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REVIEW: Iron Man 2

Not as good as the first movie, but it'll keep your interest

Iron Man 2: Rates a C+.
Courtesy photo

I’m surprised by fellow critics. None of them are mistakenly calling this a “comeback” for Mickey Rourke. They called his great performance in The Wrestler a “comeback” even though he had a big role in Sin City previously.

He pulls off the Russian accent and looks intimidating (not as much as Viggo Mortenssen was in Eastern Promises). He has more tattoos and toothpicks than I’ve ever seen a movie character have. I’m not sure what his love of birds was. It was almost like I was watching Bird Man of Alcatraz meets Terminator – with a little Arthur thrown in. Yes, Arthur…one of the many movies currently being remade. The Tony Stark character reminds me of him: both are rich, drink too much, sleep around, and need their people to get them out of jams.

This is a sequel that is really in search of a heart. It’s all flash and CGI affects that aren’t that impressive. At one point I felt like I was watching a rock ‘em/sock ‘em robots game on the big screen.

Rourke plays a great villain (we know he’s Russian, because he drinks vodka straight out of the bottle). And he teams up with Justin Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell, one of my favorite actors. Yet, unlike Lex Luthor or The Joker and the other villains that spouted off great one-liners…Hammer had nothing funny to add.

Comedic genius Gary Shandling was cast as Senator Stern. Nothing funny for him to do but make faces like he was constipated.

Samuel Jackson was fine, in the two quick scenes we see him in. It was funny watching him retrieve a depressed Stark from the huge Randy’s Donut sign that he’s sitting inside, munching his meal.

There are a few funny scenes and the fourth movie I’ve seen with Jon Favreau boxing (he’s the director, and mastermind behind Swingers). This cute scene with Scarlett Johanssen getting the best of him after he asks “You’ve boxed? What? Booty Boot camp or Tae Bo?”

I’ve grown tired of listening to Gwyneth Paltrow spout off about politics in interviews, and I’m also a bit bored by her nagging Robert Downey, Jr. It was like watching a sitcom couple.

And speaking of sitcoms…you know that feeling you had when you turned on Roseanne and there was a different blonde girl playing the daughter? That’s what happens when you see Don Cheadle in place of Terrence Howard. Howard was so much more interesting in that part. He had this air of mystery and anger; something about him you didn’t trust. Cheadle, an amazing actor, doesn’t pull that off here. It’s like he’s phoning it in.

One last part of the cast I want to mention – Stan Lee, the comic book creator behind it all. He played Hugh Hefner in the first film. The famous person he plays in this had the entire theatre laughing; perhaps the best cameo all year.

From the press releases, I see that Johansson is Black Widow and Rourke is Whiplash, yet they are never called these names in the film. Maybe it’s because Whiplash sounds like a name from the Drew Barrymore roller derby film.

Rourke is called by the name Ivan Vanko. I think I was the only person in the theatre who laughed, and thought of that goofy villain Stallone fought in Rocky IV – Ivan Drago.

I’ve heard some critics complain about the humans in the iron man suits not being injured. Come on! Are you going to gripe that James Bond is never hit from machine gun fire or that Superman shouldn’t be able to fly with just a red cape? It’s a fun, action, comic book movie. The science of it isn’t to be dissected (and if it is, shouldn’t you start with the lighted orb in Starks chest that keeps him alive? And in this film, slowly killing him).

With Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan in the news because of their drug use, it makes me think of how Rourke and Downey had their share of this before. Just imagine telling a studio 15 years ago that these two would be in the biggest blockbuster of the summer. I’m guessing no studio would’ve even taken the chance on it. And who would’ve thought the guy that got nominated for an Oscar playing Charlie Chaplin, and played such a fidgety weirdo in Back to School, would be terrifically cast as a super hero?

Of course, the first film was such a huge success. And I’m guessing that even if this movie had been better, it wouldn’t have lived up to that standard.

I enjoyed all the various stories the film had. A few critics have complained about there being too many. They are all easy to follow and all interesting. They are just underwritten and that’s really a shame.

I liked the fact that the villains didn’t have lofty goals – like wanting to take over the world. One just wanted Iron Man dead, the other wanted a big defense contractor from the U.S.

I always seem to be disappointed by the choice of songs on movie soundtracks. This had a few by AC/DC and a few by The Clash. That’s a nice start. Unfortunately, those were the only songs that worked. Why not Metal to Metal by Anvil? Why not MC Hammer when Justin Hammer does a silly dance to the Average White Band?

The film cost $200 million to make, so I’m guessing even if you’re disappointed, you’ll have a fun time at this popcorn flick. There’s enough here that you aren’t going to be bored. I just wish instead of them thinking that with one Iron Man created, having 25 more would be that much more exciting. It wasn’t. And if you’re going to do a comic book movie with more jokes than action scenes, they should all be funny. They weren’t.

I’d recommend you rent Moon and watch Sam Rockwell in what should’ve been an Oscar nominated performance, and Don Cheadle in most of the films he’s done previously.

Of course, if you miss this you won’t be able to join in the conversation about it at the water cooler. The movie opens this weekend, and everyone will be talkin' about it Monday.

I’m giving it a C+.