(SPOILERS AHEAD, like you all haven’t seen it already)
Yeah, I know, I’m like the last person on the planet to see it…or at least it feels that way, given the number of conversations about the movie I’ve had to avoid at the shop over the last couple of weeks. But, I finally got in there Saturday night, with a surprisingly large crowd, and…well, the film was okay. I did enjoy it, but it’s not really a patch on the first film. Once or twice early on in the flick, I found myself thinking “why is the movie showing me this instead of more scenes of Iron Man doing something awesome?” Okay, I know it was necessary character set-up stuff for future plot events, but still, it seemed like there was a little more forward momentum and…”spark,” I guess, to similar scenes in the first film.
When you actually count out the number of Iron Man action scenes in this film, there really aren’t that many, and I’m not sure if I’d count the very uncomfortable bit of business with Tony acting like a buffoon at his party (though it does set up how Tony and Rhodey are able to defeat the bad guy at the end). I’d heard some complaints about the climactic battle being hard to follow, but I didn’t have any trouble (and I usually am the first to complain when a film’s action sequence is poorly directed).
And I had heard comments from folks about having yet another bad guy with a Bigger, Badder Iron Man suit for our heroes to fight, and…yeah, they should probably change it up a bit for the next movie. I’m pulling for Living Laser, myself. Though I’d die if it was MODOK.
Oh, and hello, Sir Scene-in-The-Trailer-And-Not-Appearing-in-This-Movie:
Supporting cast was strong: every time Sam Jackson shows up in a Marvel movie as Nick Fury, it’s a hoot, and I can’t wait for his version of Fury to get a meatier part in some future film. (Though Fury gets plenty of screentime this time around.) Plus, Sam Rockwell is suitably slimy and obnoxious as Stark’s competitor Justin Hammer, and Mickey Rourke is quite the imposing presence as Ivan Vanko. Also, I seem to remember hearing gripes about Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts and her particular storyline in this film. Aside from being more scenes that aren’t Iron Man doing cool things, I didn’t see any particular problem with her arc, especially as its purpose was to show how Tony reacts to it. What was your exact beef, gentlemen?
By the by…so decades ago, Poppa Stark hid the description of a secret element for his son to later find, and it just happened to be the right element to solve Tony’s current health/power generator issues? …Sure, why not. I did figure the city layout was a hidden message to Tony from his father early on, but I thought it was going to reveal plans for a circuit board. I mean, it did look like one, right? A bit? Somewhat?
And yes, there was that bit of business at the end of the film, after the credits…and I do wish they had inserted the scene, like, a minute or two into the credits instead of at the very end, because man, sitting there and waiting is a drag.
But there was the scene, and the few other
suckers audience members who waited it out cheered when they saw the hammer, and at least one guy exclaiming “it’s Thor!” I also overheard someone explaining to his friends what the significance of the hammer was, using Adventures in Babysitting as part of said explanation. I thoroughly approve of this.
Also, I’m glad I was going out of my way to see or read anything about the film ahead of time, because man, when I was going through the trailer to pick out images as my “spoiler borders,” it’s like the entire film was in it. It’s almost Disney trailer-esque in its reveals.
But most importantly…just how fantastic was Garry Shandling in this movie?
“Very fantastic” is the correct answer.