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Not the Marvel the first was

May 11, 2010

Saw Iron Man 2 today.  Not bad.  Not great, but not bad.

Robert Downey, Jr. and Mickey Rourke both put in excellent performances.  Don Cheadle was fine, but he wasn’t given a whole lot to work with.  It felt like his best lines were cut either out of the script or the film.  Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Pots was whiney and annoying.  Scarlett Johansson’s character was unnecessary and gratuitous, and I say this from the perspective of someone who had a fair amount of gratitude.  Sexy as hell, but a bit pointless.  And her booty was enhanced…again, not that I’m complaining.

Other actors’ performances registered even lower on the Richter scale.  Samuel L. Jackson felt like a cameo the whole way despite having at least twenty lines.  Sam Rockwell (played Tony Stark’s competitor) was annoying and poorly written, being either competent or incompetent as the script required.  Even minor roles (Happy Hogan and Agent Coulson) were cardboard and silly.

The acting simply lacked depth, no thanks to writing that offered depth only to a character or two.  I wonder if there’s a director’s cut with a more complete story.  Effects, at least, were as good as expected; not Avatar but good.

When the first Iron Man came out, I expected an explosion-packed roller coaster ride with some snarky comments and lots of cheese.  What the film delivered was a complex if narcissistic hero in a well-developed story with poor acting y the villain (sorry, Jeff Bridges).  So for the sequel, I expected a more complex story with more personalized character depth and some new toys that go boom.

More toys, check, though not much was made out of them.  Complex story?   Hah!  Not even.  On top of that, every opportunity to explore a character other than Tony Stark was promptly brushed aside in favor of more drunken antics from the protagonist.  Somehow Rourke transcended this and delivered his darkly sinister Russian physicist with some complexity, mostly achieved through facial expression and silence.

So, was it worth it?  I went to a matinee, so sure.  It was better than Transformers 2, nowhere near Avatar or either recent Batman film, beat the pants off both Hulk films, dropped square in the middle of the Spiderman franchise (with better effects than the webslinger), and fell short of my appreciation for the GI Joe film (which I actually liked).  Most importantly, it fell short of the first Iron Man.  It was a typical summer-blockbuster-sequel-type film with a couple standout performances and a little eye candy (don’t forget the sexy US Marshal…who is Kate Mara?).  Little more than that.  But don’t expect too much and you’ll have a fun night at the movies.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2010 12:25 am

    Okay, okay–it wasn’t as good as the first. I’ll gladly give you that. But not as good as G.I. Joe? Really? REALLY?!

    Marvel movies, of course, tend to be pure Geek-porn. There is little chance that any superhero movie in the next 5 years will come anywhere near the greatness of Batman Begins or The Dark Knight. Those, as you seem to agree, are how superhero films should be made.

    • osomuerte permalink
      May 17, 2010 6:54 am

      Probably not a popular opinion. I suspect my expectations played into my GI Joe appreciation. Didn’t suck as much as people said while Iron Man 2 wasn’t as good as people said.

  2. May 17, 2010 4:33 pm

    Yeah, I’ll give you that. I was expecting G.I. Joe to really, really suck. On the contrary, it was actually quite entertaining. The acting was fairly colorful, and the back-story elements and identity twist, and the ending revelation–“Call me… COMMANDER!”–somehow all seemed to work pretty well.

    So far, nothing touches Iron Man. I was a big fan of the Thomas Jane version of the Punisher, but I haven’t even bothered with the sequel.

    I enjoyed all of the Spider-Man films, but the third, after some time to revisit it and reflect, is pretty lackluster when compared with the first two.

    My most recent cinema love is with the J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek, which is a fairly common opinion, and I look forward to the inevitable sequel. I’m looking forward to Super 8, The Adjustment Bureau, and Transformers 3 (even though Revenge of the Fallen was shamefully bad), as well.

  3. osomuerte permalink
    May 17, 2010 5:49 pm

    Super 8? Adjustment Bureau? I used to be in the know. Need to visit HSX more often.

    Totally agree on Star Trek. Looking forward to Prince of Persia despite the very white casting of Gyllenhaal and some suspiciously action-heavy previews.

    Aside from GI Joe, I was also pleased with the film Push, which was largely dismissed. (I had a review post a while back.) Further future? Ender’s Game is supposed to be slowly becoming the real deal.

  4. May 18, 2010 10:59 pm

    Yeah, the Ender’s Game movie, when ever it comes around, will be phenomenal. I never really bothered to watch the original Tron, but the sequel looks incredible from the trailer.

    The Adjustment Bureau is a Philip K. Dick (Minority Report, Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, Total Recall, Paycheck, etc.) adaptation, so it automatically will rock haha.

    Super 8 looks to be a classic-style sci-fi/alien monster flick from the director of Star Trek (2009 version).

    I loved Push; Chris Evans is a talented, hillarious actor, and the story was pretty nifty.

    The thing that we really owe the success of AVATAR is that, as the sci-fi writers (geeks) we are, we will now begin to see (I’m guessing) a LOT more first-rate film/television science fiction. Nothing against modern cinematic sf, but you can only have so many Enterprise crews and Battlestar Scralatchticka spin-offs, Star-Gates, et cetera, before it all seems pretty tired and unbelievable haha.

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