turn. Taking on three or four at once was so damn fun.
104: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (PC) – Another game that just oozes atmosphere. It’s a bit slow in the beginning when you don’t have any equipment at all, but then it really gets going, especially when you start moving past the halfway point. I had a lot of fun with this and it was both good action as well as scary during some parts of it. Too bad it was quite buggy.
103: Stunts (PC) – I don’t know how many tracks I made for this game. The thing is, I didn’t really make them so they could be standard racing tracks. No, I wanted to break the game and find loopholes. Take a long straight road heading right towards a hill and then at the top of the hill, put a big ramp, then see what happens. I was able to make the game get my car driving upside down and mirrored, so if I pressed the left arrow key, it turned right. A lot of fun.
102: Metroid Zero Mission (Gameboy Advance) – I never got myself to play through the entire game of Metroid and I had to hunt for this game for a long time before I could find it at an affordable price, but boy was it worth it. Adding the last part of the game was a genius move and made you appreciate the suit even more.
101: Bionic Commando (Xbox 360) – At first, when I started playing this, I really didn’t think that much of it. The controls felt clunky and you couldn’t really do much. However, at some point during the game, I got the hang of the controls and some of the added abilities really made the game fun. Even though the story is as cheesy as they come (most ridiculous plot twist ever), the action is just so damn solid. It’s incredibly entertaining to swing around like some weird monkey while really kicking a lot of ass. This game was a pleasant surprise.
Alright, all done with the first 200 games of this list. From now on I will post ten games per post. What do you think so far?
Getting into the one hundreds with this post and I’m one away from getting to the half-way point. As usual, check out all the other posts here. Let’s go!
200: Star Wars: Dark Forces (PC) – In this game, we first get to meet Kyle Katarn. It was released pretty early and it was really cool to shoot stormtroopers. The darktroopers that you ended up fighting against was interesting as enemies, but they didn’t really come close to being as exciting as fighting someone wielding the force.
199: NBA Street (GameCube) – I really like couch multiplayer, a lot more than internet multiplayer. Playing two on two at home in the couch has always been a lot of fun and especially so in NBA Street. It’s basketball on steroids and you can do these insane finishing moves when you’ve built up the energy bar or something like that.
198: V-Rally 3 (GameCube) – V-Rally 3 was a lot of fun even though I didn’t give it enough credit at first. I kind of had this “I will play you out of spite” attitude towards V-Rally 3 from the outset, because one of the first tracks that you played was really annoying. When I got into it a bit, it was actually a lot of fun and a really good rally game.
197: Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness (PC) – I was never very good at real time strategy games, but this was still a lot of fun. I don’t remember if I made it through all of the story myself, but I played it through to the end together with a friend and we also took on the expansion called Beyond the Dark Portal. The most fun we had with this was in multiplayer, though, and it was a lot of fun. We also made a lot of our own levels to try out skirmishes on.
196: Metal Storm (NES) – I don’t think this was released in Europe, but I got it on one of those pirated Japanese multi-cartridges. It’s a pity it wasn’t released over here, because it’s one of the most fun shooters I’ve ever played. You can shoot, jump AND reverse gravity at will. Plus you’re a badass robot and the backgrounds look really freaky.
195: Far Cry (PC) – This is an awesome game as long as you’re fighting humans. As soon as the game introduces the mutants, I think the fun factor takes a huge dive. But up until that happens, it’s a beautiful game that’s got some great action to it. The first game to really get jungle action just right, even though it’s kind of ridiculous that Jack Carver runs around in the jungle with a bright red hawaii shirt.
194: Unreal Tournament 2004 (PC) – This was the game that almost got me back into spending a lot of time on online multiplayer. The reason was that I liked the variety of the weapons and the maps were varied and beautiful, but most of all, it was fast-paced and if you knew what you were doing in terms of different jumping tricks and shortcuts, you had a definite edge over your opponents. Think about it, if you can get from point A to point B 30 to 60 percent faster than other guys, you dictate the flow of the game and that’s always been what I like. If I had gotten 100% into this and spent lots of time on it, I have no doubt that I would put it in my top 20 or somewhere around there. But for some reason I can’t put my finger on, it didn’t stick entirely. What a pity.
192: Terminator: Future Shock (PC) – If it weren’t for bugs, this game would be a lot higher up on this list. Still, it is to this day one of the most impressive postapocalyptic game worlds I’ve come across. The driving sections were awkward, but the rest of the game was so tight and full of tension that it makes up for it. Hunter-Killer drones have never been more scary.
191: Donkey Konga (GameCube) – One of the most fun and frantic gaming experiences out there, except for maybe Dance Dance Revolution, is Donkey Konga on the more difficult songs. You go nuts trying to get all of it right and it’s a good feeling when you hit every “note”.
190: Puzzle Bobble (PC) – A classic LAN game for me and my friends, Puzzle Bobble worked perfectly when you had five minutes to spare if you’d been eliminated in another multiplayer game and you wanted to do somehitng. I have a bunch of old videos recorded from a few LANs and in most of them, you can hear the plopping of bubbles in the background.
189: Outlaws (PC) – I think this was the first cowboy FPS I played and to this day, I think it’s still the only one that’s been really satisfying for me. It was hyped for a long time before it was released and when it came, it was a slight letdown, but on the whole, it was a lot of fun.
188: Hitman: Codename 47 (PC) – The Hitman series is interesting because it was one of the first games that tried to move away from the standard shoot-everything-you-see mentality. Instead, it focused on thinking and being intelligent in terms of planning the hit and then executing it. The problem was that in most cases, the game wasn’t very obvious about what needed to be done and there were also a lot of bugs that meant that you had to finish a mission in a very particular way. It was still very fun though.
187: Dead Rising (Xbox 360) – Zombies are awesome and this game is too. It’s just too bad that the game has a damn time limit. It’s ridiculous, really. If it weren’t for the stress factor, this game would be one of the best on the 360 in my book. I’d like to have time to explore and have fun, but there’s always this pressure to go on and on and on and I just don’t like that. I know that you can unlock it, but I want it to be available from the start. Hammy “acting” and interesting characters. Jessie’s cleavage is just ridiculous and the different psychos that you need to take down are disturbing, but all in all, it’s the zombies that are the stars of the game. They’re not special at all, just shambling along slowly, moaning. But it’s the sheer amount of them that really makes the game. That and the ability to go through them with a lawnmower. That helps too.
186: Command & Conquer: Red Alert (PC) – Another smash hit multiplayer RTS that was a lot of fun for me and my friends. I really liked the single player too, especially the FMV sequences between the missions. The highlight is the one at the start when they kill Hitler. That “Ja, ja… Ich verstehe” comes right out of the blue.
185: Elite Beat Agents (Nintendo DS) – What makes this DS game so much fun isn’t really the gameplay, even though it is interesting, pushing the screen at the right moments and in the right way. No, what makes this game is the presentation. You’re introduced with a set of different people that have different problems. So what do you do? You send out three guys in suits who make the problems go away using dance. Yes, dance is the solution to everything. Then the way the stories are presented is just fantastic and incredibly campy in a good way.
184: Tetris DS (Nintendo DS) – I don’t think Tetris needs to be introduced. Tetris DS has Tetris and a bunch of variations on it. I really like the puzzle part and I’m a good way through all of the 200 puzzles in the game.
183: Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (Xbox 360) – Apparently this game is being made into a movie with Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx. Foxx will play the guy in the picture. A psychotic white guy with a beard and a receeding hairline. Meh. Oh well, it’s actually pretty cinematic and that’s probably the best part of it. It has a fairly good storyline and that’s what keeps the game afloat, because the gameplay has a bunch of annoyances to it. Still, I like it okay, it was fun to play in co-op.
182: Far Cry 2 (Xbox 360) – Far Cry 2 is not a sequel to Far Cry that was mentioned earlier in this entry. Why it’s called Far Cry is beyond me. It just doesn’t make sense. But what the hell, it’s a good game, so fuck it. It has atmosphere coming out its ears and it’s one of the most beautiful games I’ve played. The problem is that it is too annoying. The time spent traveling is really annoying and the never-ending road patrols and guard points take you off your objective all the goddamn time. Fairly fun multiplayer.
181: Aquanox (PC) – I got this game with a graphics card that I bought, although I can’t remember which one. Anyway, the story is that the world has become toxic, so people have moved under water to survive. The point of this game is to “fly” around under the water in your ship, taking out other ships and bases. It had good control with a joystick and it was just beautiful. I could sit there staring at the rays of light streaming down from above, hitting the sand banks, for long periods of time. The action was pretty good too.
180: The Lost Vikings (SNES) – Classic puzzle game featuring the time traveling vikings Erik, Baleog and Loaf. They each had different abilities and attributes that forced you to use them in certain ways, switching between them to move forward in the level. My favorite thing about this game was the dialogue between the vikings at the start and end of every level.
179: Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PC) – Released back in the heyday at the end of the 90s, RtCW was a fairly good game that mixed awesome levels with really “meh” ones. I played it mostly because I had played Wolfenstein 3D so I didn’t really know what to expect. The whole occult thing was pretty ridiculous and a lot of the levels were just bland, boring WW2 stuff. However, there were some castle levels that were really exciting.
178: StarSiege (PC) – I’ve always had a soft spot for mech games and StarSiege is one of them. I was visiting a friend and he showed me a game called EarthSiege and it didn’t really register with me. Then when StarSiege was released (along with Tribes, which I never really got into), I remembered EarthSiege and bought the package. It’s a lot of fun, you can customize the mechs to some degree, but I never got into it as heavily as I did with the MechWarrior series. It was my friend who got me into that too, but more on that later on in the list.
177: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (Xbox 360) – The ClancyVerse has this thing with Mexico in recent years, making games where Mexico is attacking the US and stuff like that. GRAW was a lot of fun when you got into controlling your squadmates, but a lot of it was awkward too. I didn’t like it nearly as much as some of the other Clancy games, but it was still nice. It has a really fun skirmish mode.
176: Star Wars: Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight (PC) – Kyle Katarn returns and this time, he gets to use the force! The first part of the game was just so-so because you didn’t really have force powers and then when they were introduced, the game got more drive, because you wanted them all. The thing is, you could only get one side. You got to pick between light and dark side force powers. There were some neutral as well. The expansion, Mysteries of the Sith, was also a lot of fun to play.
Almost done with the first half of the list. One more part and then I’m there.
Lots of games left to cover on this list, might as well keep it going. Check the blog tag Top 300 Games for all the posts about the list.
275: Maniac Mansion (NES) – This was a game that I got when I was really young and I didn’t understand it. A few years later, I went at it again with better results, but I didn’t beat it until even later still, when I tried it on Amiga or PC. The NES controller or interface didn’t really make things easy in this point and click game. Quirky game that is the predecessor to one of the funniest games of all time.
274: Blades of Steel (NES) – This game is completely hilarious to play these days, not only because of the downright weird hockey played, but also because of the jersey colors and other stuff. Of course, that’s from my perspective as an NHL fanatic. The fighting was fun and it could be a bit tricky to score sometimes, but I thought it was better than Ice Hockey (the NES game) because it felt more grown-up and cool. Really good music.
273: SWAT 4 (PC) – The SWAT games always felt like the red-headed stepchild in the family of tactical shooters. Compared to the Rainbow Six series, this was pretty dull, but it was still pretty cool because it was a bit closer to reality than the extreme terrorism scenarios in Rainbow Six. The action part of it wasn’t too good though, and the whole process of having to keep track of all the weapons and having to hogtie everyone got pretty boring in the long run.
272: Darius Twin (SNES) – A sidescrolling shoot’em up that was pretty entertaining and unique back in the day. You shot at big, robotic, flying fish. In space. Yes, someone was smoking powerful stuff when coming up with the concept for this game. Awesome gameplay though 🙂
271: Icewind Dale (PC) – This was the lesser cousin of Baldur’s Gate, didn’t lean that heavily on the story, but it was a nice dungeon crawler for anyone who loved the AD&D RPGing in Forgotten Realms.
270: Skyblazer (SNES) – This platformer was a nice action game where you could scale walls and I borrowed it from a friend. Then a few years later I wanted to play it again, so I borrowed it again and started playing, but something felt wrong. After a while, I was finally able to put my finger on what had been feeling wrong. I realized that the first time I’d borrowed it, I’d also borrowed a music CD (Pandora, apparently her genre is called “eurodance”. Okay…) that I’d listened to every single time I’d played the game. I promptly went back to my friend and asked to borrow the CD again, so I could play the game properly. Weird how audio/video associations work in our brains sometimes.
268: Puzzle Quest Galactrix (Xbox 360) – This was a game that I had great expectations for, but I was sorely disappointed. The game mechanic had been changed to something where randomness was too big of a factor. Still, there was kind of a charm to it that made me overcome the fairly shitty game mechanic. Also, the whole space gate closing issue got REALLY annoying after a while, but I just kept playing to get through the whole thing.
267: Police Quest (Amiga 500) – Here’s a classic. This is the kind of game that really got the imagination and creativity going, only to be disappointed by finding out that it was pretty limited. It would have been so much more fun if you could actually grab the balls of the guy in the precinct shower or just shoot anyone you wanted. Also, it got me paranoid about walking around my car every single time I wanted to drive somewhere, because if I didn’t, it might blow up randomly.
266: Prince of Persia (PC) -PoP had a very kinetic feel to it, even though it was released so many years ago. The motion of the prince was very well animated and the limited time the game gave you to run and fight your way through the castle gave it excellent pace and tension. I’ve been thinking about buying this old school version on Xbox Live.
265: Total Annihilation (PC) – My friends and I used to play this wonderfully big strategy game during LANs, but only after one of my friends had lobbied for it for months. When we gave it a shot we discovered that it’s actually a lot of fun to take your commander unit (I forget the exact name) and wreak havoc on your opponent’s base. I never played the story mode.
264: Lemmings 2 (Amiga 500) – I remember not actually playing through the levels of this one as I did with the first one. Instead I mostly just started one of the big rooms with no exit and went nuts with all the different skills you could give the lemmings. Lots of fun!
263: Super Return of the Jedi (SNES) – This one was the weakest of the SNES trilogy games. The concept was getting kind of old and you had all the force powers and yada yada… Still a lot of fun though and I think the Star Wars music always sounded great on the SNES.
262: Quake (PC) – I actually played through this game in a version that wasn’t the retail one. One of my dad’s colleagues got me the game and I could never beat the last level. Then when I asked a friend of mine how he did it, he showed me on his computer. I was flabbergasted because it wasn’t MY last level at all. The one my friend played actually made sense. Oh well… I guess I got some kind of beta version. This was the first game I started using the mouse to control the view. Before that, all the FPSes I had played, I’d done it with keyboard only. Great, fast-paced deathmatch, although my friends and I didn’t play it very much.
260: Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines (PC) – Wow, this is one of those games that I wish could be re-released with a modern skin, so to speak. I loved the game mechanics of it, having a few guys with different strengths and weaknesses, figuring out how to beat the Nazi menace. Awesome! What really stood out to me and what’s still really nice about this game is the level of detail. The levels all looked so life-like.
259: Arkanoid (Amiga 500) – What can be said about Arkanoid, really? It’s one of those games that just has a no-brainer game mechanic. You have a paddle and you use it to bounce a ball to destroy bricks. Simple and brilliant. The laser power-up is lame!
257: Castlevania (NES) – Dracula has a special place in my heart because he’s a great video game villain. The first of the Castlevania games started a great series and Simon Belmont could really crack that whip. One thing that I never understood, however, is how you can find juicy steaks by whipping stone walls to dust. WTF?
256: Theme Hospital (PC) – What a change of pace this was back in the day. When pretty much every other game was about death and destruction, this little gem came along and suddenly, you were trying to save people. Actually, I’m a bit surprised that no one tried to capitalize on a revival of this one back when Scrubs was at its most popular. Seems like a no-brainer business idea to try. I guess not.
255: Dr. Mario (NES) – It’s pure coincidence that this one comes just ahead of Theme Hospital, actually. I still love those little bastards that you had to kill with the pills. Also, isn’t this a great image of how medicine works? “See, son, the way your pills work is that you’ve got these little yellow, blue and red mini-monsters inside of you and if we pile enough pills on them, they disappear and you get well again.”
254: The Thing (PC) – The movie is one of my all-time favorites and this game had something a lot of other games doesn’t have, especially not movie licence games: great atmosphere. It’s too bad it was lacking in some other departments, because this game was a blast to play, even with its faults. If you want a good horror title and you don’t mind things looking a bit dated, check this one out. If I remember correctly, it also spoils the ending of the movie if you haven’t already seen it.
253: Chime (Xbox 360) – A wonderful twist on Tetris and Lumines and half of the money you pay for it goes straight to charity. I just love how time tends to disappear whenever I sit down and play this game. The different tunes, although they’re not many, are varied and great at putting you in a sort of trance state of mind. Whenever you get a bunch of space covered in different ways, the music just explodes in a flurry of different sounds.
252: Super Empire Strikes Back (SNES) – The best part of this game, apart from the fun Hoth level where you battle ATATs, is that you finally get your hands on the light saber and get to use it properly. Some of the levels on Dagobah can be a bit confusing, but overall, I really like the settings in this one.
251: BattleZone (PC) – Alright, here we have a RTS/FPS hybrid that was sooooo way ahead of its time that it’s not funny. It got a sequel but I think that sold even worse than the first one. I got it as a bundle game with one of the first 3D accelerator cards I bought. Anyway, you control a hover tank or something like that and you can even change vehicles, but that’s not the important thing. The whole point of the game is that you can build buildings and units and then control them through this awesome first person interface, set out waypoints and all sorts of stuff. It was so fun in multiplayer and it’s a crying shame that there isn’t a similar game out these days.
Now I’m 50 games into the list and I still have 250 left to go. This is one massive project, but it’s fun, so I don’t mind. What do you think about my rankings so far?
I apologize right now for the cheesy play on words in the title of this post. I shouldn’t have written them like that, but sometimes you just have to, you know? Even though I agree with Ricky Gervais about puns being the lowest form of humor, it is sometimes too hard to resist them.
As I mentioned in my Iron Man 2 post, I was going to watch Kick-Ass in the not-so-distant future. I watched it on Friday and it was everything I had hoped it would be – and more. I (we, actually) also watched the golden nugget of a movie called Uncertainty too, but more on that one later.
We might get into spoiler territory here, so read on at your own risk. My best friend and I, along with our girlfriends, had a movie night on Friday. We started off with Kick-Ass and that movie was just all that I had hoped for and so much more. I was expecting a cool action movie and I’d read that there would be some dark themes to it as well, but I still thought that the balls-out action would be the main attraction of the movie. The action was completely awesome, as expected, but it didn’t hold a candle to the message of the movie. Basically, after all of the superhero movies that have been released in the last decade or so, they’ve made us pretty jaded about the consequences of the masked vigilante plotline. Kick-Ass turns the clichés on their heads and brings something completely different. The voice-over by Kick-Ass himself adds to this, in some parts having something of an implied dialogue with the audience, which is something I haven’t seen before. What happened to Big Daddy was something I totally didn’t expect, but it fit the movie like a glove. It made the movie so much better.
I think every part in the movie was cast perfectly, with one exception being Red Mist. Putting McLovin’ in that role was a mistake in my opinion. First of all you have the fact that he’s McLovin’ and secondly, I don’t think Christopher Mintz-Plasse did a great job with the role. He wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but virtually all of the other parts were perfect, so that made his performance stand out in a bad way. Nicolas Cage was fantastic as Big Daddy, his first worthwhile role in years, and Aaron Johnson was a revelation as Kick-Ass. But the big star of the show, and this is almost getting tiresome because everyone is saying it, was Hit Girl, played by Chloe Moretz. Holy shit. She simply owned the whole movie. She stole every scene she was in and in a movie like this, that’s an accomplishment. This girl is 13 years old, which made her about… 11 (?) when the movie was filmed. Completely insane. You need to watch this movie because of her performance alone. She is that good. Never mind that the rest of the movie is masterfully done. She owns it and you will love her, just like me.
I’d say that with Kick-Ass, Watchmen and the new Batman movies, a new standard has been set for superhero movies. X-Men was fine when it was released, but when Wolverine was released, it didn’t work any longer. Those movies need to be more cerebral from now on, making the audience think a bit more.
Okay, so that’s Kick-Ass. What about Uncertainty?
Uncertainty is a lovely little movie that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and one of my new favorite actresses, Lynn Collins. It’s kind of a what-if love story that follows the two of them through two scenarios. At the very beginning of the movie, they flip a coin to see if they should spend the day at her family’s place or if they should go and do whatever they feel like, taking the day as it comes. From then on we follow both possibilities and the movie makers make clear through the use of color what storyline is being followed at any given moment. In one storyline, they wear green clothes, and in the other, they wear yellow clothes. It works brilliantly.
The chemistry between Collins and Gordon-Levitt is undeniable and a lot of the time, they say so much with minimal dialogue, if any. He is cool, she is beautiful and they convey the emotions of their relationship so well. The two storylines are quite different with one of them being more calm with the family party and the other being very hectic as they find a lost phone and get chased by what seems like hitmen, trying to return it. But even if they are shot at in one storyline, that doesn’t mean that there is less drama in the other. There is a lot of tension in the family storyline that brings out the best of both of the actors, as I don’t think that’s an easy story to portray.
I really loved Uncertainty too and even though it can seem a bit unclear sometimes, that’s part of the charm. The dialogue is written to fill in the gaps in both of the storylines. If you wonder about something in the green storyline, they’ll say something in the yellow to make it clear. But the dialogue wasn’t written in the traditional way. They had the broad strokes penned, but the actual dialogue was all improvised by the cast, which makes the result incredibly impressive. The visual style of the movie was breathtaking and the soundtrack was nice. It wasn’t very obvious, but it fit perfectly. Oh, now that I think about it, the soundtrack was completely awesome in Kick-Ass. I’ll be getting that one, for sure. Hopefully, I can get my hands on Uncertainty’s as well.
All in all, both movies should be checked out, for different reasons. Kick-Ass gets 5 out of 5 and Uncertainty is a strong 4 out of 5 in my book. Good times!
Last weekend, me and two friends went to the movies to catch Iron Man 2. I went into the theatre with four cans of carbonated water and, not surprisingly, I had to pee when the movie was over. But it was that good kind of pee, the kind where you let out a nice, long groan as it flows down into the toilet bowl, thinking “god damn, this hits the spot”. It was doubly good because the movie I’d just seen was really entertaining. I find that peeing after a bad movie isn’t nearly as satisfying as after a good movie. Now I just wonder why I’m writing so much about my urination habits. We took a weird turn somewhere…
Robert Downey Jr. is perfect as Iron Man, but that was established already after the first movie. In this one, he’s just as good, if not better. The senate hearing scene was really fun with a lot of good lines delivered with perfect douchebag precision by Downey Jr. I really liked all of the supporting cast in this one, especially Paltrow and Rourke. The strongest part of IM2 compared to the first one is that there is a clear villain from the start of the movie and Rourke plays the role of Whiplash really well. Some reviewer, I think it was on IGN, said that Rourke could’ve overplayed the part like crazy and gotten away with it, but he gave a more subtle performance and that worked really well. The romantic tension between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts has been ramped up to just the right level. The addition of Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow works really well. I didn’t really have an idea of how they were going to use her in the movie, but she was played down for the most part, with some sexiness added sparsely and a lot of asskicking at one point.
What it all comes down to with Iron Man 2 is the action and the banter. The action is rock solid, although I would actually like to see some more of it. That’s the only downside of the movie, in my opinion, that it dragged during certain parts. Then again, that meant that more characterization could be squeezed in, so it’s all good in the end. As for the banter, I don’t think I came across one single badly delivered line in the whole movie. Simply awesome. I give it 4 out of 5. Catch it in the movies while you have the chance, because it’s one of those perfect popcorn action movies.
The next superhero movie I watch will probably be Kick-Ass in the coming days. I’m super pumped for it, mainly because of Chloe Moretz and Nic Cage.