Friday, May 7, 2010

Movie with Abe: Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2
Directed by Jon Favreau
Released May 7, 2010

The sequel to one of the most exciting superhero movies in recent years certainly has a lot to live up to in terms of fulfilling audience expectations. The important thing to remember about sequels is that, while it’s rare that they’re ever actually as good as the first, they’re not actually supposed to be any better. If the second installment of a series sure to include many entries is anywhere near to the quality of the first, that should be considered a success. In this case, Tony Stark and Iron Man are back for more, and while it’s not quite as awesome as the first film, it comes pretty darn close.

The important major distinction between this and other superhero movies is that it seems so technologically hip and up-to-date. Re-imaginings of classic comic book heroes like Batman and Spider-Man have felt somewhat retro and old-fashioned, but that isn’t the case here by any measure. When Stark finds himself in a troublesome situation, he is handed a suitcase which drops to the ground and morphs out to become his Iron Man suit and bond to his body. Incredible moments like those make this film and its hero completely modern without losing any of its all-American superhero sensibility.

Another part of what “Iron Man 2” such an enthralling experience is its multiplicity of supporting characters and its effectiveness at handling all of them without making any of them seem too important or not important enough. The major villain is of course Ivan Vanko, played by Mickey Rourke, fresh off of his Oscar-nominated comeback in “The Wrestler.” Rourke is perfect for this role, and he’s not the only one in the ensemble who’s brilliantly cast. Sam Rockwell is seedy and unbearably obnoxious as arms expert and Stark rival Justin Hammer. Scarlett Johansson is alluring and more than capable of performing spectacularly in an action scene as new Stark secretary Natalie Rushman. The presence of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, is a fun supplementary reminder that all of the Marvel superheroes are soon going to team up (stick around after the end credits for a quick but important scene).

Bringing all of Marvel’s icons together is a fun idea, but Iron Man himself is more than enough to carry a movie. While the suited superhero is joined here by sidekick War Machine, also known as Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes, played by Don Cheadle, the real star of the show is Robert Downey Jr. The actor knows how to work a crowd, and he brings all that charisma to the role of Tony Stark, the biggest celebrity superhero in history. Even if Iron Man the classic character wasn’t such a public figure, Downey Jr. has helped to make him that way. Putting him at the masthead of this film enhances this action-packed extravaganza from an already thrilling superhero flick to an incessantly entertaining and entirely enjoyable movie.


1 comment:

s said...

i absolutely agree with you that iron man had a lot to live up to. but, and partially bc of the expectations i cannot see this movie getting a B or higher.

the movie suffers too much from what i call Pirates of the Carribean syndrome. when a movie succeeds bc of a central character then the movie sequels overly focus on that same character detracting from story and plot. robert downey jr made iron man 1, but i felt that too much was put on his shoulder in the second and the director felt that no plot or plausible action was needed.

i give this movie a C