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Iron Man 2 (2010)

May 10, 2010

5/10 Machine Heads

This is why I need to stop watching movie trailers.

Iron Man 2 picks up where we left off with Tony Stark soaking up the spotlight and continuing to “privatize world peace” while the US Military hounds him to hand over his ass-kicking technology so that they can use it for their own devices. To make matters worse, the very gizmos that are keeping Tony alive are also slowly killing him, so he’s gotta figure that out right quick, and there’s a Russian thug on the loose with a one-track mind to kill Tony with his own dominatrix version of the Iron Man suit.

It pretty much goes without saying that this movie had a big act to follow coming off of the ultimate thrill ride that was the first Iron Man back in ’08, and for a while there, I thought things were looking up. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I was sold the second I saw that Mickey Rourke was on board and the inclusion of War Machine didn’t hurt matters either. So months go by, the day of reckoning finally arrives, I buy my ticket, I wait on an unbelievably long line, the movie eventually ends, and I realize that I had already seen this movie.

See, this is one of those unfortunate situations where the producers just went ape in the advertising department and in their efforts to make The Dark Knight look like The Back-Up Plan, they apparently felt it necessary to have every commercial, trailer, viral video, etc. showcase every single action scene in the movie just to make sure everyone on Earth was totally effing pumped for May 7th to roll around. The problem with that is no matter how awesome those few action scenes are, and there really are only a few of them, it sucks to not have anything new waiting for you.

Makes me wish I was Amish.

The other problem is that when one of the few action scenes I haven’t seen before eventually does turn up, it’s either over before it starts or it’s not even that cool to begin with, which is probably why it didn’t make it into the trailers. So part of the blame goes to the ad campaign, but the long and short of why this is an inferior sequel is that there’s nowhere near enough action to balance out all the talking going on.

Granted, Tony Stark is a guy who could keep you entertained ’til your face turned blue and Robert Downey, Jr. is still a perfect fit for the role since he’s more or less just playing himself, but when I walked into Iron Man 2, I was expecting a two hours of non-stop, badass fun that would fly by in the blink of an eye, and I definitely didn’t get that. The story’s pretty uninteresting, it tends to borrow a lot of the same plot elements from the first movie, like Tony’s ticker wearing out, and there’s never a sense of urgency that makes the audience go, “How in the eff is he gonna get out of this one?” Iron Man’s always got things under control in this one and, honestly, where’s the fun in that?

But it was cool to see John Favreau get to kick some ass for once.

And as far as the rest of ’em are concerned, Mickey Rourke is good as Whiplash, but he’s underused, Sam Rockwell’s decent as Tony’s rival weapons manufacturer, Justin Hammer, even if he does seem kind of unnecessary, and Don Cheadle’s fine as War Machine. The one thing I don’t get is why Scarlett Johannson is even in this movie, like having Black Widow around added anything to the story, like anyone even cares about Black Widow to begin with. Should have gotten rid of her and given Sam Jackson a bigger part as Nick Fury. I mean, come on, he’s the coolest guy on the banner.

Another case of too many characters at one time. Would have been better if it were just Iron Man & War Machine vs. Whiplash with Sam Jackson yelling “Does he look like a bitch!” in the background the whole time. Box office gold, I tell ya’!

Look, Iron Man 2 started out as an 8 and I was this close to giving it a 6 by the end, but the more I think about it the more I’m having trouble coming up with things I actually liked about it. As a means to flesh out Tony Stark, it works and he continues to be an endlessly fun guy to have at forefront of things, but as a showcase for Iron Man, it doesn’t really go anywhere. It also drives me crazy how this whole freakin’ movie feels like one big teaser for The Avengers instead of a lead-in to Iron Man 3, and I could honestly care less about The Avengers right now since it’s probably not gonna come out for another two years or so anyway.

Ugh, serenity now.

Iron Man 2‘s not so much a bad movie, it just pales in comparison to the first one. At least could have throw some Black Sabbath in the mix.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2010 12:45 am

    Eh. I agree with you that they recycled way too much from the first movie, but, that one was so great, so I didn’t really mind. I thought that Sam Rockwell was superb, Cheadle didn’t stand out, and Rourke was ridiculous. ScarJo served no purpose except to look hot, but, then again, that’s, like, all she’s doing these days. The action was fun, although I am hard pressed to find the ones you were talking about that weren’t in the trailers. Hold on…

    Monaco Raceway (Trailer)
    Rourke’s Prison Escape (Trailer)
    Fight in Stark’s Mansion (Trailer)
    Chased by Drones (Trailer)
    Iron Man and War Machine v. Drones (Trailer)
    …yeah, I don’t know.

    Also, yeah. Where’s was the Black Sabbath?

    • May 10, 2010 10:14 am

      Didn’t recognize the prison escape from the trailer (but that lasted five seconds anyway), the final showdown with Whiplash wasn’t in it (but that lasted five seconds anyway) and Iron Man fighting War Machine in the mansion (but that was just them taking popshots at each other for five seconds anyway). Lame.

  2. May 10, 2010 1:22 am

    Glad I’m not the only one that left the theater disappointed, and I feel you on the ‘it started out as an 8’ sentiment. Up until about the Monaco scene (like 30 minutes in), I was having a blast and would’ve given it 3 stars without blinking. Things just got kind of blah from there.

  3. May 10, 2010 4:51 am

    I agree. I had high hopes for Iron Man 2 as loved the first one. But was pretty disappointed with it in general. I tried to ignore a lot of the lukewarm reviews and like you thought the inclusion of Mickey Rourke was genius. But, having seen it, neither Rourke, RDJ or Rockwell managed to improve on what was an only okay movie.

  4. May 10, 2010 5:19 am

    Haven’t seen IM2 yet but have been to a few movies lately where the trailers showcased the best action scenes/laughs/dramatic bits and it’s just outright ruined the film for me. IM2 seems the worst though as you can’t watch 2 minutes of telly without a plug or a tie-in. I guess we all need to start waiting for the DVDs.

  5. May 10, 2010 7:12 am

    I wasn’t surprised that this wasn’t as good as the first movie. However, I still want to go out of my way to see this film, mostly cause of my love for Rourke.

  6. May 10, 2010 8:27 am

    I know what you mean about watching trailers. I struggled to give the film a 7. It was just so jam packed with different story arcs that weren’t even needed. I liked Rockwell a lot in the film, and I felt that he was the focus on being the main villain. Once Rockwell enters the film, Rourke is just kind of hanging around and not doing very much.

    Johannson was so unnecessary and Sam Jackson plays Sam Jackson (with an eye patch).

    It’s like Favreau skipped making Iron Man 2, and just went the Spiderman 3 route.

    • May 10, 2010 10:16 am

      Yeah, definitely picked up on the Spidey 3 vibe. Just too much going on and I’m a big fan of Rourke and Rockwell, too. Disappointing.

  7. May 10, 2010 11:26 am

    Ouch, I’m going to see it tomorrow. Will let you know what I think but I definitely am expecting it to not be as good as the first one.

    • May 10, 2010 11:34 am

      You’ll probably end up loving it since your expectations are probably lowered since our little blogging community has shunned it.

      • May 10, 2010 11:36 am

        Haha, I was just gonna say something along those lines. Wish I had had that same luxury.

  8. May 10, 2010 1:06 pm

    glad you agreed with me AR. great minds and all that
    a serious underwhelming mess of a movie

  9. May 10, 2010 5:48 pm

    Was debating whether to see Iron Man 2 or Robin Hood tomorrow, it’s got to be Robin of Locksley. Iron Man was cool to watch but that was about it, I think I’ll leave it there.

    • May 10, 2010 5:52 pm

      Aw man, I hope you’re not talking about the first Iron Man, that was the bomb. Either way, I’d go Robin Hood on that one. Man, you Irish get all these movies early, don’t ya?

  10. May 11, 2010 3:01 pm

    Glad I decided to skip one. Watching the trailer, I knew this simply wasn’t going to be as good as the first because it introduced way too many characters. Looked like a case of Spider-Man 3 all over again.

    And I wonder if this is the year of “Pulp Fiction” jokes with John Travolta’s self-referential character in “From Paris with Love.”

    • May 12, 2010 7:35 am

      Yeah, I had the same feeling when I saw the trailers, too, but I naturally saw it anyway. Not really surprised though, even thought it’s still better than Spidey 3.

  11. Pablo Chiste permalink
    May 13, 2010 3:34 pm

    Come on a 5? We’ve gotten spoiled. If this would have come out before 1999 it would be considered the best comic book movie of all time. Here’s a link to my full review…

    • May 13, 2010 3:57 pm

      BLASPHEMY! Time travel conversations are tough to get into, man. You could say that about tons of things.

  12. May 14, 2010 9:04 am

    Wow…This review makes me a little sad inside.

    For starters, your score leaves me curious. If this film is a 5/10, what does INCREDIBLE HULK get? DAREDEVIL?? PUNISHER??? It ain’t perfect, and yeah it’s not as good as part one…but c’mon man – it ain’t that bad.

    Once I got past that, I had a hard time swallowing your criticsm that every great moment was in the trailer. Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but I you’ve just pointed out the very reason why I don’t pay too much attention to trailers anymore. Sure the trailer gave us a glimpse of the Grand Prix showdown, but there was a lot more to that scene that wasn’t covered…and actually turned it into a pretty nifty sequence.

    And you’re right – the movie is working to set up THE AVENGERS…because that’s what’s coming next. Consider it IRON MAN 2.5 if you need to and get used to it…because it looks like each Marvel movie is going to knowingly look to the next until we get to AVENGERS.

    Sorry – don’t mean to dump on you like this, but it sounds like you’re reacting to this based on expectation, marketing, and hype…and not based on what you watched.

    • May 14, 2010 10:07 am

      Boy howdy, what a way to start the morning.

      As far as the score is concerned, that’s just dead-on how I felt about it. Can’t say how it compares to Hulk, Daredevil or Punisher because I haven’t seen them (even though I heard they sucked), but then again, those are entirely different movies. Apples and oranges that all happen to have superheroes in common. IM2 was disappointing and a big step down from the thrill and fun of the first one, simple as that.

      And the trailers totally showcased every last action scene this movie had to offer, with the exception of Whiplash’s last hurrah which lasted all of five seconds. Yeah, we did get to see Whiplash ripping up the car on the racetrack, but we’d already seen the suit in the briefcase, there was never a moment where I felt like Tony was effed, like he wasn’t gonna get out of it (especially when he starts wrapping himself up in the whips like he’s totally impervious to it) and the rest of the action more or less followed that same formula. But like you said, would have helped if I hadn’t seen the trailers.

      And even if every Marvel movie is now working up to The Avengers, I have a problem with that, I’ve had a problem with The Avengers since they first announced that they were actually going to make it, I think it’s way too ambitious and it’s gonna blow up in everyone’s face. Seems like they’re putting all their eggs in one basket and I could give a shit about fan service if it’s gonna turn IM2 into a teaser for a movie that I’d still rather see a lot less than IM3.

      Ugh, sorry to dump back, and it’s not like I can’t understand how other folks liked this, but based on what I watched I was more bummed out than I was entertained, but the marketing didn’t help much either.

      Can we still be friends? I still think you’re awesome.

  13. May 14, 2010 10:38 am

    Ha – we’re totally still friends. I love dialogue where I disagree with someone, so long as it stays respectful (which you’re doing – bravo!). If you want to see thinks get really fun, go look at my comments in Yojimbo’s article about KICK-ASS.

    For reference sake, I vote you make a point to endure both Hulk films, DAREDEVIL and PUNISHER. The Ed Norton Hulk especially is not apples and oranges, since it was the second stop on this “Avengers Express” Marvel Studios has us on for a few years. Those movies are all varying degrees of bad. Seeing them might make you come back to I:2 and think “Hell, it wasn’t what I wanted it to be…but it isn’t that bad”.

    Yeah, again you suffer from trailer overload…and perhaps going forward you’ll keep trailers at arm’s reach. Think about it from the perspective of someone who hasn’t seen much promo for the film…how cool is the introduction of the “Football” case suit? Ditto that final showdown with all of Hammer’s drones.

    That said, for me, Tony’s introspection was a more interesting part of the overall story than the action anyway.

    Yeah, if you’re anti-AVENGERS, then you’re totally gonna want to sit out the next few features. Marvel announced back just after the release of IRON MAN that they wanted to launch a series of connected films within the Marvel Universe. They used the term “lining planes up on the runway”. So what it’ll turn into by the end is IRON MAN—>INCREDIBLE HULK—>IRON MAN 2—>THOR—>CAPTAIN AMERICA—>AVENGERS.

    You’re right, this is a wickedly tricky concept. The odds that they pull it off are staggeringly stack against. But I’ll give them points for trying. It creates a better co-hesion of movies rather than all of the stand-alone properties that have nothing to do with one another since they come from different studios (ie, you’ll never see Hugh jackman’s Wolverine show up in a Spider-Man film, even though they do occasionally interact with one another in comics). So you might be in for a rough few summers…but it’s possible that it might come together for a nifty set of popcorn flicks!

    As I said – never apologize for stating your opinion. Usually when I have a conversation like this I end it with one small request:

    Not tomorrow…not next week…not even while it’s still in theatres. But sometime down the road, do me a favour and watch it again.

    • May 14, 2010 11:04 am

      Haha, I’ll happily give another go down the road, probably right before the Avengers comes out on my 83rd birthday.

      I liked all the stuff with Tony just because Tony’s a cool dude, but I wish it got more into his alcoholism instead of his blood toxicity level, which also felt rehashed.

      The football suitcase was awesome though, just have no idea why they didn’t save that for the movie. I’m sure it would have been better if I had gone into it blind, but alas, such was not the case.

      And where’s this Kick-Ass throwdown? I’m afraid I haven’t had the pleasure to come across this Yojimbo yet and I’m anxious to check it out.

      • May 14, 2010 10:44 pm

        Yes on the rehashed blood toxicity stuff! It reminded me of “Spider-Man 3” and the black suit!

  14. May 14, 2010 6:01 pm

    Thought it was Ok to say the least. Check out my review here:

  15. nothatwasacompliment permalink
    December 9, 2010 8:44 am

    Just got around to seeing this, and thought i’d check out what you thought of it. We’re pretty much in agreement. Lot’s of talk, little action, too many plot lines and characters crammed in for no reason.

    • December 10, 2010 8:54 am

      Yeah, this was such a disappointment. Just a shitty mess that’s got nothing on the first one and is more of a prelude to The Avengers than anything else. F that S.

  16. chris donnelly permalink
    September 11, 2012 1:27 am

    Hi, this is to all the people who hate the way hollywood denegrates people like scientists. I actually developed a story, a script, whereby a rich person is a psychopathic killing machine, kind of the opposite to tony stark/iron man and bruce wayne/batman. I won’t describe the context because the script isn’t yet legally covered, however, everybody in hollywood will get a run for their money when this script comes across their desks.

    • September 11, 2012 11:02 am

      Well good for you, man! Sure do hope to review it one day.

      • chris donnelly permalink
        September 12, 2012 4:13 am

        Hey Aiden, thanks for the reply and the support, we members of the public, or at least certain categories, don’t deserve that sort of theatrical money making denegration, one day, those rich fat cats will see this one in the cinemas (I hope) and they will piss their pants mate, lol, cd.

      • September 12, 2012 7:28 pm

        Haha. Well keep on fighting the good fight, man. We need more of you out there.


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