Hey guys! It’s Double D here and I decided to start using this blog not just for my fond memories, but also to start reviewing everything that I see in theatres and as a recent video release. So, the first of these reviews (since it’s the first film I’ve seen so far during our hiatus) is Iron Man 2! It’s probably the most anticipated film of 2010 for a lot of people and rightfully so. In 2008 everyone was looking forward to The Dark Knight. We all had high hopes of what we knew would be an amazing film, but there were a few other big comic book movies that summer (it was really a fantastic summer overall) and one of them was Iron Man. Now I, having no prior connection to the Iron Man character (besides an action figure that my grandmother bought for me when I was 10) had no expectations for this movie whatsoever, but since I’m a nerd I went to see it anyways, because Iron Man seemed cool enough. I was pleasantly surprised however. I felt attached to the characters. It had lots of action. It was a lot of fun. And best of all it had a dude in a metal suit that shot rockets that blew up tanks. That was pretty freakin’ cool! Later that summer I also saw The Incredible Hulk and I also really enjoyed that, maybe not as much as Iron Man, but it was still pretty entertaining, these Marvel Studios people seemed to be on a role. I was expecting them to adapt another project for their next film like Thor or Black Panther, but it turns out they wanted to make Iron Man 2 even before making a movie about any other character in the Avengers continuity. Can I blame them? Not really, the first one was hugely successful and after seeing the sequel I can see why it was necessary to put the characters in the right place before they make more movies in this continuity, eventually leading up to the extremely anticipated Avengers movie coming out in a few years. Anyways, without further adieu, let’s get into what I thought of Iron Man 2. Was it really worth making a sequel this quickly? Well, let’s see.
Financially speaking, yes it was. Iron Man 2 has already broken the $130 million in its opening weekend alone! And in case you were wondering why I waited until now to see it, I had my Mom’s Birthday/ Mother’s Day party to attend to yesterday, so bleep you! Anyways, from an entertainment stand point, I’d say it was pretty worth it too. Iron Man 2 was pretty damn entertaining from beginning to end, just like its predecessor. The difficult thing in talking about Iron Man 2 is that I liked it. That’s it. It’s easy to talk about a movie you love and it’s easy to talk about a movie you hate, but talking about a movie you liked is always hard, but for all of y’all I’m going to try and do it anyways.
Let’s start with the plot, the film picks up right where the previous film left off, with Tony Stark revealing his true identity as Iron Man, except this time as seen on the TV screen of Ivan Vanko, played by Mickey Rourke, who will become Tony Stark’s newest and meanest villain. We are then taken forward to six months later where the annual Stark Expo is about to take place where Tony is the headlining star. He has new problems to face however when the US Supreme Court wants him to surrender the Iron Man suit to the US Military and a new competitor named Justin Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell. Things get even more complicated as well when Hammer decides to team up with Vanko to create a set of military drones designed to take down Tony Stark once and for all. On top of that Shield has sent an undercover agent in the form of The Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson to watch over Tony by posing as his new personal assistant when Pepper Potts is chosen by Tony as the CEO of Stark Industries when he finds out that the mechanical heart transplant thingy he got in the first movie is actually slowly killing him. Not to mention, Rhodes is back, this time played by Don Cheadle (replacing Terrance Howard from the first film) and he’s really getting fed up with Tony Stark’s brash behaviour to the point where he hijacks one of his older suits and brings it to the US Military for some upgrades from none other than Mr. Hammer (doesn’t his name sound like a porn star?) If this sounds like a lot … it is. The major problem with Iron Man 2 is that they’re just juggling way too many subplots for their own good. In fact the film is more of a patchwork of subplots than an actual plot. It bounces the viewer around a bit too much for my taste. Now that being said, it does do a pretty good job of combining all the elements together pretty cohesively and I never had a problem following along. I only had a problem trying to care about the characters as much as I did in the first movie where we spend much longer getting to know them then we do here. Things allowed themselves to take more time in the first movie, but now too much plot has driven the characters aside a little bit, which is unfortunate. Also, the unfortunate amount of plot forces character logic to be shoves aside a few times. Instead of long sweeping emotional strokes, everything happens in really fast splashes of drama. Characters will be angry with each other in one scene and make up in the next with little transition simply because the film doesn’t allot for it and that’s unfortunate. Not to mention how problems that should be big deals are often solved too quickly simply to move to the next plot point. For example, the drones that Vanko builds for Hammer are about as useful as the battle droids in The Phantom Menace. That being said I was, like I mentioned earlier, still entertained by the film. It still contained the same sense of fun and the same witty dialogue and surprisingly adept direction from Jon Favreau, who also takes more time to develop his own character of Happy Hogan.
In terms of overall mood Iron Man 2 attempts to present itself as being the dark Empire Strikes Back type of sequel in the first 5 minutes with the opening scene in Russia, but it’s all just a clever rouse. If anything Iron Man 2 is brighter than the first with a sharp wit and non-stop action. As soon as Iron Man makes his way through a roof to a cheering crowd of onlookers, we know where this film’s interests lie, in pleasing the real audience just as much as the onscreen one and to Favreau that seems to mean by throwing as much at you as he possibly can in the span of two hours. This means that Iron Man 2 is certainly never boring and it’s never really laugh out loud stupid either, but it’s almost too much to take. If this movie were a meal it would be a seven course dinner at McDonalds. Your first few Big Macs are great, but by the end you might be a little queasy. That’s not to say that the movie doesn’t lose its focus on Stark though. He is still firmly planted in the main character position and his slow death subplot does create a convenient means through which to make us sympathize with the billionaire playboy once again without any murdered parents to conveniently fall back on. Downy Jr. does a great job of portraying Stark’s plight without going too over-the-top and his character remains the easiest thing to attach to in this whirlwind of a film. The trouble with Iron Man 2 is trying to figure out which of the other characters to care about, which is unfortunate because I really wanted to care about all of them, but I had a hard time doing so because they were each only allowed so much screen time.
As for the actors themselves, I have to say first off that I liked Howard a little bit more than Cheadle as Rhodes. I think he embodied the military persona of the character much more convincingly, but maybe that’s just me. Everyone did a pretty fine job however, especially Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow who always seem to pull through, even when the script gets convoluted. Rourke and Rockwell are also perfect opposite each other as Rourke plays an extremely serious, bad-ass villain with a grudge and Rockwell, just plays a snivelling, second-place opportunist, sort of the Bill Gates to Tony Stark’s Steve Jobs if you will. Everyone else pulls through pretty well too with Johansson remaining the perfect casting choice for Black Widow and Samuel L. Jackson getting a bit more screen time then just a post-credits scene this time (stay tuned after the Iron Man 2 credits for another surprise). This was a short paragraph, but hey I don’t have much to complain about acting-wise.
So overall, what can I say about Iron Man 2? It’s an energetic blast of caffeine infected action and thrills coming at you from all sides, but ultimately it’s got a lot of heart and it doesn’t completely lose its way despite travelling a bit too fast at times and in the end it’s a heck of a lot of fun, just like the first one. Most fans will not be disappointed.
I give Iron Man 2 3.5/5.
Stay tuned next time for more blogs and reviews!