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May 10, 2010 - Image 10

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2010-05-10

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10

Monday, May 10, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

POTTER
From Page 9
atre & Dance graduate), are thor-
oughly satisfied with the final
script. Without giving the plot
away, they said the sequel adds new
characters and draws heavily from
the first, third and fifth books.
"It's better than anything I
thought we could have done," Matt
said.
Although the six-month writing
process was taxing throughout,
the team hopes the shows will be
the opposite.
"It's really the first time all
of us will be in a room together
since this thing has taken off, and
I think it will be less stressful and
more of just, 'This is awesome,' "
said Joey Richter (Ron Weasley), a
senior in the School of Music, The-
atre & Dance.
The main purpose of the live
shows is to film the YouTube video
to be launched in July. All of the
free tickets for the 100-person the-
ater have been reserved, but there
will be a standby line.
While many of the friends
have dispersed since "AVPM" last
year, the original cast and crew

gave themselves the name Team
StarKid after their YouTube suc-
cess so they could accept dona-
tions. The StarKid brand also
produced the Basement Arts musi-
cal "Me and My Dick" last fall and
the Web series "Little White Lie."
"A Very Potter Sequel" is another
incarnation of their "last project
together," Matt said.
"When I did the original musi-
cal, I said, 'This the last show I'll
ever do,' and then I did two more,
so it could very well change," Matt
explained.
While members will most likely
move on from StarKid to individual
careers, prospects look hopeful due
to the success of their productions.
"We've got industry people pay-
ing attention, and really that's how
you start out," Nick Lang said. "It's
helped our reputation; it's techni-
cally hurt our careers, because
we've spent all of our money. But
your reputation is gold."
The team consistently hears
from admirers that it makes the-
ater for its generation.
"Although our teachers don't
know how to do it, they know
we know how to do it," Gruesen
explained. "It's exciting that we
get to make theater for our friends

and our friends' friends."
Jamie Lyn Beatty (Ginny Wea-
sley), who graduated from the
School of Music, Theatre & Dance
this spring, agrees that StarKid
takes theater in a modern direction.
"It is a new form of theater
because it's so self-conscious,"
Beatty said. "So many of the scenes
in the musical make fun of the fact
that there is an audience or that the
props are made of cardboard, and
there's something really charming
about that for an audience to wit-
ness."
No matter what StarKid mem-
bers pursue, they will bring with
them the optimism and positivity
that has surrounded their produc-
tions thus far.
"It's easy to be pessimistic
because it's easy to find ways the
world sucks - the world kind of
does suck," Matt said. "But it's
hard to find truthful reasons to
think about something in an opti-
mistic way."
After all of the Potter shows'
parodic plot spirals, Matt hopes
the show will coax smiles from
viewers in the end.
"We always want to end up with
something that makes you feel
good."

Feel the burn.
I1o Man' lacks mettle .

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Saturday, May 22nd, 2010
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By TIMOTHY RABB
Daily Arts Writer
In 2008, Jon Favreau - the Jew-
fro-sporting comic whose film career
includes supporting
turns in "Swingers,"
"Elf" and "The Break- *
Up" - surprised film honMan 2
and comic book gurus
alike when he directed At Quality16
the politically relevant, and Showcase
morally reverent first Paramount
"Iron Man" movie.
Well, step aside "Iron
Man," because your updated, prima
donna brother is in town.
Lucky for you, many of his charac-
ters are miscast and his script is filled
with hyperbolized plot threads sure to
alienate even some of the most lenient
movie enthusiasts. By now, the origi-
nal "Iron Man" franchise has devolved
to the extent that it is indistinguishable
from anytother stock superhero film. Rest
assured, predecessor, your placement as
one of the best comic book adaptations in
recent memory is still quite safe.
Now, hyperbole in the context of a
superhero movie may seem appropriate
to the genre, but not when a sequel relin-
quishes its political vision and completely
falls offtheproverbial wagon, riddlingits
two-hour narrative (especially the first
half-hour) with arbitrary cameos, flat
character expression and a five-minute
drunken battle between best friends clad
in Iron"Man"suits. Ultimately, viewers are
left with nothing but an emotional hang-
over and the distinct impression that
they've just seen bad reality television.
Naysayers, just watch the entirety of the
Stark Expo scene at the beginning before
you disagree.
Overall, "Iron Man 2" resembles
something closer to a Mel Brooks farce
or a slapstick comedy when compared
to its predecessor. It's far removed from
the subtle, classy drollness of Robert
Downey, Jr.'s performance in the first
film. The Iron Man comic was originally
conceived as a commentarv on the Cold

War. In keeping with the spirit of intel-
lect that inspired the first Iron Man
comic, Jeff Bridges's flexible acting abili-
ties were a perfect complement to the
intelligent (but wildly entertaining) dis-
course of the first "Iron Man" movie. His
role as the embittered former partner of
Tony Stark's father was an excellent illus-
tration of the conflict between greed,
warfare and ethics.
Not so in the case of Mickey Rourke
("The Wrestler"). His portrayal of Ivan
Venko, the sequel's villain, seems like a
questionable choice. Rourke said in an
interview that Ivan's trademark gold
teeth and beloved parrot were paid for
from his own pocketnmoney in an attempt
to render his character less "one-dimen-
sional." Well, suffice to say, it's hard not
to seem one-dimensional when you have
scarcely 80 words of dialogue in a two-
hour movie. But maybe it's better that
way; the best part of "The Wrestler" was
the brutal honesty of Rourke's role, and
the demeanor one would expect of Venko
- a brilliant physicist's psychotic son -
simply doesn't befit Rourke as an actor. At
least he played the wrestler role well.
Some sequels just
shouldn't be made.
In its defense, "Iron Man 2" gets much
better after the confounding 30-minute
introduction, and Downey, Jr. possesses
the same snappy poise that made his
superhero debut a spectacular one. The
bright, colorful "Speed Racer"-style cin-
ematography makes for some spectacu-
lar action sequences. But in its attempt to
straddle the wide gap between dramnedy
and action film, "Iron Man 2" makes a
few errors of judgment that diminish the
cerebral character of the first film and
provide us with only the flashy, mind-
numbing, three-act entertainment we
expect from I-movies. Even so, be sure
to watch all the way through the ending
credits -hint, hint.

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