Friday, June 4, 2010

Mrs. Amanda Reviews IRON MAN 2

I saw Iron Man 2 with my husband, sister and parents on its opening weekend, but I waited to blog about it until I could see if the bad reviews were agreed upon by actual audiences and not just critics. In terms of my own family, I was the only one who really dug it…which seems to be the general consensus with the masses. Fortunately for all of you, my opinion is the only one that counts ;).

Here’s the storyline: 
Tony Stark (RDJ) has outed himself as Iron Man, and is now a super celebrity for having brought worldwide peace. This doesn’t sit well with the US Government – and specifically Senator Stern (Gary Shandling) – who wants him to hand over his technology to the military in order to stop other countries from stealing it. Tony declines, and instead holds the “Stark Expo,” a yearlong(?) showcase of inventions that was his father Howard’s (John Slattery) unrealized dream. All is not well in StarkTown, though – the arc reactor keeping him alive has started to poison his body. Aware of his impending death, Tony appoints Pepper (Gwyneth) CEO of Stark Industries, and hires Natalie Rushman (ScarJo) as his assistant.

Meanwhile, we learn that Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), the son of Howard’s former partner, is going to avenge his father’s death by creating his own arc reactor and putting Tony out of business. While his first attempt is a failure, he is hired by Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) to create military-grade Iron Man suits. Vanko goes rogue, Hammer’s an idiot, and Tony needs to stay alive.

For those of you who have seen the movie or read the comic books, you know that there is much more to the story than that…specifically, the introduction of S.H.I.E.L.D and the foreshadowed The Avengers. But I’ll discuss that later.

First, here are the things I liked:
  • The Iron Man movies are exciting and action-packed and pure entertainment. The end.
  • I’m pretty sure that Robert Downey Jr. could play Frosty the Snowman and I’d pay to see him in a movie. Without RDJ and Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder would have been a massive fail.
  • I heart Don Cheadle. I even have a plant named Don Cheadle. I also thought Sam Rockwell played a really good smarmy guy.
And that’s it. But really, that was all I was expecting. It wasn’t like I stood in line for Iron Man and said to myself, “Boy, I’m going to have a real soul-searching two-hour adventure today.” I was entertained, and so the movie was enjoyable to me. 
With that said, here are the things I didn’t like:

  • Back to the discussion of S.H.I.E.L.D.: There is this new trend in Hollywood to start promoting a film a year or two in advance of the actual release date. I detest this, because no movie has actually ever held up to the hype (do you hear that, Super 8?). Iron Man 2 was basically the world’s longest trailer for The Avengers, which is due out in 2012. I can’t think of anything more annoying than the idea that I had just wasted two hours watching the setup for another movie. If they had just made the movie I outlined in the storyline above, it probably would have been a better story. But instead, they had to weave in this ridiculous S.H.I.E.L.D. storyline that slowed the movie down and wasted waaaaaaaaaaay too much time. Who in the frick feels invested enough in Samuel L. Jackson to return to see a movie in two years that may or may not include Tony Stark?
  • Scarlett Johansson had no purpose (Which seems to be her running theme. I’ve now seen her in 3 movies, and every time I feel like they could have cut her character and the movie would have rolled right along just fine). Kyle said her purpose was to look good in a tight outfit. If that were the case, they should have cut her dialogue and just let her walk around naked in the background. Because that ridiculous kung-fu fighting business she pulls out (it’s in the trailer) is pointless. The conversation between the director and the producer must have been,
PRODUCER: “We need her to get into this pose wearing this leather jumpsuit. Better have her beat up a bunch of guys.”

DIRECTOR: “What guys?”

PRODUCER: “Whomever. Just pull some guys off the street and stick them in a hallway.”
  • They wasted so much time on S.H.I.E.L.D. and ScarJo that there wasn’t any time for a good ending fight scene. I didn’t realize that we were at the end until one of the main characters was dead. And the end fight used two Iron Men, not an Iron Man. It was so much more exciting when it was Tony Stark fighting bad guys all alone. In fact, now that I think about it, Tony doesn’t fight as the Iron Man (singular) at all in this movie. Wtf?
So, there it is. Typing this review makes me want to see Iron Man 1 again, but I’m pretty sure I could go forever without rewatching Iron Man 2. But am I glad I saw it in the theater? Yup.

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