Saturday, May 15, 2010

Iron Man 2 (A Brief Non Robin Hood Related Interlude)

I thoroughly enjoyed Iron Man 2. Its been on the receiving end of some negative, oddly petulant reviews. And yet I don’t expect to see as fun and character driven a film in what is looking to be an increasingly dire summer.

Part of it could be that I simply wasn’t as taken with Iron Man as everyone else. My first viewing of the film felt underwhelming, having already rediscovered Robert Downey Jr. in his one two three punch of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, A Scanner Darkly, and Zodiac. It took a few viewings for me to get in tune with the film’s conversational charms. A charm I found all too evident in this new film.

Robert Downey Jr. and Mickey Rourke are both actors I find intrisacly enjoyable to watch (as is Scarlet Johansen for, ahem, different reasons). The parallels between those two careers have been noted already, I will just point out that both where actors I had little interest in until well after their “primes”. Downey’s weight of experience gives him gravitas even when he plays the goofball. He forever seems like someone making up for lost time. Rourke is one of those actors who doesn’t “act” hard but is hard, and I am have convinced that sometime in 2004 he was simply possessed by the ghost of Warren Oates. He adds a sinister heft to his role, and looks forever as though he is willing and able to send Downey to the hospital.

The supporting cast gamely keep up. The afore mentioned Ms. Johansen gets some of the film’s best lines and action scenes as Molotov Cockte- The Black Widow. Gwyeneth Paltrow continues to be more appealing then she perhaps ever has been onscreen (outside of Margo Tenenbaum of course) and her relationship with Faveru (giving himself a bigger role this time out, and all the better for it) and Tony has the easy intimacy of people who actually know each other (As a result Tony’s “I Guess I lost both kids in the divorce. Is one of the funniest lines in the film). Sam Rockwell brings the full and considerable powers of his smarm to bear in his roll as Justin Hammer the eternal Goofus to Tony’s Gallant. With his spazzy energy and idiotic attempts at grandeur, Rockwell fully captures how dangerous a dumb person who thinks they’re smart can be.

The film’s one miscasting is in Don Cheadle. Who while certainly a step up from Terrance Howard, fails to carry over the sense of history the two had from the first film (Also I think Howard’s and Downey’s had better chemistry together). Its obvious that Faveru didn’t quite know how to handle the situation, both shunting Cheadle off to the side and trying to make him the heart of the movie in a way that is, to say the least, awkward.

The other complaints about the movie I frankly don’t get. The supposedly over stuffed subplots, really balance themselves out. Its supposed to feel as though Tony is being attacked from all sides, but it never feels as though a subplot or two is being deliberately overpowered ala Spiderman 3.

As for the supposedly truncated action sequences. I have no idea. The movie takes its time getting to its first one (as did the first movie). But that’s really about all you can say. (Minor Spoilers) I mean I can understand the complaints one might have about the final Vanko battle. But that comes after a solid HALF AN HOUR of Robots fighting, not to mention The Black Widow laying waste to Hammer Industries. Really how much more Robot fighting do you need?

Still what I like most about Iron Man is the unabashed sense of wonder it has in the possibilities of the future. In an age of anti intellectualism it is perhaps Iron Man’s greatest quality that it makes Science sexy. Tony Stark assuredly knows how fucking magnets work.


The Dirty Mac said...

I'm quite happy to see someone else was chuckling about Molotov Cocktease when Johansson was on-screen. As if I could doubt you, Bryce.

Bryce Wilson said...

As with you Mac. As with You.

Only Johansson could be woman enough for Brock Samson.

Adrenaline said...

I agree on pretty much everything. Also, I have to say the constantly expanding series of images down the side of the page is wonderful.

Bryce Wilson said...

Oh Thanks Adrenaline.

And thanks for the compliment on the sidebar. As silly as it might sound I put alot of work into how those images match up.

I've got a slew of new ones, that I'm going to put on as soon as I get a little time to sit down at the computer.