Iron Man 2 (Take One)
Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow
Written by Justin Theroux
Directed by Jon Favreau
Release: 07 May 2010
Marvel Entertainment, 125 mins., Rated PG-13
Plot: Tony Stark (Downey) has revealed himself to the public as Iron Man, and he's under immense pressure from the US and military to hand over his weapons while simultaneously a Russian man with a grudge really wants to beat Tony up for some past history he has no part in.
Yep, Iron Man 2 was pretty damn good. For me, I could absolutely use a 'Extended Cut' experience with a extra 20 minutes attached to flesh out the characters and emphasize the subplots a little more, but overall, a damn fine product handled with love and care, and best of all: was super fun to watch. Either due to utter laziness or the fact there's already 4,892 Iron Man 2 reviews online by critics/bloggers like myself, I've decided to just cut up my thoughts as such:
- I love, love, love, love, LOVE the banter between Tony Stark and Pepper Pots, and the movie's real crime is not allowing these two wonderful actors and characters enough screentime to really do their thing. The flick is so overloaded with plot points and Robert Downey being super awesome as Tony that the pair don't have enough time together to just sit and talk. They have one really good scene together when he promotes Pepper, but then they don't share anything remotely as awesome as the last film's hilarious banter until the finale.
- Jon Favreau's epic fight at Hammer Industries was by far one of the greatest things about the flick, and his gleeful reaction to his ass-handed beat-down on one of the guards was beautifully perfect. "I got one!!!" will be a line I will quote multiple times for the rest of the year.
- My initial instinct was to point out that there was too many plots and subplots going on throughout the picture, that there could be plenty exercised without losing much of anything. Well, before I blew that horn and became one of those critics I despised when they wrote that exact same thing with Dead Man's Chest, I decided to reevalute my thoughts, and I have now concluded that the amount of subplots and storylines is perfect, and the only thing the script suffers from is a two and a half hour running time limit. Iron Man 2 and its many storylines could be as perfect and epic as The Lord of the Rings trilogy if it was given their "Extended Edition" ability, so here's hoping that's a possibility.
- Speaking of plot, I really liked the blood poisoning subplot. As far as I know, it's not a storyline that has been used in the comics, and is fairly original to comic book adaptation movies. I just wish there was greater emphasis on this particular plot point, really - to be presented as a bigger threat than it was played out as. I mean, here's something inside himself that's killing Tony. It's not some Big Bad trying to destroy him, it's his own body, and he is running out of time. I do appreciate that they played out Tony's emotional response to a T: drinking, going crazy, having mindless fun, which eventually has quite the repercussions. Again, considering the massive rollercoaster race-against-time this subplot was, I just wish it was expounded in the picture more.
- It was awesome seeing Howard Stark in old 1970's reel footage, and it was equally awesome to find out Mr. Stark was instrumental in the creation of S.H.I.E.L.D. I loved the hell out of the blooper reel that had a young Tony Stark coming up from behind a miniature; it was a nice 'ahh, shucks' Hallmark moment.
- The ending: I wanted more. I wanted Pepper demanding a explanation from Tony about his actions as of late and about his imminent death. I wanted a bookend scene discussing the United Nations hearing about the Star technology, or at least some sort of inkling as to what's going to be explored in Iron Man 3. There's room for delicious scenes and story elements to be had, but brilliant ideas are once again truncated for time.
- Not a fan of Don Cheadle overall, but I'm pleasantly surprised to find myself OK with his work here. And I LOVED his first scene: "I'm here, get over it, let's move on." Awesome wink to the audiences that nicely works for the scene.
- Speaking about that sequence at the Senate (with Cheadle's introduction), I loved it. Loved it, loved it, LOVED it. It's scenes like this that fully allows Robert Downey, Jr. to just deliver anything and everything he's got, and let the audience sit back and enjoy the brilliant line deliveries by Downey, Rockwell, and the main Senate dude. It was equally delicious to see that exact same guy who was dissing Tony and trying to order him around end up giving him a badge of honor at the end. Perfect.
- Scarlett Johansson is hot. Her character was hot. Scarlett, I love you. But sadly, Black Widow was highly underused. Hopefully, if she's signed up for more Marvel films, her character can grow and become more integral to the storyline.
- CGI work was impressive, but sometimes the Iron Man suits just look too fake. However, in regards to the suits, I do have to give props to the CG department because there are times where I'm seriously questioning if something is in fact CGI or just a really shiny real construction, and in this day of age...that's one hell of an accomplishment.
All in all, Iron Man 2 is very well made, takes elements of the first movie and expounds on it, gives the audience a original, catching plot, and allows Robert Downey the time to do his thing - which is awesome. I'm already eagerly awaiting Downey's next appearance as Stark, whether that be Iron Man 3 or The Avengers in 2012. Mr. Favreau, thank you for the awesome experience.