johnlink ranks IRON MAN 2 (2010)

I realized that I haven’t watched the first IRON MAN film since it was released in theaters. Therefore, since that was waaaaay back in 2008, I don’t have a review for it. I was generally surprised by the quality of the first offering, and was anticipating the second installment with great interest.

I watched IRON MAN 2 (2010) in theaters on 5.6.10. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

I had read a couple of negative reviews of IRON MAN 2 going in, so I was a bit worried about how good this kick-off to the 2010 blockbuster season would be. But I came out of the film wondering what all the negativity was about. Best I can tell, the first one was such a surprise that the second had an expectation level that was just too high for some people. This film is a big, fun, entertaining ride. Sure I have a few minor complaints, but the enjoyability greatly outranks the problems.

So what are some of those problems? Let’s get those out of the way. First… how does Mickey Rourke know that Downey Jr. is going to compete in the race featured in the trailer if the decision is made by Stark at the last second? Logic gap, table for one please. Next… the writers need to know that we care about the hero/villain dynamic. We want to see the hero fight the villain. Instead, we get Iron Man and War Machine (Don Cheadle, an improvement for the Rhodey character) fighting drones for fifteen minutes before a too-short climactic battle with Rourke. Lastly, the problem with the character itself is that it is hard to make a man in a robot suit with amazing powers feel as though he is in danger. The best action sequences are when Tony is not in the suit(in the first conflict with Vanko) when Tony is drunk (the best action sequence, with War Machine in Tony’s house), and the Scarlett Johansson kicking a bunch of ass segment. The last battle doesn’t make the list because the drones never feel dangerous enough, and the last Vanko battle is just too truncated.

So that is my bad list. Someone else, a comic fan, was upset that Johansson and Vanko never get mentioned by their comic book names. My feeling, as a former reader in high school who got out of that game along time ago, is that the mass audience wants these comic heroes to exist in as close to a real world as possible. If code names work organically, great. But don’t force a code name on us for no good reason. The movie wasn’t lacking for not calling her Black Widow.

Now on to the good. The witty banter in this is awesome. Downey Jr. is in the trifecta of modern witty banter with Brad Pitt and George Clooney. I love watching those three guys just play. And Downey Jr. has great chemistry with everyone around him, and the Tony Stark stuff is the most fun to be had in the movie. To me, you could make a movie called STARK, have Iron Man make cameo appearances and I would have a great time.

The story works for me, even if it has been done before. Stark has an ego, he has daddy issues, he is self-destructive. But he’s dying, and he doesn’t want anyone to know. He makes his bad decisions because he holds this terrible secret about his health, so everyone misunderstands him. Sure, it’s been done. But it works here, and the acting is what carries a mediocre script.

I love all the Avengers stuff. Nick Fury makes his appearance, and they talk about the Avengers project. As movie fans, we all know this is building to something bigger. We see Cap’s shield, the post-credit stinger teases another upcoming movie, and we all get excited (one person screamed at the end of the movie). I love the build. I think they are doing a good job of creating a world where all these characters can coexist. I can’t wait to see Ed Norton and Downey Jr. interact (editorial note from 2011: It is sad reading this and knowing now that Norton isn’t doing the AVENGERS flick. It would have been awesome).

The action is fun, even if not dangerous. I mentioned the scenes I liked above, and really have to reiterate how awesome the Black Widow scene (although somewhat brief) was. I hope to see more of her in future movies. The action served the story, which is how it should be.

Lastly, Rourke as Vanko is brilliant. Quiet throughout, and always oozing dangerous. I liked his portrayal greatly and put him up there as among the best movie comic-book villains yet. Also, Sam Rockwell brings believability to a character, Justin Hammer, who could have been brutally bad. His egocentricity balances Rourke’s calm. This leads to a couple of cliched moments, but generally helps the film.

Overall, I give this one a big thumbs up (sorry, I know that is trademarked). Now, when they do IRON MAN 3, let’s just hope it isn’t SPIDER-MAN 3!

SCORES

FILM: 5; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 4 (What’s this?)

5+8+7+4+0=24

FINAL SCORE: 6

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~ by johnlink00 on May 7, 2010.

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