So I just got out of watching IRON MAN 2 at the dome in Hollywood’s famous Arclight theater (thankfully not in Iron Man's arc reactor core). Rather than doing a traditional review and covering ground you’ll get in other areas, I’ll just share my impressions of a few key points.
- I have something of an odd relationship with this movie. The first news article I wrote for Comic Vine was about AC/DC releasing an IRON MAN 2 tie-in album and I feel like I’ve done 90% of our articles covering the news, rumors, tie-ins, sequel talk and so on relating to this movie. As such, I can’t help thinking that the crew must have had more than a chuckle or two over all the rumor-mongering. Thor is NOT a prisoner in Monaco. Kate Mara DOESN'T play Iron Maiden. And, despite the firestorm of speculation and secrecy, Olivia Munn’s cameo isn’t that significant. She definitely doesn’t play Wasp, nor Madame Masque, nor Maria Hill. She basically plays herself... for all of ten seconds.
- The thing about the first IRON MAN movie was that it didn’t feel like a superhero movie, and that was something of a double-edge sword. On the one edge, so to speak, it had a strong focus on character development and charming dialogue and it was comfortable enough to set time aside for down-to-Earth scenes - - like Tony’s night out in Vegas and his confessional press conference - - that added a lot believability to the fantasy. However, on the other edge… I don’t know about you, but a primary reason I go to see superhero movies is to see superheroic action. While it was still competently done, most of the action scenes felt like after-thoughts, especially those with Jeff Bridges as Iron Monger. That’s been rectified here, and I’m pleasantly surprised to find out that a lot of that probably has to do with Genndy Tartakovsky being specifically brought on to design and storyboard the action scenes. If anybody has seen SAMURAI JACK or CLONE WARS, you’ll understand that he’s brought something significant to this movie.
- Fans have been disappointed that the classic DEMON IN A BOTTLE storyline won’t be covered in the movies and I have to say that I agree with crew’s position on it. You can get away with an extended storyline about Tony being an alcoholic in the comics, but, like they said, kids don’t want to see Iron Man's adult-oriented struggles with addiction. Actually, the scene where Tony gets drunk and starts making a fool of himself covers that all well enough. You get that he’s on crash-course of self-destruction and depression with just one (hilarious) scene… it doesn’t need to keep repeated. This whole thing was cherrypicked from DEMON IN A BOTTLE (and ARMOR WARS) anyway, and I was very pleased to see the credits not only acknowledging IM’s creators, but also the talents that have contributed to his character over the years like Bob Layton and John Byrne.
So yeah, great acting, direction, writing and so on. This is everything you want in a blockbuster. Something that’ll please the fans while still being accessible to the general populace. 4.5/5