Iron Man 2 (8/10 for guys; 4/10 for gals)
by Tony Medley
Run time 124 minutes.
Not for children.
This is a high octane, low intellect, typical
Hollywood movie full of special effects and car crashes and violence but
low on thought. Just to give an idea about what you get in this film,
there are 70 credits for stunt people.
When you sit through this, you realize you are
watching something put together to cash in on the enormous success of
the original. Even though its cast is high quality, including Robert
Downey, Jr., beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow, curvy Scarlett Johansson, a
wooden Don Cheadle (replacing Terence Howard, who, whether voluntary or
not, was lucky not to be cast), Mickey Rourke, and Paul Bettany as the
voice of Jarvis the computer, none of them except Rourke contribute much
to the entertainment value of this film, which is devoted almost
entirely to special effects. There are an incredible number of car
crashes, loud battles, destruction of buildings. You name it in terms of
special effects, this film has it.
Oh, it’s entertaining all right, for guys,
anyway. Follow the advice of Destiny’s Child in 2008, “all you fellas
leave your girl with her friends.” The speculation that this is not a
film that will appeal to women supports the idea that they really are
the superior sex. It is as forgettable as any other meaningless
special-effects-laden entertainment put out by Hollywood to cash in on a
Johansson, an addition to this iteration, is so
round and firm and fully packed that it looked to me like Paltrow went
out and bought a set of Grace Kelly falsies so she wouldn't be entirely
overwhelmed in the chest department, a feminine asset for which she has
not been known (not that she's buxom here, just that her top does
have a shape). Rourke duplicates his role from “The Wrestler,” in
playing a mumbling, bare-chested, tattooed, violent behemoth out to kill
Downey. That’s not to say that Rourke isn’t entertaining. But he better
branch out because this character is going to get tiresome.
Other than Rourke, the only performances I
thought stood out were Larry Shandling as a cloying, greasy, hateful
United States Senator (but I repeat myself) and Sam Rockwell as the bad
guy. Rockwell’s performance rang a bell with me because I had just seen
Jason Patric ruin a similar role in “The Losers.” Unlike Patric,
Rockwell nails it.
Since the bad guys who get slaughtered by Iron
Man are mostly drones, there isn’t a lot of blood and guts, except when
Rourke is onscreen.
Director Jon Favreau (who also appears again as
Hogan, Downey’s personal assistant) has made Downey’s character, Tony
Stark, into a real jerk, so there really isn’t anyone for whom to root.
Stark is such an unlikeable egoist that one is tempted to root for
While it’s true that the story is ridiculous,
still it was a bit much to see Samuel L. Jackson thrown in as Fury, one
of Marvel Comics’ heroes from “Fantastic Four” and “Spider Man” for no
apparent purpose. I hope this isn’t a setup for a new film all about
Fury. That’s all we need, yet another hundred million dollar movie about
yet another idiotic fantasy creature.
May 6, 2010