May 12, 2010

Guys Movie Night: Iron Man 2

Great galloping guns! There's guys in metal suits all over this sequel, and there's weapons pointing in all directions. This sequel's ambitions for depth distract from the bang-bang, zoom-zoom, but the explosive battle at the end saves the movie. There's an epic quantity of ideas pulling in all directions, which leads to your typical bloated sequel. There were long stretches where the charm of Robert Downey Jr, and the quality repartee with Gwyneth Paltrow, distract us from the lack of shit blowing up. The good news is, this sequel's plethora of ideas are all good ones, and when the shit finally blows up, it blows up real good.
Mickey Rourke's Whiplash wreaks revenge and carnage on Tony Stark, Wrath Of Khan-style. His monologues make make zero sense, but I loved his Russian accent:
Ivan: If you could make God bleed, people will cease to believe in Him. There will be blood in the water, and the sharks will come.
(So is God bleeding in the ocean in this metaphor? Did God create lunch for a shark in his own image?)
Sam Rockwell is his usual hilarious self as a rival weapons manufacturer with a bad case of penis envy... wait, I mean "I want my own Iron Man suit envy".
Don Cheadle might be better than Terrence Howard as Stark's friend in the military. When he gets his own chrome-plated suit, he remakes his with tons of super-customizations, like those Honda Civics you see with a giant wing on the trunk lid: guns, guns, rockets, more guns, and don't forget the guns! I half expected to see a giant Chinese ideogram painted on the hood. Speaking of penis envy, Freud would love to analyze the scene where Stark and Rhodey wrestle each other in their matching metal super-suits.
"I need you to exit the Donut!"

Sam Jackson returns as the mysterious Nick Fury, bringing some much-needed lightness as the hard-as-nails, eye-patched, turtleneck-wearing leader of a secret superhero club which only comic book geeks care about.
George asks: Why do the women in these action movies always pose like this? (see Aeon Flux and Ultraviolet for more....)
Which brings us to Scarlett Johansson. She's the mysterious ass-kicker with the great body I've been seeing all over the Internet these last few months. She doesn't bring much humor to a part which otherwise consists of standing around with big lips. The ass kicking, when it finally arrives, is pretty fun, although the scene suffers from that cliche of kung-fu movies: why do the security guards arrive to fight her one at a time? Are they waiting in line for their turn?The five pitchers of margaritas were a great start to the evening, the only downsides were the obnoxious in-theater commercials, and the lack of good trailers. I'll give the movie a B-minus, and the evening an A!
TRIVIA: Jack wanted me to mention that the showgirls in the skimpy Iron Man costumes at the beginning of the film are credited as "The Ironettes".
MORE TRIVIA: The screenplay was written by Justin Theroux, whose only previous writing credit is for Tropic Thunder, but to me, he's best known as the evil, dreadlocked, breakdance-fighting D.J. in Zoolander. (AMC Boston Common screen 16 [DP], with George, Jack, Marc Pelletier, Harry, Jose, Murph, Ilan, and Phil)