…all the things this movie wants to do…all the things this post is not….
Iron Man has always been rooted its cynical take on the contemporary world – contemporary America to be exact. It’s steeped in its glitz, the glamour, cheap thrills. The first film toed that line between decadence and intelligence that made it less of a by-the-book “superhero” movie and something not necessarily better, but more original. When watching Iron Man 2 my mind immediately went to the other sequel I saw recently. Sure, it’s for an entirely different audience but in its way Nanny McPhee routine “saving” of children is an incarnation of Downey Jr’s superhero. It’s obvious though, Thompson’s tale improves on the original… Iron Man 2.
I can’t explain how it’s taking me so long to give my thoughts on this; I guess the general apathy I feel towards doesn’t help much. I have to purge, so on with the words.
It’s an action flick, and in that realm I suppose Favreau feels the duty to give his audience what they want – endless thrills. The thing is, the film starts out for thirty minutes without trying to give us any outlandish, or obvious thrills and this is where it works the best. Sure, Stark is still something of a prick, but Downey Jr. can pull that off. And sure Palthrow’s Pepper continues to be written as little more than a caricature making her work even harder, but she can handle it. You’d think that with a fairly good starting it’d be off to a good film, but no – false alarm. Moreover, I can’t even be certain why, but I have my ideas. It’s as if Theroux thinks that by injecting the film with character after character, and plot point after plot point he’s going to make the film better. But we can’t build any one character in such a muddle. The film seems to be lacking any significant plot, even as I’m well aware that there’s quite a lot going on. Stark has revealed he’s Iron Man, he’s dying, Pepper is the new CEO of the Company, he’s being pressured to turn over his “weapons”, Ivan Vanko wants to kill him, so does Justin Hammer, a new assistant is more than the benign girl Stark believes her to be, oh and his father also arrives from beyond the grave to order words of wisdom. Did I miss anything? In this way Iron Man 2 reminds me of a huge roll of cotton candy, eye catching and ostensibly sweet but ultimately unfulfilling (and unhealthy too). But it’s not a bad film….
Iron Man 2 reminds me of Alice in Wonderland - but whereas Alice in Wonderland despite it’s obvious poorness at times, stays on point and features excellent performances from Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway Iron Man 2 doesn’t succeed as much. Downey Jr. charms wear thin eventually and Palthrow is wasted, even if Pepper has an ostensibly large role. Samuel Jackson, Scarlett Johansson and even the much feted Mickey Rourke add nothing substantial to the film – not because they’re not trying but because no one seems sure what exactly they’re supposed to be offering. I’m not mad at it, though, because it does all it does with honesty at least, and truthfully I hope it makes all the money it can. But really, I’m neither here nor there on it…which is shame considering on all that could have been…