JT Film Review

89 – Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2 REVIEW

3.5/5 stars

Director – Jon Favreau

Cast – Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansen, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson

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– follows Iron Man

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Iron Man 2, directed by Jon Favreau, has hit theatres with quite a bit of expectation. The first movie in the franchise, Iron Man, was a surprise hit both with audiences and critics alike. Robert Downey Jr. returns to the role that got his career and respect back, and is joined by Mickey Rourke (another star who recently experienced a comeback), Sam Rockwell, and Scarlett Johansen.

The plot concerns a Russian, Ivan Vanko, a mechanical genius who tries to get back at Tony Stark (Iron Man) for perceived injustices perpetrated against his father by Tony’s father, Howard Stark. Meanwhile, Tony discovers that his high-tech “artificial heart” is contaminating his blood stream, and must find a new element to stop the contamination. (I’m not sure what he needs a new element for; something to do with “soaking up” the toxins, something like that.)

While Iron Man 2 is a fairly decent movie, as is too often the case it cannot live up to its predecessor (which was over-hyped in the first place, in my opinion). Superhero sequels are often hurt by adding more villains, but this is not the case here. Mickey Rourke is quite good as Ivan Vanko. One look at him and you know he’s a bad SOB. Sam Rockwell is also good as the smarmy, in-over-his head weapons developer Justin Hammer. What almost ruins this movie though is predictable plotting, and resulting from that, an almost total lack of urgency.

To invent the new element needed to save his artificial heart, Tony Stark must decipher his fathers words and figure out why he was left a large-scale model of an exposition park. Unfortunately this portion of the movie takes about two seconds, and any potential suspense-wise that such an idea may have had is totally lost.

Throughout the movie we never feel that Tony may die due to his problems, so the movie is left with nothing to take you through than its action and witty quips. Now there are quite a few funny bits throughout, and the movie has a nice breezy tone, but the action sequences are fairly toned down for a super hero movie. This was a surprise, certainly, but I have yet to decide whether or not it was a pleasant one. On the one hand we aren’t bludgeoned over the head with pointless action, yet on the other hand the movie felt slow and a bit draggy. Either way, it left me a bit… unsatisfied. All in all, I think that’s a good way to describe the movie. Passable, but lacking what wit or spark the original may have had.

 OVERALL

Iron Man 2 is a fair enough movie, with some of the same ingredients of the (slightly over-rated) original. The villains are good, and some of the action is decent. But unfortunately the pace is off and the sense of fun isn’t quite up to par. It is better than many superhero movies however, and Robert Downey Jr. has created a quite likable character, so I do recommend it. Mainly to superhero lovers though…

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TRAILER

“Iron Man 2” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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May 15, 2010 - Posted by | 3.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Superhero, Year - 2010-2019 | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. James

    You are being too kind. I almost couldn’t watch the first one I thought it was so bad. Making a joke out of the war in Afghanistan…ha-ha.

    The biggest little quibble – an entire glass roof is shot out of a building the size of a football stadium, and apparently no one is cut is half.

    But that’s not what really bothers me. In the mid-eighties a little film called Scarface came out. I didn’t see it. I n the middle of a time of corporate retrenchment and the normalizing of conservative economic policies, along comes this movie glorifying the life of a hedonistic gangster which, as I read in the better reviews of the film, fails to rise above it’s sordid material.

    Now we are witnessing a slew of “super-hero” movies whose predominant themes are vigilantism and a civic, democratic society dependent upon well-meaning saviours who want to do “good”. If it was just one film, I’d be saying, “Well, that was fun.” When it is regular fair, and when the critical response is overhyped critical fawning, then I’d say we have a problem here.

    These comic-book presentations of the military industrial complex, with the “bad egg” who needs an ass-kicking, are pandering to the basest in all of us. “Average” people in these movies are treated as helpless chattle for the hero to come and save. The scene in Spiderman where he saves a kid from a burning building? So, Goldman-Sachs is manipulating food prices causing starvation in developing nations, and Spidey is saving some screaming brat from a building. Big hero. And we do have fire departments, y’know.

    Have to go now. If you want to get into this, I’d be happy to.

    Brent

    Comment by brent mosher | September 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. Well, get into it I will… haha.

    Let me preface this comment by saying that I see your point. HOWEVER……

    I don’t see how the first movie made a “joke” about the war in Afgahnistan. It certainly set the film in the war and it certainly didn’t treat the war with the seriousness or realness of say The Hurt Locker (as over-rated as we agree that film is), but I don’t see that as making a joke about the war.

    Secondly, the general response for superhero movies is certainly not critical fawning. Take a look at my post about DC and Marvel movies Tomatoemeter scores, they both averaged only a bit above 50% (general consensus being that a good quality film is at least 65-70%).

    And thirdly to what I believe is your main point. Yes, the movie is about vigilantism. However, none of the better superhero movies are presenting the vigilante option as a real alternative. Superhero films are fantasies, pure and simple, just as much as the Lord of the Rings films, or the Star Wars films. Good fantasy functions as a metaphor, and that is what the better superhero films do. Iron Man is I guess about a man overcoming personal demons, doing what is right, and vanquishing those who do wrong, because our current system of government cannot deal with it correctly. Ditto for the Batman movies. They are parables for what we believe is right, and always have been. If our courts can’t punish the criminals, Batman and Iron Man swoop in to deliver the bad guys to the judicial system. X-Men was about what a dangerous group of people must do when others like them lose self control. (Note that in the Batman films (at least the Nolan ones), Batman has a no kill policy. He simply delivers the bad guys to the cops, bruised at the most.)

    Superhero movies have always reflected the societal values and mores of the time. (In the 50’s they all fought Commie’s cause they beleved that was right, in the 70’s they became a bit darker as society started to see more shades of gray in things.) Now granted these movies tend to be more action packed than philosophical, but again, these movies are pure fantasy. They are not meant to be taken as encouragment for us all to wear capes and start beating the shit out of random people. They are parables and metaphors. It is important that we make a distinction between films like Scarface (which I haven’t seen, much on the same grounds as yours), and fantasies such as the good superhero movies (which, granted, are fairly few and far between).

    Please know also that I am not a fan of superheroes and comic books in general. However, that is due to my personal taste. If a movie is well made, well paced, and interesting, I have to say so whether or not I am a fan of comic books etc. The Batman movies I do like, and the Iron Man ones are ok. The best ones for content and metaphor are probably the X-Men movies I think.

    Comment by jamesturpin | September 13, 2010 | Reply


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