My head hurts from a combination of lack of sleep and watching an action movie from the second row of the movie theatre (a lethal combination), but I feel like I won’t be able to sleep easily if I don’t get some sort of work done today, and since I don’t think I’m in the ideal state of mind to be writing a research paper, I figure this would be a good time to review “Iron Man 2.”
First off, let me say I’m a big fan of the first movie and of Robert Downey Jr., so we don’t have to pretend this is an unbiased review or anything (as if anyone was expecting that). When we first see Tony Stark again, he’s the same guy as before – an ostentatious, super rich, super genius (don’t you just love it?). He flies through a sky of fireworks down to a stage at the center of the Stark Expo where he is greeted by a cheering crowd and a group of women dancing in outfits inspired by the Iron Man suit. He then goes on to give a speech that basically comes out as “I am responsible for world peace, worship me.” This guy is my hero. The Senate tries to force Mr. Stark to turn over the suit to the military, but he won’t have any of it. Of course, he gets out of it, embarrassing supposed weapons expert Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) in the process. Hammer runs his own weapons company and clearly is upset by his obvious inferiority to Stark. This guy has got to be a bad guy, I mean, his last name is Hammer, he must be evil right? Well you’ll have to see for yourself.
What is clear is that we have Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) out of Russia, and he has it out for Stark. Of course he’s evil, he’s Russian, right? Guess we just can’t get over that whole Soviet thing. Anyhow, he’s apparently the only other person in the entire universe who can make the kind of arc reactor Stark did. Instead of explosives and bullets, he opts for a more primal whip (albeit electrical whip) system. Personally, I wasn’t too fond of this choice (like, really dude? I’d pick a missile over an electric whip any day) but there is a comic book to be respected, and this kind of thing is to be expected in a comic.
We again get to see into Stark’s complex character, his relationship and conflicts with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), with some new self-destructive tendencies and father issues mixed in. His flaws keep popping up, but you just can’t stop rooting for the guy. You know he has a good heart; otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it to keep the shrapnel out of it with his small-scale arc reactor magnet combination.
The action scenes are intense (especially from two rows away) and can satisfy most people’s hunger for firepower – the mechanical warriors just keep on coming. I can’t really knock these scenes for being too comic-book-ish because, again, it is based on a comic. And, of course, there’s no shortage of scenes that make the inner engineer in all of us geek out. When Stanford starts offering classes on how to replicate the technology of Iron Man, consider me first in line.
Don Cheadle replaces Terrence Howard as Colonel James Rhodes, a move that I have mixed feelings about. Don Cheadle is a great actor, but man, Terrence Howard was just so good in the first movie. Don Cheadle gets to ride in the suit instead though. Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury is back from that special scene after the credits of the first movie (on that note, if you’re into Marvel Comics, don’t leave until you see what’s after the credits of this one) and is fairly enjoyable. He brings Scarlett Johansson with him, who plays Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff, and she does her fair share of ass-kicking. Unfortunately, watching movies with Scarlett Johansson makes me sad. See, the thing is, we were supposed to get married a while back, but I told her I needed to focus on my studies first, and though I told her we could get married when I was done with college, she wasn’t to happy about my decision (thank you, I’ll be here all week).