Iron Man 2

Ever had a meal where you had so much to eat that the flavours just piled up on your tongue, one on top of the other, so you couldn’t really recall what the heck it was that you ate? The cinematic equivalent of that experience is called Iron Man 2.

Let’s see: You’ve got Tony Stark trying to stave off — or failing that, come to terms with — his impending demise. The Palladium in the reactor in his chest is poisoning him, and no known element or compound can stop that. To make things worse, there’s a Russian guy named Ivan Vanko who believes that Stark Sr. cheated and ruined his dad and now wants revenge. Trouble with a guy like Stark is, enemies aren’t in short supply, so it isn’t long before Ivan finds an ally in Justin Hammer, a rival arms dealer who wants to make scores of Iron Men for the US army. Which the army is only too happy to get because Tony refuses to part with his suit. Meanwhile… See what I mean?

There’s so much happening that it becomes all too easy to tune out, let the proceedings wash over you and savour the pleasures of the occasional well-made scene or smartly written piece of dialogue.

… Like Mickey Rourke’s entrance as Whiplash in the middle of a race track in Monaco. Thanks to years of God alone knows what all he’s done, Rourke now has a face that does half the scriptwriter’s job when it comes to character development. With that toothpick nestled between his lips and that metal-toothed smile, he steals every scene he is in by simply turning up.

… Or the scene where Tony Stark finally figures out his father’s legacy. There’s a moment there when he says, in a voice filled with wonder, “Dead twenty years, still taking me to school.” Robert Downey Jr. does so much with just that one line, it makes up for the shoddy I-thought-my-father-didn’t-love-me-he-was-a-cold-asshole excuse for character development all in one go.

… Or Sam Rockwell’s little jig before he delivers his address at the Stark expo. Stars come and go, but good character actors never go out of style. The Sam Rockwells will always be around, and that is reason enough to celebrate.

Trouble is, these moments don’t add up to a satisfying experience. There’s just too much happening, as though Jpn Favreau wasn’t sure if he’d get funding for Iron Man 3 and decided to shoehorn the plot for the next movie into this one. As a result, nothing really gets enough attention. Think about this: I haven’t even mentioned Pepper Potts or the Black Widow or Nick Fury so far, and that should tell you something right there.

Plots like these require extraordinary acting for us to care about what happens. Two actors prove themselves to be up to the task: Robert Downey Jr. and Mickey Rourke. The others manage the occasional moment where they pique our interest, but that’s about it.

When Stark says, “The suit and I are one,” he means more than he intends to. Take him out of the picture and all you have is a drone.


4 thoughts on “Iron Man 2

  1. St. Ark says:

    They say all good things come in threes. But Iron Man 2 seems to be upping the ante on that by, er, 2 — news has it that it’s the fifth-biggest box-office grosser of all time. In my language, that means we saw a derby-winner this weekend! 😀

    Nicely summed up by you. Especially para 5… fascinating bit about Stark finally figuring out his father’s legacy.

    “The Soot and I are one” – Mani’s marketing team should totally steal this tagline for that Raavanan still showing a blackened-beyond-recognition Vikram.

    • SA says:

      p.s: Before we go overboard celebrating all things 5, have you heard of The Straight Dope? It’s a ’70s syndicated newspaper column in these parts, of dubious authorship. In the sense, this guy Cecil Rhodes is supposed to have written it and Ed Zotti was, well, the editor. But junta thinks Adams and Zotti are in fact (you guessed it!), One.

      I was reading some of the old columns and found this juicy tidbit about Greek gestures: In Greece, the five fingers spread out and thrust forward in someone’s face means “Shit in your face”! Great. Goes to show how the “Greeks continue to enrich civilization,” no?

      Very “handy” tip for your next vacation, btw. Thank me later.

  2. I actually really enjoyed this. Could be Robert Downey just is the perfect choice for the callous boozing self centered Tony Stark, or how Scarlett Johansson just rocked that black suit and kicked all those guys’ asses, but I left the theatre smiling. Plus I enjoy seeing stuff blown up every now and then. Did you stay until after the credits to see the already infamous “introduction of Thor” scene? There’s already talk about the sequence of movies that will be coming out in the next two years: Thor, Captain America, then the Avengers, with talk that Robert possibly may not be playing Ironman in the Avengers movie. I can’t see anyone else playing him.

  3. It Takes 2! says:

    “The Sam Rockwells will always be around, and that is reason enough to celebrate” — and by this you mean more than you intend to, don’t you? 😀 (Assuming you stayed until a little past the closing credits, when there is a second or two of just you and the silent screen, and then…)

    So you thought there was too much going on? We must have seen separate movies then, coz I simply couldn’t have enough. 😀

    Everything you said about Whiplash. (Big fan of Rourke since Sin City.) The Monaco motor race sequence was especially mind blowing — screw those 3D’s and CGI eyeball-stuffing that movies have going on these days and give us more of these please, you techno-gods at the studios!

    And all those fart jokes and double entendres (from “Wind Farm” all the way to “how annoying a prick can be”)… Use of the Rolex(?) as payment to symbolize that Time has come (when Stark stops to buy a box of strawberries on the roadside — so random — but in a scene that ensues, chews the top off one of them only to have the epiphany of a lifetime)… How he doesn’t think to deactivate the oh-so-valuable asset his best friend had stolen from under his nose… The rooftop kiss, ah finally!

    What really wowed me though was the “wouldn’t it be wonderful to have friends like these who’d wade thru shit just to scoop you up and carry you someplace safe” Tolkien touch.

    That, and the fact that the guy’s a walking talking Periodic Table (hey, he even adds a new element to himself before the movie’s done), with a “hi-tech crossword puzzle” tacked on.

    p.s: Came home from the movie, flicked the TV on in time to catch the “Robots and Wrestlers” episode of “How I Met Your Mother,” weird!

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