Saturday, May 15, 2010

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 – the long awaited sequel to the box office smash, Iron Man. Tony Stark is back at it again. His frivolous, playboy demeanor and cavalier attitude about being Iron Man has pissed off the government. They want the Iron Man suit for themselves so that it can be mass produced for the US military. They believe that one man should not have all of that power in the off chance that he turns against them. These government officials are being goaded by Justin Hammer, who sees himself to be a rival of Stark’s in weapons manufacturing despite the very evident flaws in his work.

Of course, to all that bureaucracy Tony Stark says fuck off.

Meanwhile, a man named Ivan Vanko is tending to his dying father, a man who used to work with Howard Stark when he was first developing arc reactor technology. After his father dies, Vanko vows to bring Iron Man down from his high horse. And lo, Whiplash takes the stage in Monaco during a race in which Stark decides to compete. Even though he’s physically defeated and carted off to jail, Vanko succeeds in planting the doubt about Iron Man’s invincibility.

Unfortunately, Tony knows this all too well. Prolonged use of the arc reactor in his chest has been steadily poisoning him and using it to power the Iron Man suit is hastening the process. He wants to keep it secret from the general public and struggles with how to reveal this information to those he is close to. He appoints Pepper Pots as the new CEO of Stark Industries and allows Rhodey to steal one of the spare Iron Man suits for government use (why hello, War Machine…). Adding all of this to pressure that SHIELD is putting on him, Tony just about gives up.

The story follows its natural progression with tenuous alliances, impossible machine construction montages, and a hell of a lot of explosions.

Welcome back, Tony Stark.

You know how sequels are, in general, not as good as the first movie? Not the case here. In my opinion, it was better than the first. While the final fight with Obadiah in Iron Man was slow and nearly uninteresting for me, there was never a moment in the sequel that I was bored. Each section of story telling flowed into the next without any lulls. It was awesome.

Now, I cannot exactly claim to be a big comic book fan. I haven’t really read that many. I didn’t grow up with them and, now that I’m older, I can’t bring myself to spend the money on individual issues. However, I did grow up with superhero cartoons and movies, and I’ve picked up a lot of comic book lore from friends and online sources. The recent Marvel movies have been chock full of references to other comics and have been hinting at an Avengers movie since the first Iron Man movie.1 Black Widow shows up in this film to help SHIELD put the heat on Iron Man to join them. Tony Stark somehow ends up with Captain America’s shield in a crate of junk equipment2. If you stay until after the credits, there is a hint that Thor may be either getting his own movie or joining the cast of the Avengers.

It blew my mind.

If you’ve guessed that I would recommend this movie to anyone, you’d be right; I would. It’s a great movie, especially for people who will recognize these nerdy references.

1If you saw the most recent Incredible Hulk movie, you’ll recall that Tony Stark showed up at the end with an offer to deal with the Hulk.
2Which is very exciting because he has been cast and has three movies coming up.

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