06 May 2010

IRON MAN 2



This is Why I Love the Summer!

This movie is number two on my anticipated movies of the year list, behind only The Expendables. I was psyched to see this movie. I went to the midnight show at the local IMAX theater and sat with all the comic book dorks. I don’t judge, I was there, too.

We are first introduced to Mickey Rourke’s sinister character Ivan Vanko while he is in Russia watching the news cast that ended the first film. We learn that his father worked with Stark’s father, but there was some bad blood. Vanko is then seen making a weapon similar to what powers Iron Man.

Next, we see Tony Stark, played by returning cast member Robert Downey, Jr., at a Congressional hearing where they want him to turn over the Iron Man suit for military use. The leader of the hearing is Senator Stern, played by Gary Shandling. He calls on rival arms manufacturer Justin Hammer, played by new cast member Sam Rockwell, to back him. After Stark makes him look like a fool, Rhodey is called in by the Senator. As the only new cast member in an established role, Don Cheadle only made me think one thing. Terrence who? Again, Stark works his mojo and the hearing is over. Hammer is not happy, and again, we can see that there is some bad blood there, too.
We are then moved to see Iron Man’s arrival at the Stark Expo. Apparently, these used to be more prevalent in the years of Howard Stark. It is a science expo where people work to create scientific discoveries to benefit world peace and the like. During an old video by Howard, we see that Tony is sick. It is from his power source that is keeping him alive. Ironic.

As the movie moves forward, there are plenty of action scenes. Vanko is arrested for attempting to kill Tony. Hammer intercepts him, and employs him. Rhodey and Stark fight verbally and physically. This leads to the creation of War Machine, and Iron Man suit armored by everything Hammer has. Also along the way, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury makes an appearance. This was the only stupid part of the film to me.

I don’t like how Marvel is going back and trying to map out a plan to reach an Avengers film after the fact. If Marvel would have mapped it out and planned it ahead of time, I think things would have flowed better. This whole story line was kind of stupid. We find out that Scarlett Johansson’s character works for S.H.I.E.L.D. and she is there to protect him. They mysteriously have the solution to the problem of Stark’s life force, but he has to figure it out for himself. This lead to the only part of the film I threw out as outrageously ridiculous. This forced Favreau and his crew to bend to what was needed to reach this future film. It also makes Iron Man 2 not stand alone as well as it should. I do appreciate how they did not make it an open ended film that requires a sequel. That seems to be the fad as of late, i.e. Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers.

Howard Stark hypothesized this power source presumably decades ago, but was unable to create it. But, thankfully, Tony is not only smart enough, but rich enough to perform the experiment in his house.

In the end, Vanko becomes a super villain, and by joining forces with War Machine, Iron Man saves the day. Other story lines are explored with Pepper Potts, played once again by Gwyneth Paltrow. Jon Favreau has his cameo as the servant to Stark, but it is a larger role this time. The chemistry was there again between all the actors. The script was great. The dialogue was witty and quick. Favreau showed once again that he is not afraid to have fun with his explosions and action scenes. In an interview about Iron Man 3, Favreau stated that he has nothing planned because he is waiting to see what happens to Stark and Iron Man in The Avengers.

Let me go there again real quick. I just hope that Marvel know what they are doing. Thor may not translate well to film. Look at Hulk and then The Incredible Hulk. Bruce Banner’s alter ego just doesn’t seem to make a good transition to the big screen. Captain America should be a lot easier sell, though some of the casting has me worried. Chris Evans has already been Fantastic Four’s Johnny Storm and The Losers’ Jensen. Do you really think it is wise to give him another comic character? He might be too much of a smartass to be Cap.

Anyway, as I do too often with comic book movies, I have written more than needed. Iron Man 2 was awesome. It was not quite as awesome as I was hoping for, but it was far better than The Losers. Verdict: A must-see of fans of the original, and everyone else. IMAX? Not needed.