May 6, 2010, - 5:12 pm
I love comic books. I love superheroes. I love, love, love comic book superheroes. And I mostly liked the first “Iron Man” movie (read my review), starring Robert Downey, Jr. I soooo badly wanted to like “Iron Man 2,” in theaters at Midnight, Tonight.
But I didn’t. I was bored to tears . . . and sleep. Another movie critic literally awoke me from my slumber. It was that slow. And even though I had temporary sleepitude, I didn’t miss a thing. There was nothing to miss.
This movie was a mess. Yes, some of the special effects are cool. But so what? For much of the movie, Iron Man/Tony Stark is a creep. We want our male superheroes, while cocky and self-assured, to be somewhat modest and unassuming, at least a tad nice and circumspect. But that’s not what happened here. Remember “Superman III,” when Superman becomes a drunken jerk and barely saves anyone? That was Iron Man for most of this movie. It’s kind of like the conceited rich guy you dated. For like the first five minutes, it’s fun to be seen with him, but when he starts abusing the waiter, you wanna crawl under a rock. Not cool.
And aside from that, the movie was crowded, confusing, and incomplete. And there was no spark, no magic, nor charm, not to mention much of a solid plot with defined evil versus defined good. Instead, it was jerky guy versus villains I didn’t dislike much. Too many villains. There was Mickey Rourke (I like him) as a Russian dude, Ivan Vanko. Rourke is one of the few actors I’ve ever seen do a good Russian accent. But he lacked anything that made me hate him or wanna see him foiled except his Medusa-style bad hairdo.
Then, there was the evil defense contractor Sam Rockwell (an actor of whom I’m a fan) who wants to copy and make his own Iron Man suits and mass produce them for the U.S. military. How is that evil? I actually think that would be great, so I was rooting for him. But not really, because his character wasn’t exciting either. Just kinda dull.
And that was the case with the whole movie: dull. A dull Gwyneth Paltrow, playing a bossy, old mommy-type. A dull partner for Iron Man, played by Don Cheadle. Dull villains who weren’t that evil. Plus, there was Gary Shandling. Gary frickin’ Shandling as a U.S. Senator who wants to get the Iron Man suits classified as a weapon and make them the property of the U.S. military. The nerve of him. And dude, what the heck happened to his face? Larry Sanders’ (Shandling’s other alter ego) face is so puffy, he needs to sue his botox doctor. That dermatologist didn’t do him any favors. Other than Iron Man, I can’t see him working in Hollywood again. It’s an eyesore.
And then there was the plot. Several plots that all revolved around getting the suit away from the abusive, self-destructing Stark or recreating the suit and beating Iron Man. Who cares? I didn’t. It just wasn’t exciting. I felt like I’d been sitting there all year. The first “Iron Man” flick, at least, had an exciting, relevant storyline, fighting terrorists in the Middle East, and Jeff Bridges was a cooler villain.
And, guys, don’t get all excited over the beautiful Scarlett Johansson. She’s barely in the movie. The filmmakers didn’t do us any favors by not explaining much about who she is (Natalie Rushman a/k/a Natasha Romanoff a/k/a “The Black Widow”–they didn’t even mention this cool nickname anywhere in the movie). Ditto for Samuel L. Jackson, who is “Nick Fury.” I like the Nick Fury comic books. But him? Eh. It’s a joke.
Bottom line: if you like special effects, go see it. But it’s not a tight superhero movie. Not even close. It’s Superman III all over again. And you can rent that for less than ten bucks.
Tags: Black Widow, Don Cheadle, Gary Shandling, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Ivan Vanko, Mickey Rourke, movie, movie review, Nick Fury, Robert Downey Jr., Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Tony Stark