Iron Man 2

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The New Suit is a Lot Like the Old Suit

Iron Man 2

Starring:  Robert Downey, Jr., Mickey Rourke

By Tom Bevis

Remember Iron Man?  Remember, despite quick comic book clichés and at least one ridiculous mood-killing one liners (this is the very reason that made 2008’s Incredible Hulk better than the first Iron Man picture) how good it was?  And do you remember how fans walking out of the film had already convinced themselves that they loved the yet-to-exist sequel?  So do I.

It seems clear to me that Jon Favreau, director of Iron Man and it’s kid brother, Iron Man 2, got a thrill from getting away with the power of the first film and decides, what the hell, and decides to up the ante on his needless destruction quota by falling into Michael Bay-style action scenes and fight sequences.  I admit that the first Iron Man film had maintained a decent balance between the steel-and-cement beatdown and centralization of the characters.  In the sequel, he’s lost the balance, bringing in an armored sidekick, an armored enemy, and an army of armored armor drones.

At least he didn’t get as carried away as Sam Raimi did with Spider-Man 3.

The filmmakers clearly try to replicate the success of their initial film by creating a near carbon copy of it.  Everything – from the long, over-edited engineering scenes to the rise, fall, and redemption of the titular character – are present in place, with minor tweaks and adjustment to keep Downey’s (otherwise brilliant) rendition of Tony Stark in the foreground.

This isn’t a problem, I’d say, with modern filmgoers, because it keeps the movie familiar and recognizable.  Easily relatable to the original, so-to-say.  But for anyone looking for a little more depth, this film may disappoint.  Even the main personal plight of Tony Stark is rushed as it takes the second-seat to outlandish cybernetic destruction.

New characters breathe a new and interesting dimension into the film to make up for all the rehashed material that make the film so trite, and are easily the film’s saving grace.  Sam Rockwell, if given more screen time, could easily have stolen the show as Justin Hammer, president of a rival arms company.  He’s narrow face and weasel-like appearance match him with his character perfectly, and his comprehension of the script make him a more effective villain than Mickey Rourke (a usual favorite of mine), who struggles with a phony Russian accent and shows of his grill, clearly having taken lessons from T-Pain.

Scarlett Johansson isn’t as brittle and clueless as she could have been, diverting what may have been a casting disaster and ultimately making the best of a less-than-perfect situation.  While her romantic innuendo virtually bleeds with a lack of interest, she nails her action scenes perfectly.  You may be wondering where she got her moves from to prepare for the role.  I have a suspicion it wasn’t from Hollywood’s last comic-book meltdown, The Spirit.  jon Favreau also adds himself into the fold, shamelessly casting himself as Stark’s bodyguard, Happy Hogan, and becoming the keener comic relief to Downey’s woeful verbal slapstick.

The storyline of the film is effective and operations fully-functionally as a sequel in addition to digging deeper the well that will become the Avengers film.  The new members of the cast are, for the most part, spot-on.  But the bottom line is, though, that Iron Man 2 just seems to familiar, whether from the previous picture or rival Hollywood smash-and-bash flicks of past or present (I’m talking about you, Michael Bay).

3.5/5

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Author: Tom Bevis

Tom Bevis is a ne'er-do-well residing in Southern California where he frequently neglects the variable San Diego climate to spend hours pondering over his PS4 collection struggling to decide what to play. He has recently taken over as lead writer of the indie comic Feral Boy and Gilgamesh, the back catalog of which you can read at feralboyandgilgamesh.com. He also hates writing about himself in the third person.

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