Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tony: Iron Man 2 review

Not since Avatar hit the big screen has there been a movie with this much hype... OK I guess it hasn't been that long, but still. Was there a doubt that Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. weren't going to deliver in this highly anticipated sequel? Let's get right into it folks, I have a lot to say.

What I liked:
The Writing
The story is better than the first one, but still has issues. There are just too many dang characters for a 2 hour movie. The villains are better, the dialogue is amazing in Iron Man 2. My wife and I could NOT stop laughing at Tony Stark trading barbs back and forth with the supporting cast. There are so many examples of this, I wont try to explain any further, just trust me. The movie is categorically a comedy it's so funny, you'll see.

Pepper Potts played by Gwyneth Paltrow has a great story arc in the movie, as does Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow. Paltrow is a true professional, and plays the part with such sincerity. I really enjoyed her in the movie. Johansson kicks some major ass in with what little screen time she has. Samuel L. Jackson is back as Nick Fury and had a lot more face time than the trailers indicated. Remember with the first film, he was in the post-credits clip. Speaking of; stay after the credits for a surprise! Don Cheadle replaces Terrance Howard as Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes, but I will discuss that in a minute.

The Villains
The biggest complaint about the first Iron Man was the villain, or lack thereof. They didn't do a good enough job developing the fallout between Tony Stark and Obidiah Stone. But in this film, Mickey Rourke shines. If only there were more Rourke in this film. And kudos to Favreau and company for staying true to the look of Whiplash. Based on the photos and trailers released, you wouldn't think so, but wait until the end of the movie where you see a Whiplash that mirrors the comics, great job.

Justin Hammer is a new addition, played by Sam Rockwell (very underrated actor in Hollywood). Hammer is a fixture in the comics and was a perfect compliment to the story. Rockwell has to be funny, yet kind of annoying. We have to hate to love him, and he too nailed it in this movie.

The Action
Wow, there is a lot of action in this movie. You can tell pretty quickly that the Iron Man 2 budget was significantly higher than the first one. Now, I've said this a lot in the past, the action has to be in the movie to help the story along. There was definitely action in the movie for actions sake, but I'll get to that later.

What I didn't like:
Second Act
Wow, the second act drags so much. I told you above that the action is amped up for this movie, but it's important to note that a large chunk in the middle of the movie is story development. Yes, it's necessary, but it would have been nice to see a faster pace during this part where characters were being developed and Tony Stark makes a life changing discovery.

Misused Acting
I told you I loved Mickey Rourke in this, well I wish there was more of Mickey Rourke in this. The character is "underground" for most of the movie, but damn it would have been nice to see a bit more of Whiplash. Instead the story shifts towards droids that Justin Hammer has developed with the help of Whiplash (don't worry I'm not giving anything away). What I will tell you is the droids get a lot more attention than they should have.

Don Cheadle is a complete waste in this movie. As Col. James Rhodes, he has little to zero to work with. Yes, he does don the War Machine suit and kicks some major, major ass, but it's not enough. I hate to say this, I really do, but I wish Terrance Howard returned for this movie. His charm, presence and chemistry with Robert Downey Jr. was way better than Cheadle's.

The Climax

The Droids, I mean come on man! There is a scene where Iron Man and War Machine have to outrun (outfly) a lot of Droids. The scene does NOT end. There are at least 50 explosions in the chase and gets pretty redundant, pretty fast. And the worst part of the movie; the climax. Of course, it's a showdown with Iron Man and War Machine vs. Whiplash and it's LAME! Man, two hours of great story telling only to leave you with a sour taste in your mouth in the last 5 minutes of the movie. The holding hands climax (I don't want to spoil anything, you'll just have to see for yourself) is so bad.

The verdict is simple for me; I liked the movie, a lot. That's important, but it IS a sequel and will naturally be compared to it's predecessor. When comparing it to the first film, it's not as good. The charm and wit is there, but the creativity of the first film was replaced by a boat load of CGI and a lot more characters. The team of Favreau and Downey have struck gold, both figuratively and literally. We've even discussed whether it would beat The Dark Knight's record breaking opening weekend. That remains to be seen. As a movie fan and a comic book fan, I'm very satisfied with the finished product. And after watching the short clip at the end of the credits; I can't wait for more from the Marvel Universe!


FattMatt said...

"...I wish Terrance Howard returned for this movie. His charm, presence and chemistry with Robert Downey Jr. was way better than Cheadle's."

REALLY though? Really?

Tonedog said...

Yes buddy... charming and charismatic, also chemistry with RDJ. I thought of three examples (all in Iron Man 1 of course) and tell me what you think...

1. The scene at the casino, the exchange between Tony and Rhodey is priceless.

2. The drunk discussion on the plane is so funny.

3. The dog-fight scene where Tony is testing the suit and the military is threatening to shoot him down. Their relationship is awesome in that scene.

I really do think Terrance Howard is better choice for THESE movies than Cheadle. Holla atcha boy... I think you'll agree after you see the film.