HE’S. STILL. IRON MAN. DOBE DOBE DO DO DO DO DO.
He’s back. After announcing in the first movie that he is Iron Man; Tony Stark is even more over the top in this movie.
But was it any good?
Was it as good as the first?
Is it better than the Incredible Hulk? (Fucking stupid question. Of course it is.)
Honestly; there’s very little to say about this movie. I say that having written over 1500 words on it, but it’s genuinely not that interesting. What’s most interesting is how they managed to make a movie with this cast be pretty underwhelming, apart from a few great moments. I was mainly going in safe in the knowledge that it couldn’t be as bad as The Incredible Hulk. It couldn’t be…could it?
Well…let’s get into it.
Yet again; the cast is unbelievable. How do they get these people? Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth ‘I hope she doesn’t keep skiing’ Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Scarlett Johansson, John Slattery and Sam Fucking Rockwell. It was also written by Justin Theroux, which makes it disappointing that there was no cameo from his cousin, Louis.
The main issue that this series might have is the amount of weight which is put on Downey Jr. Considering that the only other lead I’ve seen so far is Ed Norton, who will not be coming back as Hulk; how much of the entire MCU will Downey Jr have to carry? I guess I’ll find out as I get through the movies.
I really enjoy that we’re starting this movie exactly where we left the first.
We start this movie with Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) watching the “I am Iron Man” press conference, which closed out the first movie, in Russia and he looks like a grumpy lad. His dad just died, in fairness. It makes sense that he would be grumpy. Why is he so annoyed with Tony Stark though? I’ll come back to that later.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is on top of the world. Everyone knows that he is Iron Man, and he’s giving two big old fuck-off fingers to the US Military who want his suit.
We learn that the core of Starks arc reactor is poisoning him. Shit buzz! This makes Tony go off the rails. He’s drinking more, making rash decisions… just being a bit of a nuisance. He’s pretty wrecked by the thoughts of his impending death. Downey Jr. is surprisingly good these scenes. It’s not heart wrenching stuff, but he walks the line between drunk man and man drinking to avoid his problems pretty damn well. There’s a desolation there which he kind of aces. Perhaps pulling from his previous, real life, problems.
Stark makes ‘Pepper’ Potts (Gwyneth ‘Psychic Vampire Repellent salesman’ Paltrow) CEO of Stark Industries and hires Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) as his new personal assistant and she may not be what she seems.
Stark, continuing to live recklessly, decides that he wants to drive fast cars and so he goes to where all rich pricks go; the Monaco Grand Prix. This is supposed to be an example of how he’s recklessly endangering his life; but the man literally flies around in a metal rocket suit all day. So it doesn’t seem as dangerous as it’s made out to be.
He’s driving along and then out pops Vanko with a Russian accent that I. Absolutely. Loved.
It’s awful, don’t get me wrong…but it was amazing that Rourke thought; “yeah I’ve got this”. Also, does it explain how Vanko got there? I don’t think you can just walk onto the circuit. I guess he does have these bad-ass, although completely impractical, electric whips which makes me think that he must be into some seriously kinky shit. That might be how he got there, although I think it would have been better to see this. Maybe we did and I just wasn’t paying attention.
Vanko completely destroys Starks car while he’s driving and then there’s a little bit of a cat and mouse standoff.
Starks gets his suit delivered to him by Potts (no doubt alongside a $250 toothpaste squeezer, and a quartz stone to shove inside him for energy or some shit) and defeats Vanko who gets arrested.
Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) frees Vanko from jail and gets him to make Aldi brand Iron Man suits, while also faking his death. Why? Fuck knows.
Stark, who at this point still thinks he’s going to die (spoilers: he doesn’t), gets bollocksed drunk on his birthday while wearing his Iron Man suit and his best mate comes along to tell him to pull his finger out and stop being such a prick. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) puts on a different Iron Man suit and he and Stark have an Iron Man fight. I’m not going to lie, this is only the second most entertaining section of the movie…and it’s cool as shit. I mean; you know neither of them are going to be hurt. You know that Stark is going to lose the fight because that is what the story arc dictates…fuck me it was awesome as hell though.
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) comes along and talks for a bit (did we see him in The Incredible Hulk? I can’t even remember). He gives Tony a load of Papa Starks old shit. Howard Stark founded S.H.I.E.L.D. you see. Howard Stark is played by Roger Sterling (John Slattery).
Oh, also; it also turns out that Howard Stark found a new element back in the day which Tony can use to fix the arc reactor in his chest which is poisoning him. Convenient.
Also also; Natalie Rushman is not actually a secretary. She is, in fact Natasha Romanoff; badass extraordinaire and member of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Also also also; Howard Stark and Anton Vanko created the arc reactor together, but when Papa Vanko tried to sell it for profit Papa Stark had him fucking deported. Once he’s deported he gets sent to a god damn gulag! Poor fucking guy. Just wanted to earn a few bob. The American dream, eh? It’s a good thing Papa Stark is so handsome, otherwise I might be mad. Ooohhhh I see what the writer did there. America is the place where dreams can be made unless you step on the toes of the elite…or something like that. Or maybe they’re just saying Howard Stark is a massive prick. Maybe both.
There was a lot of information delivered in that scene; but none of it felt rushed. Samuel L Jackson and Downey Jr know how to work a scene and it really shows here.
Hammer decides to hijack an event (Stark Expo…creative) which Stark Industries in putting on to showcase his Iron Man suit and drones. But guess what? It was all a ploy. The suit is actually remote controlled. It seems to handle a lot better than any remote control car I’ve ever had. So top marks to Vanko who is controlling the suit being worn by Rhodes. Great work. There’d be work in drone photography if he didn’t kill himself following one of the most badass fights I’ve seen in the MCU so far. You’ve got Stark, Rhodes and Vanko all in kick-ass full suits. Vanko still has his BDSM spark whips, but gets overpowered by Stark and Rhodes. Then he blows himself up. I don’t think he’s coming back.
Post credits scene is something about a hammer. So that’s a nice build up to Thor, which I’m looking forward to watching.
Both Iron Man and Iron Man 2 have excellent casts, but they just don’t do enough with them. I wonder how many of the side characters were written with specific actors in mind. From what I can see, very few of them. You’ve got Sam Rockwell who, as far as I can remember, has never been bad in a movie. In this he’s just kind of… there. He’s a bit of a comic relief character, which he’s excellent at, but the man will go on to win an Oscar. I guess I’m looking at it in hindsight, he won the Oscar a fair amount of time after this. Similar to Don Cheadle. He’s an enormous step up from Terrence Howard and does a far better job. This man should have won an Oscar in 2004, for fuck sake! (I still refuse to accept that he didn’t). Here’s hoping they use him more in the 3rd movie; and in the rest of the movies going forward.
Similar to the first movie; the set design is excellent. I’d love to see a ‘making of’ video for the Stark Expo at the end of the movie, I’d say it was an enormous undertaking. Must have been one hell of a green screen.
Camera work was pretty good. There were no shots which really stood out to me as spectacular, but then there were none which stood out as poor.
The CGI was damn near flawless in this movie. The weird facial flatness that was present in the first movie is mostly gone. It still doesn’t look perfect, but it’s a hell of an improvement from Iron Man. Considering it’s only 2 years since the first movie; I have to give points for that.
Overall; an enjoyable, if underwhelming, movie. I’d watch it again mainly for the fight between Stark and Rhodes and the final fight. Beyond that there wasn’t much going for it. It certainly progressed the story of the overall MCU a fair amount. So if that’s what they were trying to do, then hats off; they did it well. It also developed the character of Tony Stark; we now know that he has a fear of his own mortality. He’s not always calm and collected. I wonder if this will come back in future movies. It was made seem important. I think I’m more disappointed that the film itself didn’t live up to my own expectations that the amazing cast gave me.
In conclusion; it’s better than The Incredible Hulk. I will give this 5 sexy spark whips out of 10.
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