May 10th, 2010


Iron Man 2

...was surprisingly good. I'd say on par with the first one, which was a damn good movie. Most of what I'd heard about it boiled down to "entertaining, not enough action, too talky". I thought it had plenty of action, and was very well-paced. Robert Downey Jr. continues to own the character of Tony Stark. Don Cheadle did a great job with Rhodey (Terence who?). Mickey Rourke's Ivan Vanko/Whiplash* steals almost every scene he's in with quiet menace. He doesn't chew the scenery as much as you'd expect. Sam Rockwell's Justin Hammer is annoying, but that's part of the point. Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts gets some great talking-over-each-other banter with Stark. Scarlet Johansson doesn't really get much of an opportunity to build a character; as "Natalie"/Black Widow, she's really there to be beautiful and to kick a whole lot of ass in one scene. Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury is...Samuel L. Jackson. Gary Shandling, as a U.S. Senator, is only in a couple of scenes, but is a lot of fun in them.

Justin Hammer reminded me a lot of the younger executive from Robocop. He's the guy with money and power who thinks that means he's in control when dealing with a murderous psycho. Unfortunately for him, Vanko is the type to not really care what happens to him so long as he achieves his aim. He's not suicidal, just completely unconcerned with whether he lives or dies.

The weakest part of the movie was anything having to do with S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury is basically a deus ex machina. Whenever Samuel L. Jackson appears on screen, you can be sure he'll deliver some random exposition to jumpstart the plot. The strings really show in these scenes. Pepper Potts is even more harried in this movie than in the first, and Paltrow projects being fed up with putting up with Tony's bullshit perhaps a little too well, since there's still supposed to be some attraction there. Black Widow is under an assumed identity for most of the movie and basically doesn't get to have a personality. Also, the actual final showdown with Whiplash was a bit short.

The action scenes were excellent. Only a few big ones, but they're placed just perfectly in the movie. Also, they managed to work in some great mid-fight quipping. Why couldn't they have done that in the Spider-Man movies? I liked Spider-Man 1 & 2 (didn't see 3), but I feel like they really missed an important part of Spidey by not letting him crack wise when in costume.

Trailer notes:
  • There is an explosion in the Robin Hood Dances With Gladiators trailer. WHY IS THERE AN EXPLOSION IN FUCKING ROBIN HOOD?!
  • The Last Airbender looks to be filmed entirely in slow motion.
  • Nothing else made much of an impression
  • EDIT: forgot I saw the trailer to The Sorceror's Apprentice, which should tell you how much of an impression it made on me. At least Nicholas Cage isn't running around with a flashlight in this one.

*nerd note: This character seems to be equal parts Whiplash and Crimson Dynamo.