Friday, May 7, 2010

Box Office Review – Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 has its flaws, but it is a worthy sequel to the first film. The best part of the film is the cast who shine throughout the movie. Robert Downey JR continues to play Tony Stark with a truck ton of quirks and charisma, but he also adds a sense of sadness and vulnerability to the role. Gwyneth Paltrow adds all lot to her role as Pepper Potts who was a strong character in the first film and is even stronger in this sequel. Jon Favreau fleshes his character of Tony Stark's driver out all lot, and adds much comic relief during the movie. Aside from Samuel L Jackson returning as Nick Fury the rest of the cast are all newcomers to the Marvel franchise. Don Cheadle takes over for Terrence Howard (a trade up) and he plays the character of Rhodey well. Scarlett Johansson is the beautiful and deadly new character Natasha Romanoff. The great Sam Rockwell is Tony Stark's business rival Justin Hammer. Who better to take on Downey's eccentric Stark then Sam Rockwell. He excels in every role he does and is one of the best working actors. The villain is played by Mickey Rourke in his first post The Wrestler role and he is effectively crazy and menacing.

A movie that boasts this amount of quality actors is almost guaranteed to be a good. Iron Man 2 is a good movie, but without the great cast it wouldn't succeed at all. The actors are able to elevate what is a lack lustre story to something a bit more palpable. Iron Man has an okay first act. The second and third act are poorly structured and predictable. It is rather hard to change the third act of a super hero movie to anything other than the final battle between the hero and the villain. That is expected and forgivable, but the second act in Iron Man 2 cannot be overlooked. Tony Stark is introduced at the beginning of the movie as having become an alcoholic and a careless wreck. This is because his super power, the reactor in his chest is killing him. Unable to find a cure for his problem he turns to the bottle. This aspect of the film is interesting, but his drunken ways lead to the inevitable drunk at a party scene. At his own Birthday party Stark is wearing the Iron Man suit even though he can barely stand. After both Rhodey and Pepper try to get him to leave the party, Rhodey seemingly has no other choice but to suit up in another Iron Man suit to subdue Tony. A fight breaks out between the two friends, and the result is the worse scene in the movie. The fight is boring, unnecessary and a sloppy way to introduce Rhodey's super hero alter ego War Machine. The scene was kind of played for laughs, but fell flat.

This fight does expose a fault with the Iron Man series. None of the fight scenes are very exciting or interesting. The majority of scenes are fully CG and just involve people in battle suits flying fast and shooting at each other. There is a cool scene in which Scarlett Johansson takes out a whole series of guards. This scene works because it is mostly a hand to hand combat scene. The battle suit fights are not as engaging as this scene and didn't drive me to the edge of my seat. The end battle between Rourke, Downey, and Cheadle is particularly problematic. One thing I hate in video games, and especially in movies are boss battles. Thankfully this one is not dragged out for long, but it is identical to the end battle in the first film. In the first film Jeff Bridges character is beating the crap out of Tony Stark. Stark remembers that is if he gains too much altitude his suit freezes. He uses this knowledge gained earlier in the film and defeats Bridge's character. The end scene in Iron Man 2 is practically identical, just with a different solution.

That seems like a lot of dumping on the film and there are some problems with Iron Man 2, but I didn't go into the film thinking it was going to be perfect. I went in hoping that the movie would be fun, and it is. Too often audience members go into a film with expectations sky high, and when the movie doesn't deliver they turn on it. Iron Man 2 has great performances and the movie succeeds on them alone. I guarantee if you go into Iron Man 2 looking to have a good time you will.

A Good Banana

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