But with the truck loads of money superhero movies have been making in the box office these days, name recognition is enough- when paired with a daring casting choice or two- to make a Hollywood studio risk the money to get the films made.
For some films, like Daredevil, The Punisher, The Watchmen, it never really works out losing some of their comic book cult appeal in the film translation. But for others, like the afore mentioned commercially beloved Iron Man, it works out in spades; launching a franchise, spawning unrelated spin-offs, and even penciling in an extremely ambitious cinematic project which- if done right- might be the most amazing spectacle the world has ever seen.
But before the world gets these other great things, we first have to get through Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 brings back some members of the original cast (Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow) and pairs them up with new comers (Scarlett Johanssen, Sam Rockwell, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, and Samuel L. Jackson [who was in the first one for a scene, but gets some screen time in this one]) in the second film in the Iron Man franchise.
Taking place about a year or so after the first one, Iron Man 2 finds Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) being persecuted by the government for having brought about world peace and an end to nuclear armament through his iron suit. That is until Mickey Rourke shows up as a greasy, tatted up Russian with ion whips looking to get him a piece of Iron Man. Big action and explosions follow, along with some other interesting twists and turns (and maybe a clue or two about the future happenings in the "Marvel" multiverse...) in Jon faverou directed roller coaster ride.
Does Iron Man 2 stack up to the original? Or is it just scrap? Let’s go to the cards:
- Robert Downey Jr. brings a certain pleasure to playing superheroes, which considering the melodramas Wolverine, Spider-Man, Batman, and Superman's lives were presented as, I for one find it most refreshing. Even as his body, mind, and relationships are strained because of his "higher calling" Downey Jr's Tony Stark embraces it with the kind of panache one wants to see in their superheroes. Unlimited superpowers should not mean a tortured existence in the movies. We all dream of getting the girl, saving the world, being disgustingly wealthy, being made of steel, and able to fly... no need for movies to show us that to do so only condemns us to a life of misery.
- The special effects from the flying suits and the drone armies to every explosion- look amazing. There is nothing quite like a big Hollywood movie that looks like a big Hollywood movie. For this reason alone it is worth the price of admission.
- Sam Rockwell sets the world on fire in this movie, delivering yet another outstanding moment. The man steals any scene he finds himself in (with the exception of the scenes with Robert Downey, in which the two volley back and forth so well it leaves you memorized) and is flat out the best thing about this movie acting wise.
- This is a hard film to find anything bad about, mainly because there is not much really wrong with it. It is sharp, funny, well written, and packed with explosions, just like the first one (which we all loved). And that might be what I think the real problem is. This movie has two Iron mans (as War Machine makes his first appearance), an army of evil drones, a Russian with ion whips, multiple bad guys and it still feels exactly like the first one did. I don’t know... ever watch a movie that for whatever reason, you liked but still thought it could have been much better???
- Sam Jackson mails it in. flat out mailed in his performance. maybe he was pissed that the PG-13 rating would not let him drop a few of his patented "motherfuckers" on the people or that he had to wear that stupid eye patch but something had Mr. Jackson just strolling through his lines without a care in the world.
This movie review is going to sound very strange, but bear with me...
There really isn't anything wrong with Iron Man 2, and you should go see it on the big screen. it is a two hour joy ride, with great effects, very good performances, a kick ass sound, and War Machine (Gabe's personal favorite superhero) kicking the shit out of drones.
But at the same time, don't be shocked to feel kind of ehh about the movie when you walk out. There is a lot going on, all of it very cool and just not enough time to devote to all of it. It is like the curse of the sequel, only in reverse.
Hear us out:
In most sequels (especially superhero sequels) the thought is to do twice as much in the sequel as you did in the first one). Two times the supervillians, two times the peril, two times the action, two times the funny and so forth until what you end up getting is an under developed turd that no one really likes. Iron Man 2, being a superhero movie sequel, does that as well but strangely instead of under developing things they developed everything to the point that you are angry that they did not get enough screen time. This leaves you to feel somewhat cheated by the whole process.
Overall, the movie is a very strong 3.5 out of 5 flushes. It would have been a four all day (and who knows, maybe after a second viewing, it might end up there) but the empty feeling the movie leaves you with and Sam Jackson’s very distracting apathy hurt it some.***ALERT!!!!!Make sure to stay through the credits to see the scene at the very end....***