Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Iron Man 2 (Jon Favreau, 2010)

Possibly the most anticipated movie this year (thus far) was Iron Man 2, which I finally saw last night. I really enjoyed the first film, and have not disliked a Robert Downey Jr. movie in a long time (even The Soloist). Needless to say, I wanted to see it.

Unfortunately, the movie left me a little flat.

Don't get me wrong. It was a lot of fun and it had a lot of great stuff going on. Particularly Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke, whose respective horns I hate to blow because everyone is so in love with them lately. I like them both, I just always feel uncomfortable riding the bandwagon.

Rockwell plays Justin Hammer. He's a bit of a spaz, and has it out for Tony Stark. Stark is a complete dick to him, but Hammer is a dick as well. Rockwell conjures up a bit of Eric Knox (Charlie's Angels, McG, 2000) as the techie bad guy who apes James Brown dance moves. He's more obnoxious as Hammer, who is the nerd trying to be a tool, where Knox was a tool pretending to be a nerd.

Rourke's Ivan Vanko (Whiplash? Crimson Dynamo?) was an odd character, as he was an ass-kicking physicist with obvious mob connections (fans of Eastern Promises will note the tattoos). He is oddly reminiscent of the first Iron Man film, in that he builds his suit with mundane technology. He's not in some Afgan cave, but rather a Russian slum, working with what is available.

Third favorite performance: Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Tony Stark's gentleman's gentleman. He plays the classic goofy sidekick that looks tougher than he is, but makes up for a lot with fearlessness and devotion. It is a classic character type, and Favreau does great work with it.

Disappointments? Sure. I found Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow to be little more than diabetic eye candy. She definitely had some hotness, but the character was poorly used, perhaps. The other problem, a big one, was that the story seemed to make Tony Stark's power cell responsible for his bodily power. Like he was running off the cell. In the first movie, the main reason for the cell was to power the electromagnet protecting his heart from shrapnel. They seemed to have replaced this by making Stark a sort or Elric character and the power cell is his Stormbringer. It bothered me, a lot.

All-in-all, it is a fun movie, and likely worthy of big screen viewing. If you liked the first one, then suspend some disbelief and give it a watch. Fortunately, it is not a rehash of the first film. I am not familiar with the comics, so I don't know/care how close to cannon it is. It is fun, even if it drags here and there.

Oh, and watch through the credits. They always do something at the very end. ;-)

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