So I finally got around to seeing Iron Man 2.

§ May 31st, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 20 Comments

(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.

20 Responses to “So I finally got around to seeing Iron Man 2.”

  • Alas, I HAVEN’T seen it yet for it won’t be released for another 2 weeks in Japan. So for the first time ever, I have to skip a Progressive Ruin entry!

  • Jeff Hebert says:

    I think Shandling had the best line in the movie: “Isn’t it funny how irritating a little prick can be?” He delivered it well too!

    I agreed with your review completely, Mike. A good super-hero movie, but not exceptional. My buddy had a problem with Potts’ becoming CEO, he just didn’t buy it, but he’s a bit of an old-school Manly Man, so I think that was part of it. I pointed out that she basically ran the company in all but name in the first movie anyway, and he seemed a bit mollified.

    Also, I just used the word “mollified” in a sentence. It’s gonna be a good day.

  • Rich Handley says:

    I thought the film was good, but yeah, you pretty much nailed everything about it that could have been better. As a superhero film, it was enjoyable. As a sequel to Iron Man, it was inferior.

  • Rich Handley says:

    Hey, Mike–my comments are finally showing up immediately. Woo-hoo!

  • Steely Dan says:

    Am I the only one who thought the second film was better than the first? Less exposition, more humor, more action, clever (unobtrusive) foreshadowing of the “Avengers” story arc, original technique for showing “flashbacks” of Howard Stark, and more character development.

    I liked the first “Iron Man,” but the second one was hands-down better.

    Just my thoughts.

  • Iveta says:

    Hi Mike,
    I feel to tell you , no you are not the last person on the planet to see it…It is me. I have not seen it yet :)but I am sure my sons friends who are 6 years they will see it sooner than me.

  • buzz says:

    The bad guys were more fun to watch than Iron Man, tho admitedly just barely. Yeah, this is the obligatory sophomore slump film in the series; the next one should do something significantly different.

  • Kevin Church says:

    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? What was your exact beef, gentlemen?

    The first movie went to great lengths to show how competent Pepper Potts is and the first act of this one pushed that character arc harder, but then somewhere along the line it seemed like someone had decided that she couldn’t be the CEO of Stark International. If you work hard to establish a character’s abilities and skill sets and then in the last act she just goes “Aw, shucks, boss! Will you come back and take this company off my hands please because the job that I was doing anyway got a lot harder when they gave me a title,” you break that character.

    If there had been setup and a line or two about how she doesn’t understand how Tony manages to do his day job and run around in crazy mecha armor, then I would have bought off on it more. It didn’t help that they spend the second and third acts making her cranky.

  • Bill Reed says:

    I agree with The Sterling. All glory to the Hyponosterling.

  • Bill Reed says:

    I put too many o’s in that. Not the first time that’s happened.

  • Ed says:

    As goofy as the “new element” bullshit was, my single favourite thing was the whole “Howard Stark as Walt Disney” thing, with the clip of John Slattery showing off his future city model like Walt talking about EPCOT.
    I also loved the notion of the Starks throwing their own world’s fair every few years, complete with having their own personal theme park/expo grounds to have it on. Having a secret message in the layout was just gravy.

  • A.L. Baroza says:

    Did Tony and Roger Sterling invent Vibranium? Because T’Challa’s going to be really pissed if they did. Maybe it was Phlebotinum instead.

    Also, where was Mrs. Arbogast? She’s in the credits. Did I blink and miss her, or something?

  • A.L. Baroza says:

    Mike, you’re not the long-lost heir to Sterling-Cooper, are you?

    Ed: yeah, that was fun. The whole time I was thinking, “He’s like a Walt Disney of war!” Good times.

  • philip says:

    Haven’t seen it and wasn’t really planning to, but that was before I knew Garry Shandling was in it. I’m not even kidding. I will go see this movie now just so I can see Shandling.

    What is wrong with me?

  • Nimbus says:

    I too pretty much agree with The Sterling. All Hail Mike!

    “Did Tony and Roger Sterling invent Vibranium? Because T’Challa’s going to be really pissed if they did”

    I was surprised the new element wasn’t named in the film (I don’t think it was?) although I notice that Wikipedia seems to indicate that, yes, it’s Vibranium. Not sure why T’Challa would be pissed – he’s still got a big mound of the stuff. Stark’s just the first one to synthesize the element, not the first time it’s been discovered.

    Howard Stark must’ve got the atomic composition of the element from somewhere – perhaps it was from T’Chaka (T’Challa’s dad) back in SHIELD’s early days? ;-)

    “It didn’t help that they spend the second and third acts making her cranky”

    Well, her boss (was he her ex-boss by that point?) was acting crazy and stupidly risking his life so I think being cranky was not an unnatural reaction. She is human, after all.

    Anyway, I thought the Pepper Potts storyline showed that although she was excellent at running the company, she wasn’t prepared for the limelight and publicity that comes with being a CEO (and she knew this – but had to take the job anyway). She’s a ‘behind-the-scenes-person’. She needs Tony to be the public figurehead and to deal with all this superhero business (not all can deal with rocket-launching, remote-controlled robots!).

    Still, I think it showed that Tony realised that she was his second-in-command, that she’s pretty much running the show anyway and that she isn’t just a ‘secretary’ or ‘personal assistant’. And appointing her as CEO – albeit briefly – let everyone else know this too!

    And we all knew Stark would be back as the CEO at the end anyway (just like we knew he’d live and that he’d defeat the bad guys). He is the protagonist of the film after all.

  • A.L. Baroza says:


    All joshing aside, it seems at this point that Tony will end up rebuilding Cap’s shield with a nice heaping helping of Vibranium, so it’s unclear if the films are going to follow canon concerning Wakanda or not. Although, if this is a way to get the Panther into the Avengers movie, I’m all for it.

    At the end of the movie, when Pepper resigns, there’s a bit where Tony starts to walk her back a little, saying “you’ll have to stay on for the transition for a week or two”, and she says something to the effect that a week could turn into a year, or something. So I don’t think she’s actually going to ever resign. I think Tony will always find a way to talk her into staying as CEO, if only “temporarily”.

    Also, with Natasha out of the picture, they need to add Mrs. Arbogast to be Tony’s new minder, and that can only work with Pepper continuing on as CEO.

  • Ed says:

    I’m pretty sure Movie Mrs. Arbogast is the one we see briefly as Pepper’s secretary, when Tony goes to see her in her CEO’s office with the distracting kinetic sculpture and the expo model under a tarp in the background.

  • PRM says:

    I think the idea for the new element is that Poppa Stark designed the Arc Reactor but knew that is wouldn’t work properly without the mystery element and couldn’t synthesize it with the tech on hand, so hid it for Tony to find when the tech would be available. But that isn’t made very clear and it does seem like a huge coincidence

  • Nimbus says:

    @ A.L Baroza: I thought only the original triangular-shaped shield was from Wakanda. The circular shield was created by some American scientist (can’t remember who now). So perhaps the films will replace the not-well-known American scientist with Tony Stark? The original triangular shield (hopefully in the forthcoming Captain America movie) could still be from Wakanda. One can hope – even though I suspect your explanation is more likely.

  • Yay, I finally got to see it! Am I the only one to comment that Natasha kicked some major butt as the unnamed Black Widow?
    Other than that I pretty much agree with all the above, loved unnamed Whiplash/Titanium Man (sans Titanium) and thought Cheadle was a suitable replacement for Howard as the Rhodey less traveled.