5/9/10

Iron Man 2

I honestly don't understand the reviews I've seen that dis on Iron Man 2. I'll give them that it doesn't exceed the first one, but it definitely doesn't disappoint, either! If Ultimate Avengers was a TV series, Iron Man 2 would be a perfect second episode to that series. Or maybe third if you count the most recent Incredible Hulk. Unfortunately, people don't like to sit at their TV and watch the same episode for two hours for some reason. Regardless, Tony Stark is back! In Iron Man 2 we dig deeper into the person and being of the CEO of Stark Industries and we find that he's perhaps not the most heroic persona around. He's narcissistic, prone to drunkenness, headstrong, slave to his libido and totally awesome.

Here's the reason I believe people have problems with this movie, though: They're not taking it as a piece of an incomplete puzzle. To the unbelievers, they want to see a single movie contained in itself, and that's just not what Marvel does. There are many things set up in this movie that do not get completely resolved... and that's ok! Like it or not, you'll have to wait. Remember the Art of the Slow Burn? Yeah, if you don't like it, learn to!

What I really don't understand is how anyone could have been bored. Maybe it's the limited attention span that effects both the inappreciative attitude toward the art of the slow burn and the fact that they're bored by exposition set-up. The first third or so of the movie is, admittedly, a little slow, but in this part of the movie is moved forward by several personal struggles that make the excitement at the end mean all the more.

Of course, as with any movie he's in, perhaps one of the best parts of this movie is the charismatic performance of Robert Downey Jr. I don't know what else to say about that. RDJ is the most awesome comic book hero ever. I love him for the same reasons I love Captain Kirk.

There's another reason I love this movie. I don't remember if it was this way in the first one or not, but I definitely recognized it in this sequel. Everyone talks over each other. This might annoy some people who want to hear what's being said, but I see it for its intention: to make it more realistic. Favreau knows how to direct dialog. I can see him as the kind of person who grew up in a house where everyone was competing for attention by trying to talk louder than the next guy. Whether or not that's the case, he definitely brings this sensibility to the screen. The dialog feels natural because of it, with Tony often talking to several people at once while walking down a hall and fixing his coat at the same time. Tony is the kind of man who's mind is going at a million miles a minute and the way his dialog is delivered, you can tell.

Venture no further, oh ye who wish to avoid spoilers! I'll just tell you that Iron Man 2 is awesome and you should go see it now.
---SPOILERS!---
A major part of this movie seems to be Tony trying to figure out his place in the world as Iron Man. He knows he doesn't want to work for the government, but he can't really be Iron Man and CEO of Stark Industries at the same time. So what does he do? Hands Stark Industries over to Pepper Potts.

At first blush, this is a wildly terrible idea. And they even point it out with a pretty hilarious cameo by Bill O'Reilly who questions Miss Potts' qualifications. But there's something about Tony Stark that makes you trust his judgement. "Despite popular opinion, I know exactly what I'm doing." Just because he has an unorthodox approach to things, people vehemently doubt his judgement, but following along with him in this movie shows everything he's done right and everything he's done wrong and makes you confident that handing over the company to Pepper is the right thing to do.

But that's just the first step in Tony finding himself. He's not going with the government, he's not running Stark Industries, so what's left? S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury is not only keeping his eye on Tony, but he sends an agent of his to write up a recommendation. At first Tony isn't a fan of the idea of working with his "super-powered boy-band," but after going through everything he went through in this episode, he reconsiders. He decides he can't do this all alone. And although he never really says as much, his appearance at the end in a meeting with Nick Fury speaks louder than words. Even after Black Widow reports that she doesn't recommend Tony for the Avengers initiative, Tony practically begs to be put back on the team. Well... as much as Tony really ever does beg.

Ultimately, Tony is still left in limbo. He's not officially an Avenger, Stark Industries still belongs to Pepper Potts and he's all alone in his big mansion. The only bright spot is that he has maintained his friendship with Rhodey. They are both recognized in the end as the heroes who brought down the Hammeroids and defeated Whiplash. And this is the story that brings the movie to a close. Every other story arch is left open while we celebrate the big baddie's destruction.

And this is what annoys people. That's the only thing that ends. And it annoys me that this annoys people. The fact that the rest of the story archs are left open hints and an even deeper and more involved story. A better story. Something with a little meat instead of just an eye-candy action/adventure romp. If you don't want to think about your action movies, then go see XXX. Iron Man is the one for me.

Oh, and at the end of the credits they find Thor's Hammer. :D