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Old January 3 2011, 11:32 PM   #1
Gaith
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For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

(Just a little rant inspired by many things, including io9 recently putting IM2 on their "worst of" sci-fi list when "Predators" made the best")



Why is IM2 a good movie? Glad you asked...


The Script/Story

IM2 tells the story of how Tony's self-imposed social isolation becomes too much for his body to handle as the only Iron Man, and how, with the help of some cooler heads, he regains his mojo just in time to prevent a psychotic and an amoral arms dealer from proliferating WMD-like technology and killing the one woman who sees him for his potential inner worth.

Yeah, I'll take that over "rich douchebag with a tank but nothing to say fights a guy planning to infect a city's water supply with hallucinogens with a magic microwave that'll boil the water but not people's bodies" any day.


The Cast

Let's get one thing straight: IM2 isn't the Keanu-tastic Matrix sequels or even X3, where apart from Jackman, you're saddled with Kelsey Grammar and Halle Berry at their most tedious, and need a razor-sharp, first-rate script to stay afloat. No, the pairing of the always awesome RDJ with the awesome-with-RDJ Paltrow inherently elevates this sequel to memorability. And no, that's not to be taken for granted.

Moreover, you get Mickey Rourke as a crazy, tattooed Russian, Sam Rockwell at his kookiest (dropping a James Joyce reference!), Samuel L. Jackson with an eyepatch, and ScarJo in tight leather, to say nothing of Cheadle, that senatordude and the legendary Coulson. I call that an embarassmeant of riches

This movie, like The Wolfman (but more so), pretty much succeeds on the strength of its cast alone.


A Sense of History

How often does a superhero movie engage with history in any meaninful (let alone interesting) way? To most tentpole pics, "history" either refers to strictly personal family history (an anecdote or two of Aunt May's about Uncle Ben), or total bullshit (an alien robot frozen inside the Hoover Dam). IM2, however, gives us plot points integrally tied to the post-War economic and technological boom, the military-industrial complex, the Cold War and World's Fairs, with hints of Disneyesque Americana and the inherited weakness for alcoholism. Even its outlandish present (North Korea building WMDs) engages with reality rather than ignoring it in favor of some urban decay fantasy (The Dark Knight and its preposterously powerful mobs) or random/anonymous shiny city (Superman Returns, Tron).

This, folks, is that rare gem: a blockbuster with brains.


Avengers Stuff: Tease?

Lots of IM2 complaints have centered upon the Avengers material, calling it superfluous to the movie's story and mere shilling for the upcoming Avengers movie. Both points are crap

First, the notion that the Fury/Black Widow scenes aren't important to the plot. This is the first time since college that Tony has had cause to look up to anyone as any kind of authority figure, and they represent the first group (apart from the Taliban, naturally) that hasn't welcomed him with open arms in his whole life. When Tony sees how close the Avengers are coming to muscling him out of Stark Industries via the Pepper-Widow business alliance, he's inspired to get his act together and grow up a bit. Fury thus doesn't just advance the plot, he helps our protagonist mature. Take out the Avengers scenes and you've got a much flimsier story - unlike the Gambit/Blob/Electric Hobbit stuff in Wolverine, which was mere plot filler.

With this in mind, as for the notion that those bits are building to the Avengers movie: so the heck what? What Marvel is doing with this shared cinematic universe of theirs is literally unparalleled in more than a century of film history. It's innovative and exciting, and even if the Avengers movie falls flat on its face, isn't it more admirable to have too much artistic ambition than too little? The vast majority of superhero movies are still designed to inhabit one isolated franchise, and I therefore frankly welcome something different


The Action

It was pretty damn cool. Also, ScarJo in tight black leather instantly invalidates any and all possible conflations of this and Spider-Man 3.


Not Perfect

Granted, IM2 wasn't perfect. I would have liked to see Sen. Stearns identified as a Republican, Tony's poisoned veins healed way too quickly twice, Happy and Pepper driving against the race traffic was as dumb as the bronto chase in PJ's Kong (albeit far, far shorter), and the suitcase suit would have worked better as a skeletal frame similar to Vanko's suit. But these are minor quibbles


Conclusion: enough with the whinging. Iron Man 2 was a damn fine flick.
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Old January 3 2011, 11:45 PM   #2
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

Liked the first one better...
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Old January 3 2011, 11:48 PM   #3
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

It was okay, but nowhere near as good as the first one (probably only about half as good).
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Old January 4 2011, 12:20 AM   #4
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

Iron Man 2 was a good movie, not a great movie. Needed more action. He fights Whiplash at the race track and that's the only fight until the end. No, I don't count Tony and Rhodey's drunken slap fight.
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Old January 4 2011, 12:28 AM   #5
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

Gaith wrote: View Post

Why is IM2 a good movie? Glad you asked...


The Script/Story

IM2 tells the story of how Tony's self-imposed social isolation becomes too much for his body to handle as the only Iron Man, and how, with the help of some cooler heads, he regains his mojo just in time to prevent a psychotic and an amoral arms dealer from proliferating WMD-like technology and killing the one woman who sees him for his potential inner worth.

Yeah, I'll take that over "rich douchebag with a tank but nothing to say fights a guy planning to infect a city's water supply with hallucinogens with a magic microwave that'll boil the water but not people's bodies" any day.
I realize you're poking fun, but it wouldn't be hard to reverse this:

BB tells the story of a tortured man who struggles with the tragedy of his parents' deaths while he trains himself to become a weapon to prevent similar tragedies. This pushes him to the point where he realizes he has to sacrifice everything to prevent his city from delving into madness.

I'll take that over, rich prick pisses off everyone while slowly dying due to turning himself into a key component of a weapon, which is copied by his enemies who he has to defeat in the middle of a crowded venue where, luckily casualties are kept to a minimum despite a major battle occurring all around them.


The Cast

Let's get one thing straight: IM2 isn't the Keanu-tastic Matrix sequels or even X3, where apart from Jackman, you're saddled with Kelsey Grammar and Halle Berry at their most tedious, and need a razor-sharp, first-rate script to stay afloat. No, the pairing of the always awesome RDJ with the awesome-with-RDJ Paltrow inherently elevates this sequel to memorability. And no, that's not to be taken for granted.

Moreover, you get Mickey Rourke as a crazy, tattooed Russian, Sam Rockwell at his kookiest (dropping a James Joyce reference!), Samuel L. Jackson with an eyepatch, and ScarJo in tight leather, to say nothing of Cheadle, that senatordude and the legendary Coulson. I call that an embarassmeant of riches

This movie, like The Wolfman (but more so), pretty much succeeds on the strength of its cast alone.
Absolutely agreed, while I don't think it was as good as the first, it was still massively enjoyable, and you are absolutely correct in the fact that the cast definitely made it work. I can forgive most things about a weak plot if the cast sells it.


A Sense of History

How often does a superhero movie engage with history in any meaninful (let alone interesting) way? To most tentpole pics, "history" either refers to strictly personal family history (an anecdote or two of Aunt May's about Uncle Ben), or total bullshit (an alien robot frozen inside the Hoover Dam). IM2, however, gives us plot points integrally tied to the post-War economic and technological boom, the military-industrial complex, the Cold War and World's Fairs, with hints of Disneyesque Americana and the inherited weakness for alcoholism. Even its outlandish present (North Korea building WMDs) engages with reality rather than ignoring it in favor of some urban decay fantasy (The Dark Knight and its preposterously powerful mobs) or random/anonymous shiny city (Superman Returns, Tron).

This, folks, is that rare gem: a blockbuster with brains.
Yes, the movie does pull all of that together nicely, but it isn't necessary. But, I fail to see why it makes it superior over other movies. Some movies are grander in scale and others are more toned down. Neither necessarily makes the movie better or worse.


Avengers Stuff: Tease?

Lots of IM2 complaints have centered upon the Avengers material, calling it superfluous to the movie's story and mere shilling for the upcoming Avengers movie. Both points are crap
Agreed on this account. I'm always in favor of when there's a larger picture at play. I loved the subtle allusions in both the first Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk and to me, it's only natural that they show more of it in a sequel. I'm hoping Thor has allusions, but not as much as IM2, since it should spend the time and effort establishing Thor.


The Action

It was pretty damn cool. Also, ScarJo in tight black leather instantly invalidates any and all possible conflations of this and Spider-Man 3.
Hmmm, ScarJo


Not Perfect

Granted, IM2 wasn't perfect. I would have liked to see Sen. Stearns identified as a Republican, Tony's poisoned veins healed way too quickly twice, Happy and Pepper driving against the race traffic was as dumb as the bronto chase in PJ's Kong (albeit far, far shorter), and the suitcase suit would have worked better as a skeletal frame similar to Vanko's suit. But these are minor quibbles
Again, the cast more than makes up for these and over half a year after watching it in the theaters, I remember the bigger, better scenes than these minor quibbles. IM2 has problems, yes, but it's not the kind of movie which makes you dwell on them.


Conclusion: enough with the whinging. Iron Man 2 was a damn fine flick.
I definitely understand where you are coming from. I feel the same way about Star Trek (2009). You can focus on the negatives, but overall, they are both immensely enjoyable films, if you want them to be. I pity those who focus on the negatives because movies like these have so much good going for them, it's a shame to see them panned.
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Old January 4 2011, 12:31 AM   #6
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

PsychoPere wrote: View Post
It was okay, but nowhere near as good as the first one (probably only about half as good).
This was my take as well.

Iron Man 1 = 5 stars, Brilliant movie competing with The Dark Knight for one of the best superhero movies ever made.

Iron Man 2 = 3ish stars, competently made, decent action/humor, carried largely by Robert Downey Jr. who could not will the movie to be as good as the first one by himself.

Don't get me wrong......I own the Iron Man 2 Blu-ray and will see Iron Man 3 and especially the Joss Whedon directed Avengers in the theater, but Iron Man 2 was sort of a let down after the first one. (though still better than both recent hulk's and many other movies out there.........)
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Old January 4 2011, 12:41 AM   #7
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

Mr Light wrote: View Post
Iron Man 2 was a good movie, not a great movie. Needed more action. He fights Whiplash at the race track and that's the only fight until the end. No, I don't count Tony and Rhodey's drunken slap fight.
Yeah, that's what it comes down to for me. I could have lived with the story problems if the movie just had a little more action and fun in it.

And the final fight isn't even that good either-- just a bunch of robots flying in the dark shooting at each other for 10 minutes.
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Old January 4 2011, 12:57 AM   #8
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

Meh - mediocre at best. My perception of it was fast-talking rich guy hangs out in a workshop making cool armor suit, intercut with no-talking bitter guy hanging out in a workshop making cool armor suit. They fight, then both go back to their workshops to make more cool shit, then fight again.

Not really much of a story.
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Old January 4 2011, 01:07 AM   #9
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

IM2 was a solid 7.5/10 in my book. The first one was 9/10 (in its category, of course).
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Old January 4 2011, 01:32 AM   #10
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

Agreed with all those saying it was good, but not great. I absolutely loved the first one, but I left the second one feeling mostly indifferent. I didn't hate it by any means, but it didn't leave me with any desire to rewatch it, like the first one did.
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Old January 4 2011, 01:34 AM   #11
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

Lapis Exilis wrote: View Post
Meh - mediocre at best. My perception of it was fast-talking rich guy hangs out in a workshop making cool armor suit, intercut with no-talking bitter guy hanging out in a workshop making cool armor suit. They fight, then both go back to their workshops to make more cool shit, then fight again.

Not really much of a story.
Don't forget rich guy has a disease that is able to be solved by some sort of super atom his father hid the design for in the ground plan of a park....
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Old January 4 2011, 01:44 AM   #12
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

I certainly wouldn't call it among the worst of sci fi. It was a bit bloated, but overall worth a look.

Okay to good, not great.
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Old January 4 2011, 01:45 AM   #13
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

Professor Zoom wrote: View Post
Don't forget rich guy has a disease that is able to be solved by some sort of super atom his father hid the design for in the ground plan of a park....
I, too, found that peculiar.
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Old January 4 2011, 01:48 AM   #14
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

It was ok and the 2nd half of the movie is much stronger than the 1st half but its just not as good as the original movie.

Iron Man 2 smacks of studio interference.
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Old January 4 2011, 02:17 AM   #15
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Re: For Pete's Sake, People, Iron Man 2 was a Good Movie

I got the DVD for Christmas and so I've just rewatched it, first time since I saw it in theatres. I was wondering if it would hold up to a second viewing--I quite liked it the first time, but I've read alot from people who didn't since. The verdict: I still quite like it. The major difference between the first and second films, which makes the first great and the second not great, though still enjoyable, is originality. Iron Man was an innovative take on the genre. Iron Man 2 offered more of the same material. But since I liked that material the first time through, more of it is not unwelcome.

No, the pairing of the always awesome RDJ with the awesome-with-RDJ Paltrow inherently elevates this sequel to memorability. And no, that's not to be taken for granted.
Pepper/Paltrow bugged me in this film, actually. The point of her character in the first film was that she was the only one who could ride task on Stark or roll with the situation when she couldn't. She was centered and in control. In the second, she seems to spend most of her time off-kilter, which makes her less impressive a character.

Fury thus doesn't just advance the plot, he helps our protagonist mature.
This is a good point. When I first saw the film, I was a bit puzzled that it ended with Tony and Fury at S.H.E.I.L.D. (okay, and then the medal-pinning ceremony) rather than the Tony/Pepper scene. It felt more like something that ought to go after the credits. But on second viewing, and being less biased by what I thought I knew about the heavily modified demon-in-a-bottle storyline, it does provide a nice character cap. The film is essentially about Tony shedding his responsibilities: giving Stark Enterprises to Pepper, allowing Rhodey to fly off with the War Machine suit. Likewise, he sheds all his friends and colleagues. Yes, becaus he thinks he's dying, but avoiding responsibility is this Tony Stark's central character flaw, here allowed to run rampant. He now wants to be part of the Avengers because he's figured out that going at it alone is self-destructive for him, and because he wants a challenge--not a technical challenge, to which he's used to, but a personal challenge, participating in something greater than himself and, as you say, with a group of people who aren't impressed by the mere fact of Tony Stark and won't roll over for him.

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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