And here we are, the official kick-off of the summer blockbuster movie season. What better way to start the summer then with a popcorn flick starring the imminently talented Robert Downey Jr.? Iron Man 2 was a blast to watch. Though not as even as it could have been. It’s clear that John Favreau shoots from the hip in his film-making. Clearly that is is a double edged sword here as too much is thrown on the able on some of the story of the film gets a little mumbled.
Robert Downey Jr. continues to prove that he was a stroke of casting genius. His Tony Stark is pitch-perfect. Not only do we see Stark at his most egotistical, we get to see him at nearly his most vulnerable. However, the film doesn’t seem to risk too much in Stark’s life. Nothing is truly taken away from Stark in this film. Some people are clamoring for the next film in the franchise to go the way of The Dark Knight and bring to the screen the dark story Demon in A Bottle . I really don’t think this is necessary.
Favreau has balanced the darker aspects of the Stark character with great subtly and humor. Not every comic film needs to be gritty, dark, or raw to be meaningful. We are treated to a scene of Stark’s reckless behavior and alcoholism at his birthday party where he embarrassed himself while in his Iron Man suit. His “lone wolf” act is clearly too much of a burden but Stark is too proud to admit it.
Though the story may be weighted down by a ton of characters and references that only Internet nerds like myself or comic book nerds will appreciate, the film is entertaining enough to engage wide audiences. While it helps to know that Marvel plans to bring this character into the Avengers team along with it’s other tentpole films it’s not critical to understanding Iron Man 2.
Another slight disappointment was the unceremonious defeat of the film’s actual threat, Ivan Vanko aka Whiplash (drastically changed from the comics it seems). Here we have a true threat in both power and intellect to Stark/Iron Man and all it takes to defeat him is a sudden realization after a few moments of getting your ass beat.
Another weird villain was Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer (whose name no one would take seriously in real life). Rockwell clearly had a lot of fun with the role of jealous competitor to Tony Stark. I love how he demeans Stark by calling him Anthony.
There is a lot to review about the movie. Scarlett Johannson is a beautiful woman and it’s great to see her kick ass but the character of Natasha Romanov was a little shallow. Again, the shoot from the hip film-making and uneven story are a bit to blame for this. John Favreau pats himself on the back a lot by placing the chauffeur role of Happy Hogan more into the forefront. Not that I blame him, the character does have some importance in the Marvel universe. That’s that. Iron Man 2 was a good time at the movies.
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