Forget The Haters, Cinematically Correct Suggests Getting In Your Metal Suit & Flying To See “Iron Man 2” ASAP
It’s become a more and more rare occurrence when I vehemently disagree with some of the more popular movie critics. I’d like to think that I have a higher level of what is good and what isn’t than most (you know, a snob) and that when somebody at Variety rips a movie like “Iron Man 2”, I would tend to agree with them. This brings me to this question: What the hell are these people watching?
“Iron Man 2” is not remotely close to a let down or a disappointing movie. It’s almost as if these critics wanted to take it down before it even got out of the starting blocks. What did the detractors of “Iron Man 2” expect? This isn’t the dark world of Batman, this is the fast cars, fast women, fast talking world of Tony Stark. There’s no time for brooding in this film series.
By now, we should not be surprised by the amazing charm and charisma of Robert Downey Jr. Has there ever been an actor to come back from being uninsurable for roles to box office champion? Not even close. He even has a more difficult job in the sequel. We are already familiar with Tony Stark and he has to come up with a way to keep it fresh. It takes about sixty seconds of screen time for him to pull that off. You can see that Downey has embraced this role and knows that it’s treated him well and he plans to return the favor.
The tougher part is that due to the popularity he has gained because he has brought peace to the world as Iron Man, Tony Stark has become an even larger egomaniac. When he is subpoenaed by Congress in their effort to confiscate the Iron Man suit, Stark mocks the lead Senator Stern (a deliciously obnoxious Garry Shandling) on C-Span. You almost wish for more scenes with Downy and Shandling to see if they can continue to out-smarm each other.
The overall story isn’t very complicated, but it does involve Stark’s blood being poisoned by the device in his chest, the turnover of Stark Industries to his assistant Pepper Potts (a not annoying Gwyneth Paltrow), a new employee with a secret (Scarlett Johansson), and a new conflict with his Stark’s best friend Rhodey’s (the awesome at all times Don Cheadle) military orders. When you throw in Tony’s business rival Justin Hammer (the revelation of Sam Rockwell) and a new villain with a personal grudge, Ivan Vanko (MICKEY F’ING ROURKE), you’ve got all the makings of story overload or as I call it, “Spider Man 3”. Thankfully, it never gets remotely close to that car crash of a movie. It’s not silly or forced, which is definitely thanks to Jon Favreau’s direction. Let’s face it, Mikey’s got some serious directing chops and knows what he is doing with this character.
In addition to Favreau’s directing, “Iron Man 2” is fantastic from a sound and effects standpoint. The massive whips that Rourke’s character uses are very impressive and those alone probably get the movie a Best Visual Effects Oscar nomination. The sound, specifically gunfire, is perfect. Is it cranked up to 11? Yeah, it’s pretty loud, but when watching a movie about a guy in a metal suit, I want it loud. Rounding it all out is the immediate use of my favorite AC/DC song “Shoot To Thrill”. Yes, “Iron Man 2” had me at hello.
It’s safe to say that Marvel Studios has a plan and they know exactly what they are doing. I haven’t read an actual comic book in at least a decade but these new Marvel films remind me exactly of the comic book stories I read as a kid. The characters all have their own movies, but they weave them together from time to time and pull it off amazingly. It helps to have actors signed up for these parts (Downey Jr., Ed Norton, etc.), knowing that somewhere down the road, they are going to have to share time with others. If anything, what Marvel is doing has guaranteed Samuel L. Jackson at least five movies in the next three or four years.
Reading all the negative reviews of “Iron Man 2” confuses me. Maybe we need more comic book geek critics because this movie should be right in their wheelhouse. Has “The Dark Knight” raised the bar so high that we can’t even have fun with an entertaining movie like “Iron Man 2”? This is a great summer movie that doesn’t dumb anything down, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and, believe it or not, is grounded in reality. I actually believe that if you had a bazillion dollars and were a brilliant scientist, you could build an Iron Man suit. I’m already ready for the next installment and I just can’t get enough Robert Downey Jr.