The X-Women

Monday, May 10, 2010

Review: Iron Man 2

 *Just saw Iron Man 2 for the second time and I enjoyed it a lot more than I did the first time. I can only reason that the expectations were so high for this film, that may have caused me some slight disappointment upon the first viewing. But I can fully say now that Iron Man 2 is one of the best comic to film adaptations yet. Very close to the original film, and definitely ranked in my top 10 favorite comic book movies of all time. Which will lead to me finally posting my fave comic book movie list next week. So I will keep the original rating of B+ for the time being while I gave the first Iron Man movie a A.

 The 2010 summer movie season has officially kicked off with the highly anticipated sequel, Iron Man 2. Does it deliver the goods? For the most part, yes. It meets all the requirements of a big comic book movie despite some shortcomings. The story picks up immediately after the events of the previous film when Tony Stark announces to the world that he is Iron Man. Cut to Russia, where a revenge minded man named Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke who is not used nearly enough) works on a hi-tech suit of his own with pulsating energy whips. He plans to exact some payback on Tony for what he believes to be justice since Tony's dad stole designs from Ivan's father. While Vanko prepares to travel and make life hell for Tony, our golden boy is busy opening the Stark Expo in New York City to throngs of rabid fans, who treat him like a rock star.
Tony makes one hell of an entrance as he is dropped from an airplane and flies down to NYC with about 20 hot to trot red and yellow clad cheerleaders to back him up. Got to be one of the best film openings ever just for that scene alone. And while Tony still exudes tons of charisma, he is facing all kinds of personal issues. The arc reactor technology that is keeping him alive is also killing him. So he is searching for a substitute energy source. He also has to deal with a rival competitor named Justin Hammer (terrific performance by Sam Rockwell) who struts all over the place, looking to knock Tony down a peg or two. And Tony also has to deal with the U.S. government who demands that he hand over his Iron Man suit to them. He is called in for a senate hearing and goes toe to toe with a tough senator (played by Garry Shandling). So with all this going on, when his sponsored race team has a race in Monaco, he is off to have some fun. Of course Whiplash (Ivan) shows up and turns the racetrack into a memorable slug fest, which is the best scene in the movie.
After this skirmish Tony and his assistant Pepper Potts (once again played winningly by Gwyneth Paltrow) head home for some R&R. Tony ends up making Pepper his CEO and Pepper hires a new assistant named Natalie (Scarlett Johansson) who is actually a SHIELD agent code-named Black Widow, working for main man Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, rocking the eye patch and leather coat and more screen time). A lot more story is emphasized in this sequel, maybe a little too much. Because there are only three main action sequences, which all well done. Just could have used some more.
Don Cheadle who replaces Terrance Howard as Rhodey, Tony's best friend gets to suit up as War Machine and gets in on the action and definitely adds to the value of the film. I was a little wary about Johansson when she was picked to play Black Widow, but that lasts for about 2 seconds. From the time she appears on film, she more than holds her own with Downey, Paltrow and the others. And her big fight scene at the end, where she just rips through about 20 guys is just bad ass. Even director Jon Favreau gets physical in this one as he gets to rough up a bad guy. Of course it's Robert Downey Jr who drives the film and he doesn't drop the ball. He is just as good as he was in the original, maybe even better. The special effects are top notch once again. And there are so many little easter eggs that any die hard Marvel fan will catch immediately.
Like I said the main problem is not enough action and once again the main bad guy turns out to be another guy in an iron suit just like Tony's. That's get old pretty quick. They need to go through Iron Man's rogue gallery and bring on The Mandarin. They mentioned his connection in the first film, now they need to deliver on that. It was cool seeing the interaction between Stark and Fury, talking about SHIELD and The Avengers Initiative, which the Iron Man films have set up brilliantly. Can't wait for next year when Thor and Captain America hit the theaters. So all in all, Iron Man 2 gets the job done despite some minor flaws. But as a film in it's own right, it'll do. Oh and the soundtrack which has all AC/DC songs on the CD only uses two in the film. I was expecting the film to use way more than that. They do go old school with a couple of jams that rock and are featured doing Tony's birthday bash that gets a little out of hand. And said bash has Tony smashed in his suit having a good time. His struggles with alcholism is played up a little in this film, but too a comedic effect with some dramatic overtones. His antics will remind you of Will Smith from Hancock.

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