Sunday, October 9, 2011

Iron Man 2

By Sati. Sunday, October 9, 2011 , , , , , , ,
(124 min, 2010)
Director: Jon Favreau
Writers: Justin Theroux (screenplay), Stan Lee (Marvel comic book)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke and Gwyneth Paltrow
Shoot to thrill
I didn't have high expectations – I just wanted to see Robert and redheaded Scarlett. I did not debate over the question whether this will be better than the original, I didn't spend a second of my time on thinking about the plot. I liked 'Iron Man' a lot and it was very entertaining, definitely better than most comic book based movies. It was around the level of „Batman Begins”. I have to say – this part is better. You know this rule that there are always more things in the sequel? Bigger, louder, with more impressive CGI? The rule applies here and I don't see why it's a bad thing. I was however shocked, how serious and not much fun original movie seems now comparing to this one. Dear reader, I have laughed more on „Iron Man 2” than on „The Big Lebowski” and please note that the dude story is my second all-time favorite comedy. „Iron Man 2” is hilarious – particularity the scene on the racetrack where Rourke is at one point unconscious, Paltrow is screaming like possessed and Downey is still capable of throwing in a killer line. Or Scarlett's entrance, or strawberry situation, or excellent ending scene....So much fun.

It is the second time in the history when I have to declare that Robert didn't give the best performance in the movie, it hurts me to write this, but it is the truth. The first time he „lost” to Michael Douglas in „Wonder boys” and now the winner is, hands down, Sam Rockwell. He always steals the show, no matter who is in the cast with him. He was unforgettable in „Green Mile” and „Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”, he was incredibly funny and memorable in „Frost/Nixon” two years ago and let's not forget he almost got nominated for „Moon” last year, his exclusion caused riots all over internet boards. He was actually the original choice for Tony Stark, but studio went with Downey instead. Rockwell may not be as good looking as Robert but as Justin Hammer he totally rocks the screen. He is charismatic, funny, mischievous. The viewer waits for him to appear on screen. Brilliant work. He created fantastic duo with Rourke – they share a lot of awesome scenes.

Rockwell is not the only newcomer – we have Scarlett Johansson in this one. And she is another person you wait for – she never looked more glamorous – in the first scene we see her, when camera shows extreme close up of her face, there were gasps all over audience. She looks incredibly beautiful and she has many awesome scenes but the best one is definitely her fighting sequence near the end of the film, where she takes down around 15 guys in incredibly short time and very impressive manner. I read Scarlett was very individualistic on the set and her character is too, maybe it was intended. But she is not having as much fun as Downey and Paltrow and Rockwell and Rourke are having. She looks cold, calculating, serious. A real femme fatale and perfect Black Widow.

Mickey Rourke was perfect choice for the villain of the story – he is petrifying. On the racetrack I fought if he actually gets to Downey he may have the strength to rip him apart with his bare hands. His role is very humorous too, he has hilarious lines and his delivery is perfect, his russian accent sounded very convincing too.

Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her part of Pepper Potts, Tony Stark's lovely assistant. And here I was stunned – her character changed so much, for the better when it comes to viewer and for worse when you think what poor Tony needs to endure. In the first movie Pepper was like Tony's nanny, but she was always polite, sweet, charming, innocent. I don't think she even so much as rised her voice throughout the film. Dear viewer, up until yesterday, I had no idea Paltrow can yell that much and that loud. She is screaming a lot in the film and has something that can only be described as panic attack many times. And that is awesome, cause it makes for many fantastic scenes where she and Tony argue. Gwyneth and Robert have amazing chemistry and those scenes are easily the biggest highlight of the film, I loved how quick-paced and fiery the dialogues were and as I said I would not suspect Paltrow of such an ability. She totally rocked and her Pepper is one of the best superhyro's girlfriends ever.
The only thing I didn't like about the movie was that they change Terrence Howard for Don Cheadle in the role of Rhodey. Stark's friend. He seems bored, not committed to the whole thing, a bit in pain, like actual physical pain as if he was forced to be in the film against his will, at times. He has zero chemistry with Downey and now that's an achievement.

Robert puts so much of himself in the movie – I think Tony Stark's persona with all this wit, humor and undeniable charm is one of the most similar roles to his own self he ever played. There is a scene where drunk Tony is spinning out of control which is hilarious, but given Downey's past I was impressed by the presence of the scene in the movie, not that he ever avoided such scenes – clearly he is completely comfortable with this and let's face it – the boy knows how person acts when he is intoxicated beyond human comprehension. Robert gets to portray darker side of the hero here – Tony is dying from the very thing that is keeping him alive and each day he is closer to total poisoning and death. There is also more romance in this one – we finally get to see a kiss between him and Gwyneth and the looks he and Scarlett share are priceless. And the camera loves him – there is a moment were he sits inside gigantic hologram and they focus on him for a while – pure glory. He looks great, but because his character is so much alike him, I cannot praise his extraordinary acting ability here, because neither it was used nor it was necessary. He just had to be himself, when „playing” Tony Stark.

The CGI is incredibly impressive – the scene in Monaco were Rourke's Vanko appears for he first time is amazing. I was sitting in the theater with my jaw dropped. The final battle is also very well done, but the race track is definitely the best action sequence in the film. Contrary to popular belief, the movie contains only two AC/DC songs and as John Debney score was average at best, I thought the movie could have used more of their songs. The editing is terrific, but the cinematography wasn't exceptional. It's not something that I notice, though, when I'm that focused on the characters.

I was surprised so many scenes used in the trailer didn't appear in the movie, the scene where Pepper kisses the helmet and the “aiming” practice between Scarlett and Robert. Very good scenes, I cannot imagine why they didn't make it to the film. Maybe Favreu decided it would be a little too much fun, since near the end of the film Cheadle's embarrassing performance is killing the dialogue exchange.

I keep reading the reviews where people either bash the movie or call it mediocre. Their arguments are idiotic – one of them doesn't think the plot had much sense because Vanko is first in Russia and then he is suddenly in Monaco. „How did he get there?” lost and confused reviewer asks. Probably by flying a fucking plane, I respond.

The plot has many things happening - there is Vanko and his revenge plot, jealous Hammer, a bit of Tony Stark with the exception of nobility and Iron Man suit, the fall between Rhodey and Stark, lovely Natalie who turns out to be a double agent, „Shield” people, Tony's illness, his love to Pepper and a fantasy element since, I'm not sure how exactly possible that is, creating new element. Yes. It actually happens in the movie.

People says it's not there with „The Dark Knight”. I agree. It's above it. „The Dark Knight” was so grim and ridiculously morbid, not to mention it insulted the viewer with horrible, mind numbingly stupid ferry sequence where of course one luckily reformed prisoner saves the day. I liked TDK, I thought it was a good movie, but nowhere near the hype. It took itself too seriously and with the ferry situation and Two face's make up it didn't have the right to do that. „Iron Man 2” is lots of fun – handsome hero, beautiful, strong woman, fantastic special effects, engaging plot, terrific dialogue and what made the first movie so successful – vivid, fascinating characters. Go see the movie for all of that. And if you are a man and don't care – go see it for Scarlett and trust me – you won't regret it.


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