Given that it was just a few days ago after its opening, it was decided to be viewed on a matinee (Monday afternoon), something that was very wise given that it still packed the house and was still considerably expensive. Not minding that we weren’t seeing it on 3D, everyone was stoked to see how well it can deliver via the old medium.
Directed by Jon Favreau – whose face you’ll be familiar with as he plays Happy the driver and sparing partner – Iron Man 2 follows where the first installment left off. Post announcement that Tony Stark is indeed Iron Man, the world starts to live on a seemingly peaceful condition. As is, it is threatened by the curiosity of every nation. The enemies wishing to tip the scale are bent on creating a knockoff of the well-known suite. But what everyone doesn’t know is someone at the outskirts of Russia actually has the exact formula in building one. And oh, before I forget, the same technology responsible for keeping Stark alive is also actually killing him.
One thing’s for sure, this sequel is pure eye candy for those who love destruction, noise, technology, made up science and flawed heroes. Iron Man 2 has taken the age-old rule of shock and awe and basically astounding audience by how swift it can deliver. It is no surprise, given most summer blockbusters bank on this scheme.
The musical element is also very reasonable. It did not overwhelm the event that it is trying to bolster and it clearly leads the audience to the study of nuance versus spectacle versus focal points. It complemented the scenes quite well that even in the absence of dialogue (or the absence of understanding the dialogue) one is led to comprehend.
The casting was also well attended and it got its traction through this really well. I may have wanted to see the old Lt. Col. Rhodes (used to be played by Terrance Howard, but is now owned by Don Cheadle) but it didn’t not affect the foundation of his purpose. Putting them all together (Downey Jr, Johansson, Paltrow, Rourke, Rockwell and Cheadle) became a very meaty stew any warm blooded moviegoer can enjoy.
And let me just say, I’m loving the svelte Johansson aka Black Widow. She definitely brings in the air of mystery and the way she kicks ass is so graceful – not a single hair gets out of line – I might start researching mixed martial arts (naah). I’ve always liked her plumpness (real women have curves) and putting her on those one size too small attire sure heightens the appeal.
Rourke aka Whiplash on the other hand, personifies a villain that you wish you can understand. A part of me wanted to dive deeper on his psyche just so I can comprehend the value of his ability to be so destructive. The exposition of his character may not have been enough but hey, he delivered what very little material he has so well, his Oscar winning performance for The Wrestler still rings in my head. Rourke, minus his eccentricities, sure is a power house when it comes to character roles.
Iron Man 2 is undeniably a celebration of brain over brawn and idealism over reality. Although it tried to take its footing from the hero-antihero-villain angle the real tone is really about choices. That thinking through is what really separates us from the good and the bad and about how your alliances can either make or break you.
I for one liked the film given it delivered the entertainment that I was looking for. But if you wish for more (ala existentialist or self actualization, something The Dark Knight triumphed in) then this is not the movie for you. Its busy buzzing brawn is only meant for a moment’s attraction. Sort of like going to the zoo and seeing the big bad gorilla jump around. It is amusing, yes, and you might even talk about it soon after you go home, but that awe will eventually fade as soon as the next attraction comes up.
And just so you are aware, don’t forget to stay at the end. There’s some juicy foreshadowing of the Avengers that I’m sure comic fans will feast on.