Sunday, May 9, 2010


Director: Jon Favreau

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell

The summer movie season is officially here, that time of the year where soda runs free, popcorn pops aplenty and big, fun, engaging blockbusters entrance our imagination and show us the power cinema has to excite us and take us to new and far reaching worlds. That's the goal, right?

You know, I don't like the idea that with the summer movies one has to check in their brain at the ticket booth, so to speak. I think there's an unspoken assumption that during the summer season, movies don't need to be that good, as long as they are entertaining. I vehemently disagree with that idea. Is it too much to ask for a film that engages all my senses, has a good story and pulls on my emotional strings? As District 9 proved last year, I don't think my request is too far-fetched.

Iron Man 2, to me, is not a better movie than the first one. The movie by itself is just OK. Whereas the first one had heart, witty comedy, good action sequences and an amazing performance by all the cast, the standout being -of course- the extremely charismatic and talented Robert Downey Jr., the second film delivers too much witty banter, action sequences, great performances (especially Mickey Rourke as Whiplash, the movie's "main" villain), slow pacing and not a lot of heart.

Slow??? Really? A Marvel superhero adrenaline-pumping summer action movie... slow? Indeed. I perceived two major problems with the movie, both interrelated: the first one was the way the movie was edited and the second one the script's structure and focus.
Iron man 2 would work soooo much better with 15 to 20min edited out of the film. There were parts during the film were it slowed to a crawl and became repetitive. After the first major action sequence of the movie (and the best one in my opinion), the movie settles into lull and I think that's where the movie's flawed script comes into play.


The way the script is structured, something happens after that first action sequence -plot wise- that completely made me lose all emotional investment I had in the characters and in their journey. The movie's main drive, the obstacle or opposing force, is removed and then we are treated to a series of subplots that don't carry nearly as much weight as the main plot line. Add to this the fact that the other major plot line in the movie's resolved 45min before the end of the film, and you are left with a very vapid, kinda funny but ultimately bland third act.


In summary, the movie blows off its charge way before the final, and required, third act big action sequence. By that point, I don't care any more and I am just watching for the sake of watching. I lost my interest in the story and I do believe, ultimately, that the problems started all the way back in the most important and oft-forgotten stage of making a movie: the script. Don't get me wrong, I think there are some pretty sweet special effects (Tony Stark's holographic-type research lab for one), very quick, smart and funny dialogue and an awesome fight scene involving Scarlett Johansson's character that proves she's the hottest woman in the planet (required primitive caveman-like male remark) but I truly felt a lacking in the emotional investment side of things. And to me, that is what ultimately separates a good movie from a great one.

I am disappointed to say the summer movie season started off in a somewhat lukewarm fashion for me. I just don't like to check in my brain at the entryway to the theater.

Discuss Iron Man 2 here!

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