Alright, I’m going to be up front here: Iron Man 2 did not exceed any expectations… nor did it even reach some.
When I saw the first one it was three in the morning and my chronic headache was keeping me from sleeping. I was strangely surprised with the film and how much it entertained me. Therefore, I expected similar results for the second one, but, alas, it tries to cram in too much in too little.
I’ll also let you know that the copy I watched was a Mexican pirated version that my Grandma and I bought at the market today for 10 or 20 pesos. So, the audio was pretty janky, and I realize that a full blown cinema experience may have altered my perceptions a bit. Nevertheless, my problems are not necessarily based upon the thrills of seeing or hearing, but with the overall premise and plot.
My major problems are with two points:
The fulfilling of the male patriarchal role in which somehow – through some strange means – the thing that keeps Tony alive that he made in desperation in a cave in Afghanistan just also happens to be the same thing his father imagined and planned for Tony to make
The fulfilling of the hetero-normative relationship
I find it a little ridiculous that the answer to all of Tony’s blood-poisoning/I’ve basically have had my ass kicked/ depression problems can be solved by watching 16mm film of his father. I cringed when I knew that Tony’s Dad (Howard played by John Slattery which made me happy) turned to the camera and said “Tony…balhalfbalh” because it was pretty damn obvious it was going to happen. This predictability was prevalent throughout the whole film, but this part was super saturated.
Now, of course Tony’s going to get Pepper in the end. In this film, they are even more flirty when, before, they never fully got together which I thought was one of the strongest points in that film. My problem comes with when they actually meet at the end. She complains about the danger, resigns from her powerful position, and then they get together. Now, we can take that she may not have actually resigned and was in a moment of hysterics. Let me remind you that hysteria comes from hysterectomy which is what they would do to women for them to stop fainting and becoming hysterical. Pepper is hysterical. Through Tony’s suave demeanor, he performs a metaphorical hysterectomy to calm Pepper down through the assimilation to the hetero-normative relationship.
Overall, it was a tad bit overacted, but that’s acceptable in a comic book film. I enjoyed Sam Rockwell being a dick, and Mickey Rourke convinced me with the tortured villain seeks revenge performance creating a character outside of the comics who’s just as memorable. The interplay between Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow was quick and witty. They both provided some grounding to the film even if Tony’s antics seemed all too similar to the first film. Scarlett Johansson is sexy, but that’s basically all that’s needed from her. Even her shining moment of the typical action scene “14 guys-beat them up in a single hallway-magical capabilities that are ultra realistic-guy’s surprised with woman’s ability” seemed just way too typical and nothing fresh. I feel as if Scarlett really tried, but the script did not provide many opportunities. Don Cheadle does well as the mixed-feelings friend who comes to the rescue at the end, but I don’t feel like the script acknowledged fully that the character is a military man as seen with the showdown scene where him and Tony bicker to figure out how to fend off the attack. Samuel L. Jackson plays himself.
Some of the action seemed a bit ridiculous at the end with Tony still flying around near all the people. I’m not sure how no one was hurt when an entire glass building blew by any of the glass falling down… but that’s just logistical knowledge. And, I have to accept that it’s a comic book movie… therefore, it breaks a lot of logic.
The movie was a little disappointing, but I believe many will look past what I saw and find it to be a rather enjoyable film. Nevertheless, I have my reservations which brings the film to the neutral ground of:
This review is based upon mostly first reactions to the film, but I tried to be fair in evaluating it as a film and not tying it too much to the previous film or comics.
UPDATE: I just realized that Black Widow has fingerless gloves! Although, I may have to disagree with Monique and say that they look pretty badass there.
UPDATE #2: I forgot to mention the creation of a new metal/element. Ummm… ridiculous. I almost threw up/went pee/I really wanted ice cream/why am I sitting through this.