Thursday, May 20, 2010

Iron Man 2 (2010)

IRON MAN 2
DIRECTED BY: JON FAVREAU
WRITTEN BY: JUSTIN THEROUX
COMIC SERIES BY: STAN LEE, JACK KIRBY, LARRY LIEBER, & DON HECK
OVERALL SCORE: 7.50/10

Six months after the events of the previous film Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) must face new challenges including Iron Man's growing fame, a new villain with a close family connection (Mickey Rourke), aspiring competitors (Sam Rockwell), a secret government agency lead by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and the fact that the very thing keeping him alive is also killing him. I think he has enough on his plate, how about you?

There's one secret advantage to being a film goer like myself in which I want to know as much about a film before entering, I'm able to catch all the warning signs ahead of time. Perhaps that's why upon watching Iron Man 2 I was struck by how many scenes I had read about that annoyed people to no end, but didn't bother me in the least bit. Perhaps the best way I could sum up my opinion on Iron Man 2 is simply: WHEW THAT WAS FUN!

Incredibly educated and well formulated opinion? Maybe not, but damned if I didn't enjoy myself from start to finish. Even the cheesy opening, and over the top rawr, from Mickey Rourke couldn't slow me down. I was looking for action, adventure, and character, and that's what I got. Even its weaker moments felt frail in comparison to the action sequences, and enjoyment to be had with good ol' Tony Stark.

Most of my complaints with the film are rather nitpicky ones at best. Yes, they could have done a bit more with the new element, and the senate case is a tad long, and yes they could have developed their villain(s) more. And yes, Samuel L. Jackson's character is more of a setup than a feature, but none of it really bothered me. Even Scarlett Johansson's leathered up, over busty, secretary skit failed to really annoy me.

Yet through each scene not once did I feel the need to check my watch (which has become the feature action for me during films in 2010), nor did any scene ever take me out of the flow (perhaps the drinking/party scene which was a bit stupid). I was with each move, and character, from start to finish. Each action felt as useful as the last, and the story felt well progressed enough for me that I was able to really care in the end.

I did want a bit more Pots and Stark tension, but let's be honest without the ending it would have been far too frustrating. As well, I loved watching Rockwell and Rourke ham it up a bit for the comic genre (Vanko's prison conversation with Stark = personal favorite scene). A nice spin on the recent, super serious, element that has latched on to our comic realm (Dear Batman, it's ok to smile) . While Cheadle does his best in replacing Howard as Rhodey, but I think Howard worked the role way too well in the first one, and their styles are just too different to compare adequately.

Still, no matter how you slice it, Iron Man 2 just plain worked for me. Maybe it was evened out expectations, or maybe it was just the right notes for my visual queues. Either way, Iron Man 2 doesn't surpass, or meet, its predecessor, but I feel it does a damned good job in living up to the mythos it created.

While it has plenty of flaws, it never adds up to anything all that troublesome. Maybe a few, not as a good as it could have been scenes, but never the slew of awfulness I've read about. What makes Iron Man 2 work is that, like the first in the series, it cares about the development, and troubles of its characters. Not so much about the villains, as they're only one film arcs anyways. The core characters are the ones that are here to stay. And in that department, I found myself well satisfied.

7 better thoughts:

Nebular said...

In terms of action, I thought it was even better than its predecessor ;) Great review! :)

Alex said...

I totally agreeeee

Candice Frederick said...

i thought it was entertaining too! the storyline was eh, but i thought it was funny and kept me watching. what's more to like in a popcorn flick?

Castor said...

Where did my comment go!!?!?!

Univarn said...

@Nebular I might agree, the action wasn't the main selling point of the original.

@Alex good :)

@Candice Yeah, you can't ask for much more. When it works, it works.

@Castor I've yet to find out how to take down a post after it's been published without deleting and reposting it. Hence your comment went with it. But don't worry, I got it in my email box and glad to have written a highly positive review for you to read :).

Rachel said...

I'm glad that someone else agrees about Howard v. Cheadle performances. I wish they would've brought Howard back, but most reviews I've read have sung Cheadle's praises.

Heather said...

I felt very similar. It may have been an imperfect film, and I acknowledged those flaws in my review as well, but as far as entertainment and our main characters, I was satisfied and so I gave it a pretty high rating. I actually dug some of the Avenger stuff whereas some people were very put off by the "prequel" feel it gave.

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