09 May 2010

Iron Man 2 *

(I'm posting from my family's house during a lull in a Mother's Day celebration, so I'll be brief.)

Interesting. Thoroughly palatable, but the action scenes felt even more forced and cartoony than the last one. The fights our hero has to make it through seem surprisingly easy, bloodless, and apart from architectural damage, consequence-free; and every time Iron Man is backed into a corner he just pulls another Magic Doohickey out of his utility belt built-in armament. At no point does it feel like anybody dies or is at risk of dying.

The character stuff was better. The story's a little crowded with characters and subplots, but it never feels clunky because of it, and it moves at a fast clip that never leaves you bored -- well, except perhaps during some of the exhausting, sterile action sequences; namely the race track fight with its Happy-and-Pepper comic relief duo silliness and the final showdown in Willy Wonka's factory (or wherever that was supposed to be) with all the Imperial stormtroopers Hammer drones and Whiplash or whoever that was. But the whole thing does feel lighter and chewier than the first one. It starts to explore governmental control and the responsbility of power and the price of peace, but then it lets those things go so it can have a big silly flying chase scene. Alas. In short, the movie is complicated but not clunky, but doesn't have much to say except, "Let's have fun." I'm not faulting it for that. It's Iron Man 2, for god's sake. I'm just stating facts.

Side note: Mickey Rourke is almost as fun to watch as Robert Downey Jr. (come to think of it, so is Sam Rockwell and Samuel L. Jackson; and Paltrow, Johansson, Gregg and Favreau are all smartly played bit parts), but what I want to mention specifically is: Rourke does a hell of a good (fake) Russian accent.

It's interesting to see the party line coming in, building different movie series toward the Avengers film, and though I've always found the Avengers to be boring (though I've never read any of Bendis's revitalization of them, and I do like Brian Michael Bendis...) I do kind of like the solidarity of the movies as they move forward. It's clever: this means I'll probably go see Thor, even though normally I wouldn't give a crap. My point is, good for them. Plus, it felt intelligently woven into the story, not shoehorned in to build a franchise.

Anyway, I just realized how much I can say about this one movie, because I have a triggerfinger geek side. But like I said, it's family time and this is already long. Enough is enough.

Seen at Bridgeport Plaza's Regal Theatre.

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