Wednesday, 28 April 2010
FILM REVIEW: IRON MAN 2
If the Transformers films have taught us nothing else (and they haven't), it's that nothing makes for duller cinema than robots hammering on each other. Sadly, the producers of Iron Man have failed to heed that lesson and following on from the robot-on-robot finale of the first film (my only quibble with it), the sequel's finale is given over to a flurry of indistinguishable metal men. Apparently, more is more, and in this instance that means more iron, less man.
That man is Tony Stark, billionaire weapons manufacturer and playboy who dons the technologically advanced suit he created to become the titular hero. Robert Downey Jnr,'s portrayal was the main factor for the success of the first Iron Man, certainly the reason why I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
He's equally as good here but returning director, Jon Favreau (who also appears as Stark's bodyguard, Happy), and the screenwriters, have decided to focus more on the action than the man. That not only means less Downey Jnr but also Gwyneth Paltrow as Stark's super-efficient PA, Pepper Potts. These two have real chemistry and spark off each with their verbal repartee; somebody write them a screwball comedy stat.
Mickey Rourke, as Ivan Vanko, a Russian with an axe to grind, and Scarlett Johansson, as Natalie Rushman, a paralegal with a secret, aren't given an awful lot to do either. Rourke's Vanko is set-up as a major threat to Stark's Iron Man but is dispensed in the film's climax with relative ease. Natalie Rushman, on the otherhand, seems to have been written with one major character trait: to look good in a cat suit. And while Johansson certainly fits that bill nicely, she deserves better.
Only Sam Rockwell, as Stark's rival weapons manufacturer, Justin Hammer, makes an impression and that's mostly because he seems to be channeling the dark side of Downey Jnr's Stark. I see your kooky and raise you some crazy-scary.
In its favour, Iron Man 2 is not being released in 3D, real or faux (it is releasing in an IMAX format, but why you'd bother I don't know). Is Iron Man 2 as good as the first? No, but that's to be expected. Is it a bad film? No. Admittedly I was disappointed but as far as popcorn and superhero movies go, you could do a lot worse – a lot worse.
And unlike the aforementioned Transformers, it doesn't bludgeon you into submission with its stupidity. Iron Man 2 isn't stupid, he's just less brilliant the second time around.