Friday, May 7, 2010

Iron Man 2...the gut reaction

Haters gonna hate. And you all know I wanted to hate Iron Man. But why? Well on the fanboy message boards and various websites I saw a competition brewing. The Dark Knight vs Iron Man 1. They came out the same summer. So the stupid people who wanted to be contrary because "less is more" or something, or they don't like drama in their films decided to hate on The Dark Knight due to its success or because they can't understand moral dilemma in films and praised Iron Man through their teeth. Well for me, reading all this useless drivel, it was time for revenge. It was time to rub Iron Man in people's faces as a hollow crowd pleaser, a film with 90's sensibilities and a lot of CGI that makes frantic grabs at a political or environmental message.

And then things started changing. I started to get excited. Like actually excited for Iron Man 2. I watched the trailers again. I could feel the hype. The pacing. Everyone was into it. I started to examine this process and I started to feel the "America Fuck Yeah" thing with Iron Man. He sort of transcends doesn't he? In the sense that he's Robert Downey's come back and the way the movie ties into the real world with ticker tapes and news conferences and the military and stuff, it really feels like Iron Man 2 is a summer outing. Like a fun movie to kick shit off with. An American event. Then I came to the most horrifying realization of all and after watching this blockbuster (or I guess it was since my opening day theater wasn't crowded at all?) I was right in the judgement I made 2 weeks to release day.

I didn't love it or hate it. I walked away entertained and duped into that "getting nothing more from a movie" that most of America feels when they watch a film. It has a way of stripping you of pretention. You can't fault the acting. The shots. The CGI. For the most part all of it is solid but there's nothing memorable at the same time. It's a good spirited and humorous film with good action scenes and it puts you in a good mood but ultimately you can't take anything away from that. No philsophy, etc. Kind of like Spiderman maybe. Spiderman 1. Certainly not the great reactions you see when people walk out of a Batman film...and you all knew it would come to this. You all knew I was going to mention The Dark Knight so fuck it...I will. When people came out of TDK they were in silent praise. Whispers of "that was so good." Desparaging whispers and praise of it as a legtimate film. Moral issues had been grappled with. People had just endured something. People had died in that movie. Pain of loss. Conflicting emotions came into play. the Villain was the protagonist. Etc. I liked seeing people depressed walking out of the theater but all aware they had just witnessed something great. So Iron Man just can't be compared to the Dark Knight. It's not that kind of movie. I had faulted Iron Man based on a few things being derrivative of the Dark Knight and you know what...they are. But Iron Man is derrivative of everything. That's how it keeps the mood and spirit of the piece. It's meant to feel like a big wordly event. It's not a character study. I'm finally getting that from Iron Man 2, which is worlds better than the first. Now as I get further I promise I won't go into The Dark Knight and why it's infinitly better as movie but incomprably except one more time where there's a blatant rip off. You heard me. Now do your worst.

I saw it today, (Iron man 2)and as many of you know I was extremely skeptical. I enjoyed it. Really felt like a fun summer film and it gives me an excuse to buy some toys to kick off the summer too. Generally a fun movie but I like how they expanded the role of the hero in a natural way. He can't run the company. He has health problems. He has to live up to his father's the same time. He even gives up on some of his problems like a real person...and the alcohol thing is referenced in the birthday party scene. So I liked Tony, alot more than in the first film. He's a rounded character now.

Pepper was good too. She's emotional and she's surprisingly cute despite how old she looks and I'm glad to see their relationship progress and see the film actually have a love interest.

Whiplash was kind of disappointing I thought. He's only in a few scenes, and he sounds like kind of a moron every time he talks. It's surprising he's able to build all this robot stuff since he comes off like a dumb belligerent thug. He's got good scenes but overall he's kind of clunky and I wish we got to see him do more and be more of a threat. I didn't feel for him at all. Not in the beginning and not in the end either. He gets beaten in both fights in one hit.

Ok so here's where I'm going to throw in the Dark Knight rip off. It almost feels like a parody. The entire interrogation room scene is shit. Utter garbage. Tony walks in there and Whiplash starts preaching to him. Tony has nothing to say to him so he just walks out. Whiplash starts preaching the EXACT lines (and ALL of them) he says in the trailer. It's the only time in the entire movie he spouts this kind of philopshy. It's basically the only time he talks in general. It sounds suspciciously like shit the Joker would say. Even the lighting is similar and god knows beer bellied Rourke sure looks like hell. So he let's on that he "planned" to be caught when he has a fight in the road with Iron Man. yeah ok. Then he gets out with bombs. So what was the point of that scene and him being caught at all? Their conversation goes nowhere and stark found out who he was with the help of his bat computer and Nick Fury already knew it anyways so it's not like it's a huge mystery. Stark's opening repor with Whiplash was pretty good but the not speaking or not speaking english vibe is pretty dumb and a reoccuring gag with the character. This scene with the philsophy and the cryptic dialogue was either parodying the dark knight's interrogation scene or just trying to ride off it being the morality clash of the film. It helps you to understand whiplash a little better, sure but we already knew his motivation and since Tony doesn't understand it even walking away from the scene or ever humanize Whiplash once in the film, I guess it's not necessary is it?

War Machine was VERY surprising to me. I thought he was going to ham up the movie. More robots shootin guns. Instead he was keeping Tony kind of in control. I could see him as actually a friend character. I like how he started attacking stark and ended up partnering with him. He was pretty cool suited up too. Not nearly as obnoxious and OMG WAR MACHINE as all the fanboys and trailers made him out to be. God knows I hate fanboys who try to see characters incorporated into a film just to point and be like "HE'S FINALLY IN A MOVIE!" But in that vein, there was too much of that nonsense in this movie.

Black Widow. What a terrible character. You could have completely taken her out of the film and it would not have suffered one bit. You might argue..."oh she needed to deactivate war machines override". Well he could have just snapped out of it. You could have written around that. She just kept looking cornier and cornier. Walking towards the screen. Slow motion karate moves. Changing in the back of the car. She had no personality and no purpose. No accent either. Not even called Black Widow. Lame.

Sam Jackson was even lamer. I'm sick of this avengers nonsense already. I stayed all the way through the credits just to see Thor(worst marvel character of all time who cannot possibly carry a good film)'s hammer. Jackson's just like some obnoxious smart alec omnipresent whose there at every turn to like give Stark cryptic advice and have some kind of overwatch over the whole thing. Why? Why put the cap shield in there? I hate easter eggs in movies and Jackson was more than that. He was an advertisement with his terrible bland Scarlett sidekick for the doomed avengers movie (doomed because it's being directed by the ultimate useless fanboy Whedon). Not trying to come off as abrasive but everything he touches is garbage and I don't get the cool, slick Nick Fury here. Just like some annoying ghost like character with stupid pants who comes around every time Stark is down on his luck.

I saved the best for last. Justin Hammer. Easily my favorite character in the movie. Great villain and a great antithesis to Stark. Bumbling. Competitive. Snarky and even self-depreciating at times. He's the best antagonist of this franchise to date. Not a physical threat but look at the hammer drones. It's pretty funny how Tony always manages to come out on top with little resistance too. I think Rockwell did a great job and had a good personality and the scene where he was presenting Rhodey with the guns was the best scene in the movie.

Let's talk action scenes. Whiplash just wasn't that good. He didn't seem like that much of a threat. He did for a second but he just kind of looked like some big dumb monster swinging those things around on the race track. Then Tony beats him in one hit. Hell...he even gets injured by a car. You'd think he'd have seen that one sneaking up on him wouldn't you? Then again at the end in the dumbest armor suit of all time (his head just looked digitally inserted. totally fake) he gets killed in one shot. Not to say he was a totally wasted character but his action scenes just weren't that good. I was hoping the whip action would make for some pretty seamless visceral stuff.

I DID like the fight with the drones in the terrarium at the end though. I didn't like all the flying around and [censored] but that fight scene was good, even though Tony's final solution with one blast wasn't that good. Also, why are those drones not impervious to bullets? Isn't that one of the main pluses of Iron Man? He's made of iron? Hammer can't afford to build ones that are the quality of Iron Man I guess. But overall the ending was really good (prior to that terrible Avengers recruitment thing).

So overall a fun, though not well paced movie. Good not great. Too many subplots and too much exposition. The scenes with Mickey Rourke in general were just poorly handled. He didn't have one good scene except arguably moments of the race track thing. The end was cool and alot of the banter in the middle of the film was cool but there just weren't that many memorable moments. Like the wow factor wasn't there but it had a really nice feel to it overall and I enjoyed it. I'm ready to eat my words on War Machine but I'm sure that black widow was crap, and all the Avengers stuff. The scene with Scarlett flipping those henchmen in the hallway was boderline painful to watch.

I'd give it like a B. Squeaks out barely 3 stars.


  1. I agree with a good amount of the stuff you said here, except your comment on Joss Whedon. I thought you liked him. You love Dr. Horrible. Have you or have you not seen Firefly? What do you have against Joss? Okay, yeah, he's kind of a fanboy, but won't that make the movie better? Maybe he'll try to stay true to canon and stuff? I dunno, but I think the Avengers movie will be good BECAUSE it's Joss. So, tell me what you have against Joss so I can prove you wrong. :D

  2. also, i really agree with the "too many subplots" statement. the scenes all felt really short and they didn't really seem to flow all that well. there was too much packed into one movie. there should have been fewer things with a bit slower pacing. things needed to be drawn out a little bit more. i think the idea of fast pacing was good, especially for a movie like this, but the pacing in iron man 2 was just too fast.