I have a headache this evening and I don’t know if it’s because of the oppression in the air, waiting to be lifted by evening rain, or because of Iron Man 2. After the initial disappointment caused by the Iron Man 2 premiere being shifted to LA from London due to the Ash Cloud of Death, Tony Stark fans then had to endure the wave of poor to midddling reviews that did make their way across the pond. I’m glad now that I read them because if I hadn’t my headache might now have been much worse. My diminished expectations were met.
I’m a Robert Downey Jr fan and have been for years – I was lucky enough to see him in person on the Jonathan Ross Show a couple of years ago, on the night of the premiere of Iron Man I. [I’m going to go off on a tangent here… My other blog (Wetdarkandwild) was named after a quote from Robert Downey Jr. Therefore, how amazing was it that I was in the audience of the JR show on the night when the guests were shifted to accomodate the premiere and I saw RDJ on WDW’s first birthday?! I thought it spooky myself and I was a little afraid…] So when I, a Marvel Trainee at best, learnt that Robert Downey Jr would be Iron Man, I was thrilled – at last a superhero that I could identify with. An Indie Superhero. I was even prepared to put up with Gwyneth Paltrow.
The first film was incredible from start to finish. No complaints there. But, as soon as it finished, it felt like there was something to worry about. Terrence Howard left the cast. I like him – I wanted him in it. Maybe the producers knew best. I’d wait and see. They kept Gwyneth Paltrow in – I’d try and live with that. But when I saw Iron Man 2, I remembered how the first film had made me sit at the edge of my seat while laughing out loud. I chuckled once during Iron Man 2 – and now I can’t even remember at what. Maybe towards the end, something to do with Stark and Rhodey in the greenhouse.
There was plenty to IM2 I didn’t like, not least because IM1 came before it. Firstly, I did not need to see another start to the film with another genius constructing another Iron Man weapon/suit. I didn’t get the point of all of the Fury subplot – if this mattered, give it a purpose! Give it some weight in the story, don’t just make it something to discuss at tables – tables in cafes, in homes, in ‘offices’.
But before I accuse myself of being overly negative, there were parts of this film that I enjoyed. Scarlett Johansson was good – much better than I expected her to be (I find it hard to get over that Boleyn film) – and such a pleasant antidote to Gwyneth (I fear that it may take me some time to get over the movie Proof). But her sole function was to lead into Iron Man 3. I don’t like paying to see a movie that I sense is just a trailer.
But there are two things that made IM2 a movie of its own – apart from RDJ who is a given, despite all the talk and the unnecessary scenes of this film – Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke. Sam Rockwell is a fine actor; Moon ranks as one of my top five films for 2009. It’s good to see Sam get such a prominent role and he twisted and turned it to make it his own. He was diabolical – wonderful! Dancing onto stage, shifting his feet, bullying minions, quoffing caviar, impeccably dressed, dangerous but never able to live up to the evil promise of all that money.
Mickey Rourke is not one of my favourite actors – we go back too far – but his confrontation with Stark in Monaco? Sensational. And that scene is reason enough to watch the entire film for me. But his character? It was just the same as all the other characters I envvisage Rourke playing for the rest of his career. Give him some tattoos, some muscles and just a few words (and maybe a pet?) and he’ll be fine.
This is the spoilery section of MB and so I’ll also say that I did enjoy the end – not least because of the relief of having some action at last! A ton of IM drones facing Iron Man and his partner in a rather lovely garden. Not much left of it at the end. It was explosive, and I was ready for that after an hour of watch checking.
Overall, my feeling for Iron Man 2 is that it would have been much better without the ‘2’ at the end. The use of the ‘2’ suggests to me that this is not the end – it might not even be the middle. Give it a name, please! An identity. This film is clearly intended as the filler before 3, when we will at last learn more about Fury’s Avengers. I’m not a comic book fan, I’m not a superhero fan (at least, not yet), but here at last is a group I’m interested in. Unfortunately, Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell have paid the price for the filler.
What I do continue to enjoy about this franchise, as it now is, is the character of Tony – so full of Narcissistic flaws and because of that still human despite his metal heart. There are special effects but they don’t replace the character of the film. This second film was a disappointment to me because the first film was so good, but also, to get down to basics, because the excitement of the beginning was lost throughout the middle and it didn’t return until the end. You need plot and story and action – it’s best if they can co-exist. After all that, I will most definitely go and see Iron Man 3 and I suspect it will be a better film but, whatever happens, I will always be interested in Tony Stark.
Pictures from IMDb.