Thursday, April 29, 2010

Iron Man 2: Why should we-e-e even care

The plot of Iron Man 2 picks up right after Iron Man. Tony Stark has just announced his alternate identity to the world. This displeases Ivan Vanko (the amazingly hammy, but also really entertaining Mickey Rourke) to a great degree. To such a degree, in fact, that he immediately goes to work on a makeshift ARC reactor (the thingamajig that powers the Iron Man suit). Because Russians are all into circuses and bears and shit, he makes two lightsaber whips to go with his half-a-suit. During this suit-making montage (and opening credits) composer John Debney gives Vanko a badass musical theme that is reminiscent of the Soviet national anthem in places (!!).

The movie cuts to Tony Stark being a cool slick badass. Robert Downey Jr pretty much kills it: I don't think there's a smoother motherfucker in movies today. Gwyneth Paltrow's all frowny with him, a dickhole senator wants him to hand over that goddamned suit to the government and Stark's buddy James "Rhodey" Rhodes frowns at him as well (he also faded into a different black man since last movie, namely Don Cheadle). My favorite addition in this Washington DC sequence however, is Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer. Hammer wants to be Tony Stark badly: the suits, the babes, the love, ... understandably. But sucker as I am for awkwardness humor (I pretty much love Borat and Brüno), I just had a ball seeing Rockwell throw himself head-first into a million jokes that get a polite chuckle at best from these huuuge crowds.

A lot of people the action of the first movie wasn't well done. I didn't have any particular problems with it, but it was definitely the first superhero movie where you were actually having more fun when the guy was out of the suit than in it. To those whiners I say: well, the action's a lot cooler than it was in the first one. Unfortunately, they added a whole new problem. Tony Stark ain't got shit to do.

You see, Vanko makes an assassination attempt on Tony. This fails, and the cockatoo-loving (seriously) Russian gangster-inventor (seriously) goes to jail. Justin Hammer, convinced this guy could get rid of Stark for him, busts him out and fakes his death. But he better build him some reaaal good stuff for the upcoming Stark Expo! Hammer's presentation at the Stark Expo is the climax of the film. So, uh... the villains are just kinda workin' on stuff for the remainder of the movie. But we'll get back to you, oohhh you'll see! The drama in the second act comes completely from Stark going on a self-destructive "I don't give a fuck" binge after being unable to stop the ARC-reactor in his chest from slowly poisoning his body. Personally, I really enjoyed Tony Stark coming to grips with his mortality. It's heavy enough to make you feel for Stark, but never too dark to destroy the movie's fun atmosphere.

So yeah, an hour of this movie is literally Stark & Co fucking about, waiting for the plot to happen again at the start of the third act. Beyond the nagging sensation that the movie wasn't really moving forward in any way, I still had a good time with it. That's pretty much due to Downey Jr and the cast. I mean, when things happen like Stark in the Iron Man suit dancing to California Love, pissing himself and then suggesting to Pepper Potts (Paltrow's character) that she drink his piss, well... that's a good time at the movies, you know?

Oh, and Stark has a new assistant, but I can't remember who plays her.

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