Iron Man 2 (2010)

Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark), Don Cheadle (Rhodey), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts)

Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man)

From IMDB: Billionaire Tony Stark must contend with deadly issues involving the government, his own friends, as well as new enemies due to his superhero alter ego, Iron Man.

Keven and I went to see this while his parents were in town. Yay for babysitter guests! Although it was amusing and visually impressive, I didn't connect the way I did the original. It had "second superhero movie" syndrome, where more folks need to be added in. The origin story has been covered, but no one stays content with having a plain sophomore adventure. Multiple badguys and new allies detract from what made the original so good--namely, the hero at the epicenter.

A great deal of what made me like Tony Stark in Iron Man is that we got to see his genius at work. The experiments with the suit, his obsession with perfecting it, the end roads he takes around problems in the design--all very hot. He's special because he's clever. He's heroic because he puts that smarts to good, noble use for the first time.

Here, his heroism was cut short by government interference and his illness. Self-pity is not becoming in a hero, and neither is fatalism. So instead of being a billionaire playboy asshole who has sexy, unique redeeming qualities, he was a billionaire playboy asshole in the midst of a big ole' mope. Only when he got around to inventing the new rector did we get a glimpse of that fire and genius, but we were mere minutes away from the finale.

Scarlett was sexy and pouted well, but she didn't add anything to the story. All she did was take time away from the awkwardly entertaining banter between Pepper and Tony. Apparently there was only so much screen time designed "female." Scarlett and Gwyneth had to share. Don Cheadle followed in Terrence Howard's footsteps as a non-role, while Sam Rockwell and Mickey Roarke hammed it up as equally over-the-top weirdos.

Meh. Whatcha gonna do? It was a night out and RDJr. Can't complain too much!

Have you seen it yet? What did you think?


Verona St. James said...

I was disappointed when I saw this too. I loved the first Iron Man for a lot of the reasons you mentioned. Then in this one they made Tony look like a whiny idiot.

Another big issue of mine is I don't want fight scenes without emotional resonance. So the fight at the party just pissed me off. It was an overblown bar brawl. There was nothing at stake, no character issues in play. Tony was just being a lousy drunk.

Compare that to the first movie where every time Tony takes the suit out to fight there are very high stakes: his own escape, rescuing Gulmira, and defeating the mentor he always looked up to as a father.

I also felt like the Tony's dying subplot was a half-assed substitute for the original plot that Tony was becoming an alcoholic. I guess that made the studio execs jumpy?

And I really could have done with less Mickey Rourke without his shirt on. The man doesn't have the body for those kind of scenes anymore, let him keep his clothes on!

Yeah, this one just didn't measure up. :(

Carrie Lofty said...

Exactly! During that drunk party scene, I kept asking myself, "And this is supposed to be heroic?" I can understand heroes having problems--love angst!--but that wasn't handled in a way that enhanced his character's drama and arc.

Verona St. James said...

No. Decidedly not.

I also agree about Cheadle. Terrence Howard put some zing in the role in the first movie, I thought. I was very sad when they replaced him.