Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Iron Man 2

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I've been looking forward to seeing this movie for quite a while now, last night I finally got my chance.

It was entertaining and action-packed, but to be honest I felt a bit underwhelmed by it.

Robert Downey Jr., as in the first movie, made a very convincing Tony Stark, no doubt aided by the fact that Downey in real life possesses quite a lot of the traits that the fictional Tony Stark does, particularly a history of alcohol abuse and a certain respect and notoriety among the press and in their respective industries.

The rest of the cast was pretty much standard fare, though Don Cheadle's portrayal of James "Rhodey" Rhodes/War Machine seemed quite lackluster and insubstantial, relying more on action scenes and computer-generated gee-wizardry to capture the interest of the audience. The close friendship between Stark and Rhodes as well as Rhodes' bad-ass personality as portrayed in the comics was barely evident, with Cheadle merely being a man in a armored suit, and hardly anything else.

The villain in the movie, Ivan Vanko (an antagonist only conceived for this movie), as played by Mickey Rourke is your stereotypical evil genius bad guy. Despite being an acclaimed actor, Rourke didn't do much with the role, despite all the external fluff such as the tattoos, gold teeth and the bird, not that he had much to work with as the character seemed to lack depth from the start. Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer is your everyday corporate asshole, much like Ronny Cox's Dick Jones in the first RoboCop.

Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff was much more impressive, especially in the fight scenes which were quite unconventional, emphasizing her skill, agility and dexterity instead of brute force. To be honest, I would prefer someone with stronger Eastern European features to play the Black Widow. Johansson may actually be a little too pretty for the role, looking like the stereotypical girl next door despite the attempts at corporate power dressing and the leather catsuit.

The Mark II and Mark III armors were all well rendered and convincingly depicted, though it's not that surprising since the first movie was already a very good benchmark as far as computer-generated imagery and props are concerned. As for the special effects and explosions, they were pretty awesome. Let's face it, you'll watch this movie for the effects, and not really for the story or anything else for that matter (except perhaps for Scarlett Johansson in a catsuit). That's all good and fine, as the effects by themselves are already worth the price of a ticket.

The film itself was a lark. It's a bit dumbed down, much like the first (actually it's way dumbed down), when compared to the intricate plots and characters of the comics, but that's to be expected in order to broaden the appeal of the movie to everyone, from young kids to old folks, even to those who haven't picked up a single Iron Man comic book before.

If you don't have high expectations and just expect to be entertained, you'll like this movie. I did. Just don't expect to think much of it after you leave the cinema. I didn't.

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