USA 2010 Directed by: John Favreau Written by: Justin Theroux Graphic Novel: Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby Produced by: Kevin Feige Cinematography by: Matthew Libatique Editing: Dan Lebental, Richard Pearson Music: John Debney Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Paul Bettany, Gary Shandling, Christiane Amanpour, Stan Lee
For many years, DC has had a stronghold on converting their comic books to cinema. And, they were quite good at bring out follow-ups – SUPERMAN, BATMAN…uh, that’s about it. For over two decades, Marvel had tried to do the same but failed again and again. But in recent years, that curse had been broken. Every title that got the green light had been converted into a franchise: SPIDER-MAN, X-MEN, and FANTASTIC FOUR. They were even able to succeed at spin-offs like WOLVERINE (slashing out of the X-MEN series).
IRON MAN 1 was a bit of a surprise. Under the helm of Jon Favreau (an obscure choice since he’s known for his comedic roles and writings), it was a hit by any standard. And, with Sam Jackson cutting in at the end as agent Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. (another comic book title), you knew that Marvel has got something big planned – Fury wanted to recruit Tony Stark (Iron Man) to join some elite organization (another order of spin-offs, please).
Now, IRON MAN 2 had a lot to ride on. The formula was there, and so needed the twist, and the additional fireworks. Here’s where I give credit to Hollywood for doing something that no other can and doing it right. The story is rock solid. It didn’t take itself too seriously. All the dialogs were kept at a very human-speak level. Where Robert Downey Jr. had only the squeals of Gwenyth Paltrow to keep him in check, IRON MAN 2 had Sam Rockwell (playing an opposing arms dealer) to bounce off all his wits and rants with – without overshadowing him. Both their performances were tickling to watch. And, to put Gwenyth in her corner, Scarlett Johansson comes in as agent Romanoff of S.H.I.E.LD. to assess Tony Stark’s character. I don’t know how much she trained for her role or whether she had a twin who’s a stunt double, but her moves were so well choreographed that she had some of the best fight scenes in the whole movie. And topping it off with her derrière sparing sessions in the skirt, she deserves a spin-off all on her own.
Mickey Rourke gives half an effort playing a Russian mad scientist (Ivan Vanko) that’s duplicated Tony Stark’s technology, and seeks bitter vengeance on Stark. There seemed a window for more depth to Rourke’s character. But, with Rockwell stealing all the scenes, not much is left to write.
The only irk I had was the replacement of Terrence Howard (Col. Rhodey) with Don Cheadle. With Howard’s internal, silent subtlety, he was much more convincing as the friend that curbs Downey Jr.’s egomaniacal flamboyance. And, the contrast gave better comedy. No matter, there’s always Sam Rockwell to pick up the pieces. So, with mind-blowing visual effects, a hearty soundtrack, beautiful cars and jets, and a truckload of good dialog, I just might have to go see it again.
P.S. Something happens in the end that pinpoints to surefire continuity…or, yes, thank you, another spin-off.
Tags: Art, Christiane Amanpour, Culture, Don Cheadle, Don Heck, Entertainment, film, Gary Shandling, Gwyneth Paltrow, IRON MAN 2 movie 2010, IRON MAN 2 movie poster, IRON MAN 2 movie review, IRON MAN 2 movie trailer, Jack Kirby, John Favreau, Justin Theroux, Larry Lieber, Marvel Comics, Marvel Graphic Novel, Marvel Movie, Mickey Rourke, MOVIES, Paul Bettany, Reviews, Robert Downey Jr., Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Stan Lee