Thursday, 6 May 2010

Movie Review - Iron Man 2

I really enjoyed the first Iron Man movie and had hoped, given the quality of Spiderman 2 and X-Men 2, that the sequel might perhaps be even better. Sadly that’s not the case, it definitely wasn’t as good as the first movie in my opinion, but it’s not completely devoid of good points either.

With Tony Stark’s identity being known to all and sundry, it seems that the billionaire genius can do no wrong – or at least, any opposition from governmental figures or business rivals is weak and ineffectual. However it’s not long before a new opponent shows up, and this one is pretty tough... there are a few ghosts in the closet – Tony’s being slowly killed by the very device that’s keeping him alive, his business opponent is far more canny than he looks, Pepper Potts becomes Stark Industries’ CEO, a message from his father can save his future, Stark Industries has been infiltrated by another organisation, and Tony’s behaviour is turning his best friend into an enemy...

There’s plenty of intrigue in the plot, lots of different subplots... but ultimately the characters are too unlikeable or simply too uninteresting to really care what happens to them. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) comes across as more pompous this time, and his erratic behaviour is only half defendable on the basis of his personal problems (and occasional alcohol abuse). Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) spends almost her entire screentime being worried about or angry with Tony; understandable, but rather dull. Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) is very destructive and menacingly calm under pressure; his reason for hating Stark is believable enough. Sam Rockwell gives a remarkable performance as Justin Hammer, Stark’s business rival who publicly appears completely out of his depth but privately is very cunning, albeit too trusting of others who are equally sneaky.

Then there’s Scarlett Johansson – who does very little until her ultra-destructive scene which, if the idea of Scarlett in skin-tight black leather kicking criminal butt is a real turn on for you, you’ll enjoy immensely. There are also the predictable “ooh she’s not got all her clothes on” moments that make up a couple of seconds of the movie. This along with the constant explosions and lack of proper character development show up the main weakness of this film – and indeed most blockbusters – the target demographic seems to be almost entirely teenage boys. Show a beautiful woman and make lots of things blow up, and viola! You have a Hollywood blockbuster.

There are a few scenes – too few – where the action is softened with some humour, and the film briefly soars in these moments. The first Iron Man had far more humour mixing in with the action, and was a better film for it. In particular Jarvis, Tony’s computer with a personality and voiced superbly by Paul Bettany, is good for a laugh a few times. The visual effects are great of course, ranging from high-tech devices to large-scale robotic battles, to Tony Stark creating a new element. The music is good – incidental music from John Debney working well in conjunction with ACDC’s rockin’ soundtrack.

While I thought Iron Man 2 could definitely have been better, it has enough good points to be worth watching. I’m doubtful that many people would consider it superior to the first movie (expect maybe teenage male Scarlett Johansson fans!).

Related Links:

Iron Man 2 Trailer

ACDC vs Iron Man 2!

CaptainD - Movie Reviews Blog


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Maurice Mitchell said...

I never thought about the poor characterization,but you're right. totally agree with you on all but the point about it not being enjoyable. Its a shame Cheadle has said he's not interested in doing a War Machine spin-off. That would be awesome.