With Robert Downey, Jr., Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle, Sam Rockwell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Clark Gregg, John Slattery with Samuel L. Jackson and Garry Shandling.
“If you could make God bleed, people will cease to believe in Him. There will be blood in the water, and the sharks will come.”
- Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke)
Yes I was one of the people who saw this at the 12:01 showing at IMAX (and still went to work the next morning). The much anticipated “Iron Man 2” starts off pretty damn good. We are in Moscow and seeing an old man watching Tony Stark’s press conference (from the end of “Iron Man”) and he lays there moaning and grunting. He keeps calling for Ivan. We cut to a dark hallway where a man leans up against a wall in the shadows. The name Ivan is repeated by the old man, and the hulking mass turns and faces the camera – it’s Mickey Rourke in all his tooth capped, crazy hair, and tattoo covered glory.
Don’t fuck with Mickey.
Ivan (Rourke) goes into the room and holds the man, the man (Ivan’s father) tells Ivan that he should be building the Iron Man suit – not Tony Stark. The old man dies and Rourke screams. He begins constructing his own Iron Man exoskeleton and the credits roll as Rourke works.
I don’t want to dig any deeper into the plot because I don’t want to leak out any spoilers to those of you who read this and haven’t seen it yet. I’ll essentially break the film down a little bit and tell you what I thought worked and what I thought didn’t.
A problem that arises with “Iron Man 2” is that we were so, so very spoiled by Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”. “The Dark Knight” forced all these other superhero movies to be better, to be taken more seriously. A big fault of “Iron Man 2” is that it tries to be too smart and too witty and it sometimes comes across as really contrived and arrogant. The film introduces us to a slew of Stark gadgets that reminds us of how the James Bond franchise used to be.
Mickey Rourke is good in the film, but doesn’t have a chance to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor (which I called after seeing the trailer – I’m eating my words once again. Fuck!). The character of Ivan Vanko/Whiplash is so underdeveloped it makes me upset. Scarlett Johansson really adds nothing more to the film except T & A and some slightly perverted lines of dialogue.
Robert Downey, Jr. is well Robert Downey, Jr. in the film and the character of Tony Stark is almost too witty in the film, in almost every scene with Stark there is a spoken line, or an action taken by him that is supposed to make us laugh. A few of them do, but it becomes so very redundant.
Don Cheadle is a much added bonus to the film, he’s so much better than Terrance Howard and the climactic battle with Iron Man and War Machine is very sexy. Sam Jackson plays Sam Jackson; as the slightly angry black man who gives us his signature Jules Winfield from “Pulp Fiction”.
The two really special treats of the film are Garry Shandling playing a Senator on the Armed Services Committee who is trying to get the Iron Man suit turned over to the United States government so they can mass produce it and use it in their military. It’s really fun to see Shandling in this film, he’s always been so funny and it is way cool of Favreau to cast him in this.
The second is Sam Rockwell playing Justin Hammer (essentially the evil Tony Stark). Rockwell is on fire in the film, and remains to be the biggest highlight. He’s wickedly funny and goofy and delivers the best lines of the film. This film just displays the capability of a wonderful actor. The only problem I have with his character is near the end of the film, it feels like there is unfinished business with him.
I’m sure most of you know to stay until after the credits for a special extra scene. As the credits rolled my friend Peyton and I were excited, talking about what we were going to see. We’re both really hip to the Marvel universe and are familiar with The Avengers and the other Marvel films coming out to work towards the ultimate Avengers movie. I was personally insulted by the clip after the credits. I just expected more.
Another distracting factor in the film was the pushing of AC/DC. Just let it go.
One trait the film does share with with first film is that the ending battle scene with Whiplash is anticlimactic – much like the first film’s ending battle sequence with the Iron Mongerer was anticlimactic. I’m not against an anticlimactic ending, I think they are excellent in certain films – “Eastern Promises” comes to the top of my mind – but not in an Iron Man film.
This film is your above average summer blockbuster. It falls out of line with the first Iron Man film by pushing a lot of different story arcs on you. It fails to reach the magnitude of the first film. What the film is really lacking is that of a performance of Jeff Bridges in the first film. Rockwell comes close to Bridges’ performance but his character wasn’t developed as well as Bridges’ was.
But Jeff Bridges is one of a kind isn’t he?
Was anyone else half expecting Stark to paint his Iron Man suit black and comb his hair down, put on some eye liner and do some weird dance number?