Last night I had the opportunity to see an early screening of Iron Man 2 and here is my take on the film.
Iron Man 2 kicks off the 2010 summer popcorn season with a busy, slightly uneven but fun “roller coaster” ride of a movie.
The film is not as good as its predecessor; it’s hard to beat a good origin story although Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was able to accomplish it with superb acting and a great story.
I had two issues with Iron Man 2. The movie tried to pack too much into a two-hour window by dizzying the audience with multiple plot lines. Within the sequel, Director Jon Favreau attempted to cover the following topics (spoilers ahead):
– Tony Stark should be considered a weapon of mass destruction and the US government wants his technology (Garry Shandling does a bang up job portraying an asshole politician)
– The Iron Man suit that keeps Tony alive is also killing him causing him to step down as CEO of Stark Industries. The moviegoer is also introduced to the beginnings of Tony’s alcoholism
– A Russian riddled with revenge named Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) wants to destroy the Stark Family name and becomes the primary villain (Whiplash) in the story
– There is a backstory about Tony’s Dad, Howard Stark (John Slattery) and his relationship to his son and Vanko’s father
– A sleazy arms competitor Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) wants to ruin Tony Stark and “steal” the government weapons contract from him
– Rhodey (Don Cheadle) has to decide who his allegiance belongs to, the US Army or his best friend, Tony
– Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and they possibly want to recruit Iron Man for the Avengers initiative setting up for the upcoming Avengers movie
– A budding romance continues between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow)
See what I mean, that’s a lot to pack into 120 minutes. I do applaud Favreau for being true to the source material and ultimately making a movie that will please the fans. In comic book terms he tried to pack a giant sized annual issue into a monthly 32 pager.
My second peeve was that the pacing of the story was a bit haphazard saving the major action sequences until the end. I would have preferred the action sequences to be spread out more evenly but this would have been difficult based on the beefy storyline outlined above.
On the plus side the special effects and gadgetry in the film were amazing. The thunderous sounds throughout the movie hit listeners smack dab in their chests and then reverberated through the entire theater. Robert Downey was great (again) reprising his role as the cocky playboy Tony Stark. He’s perfect for the part and I can’t think of anyone else to play the character. I loved all of the comic book references and easter eggs throughout the movie and fanboys will love the lithe and limber leather clad Scarlett Johansson for obvious reasons; her fight scene resembled a living comic book – very cool. The suitcase and Mach IV armor coupled with War machine’s swiss army knife weaponry were top notch! The action in the third act was awesome however the ending seemed to finish abruptly will a dull thud.
This is coming from a die hard comic book fan so I am a bit biassed. I would have cut a couple of plot lines and saved them for the inevitable Iron Man 3. Did I enjoy the movie…absolutely, yes! If you are looking for a fun film with wonderful special effects and would like two hours of enjoyable geeky escapism, brave the long lines this weekend and check out Iron Man 2.