Saturday, 20 January 2018

Iron Man 2

It’s time for the third instalment of the Marvel-A-Week challenge.  I have spent this week simultaneously trying to forget The Incredible Hulk and mentally preparing myself for sitting through my most hated Marvel Movie; Iron Man 2. 

My hatred of Iron Man 2 is based solely upon one viewing in the cinema way back in 2010, and, as I cannot access my Myspace account to retrieve my original review, I cannot remember what crime the film committed to warrant my disdain.  I suspect it had something to do with a sad billionaire in a super-suit, eating a donut.

PLOT:  After outing himself as Iron Man, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Junior) spends his time basking in his own glory, fending off the government’s attempts to take the Iron Man technology, dying of palladium poisoning and ogling his new assistant Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson).  When rival arms manufacturer, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), attempts to recreate his arc technology, Stark sobers up just in time to save the day.  END PLOT

It irritates me that my contrariness is becoming predictable, as Iron Man 2 was not the film I remembered, and, I freely admit that I am starting to appreciate Robert Downey Junior’s portrayal of Tony Stark.  The fact that Infinity War is fast approaching, and there is a very real possibility that Tony Stark may not survive it, is making me look at the character with more nostalgia and affection than expected.

Tony Stark is slowly dying of palladium poising and although the irony that the Iron Man suit is killing him isn’t handled with subtlety, Stark trying to discreetly put his affairs in order without telling anyone he is ill, made the character feel human.  Stark’s fear of dying, his love for Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and his unresolved father issues, made me realise that Stark is the actual, beating heart of the Avengers unit.  It is so in-your-face obvious, I don’t know how I missed it first time around.  Downey Junior knows exactly what he is doing as Tony Stark, and, as of week 3 of the Marvel-A-Week challenge, I am not prepared or willing to say goodbye to him.

Gwyneth Paltrow is again excellent as Pepper Potts and her chemistry with Downey Junior makes their quick fire exchanges great fun to watch.  The rest of the supporting players include the newly cast Don Cheadle as Rhodey and Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, and Clark Gregg give a sense of continuity to the Marvel universe.  Team Good is grand.  The villains are the film’s weak spot.

On paper, fake tattoos, a toothpick and an electric skipping rope, might make Mickey Rourke sound really scary.  In reality it didn’t work.  Ivan Vanko might be a legendary comic character but in Iron Man 2 his seemingly sudden desire to avenge his father’s legacy didn’t add any drama, tension or danger to the plot.  Sam Rockwell was uncomfortable to watch as he swanned around in a glib manner.  This was the point.  As the Anti-Stark, Rockwell nailed it as Justin Hammer.  Plus, there was an excellent Hammeroid pun.

It is fun to watch Tony Stark slip in and out of his Iron Man suit in new and exciting ways.  This sounds sarcastic, but is isn’t.  Apparently, in 2018, I appreciate the mechanics of the suit.  The action scenes were grand and Iron Man working with War Machine created some nice double-team moments and made me realise that Tony Stark was never the lone wolf I thought him to be.

Iron Man 2 wasn’t the car crash I remembered and, on the whole, Jon Favreau made a perfectly entertaining sequel that was enhanced by its cast.  It gets 8/10.  Given my new found affection for Tony Stark and/or Robert Downey Junior, I am absolutely ecstatic that I can remember fuck all about Iron Man 3.

As much as I enjoyed week 3, week 4 is where my interest in the Marvel World really begins! Up next, it’s Loki Thor!

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