The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Iron Man 2

It was probably the most anticipated sequel since "The Dark Knight." Well, anticipated by me anyway. I'm sure some people anticipated "Revenge of the Fallen," although I didn't. So, how does "Iron Man 2" stack up? Pretty damn well, I think.

Robert Downey Jr. reminds us all that he was born to play Tony Stark. Strike that, he doesn't play Tony Stark, he is Tony Stark. He embodies that character, and no where does it shine through more than during the birthday party scene where Stark is as drunk as an Irishman on Cinco de Mayo while wearing the armor. It's a scene that, if played by almost anybody else would be so over the top and ridiculous, it would take you out of the movie. But, RDJ doesn't just make you believe it, he makes you feel it.

Mickey Rourke was our villain in this installment as Ivan Vanko or Whiplash. Like RDJ, Rourke just embodies the character of someone you would think spent many years in a Siberian gulag. He was creepy, scary, and managed to both seem not all there while at the same time knowing exactly what he was doing. Not to mention, they took a pretty lame villain in the comics and made him scary.

Scarlett Johansson was very sexy as super spy, Natasha Romanov. While I definitely missed the Russian accent, I can buy their explanation that when she is on Russian soil, she doesn't speak with one. But her role in the story surprised me. I thought she was infiltrating Stark Industries to steal the armor for Russia. I didn't think she was already working for Nick Fury. They also didn't once say her codename, Black Widow out loud. But she was a lot of fun, and I hope to see more of her.

You will love to hate Sam Rockwell as the slick and greasy Justin Hammer. Played younger here than in the comics, but he is just oozing slime whenever you see him. Figuratively, not literally. Not sure if he'll be back for further installments, but I wouldn't mind.

I missed Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes. Not that Don Cheadle was bad. But with Howard, you got the sense that he and Stark were long time friends. With Cheadle, while you knew that, you didn't feel it at all. They just didn't have that chemistry.

The action in this movie was terrific, which is one would expect since it was storyboarded by Geddy Tartakovsky. There are a lot of fun easter eggs in this movie, which I won't spoil for you, you'll either spot them or you won't... but one of them is impossible to miss.

It's not "The Dark Knight." But it's not trying to be. It's the sequel to "Iron Man" and it is spectacular at what it is... an action-adventure movie with heart and soul. It brings the story and the character development to the table that so many action movies lack. Michael Bay could learn a lot from it... the best action sequences in the world don't matter if your story has no heard to it.

On top of this all, the movie sold me on a concept I was a bit cautious about. The idea of the Avengers as a movie. I was not sure how practical, or even possible coordinating a series of separate movies to build up to the climax that is all these heroes coming together. It's never been done before in the film medium. But here, I can really see it beginning to come together. I'm sold on it now, and very excited.

Terrific movie, I am seeing it again.

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