Saturday, May 8, 2010

Iron Man 2 : A No-Spoiler's Opinion

From grimy setting of the opening, to the spectacular dive with AC/DC blaring that leads to Tony Stark's Techno Caesar entrance on stage at the massive Expo, those first ten minutes really took me into IRON MAN 2, which stimulated many curiosities that will follow my free time studies in days to come.
I loved the strong women characters, whose roles were written as credible possibilities for brilliant human beings. While a suggestion that Scarlett Jo's Natasha Romanova might have an intellect for evaluation, hacking knowledge, take-down style martial arts and a head for languages fits the superficiality of the action plot, they do glamorize capabilities that real women achieve. Her role fit smoothly into much of the rest of the action with Stark, Potts, even Fury. It was very hard to spotlight what makes her unique and capable with War Machine also requiring development; this was a difficult story editing decision, to pack in so many things.

The best moments of Paltrow's Potts role take your mind off the modern-minded gender switch to reflect a competent woman effectively running "behind the scenes" actualities, albeit with Tony's renegade penchant there to make a difficult job almost impossible!

The villain side is a really fun pastiche of believable elements in classic Iron Man stories, while generating new characters in place of fragmented analogues of these best ideas. The Whiplash (an ex-con) accoutrement to the Crimson Dynamo's mythos by way of a central film theme, legacy, gave him a hook. Mickey Rourke's intelligence-fueled climb from the neglect heap through the terrors of prison life and his father's exile and poverty makes him sympathetic and motivated while never sacrificing his scarring and ethical perversion. The military/ industrial complex's dark side is played up for its incompetence and greed, reprising the classical antagonistic Senator role from Stan Lee's 60s comic. The weaponeer entrepenuer played with condescending and ignorant relish, Justin Hammer, from Layton/ Micheleine's 1980s run. Rourke's main villain was greatly inspired by the actor's study of a much-maligned and infamous Butyrka Prison (

Don Cheedle's Rhodey character delivered most of the lines my wife quoted on the way home, too. If you could just swap four minutes of Hammer's smarmy condescension for a couple more moments to get to know Rhodey as more than a Stark auxilliary or soldier...still, his sense of duty is present to contrast his good friend in his weakness, and his humor under adversity shines without pandering. The issues lending to that adversity could've been just a tad more intense...

The levity provides a humorous emotional release that keeps the intensity from straining credibility, without breaking character. All around, terrific acting with the kind of climax you only saw before in comics; a sleek plot that re=invented many beloved parts of Iron Man comics lore.

It's really an individualist parable about a genius striving for a more egalitarian world. Build your own super powers!

· I say this in light of the fact that I used to really dream and play Iron Man, and his title is one of the very few series where I assembled maybe a hundred-issue plus collection, as well as the first six years I later attained in black and white, along with about six years' of AVENGERS appearances in that same reprint format.

Tony had a mustache like my Dad, and I always enjoyed the peeks into the adult, corporate, political and technological worlds that could only be afforded through this unique hero. Tony is not so different, though glamorized, for all his troubles, than the kinds of rebellious innovators who have ever made an actual difference in real life!

The subtle set-up for the upcoming AVENGERS and the "don't leave the theater!" cameo brought it all home, because you're not left with the feeling this fictional world is OVER.

Much more to add in the morning.

Might I say, we LOVED the trailers for A-TEAM and Air Walker (cartoon fans know as Avatar).

Don't miss our art spot light on Marc Kane and an edgy indie project from the co-creator (with Keith Giffen) of hard knockin' Lobo, Roger Slifer, on

1 comment:

Justin said...

You bring up a good point about the story editing that I very much agree with. I really wanted to see MORE OF EVERYBODY, which of course we can't have. I think you're totally right about sacrificing some Hammer screen time in exchange for more Rhodey. Sam Rockwell was a whole lot of fun to watch, but we REALLY needed some more Rhodey, to clarify exactly what he was all about.

Also, always very interested to hear about Iron Man The Comic fans, because I've never been one for whatever reason. I like him as a part of the Avengers, but I've never really dug into the solo stuff. That's one of the reasons I enjoyed these movies so much, though, is because I don't have very much personal attachment to get in the way of what the moviemakers wanted to do.