Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Weeks Too Late: Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2. Directed by Jon Favreau & Written by Justin Theroux.

: I've been looking forward to this movie for ages. Being a ridiculous nerd I've enjoyed the resurgence in comic movies (many of them surprisingly good), but of all of them Iron Man was by far the most charming. Iron Man 1 began my more than passing interest in the surprisingly hot Robert Downey Jr. It was only my hatred of being a sardine that kept me from rushing out to see this movie opening weekend (well that and negating my own premise). This did let me hear some of the early complaints about the movie, the main one being that it (like Spiderman 3) had too many disconnected plot threads. I sincerely hoped this wasn't the case.

General Review: Nope. Not too many plot threads. There were two bad guys, one for Tony the businessman and one supervillain with powers to fight Iron Man. They came together naturally and this nicely side-stepped the problem of having your big strong superhero fighting some regular smart guy (tut tut, Superman, tut tut). And we mustn't forget Tony Stark's main opponent: Tony Stark. There was plenty of the self-destructive, drunken, prideful behaviour that makes this character so rakishly appealing.

Perhaps it's me becoming an old lady (I've got the cardigan sweaters to prove it), or perhaps it's crappy directing, but it is increasingly rare for me to enjoy an action sequence. But, oh the action in this! I wanted to clap my hands and squeal at being able to tell what was going on and not feeling nauseated at the over-use of hand held cameras. I tip my hat to you Jon Favreau, for letting me enjoy seeing things blown up and giant mechs fighting.

Lets talk cast. Blah blah Robert Downey Jr....hot, good, blah, you cupcakes know my feelings on that subject. There was the odd replacement of Terrence Howard for Don Cheadle. I don't have strong feelings for either actor, besides enjoying Cheadle in Oceans 11. While I thought changing actors mid-series was a strange choice, Cheadle was fine and they did a good job of hanging a lantern on the switch, within the movie. Sam Rockwell is fast becoming one of my favourite actors (though we spent very little time staring at his ass in this). He was (to steal a line) Bill Gates to Tony's Steve Jobs, desperately trying to be cool and innovative and failing miserably.

If you absolutely must use a
deus ex machina there are a lot worse choices than Samuel L. Jackson. He reprised Nick Fury to good effect and it makes me more and more excited about the upcoming Avengers movie (hopefully it doesn't die in the fire of development hell). I don't care how butch Mickey Rourke might be, electric whips are no kind of weapon for a grown man. If you want a retiarius (one of those net and trident Gladiator guys) style fighter, give the man a damned net.

While I still have no real opinion of Scarlett Johansson's regular acting ability (except for her ability to possess a hot ass) I will say that she pulled off some fairly impressive physical acting in this. Yes, yes I know she didn't do her own stunts or anything, but I bought that it was her doing them. Also, the mimicry of Gwyneth Paltrow's stances and gait were impressive.

As I talk about more and more actors and enjoying their performances, I realise what a ridiculously overblown cast this could have been. Yet I wasn't confused about who was who, nor did I feel like the movie was turned into an ensemble affair that was no longer focused on Downey Jr. He was clearly the star. Failing to balance a huge cast was one of the many things that sunk X-Men 3. Favreau deserves another hat tip for managing to pull it off seamlessly.

Don't listen to the detractors. Iron Man 2 is just as entertaining and easy to follow as Iron Man 1. It's witty, full of charming characters, has a solid plot and some top notch directing. It is well worth your time and 12 bucks to go see it if you dug the first one.

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