IRON MAN 2


Overall Impression – More is sometimes less.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Who’s your main character? – Tony Stark

What’s he trying to accomplish? – Professional: Keep his Iron Man suit from falling into various wrong hands. Personal: Make the ultimate connection with Pepper Potts. Private: Find a way not to die because his chest-mounted arc reactor is poisoning him.

Who’s trying to stop him? – A plethora or fairly useless villains, including bitter, revenge-fueled Ivan Vanko, jealous and egotistical Justin Hammer, and officious and misguided Senator Stern.

What happens if he fails? – The Iron Man technology will be used by the military who, presumably, don’t know how to use things that blow up other things.  The real problem is that if Tony Stark doesn’t come up with a new energy source, he’ll die.

THE FOUR ARCHETYPES

Orphan – Tony, knowing that he’s dying, is making himself more of a jerk than before, alienating those closest to him..

Wanderer – After narrowly suviving an attack by Ivan as Whiplash, Tony tries to come up some new energy sources (this is implied, more than shown).  Failing this, he shifts into uber-jerk mode and goes on a morbid quest to make himself happy (also, more implied than shown.)

Warrior –  Very, very weak.  Ivan is presumed dead so Tony’s not fighting Ivan.  Hammer is working quietly on his own mechanized robots, so Tony’s not really going mano-a-mano with Hammer, and the Senate hearings are over so he’s not going up against the Senator.  I guess Tony kinda fighting to stay alive, but he’s not actively doing anything until he bottoms out at the end of Act Two.  This section really dragged and was poorly defined.

Martyr – Tony realizes that he has to pull himself together in order to find the cure to his blood poisoning, defeat Ivan whom he now knows is alive, and save Pepper who somehow has managed to be able to command the NYPD and is in danger of being blown up.

AND, IN THE END…

CLICK to hear the PODCAST

I loved the first IRON MAN, and I have huge respect for Robert Downey, Jr.  This movie, however, in trying to humanize Tony Stark just seemed to play like a version of LEAVING LOS VEGAS as imagined by Stan Lee.

I remember looking at my watch as the first Iron Man fight occurred in Monaco between Tony and Ivan.  It was around 4:50pm (if memory serves).  The movie started at 3:10.   Give 20 minutes for trailers and commercials, and that’s well over an hour into IRON MAN 2 before the first Iron Man fight.  And it wasn’t even that good of a fight.  That’s some superhero story architecture math that just doesn’t add up.

In attempting to make Tony more human, they made his Raison d’être an appendage.  Even my very non-discriminating 12 year old son was shifting in his seat, waiting for something to happen.  I think it says a lot that one of my favourite moments in the movie wasn’t even in the movie: in the trailer to the movie, Tony and Pepper are in the back of an open airplane and Tony asks Pepper for a kiss.  She sensually kisses Tony’s helmet that she’s holding in her hands and then tosses it out of the back of the plane.  “You complete me” he says as he jumps out the plane and goes after it.  Too bad that scene isn’t in the finished film.  More of this and less of Tony Stark dressed as Iron Man and drunkenly blasting watermelons tossed by buxom partygoers at  his birthday party, I say!

Meanwhile, the movie has made almost $330 million dollars since it opened overseas last weekend and in North America this weekend.  That’s a pretty good haul and a good indicator that Iron Man 3 is already in the planning stages.  It’s also the exact reason I maintain that if you want to learn what makes a good movie, you have to ignore sequels and remakes and only examine those non-sequel, non-remake, non-adaptations that come out of nowhere and excite the masses.

– Jeffrey Alan Schechter

2 Responses to “IRON MAN 2”

  1. David Goulet May 9, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    Simple rule of comic books is that you must have an action sequence to begin the issue, one in the middle and one in the finale. It seems the producers of IM2 forgot their hero’s comic book roots. To have the origin story out of the way and the ability to jump right into an action feast is the headstart every sequel leads with — to squander it like this is unbelievable.

    Yes the character development in the first flick was very original and fresh. That made it less of a wait for when the guy in the cool iron suit starts blowing crap up. But to try and replicate that delay in the sequel…why? You’ve got a man in a flying metal suit for cryin out loud. People aren’t going to this film hoping to see Tony Stark deal with his inner angst, they are going to see Iron Man take on the bad guys — and experience vicariously that power we all wish we could own for a day

    Marvel really needs to get a story doctor on deck for these movie adaptations. I think they can afford it.

  2. rob lear May 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    I must confess i actually fell asleep, twice!!!

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