A Droid Premiere – Iron Man 2 (2010)

A Droid Premiere

I’m not sure if you guys have heard of this one as it’s kind of sneaking into theaters around the world, but that’s why you have me. Of course I jest. Unless you’ve spent the past year in a cellar in Austria, you’re well aware of the sequel to the Marvel superhero film ‘Iron Man’ and have been anxiously awaiting it’s release like you anxiously await the next day ring sting from a deliciously spicy curry.

Iron Man 2 Poster Following almost directly on from the original, which saw mega rich weapons industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) become a superhero in a shiny red robot suit, the sequel begins with government goons led by Senator Stern (Garry Shandling) and Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), a rival weapons manufacturer, trying to get hold of the Iron Man technology. While racing in the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix, Stark is attacked by Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), a Russian scientist with inside knowledge of the arc reactor that powers the Iron Man suit, and a hefty grudge against the Stark family. Through a series of shenanigans too boring to explain, Hammer facilitates Vanko in the creation of a robot army, Stark stumbles upon the cure for his deadly illness, Rhodey (Don Cheadle) becomes War Machine, Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) becomes CEO and Natalia Romanova (Scarlett Johansson) hangs around the edges of the film not really doing much besides providing us with some much needed eye candy.

Iron Man 2 1 Let me state this clearly, just in case that plot description has failed to illustrate this films biggest issue. Nothing happens. Yes, of course “things happen”, but nothing ever feels as though it really means much in the grand scheme of the Iron Man world. It’s all noise and fury. Stark is dying, but voilà! A plot development skirting painstakingly close to a deus ex machina drops out of nowhere at the start of the third act. The film takes ages to get anywhere, and instead of spending precious screen time developing a decent story or creating an interesting villain, it instead dedicates itself to setting up useless characters like Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Black Widow (Johansson) and the SHIELD organisation.

Iron Man 2 2 At least thirty minutes is exposition and set up for an Avengers film. Which is fine, if it was creatively blended into an interesting story about Iron Man. But the film isn’t very interesting. It succeeds as much as it does on the strength of Robert Downey Jr, and on the admittedly impressive special effects. But the problem with the action sequences is that while fantastic looking, they’re empty flying, punching, whipping, exploding, bashing and crashing. There is never any feeling of danger when Stark is in the suit. You expect Iron Man to triumph, and without fail he does. This removes all tension and drama from the film and thus we never get caught up in the story.

Iron Man 2 4Robert Downey Jr is a fantastic screen presence, and here he creates a character virtually out of thin air, with the help of what we already know. Stark is never developed any further than he was in the first instalment, apart from his relationship with Pepper which gets a little third act nudge. Rourke looks ridiculous with his grey flecked shoulder length hair, and is never allowed to do any more than look broodingly at Rockwell and Downey Jr. Cheadle is fine, but again, he has nothing to work with. Paltrow is much more irritating this time round. Johannson looks good, but her character has zero personality, and if they’re really serious about doing a Nick Fury film, or making his role a big one in The Avengers film, then they really need to do something quicksmart about Jacksons character. He may as well be called Basil Exposition, because Fury is mind-numbingly uninteresting and his only purpose is to move the plot along and to set up future films. Apart from Downey Jr, the only decent performance is from Rockwell, and again, at the risk of repeating myself for the umpteenth time, it’s because Rockwell is a really enjoyable screen presence and has nothing to do with the writing.

Iron Man 2 3 Jon Favreau returns to direct again and he has once again done a serviceable job. He stages the action well, and apart from the choppy editing to try to make it look like Johansson is flipping and spinning during fight scenes, it’s a decent effort. The score is more of the same from the first film, with the addition of several AC/DC songs to tie in with the AC/DC Best Of official soundtrack.

But again, and I don’t mean to harp on it, the screenplay, written by Justin Theroux, is completely devoid of character. We don’t care what happens to anyone in the film. Admittedly, this is probably not entirely his fault. It would have been a tough task to create an interesting screenplay with Marvel breathing down his neck demanding extraneous screen time dedicated to advertising the Avengers film.

Iron Man 2 5 Basically, I think that this film is intended to educate the non-comic book reading audience on the “Marvel Universe”, and to set up spin off films. Which I think is a massive kick in the teeth to their dedicated fans, because even I, who doesn’t read any of their comics and is only vaguely aware of their universe, found it offensive that they would stop the film for scenes involving periphery characters.

In short, if you choose to skip this one, which is my recommendation, you won’t be missing anything.



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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

46 responses to “A Droid Premiere – Iron Man 2 (2010)”

  1. Jarv says :

    Pictures are fine.

    I’ll read this later.

  2. Jarv says :

    Aside from the last one, which was fine, but is now fucked- but that could be my work internet.

  3. Jarv says :

    I Can’t believe I was in the pub and had to come BACK INTO WORK.

    I’m off home now. See you later.

  4. Droid says :

    I’m starting to think I’m a bit of a sourpuss. The last 5 or 6 reviews I’ve done have an average chang rating of about 1.5.

    I need Centurion to kick total ass.

  5. Continentalop says :

    You know, I had a feeling this film was going to be a letdown.

    I’ll probably go see it with some friends, but I’m going to make them drive.

  6. Continentalop says :

    BTW – any mention of the Mandarin in this film? And if so, what context?

    • Droid says :

      Not that I picked up on. Honestly, the whole focus of this was to set up SHIELD, Nick Fury and The Avengers.

      • Continentalop says :

        You know, I haven’t even seen it and I already think I know what the problem is – they have no faith that Iron Man himself and his own villains/characters will hold an audience’s interest, so they decided to put all the emphasis on the Avenger stuff to get the fanboy excited.
        Me, I would have been excited if this led to a shot of a guy in the shadows wearing a different ring on each finger.
        FUCK YOU FAVREAU!!!!

  7. koutchboom says :

    The biggest issue the film has, however, is that watching two men fight with masks on is ultimately unsatisfying. No matter how much damage we see the suit take, and how little energy/control the occupant has, it’s nearly impossible to connect with them when we can’t see their face. Iron Man solved this by having Stark and Stane remove their helmets for the final battle. The sequel ignores this technique, but fails to come up with an alternative, resulting in several dull fights, including what should have been the climactic battle.

    I think this sums up the problems.

  8. just pillow talk says :

    Figures that Avengers tie-in crap would ruin the film.

    Scarlette looks quite tasty in that pic above.

    • Droid says :

      Thats actually not even in the movie. I took these shots from the trailer.

      Theres also Paltrow kissing the helmet and throwing it out of the plane as Downey Jr jumps out that was in the trailer but wasn’t in the movie. Unless it was after the credits or something.

  9. koutchboom says :

    Justin Theroux, the mastermind behind Tropic Thunder. Yeah he pretty much peeked with that.

  10. koutchboom says :

    Is this odd? I’ve started to enjoy reading about movies then actually seeing them. I mean not all movies of course, but I’m pretty sure reading about Iron Man 2 will be a lot more enjoyable then actually seeing it.

  11. kloipy says :

    pretty much what expected to read about this one. Great review Droid
    I think Theroux should stick to acting in Lynch films

  12. ThereWolf says :

    To be honest, I wasn’t gonna see this at the cinema anyway. The first one was okay but nothing in it connected with me; I didn’t care about the characters. Sounds like I’ll care even less in the sequel.

    The franchise is very lucky to have Downey Jr. He is a terrific presence and was the sole reason I kept watching the first one.

  13. koutchboom says :

    You know I was thinking about this on the way home because Iron Man came on the radio and I realized why the first one just sucks. There is nothing epic about it. The only thing epic about it is the trailer, which uses the Iron Man song. Why were they so fast to get rid of that song for ACDC? Also why wasn’t the song used properly in the first one? I think the movie should go hand and hand with that song. Its just stupid they got rid of it so fast.

    Also its like the perfect example of throw away popcorn entertainment. Because its a movie thats not going to really piss anyone off, and you may have some idiots that absolutely love it. Its just a forgettable movie with nothing especially bad about it but also with nothing especially good about it outside of RDJ. But thats all seen in the trailer.

  14. Tom_Bando says :

    I’m thinking this will be a fun flick, but then again my tastes DO include a couple of Mikey_Bay movies, so there ya go.

    So I bought Crank for 6 bucks yesterday. Hey, not bad, def. a riff on Snatch the whole way thru. It’s a chase flick. And again w/ the goofy-gloo editing. Oh well. I enjoyed it. Statham is pretty one-note and most of the cast were TERRIBLE actors but I didn’t think that mattered. Pretty fun over-all.

    A movie for Jarv or Droid to groan thru-Night Train, from last year, w/ Danny Glover, LeeLee Sobieski and Steven Zahn. It actually starts out okay(complete w/ goofy Polar Express CGI Train and snow) but goes off the rails (yes i said that) about halfways thru and doesn’t get better. I got this for a buck. Leelee is a BAD actress, no two ways about it. Glover semi-phones it in and Zahn essentially chews the scenery til he (spoiler) winds up dead.

    I bought that for a buck. You could do worse to Red Box it but the effort isn’t worth it. You have an Eddie Izzard ripoff, a Pulp Fiction briefcase MacGuffin rip-off and several corpses by the finale.

    Put that in w/ Trans-Siberian and you get two(2) semi-PooPoo RR flicks for the price of one. Yessir.

    • Droid says :

      Bando, I’ve seen Night Train and indeed did I groan through it. Terrible flick.

      Also, I’m a Bay apologist from way back, but this just isn’t very fun.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        They shot it in Bulgaria(!) of all places too. You saved money and got a better production how–? sure didn’t show on screen.

      • Droid says :

        Virtually the whole movie is inside a train. How does shooting in Bumfuck, Bulgaria save you money?


      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I saw that a while back been thinking about renting it. It has a similar cover to The Perfect Getaway cover. Probably skip it now.

    • koutchboom says :

      Bando if you remotely enjoyed Crank 1, you need to check out Crank 2. It is so batshit insane. Its a hundred times better then the first one. Its a blast.

  15. koutchboom says :

    Jesus. This is really fucking bad. For the first half hour its like a day in the life of Tony Stark. It plays out like a bad reality TV show. Then that first fight with wip-it???? Are you fucking kidding me? He just sits there for the whole one minute it takes Tony Stark to become Iron Man?

    Also it feels like RDJ just isn’t into it at all.

    • Droid says :

      You’ve seen it Koutch?

      • koutchboom says :

        GOD i was gonna say just the first half hour. But fuck me, its already been an hour and FUCK all has happened. I can’t even believe its getting 70% on RT right now.

      • Droid says :

        Yep. Now you get an idea of what i mean.

      • koutchboom says :

        Man I feel bad about it. Because people are fucking PUMPED FOR THIS MOVIE. And its nothing but a huge let down.

        Like I don’t like Ironman that much, but there is stuff to like about it. It’s a solid film. I SOOO badly wanted this one to succeed and kick ass. Usually if its a franchise I don’t care about (Pirates) I don’t care if it sucks (in fact I may enjoy it more). But I really wanted to like Ironman 2 and I just can’t. And I know fans will rave about it, but in their hearts they will know that its just nothing at best. It’s just such a fuck you to the fans and everyone.

        I don’t understand why they got the fucking bad guy from Charlies Angles 2 to write the script? I tired of the movie industry shitting all over comic writers? Why the fuck didn’t a comic author write the script for this junk at least? At least then you can say they failed on their own terms.

        Sure they are different mediums and what not, but nothing that fucking different. Its just odd how that turns out.

      • Droid says :

        I agree. Thats why i said its such a kick in the teeth for the true fans. I don’t care, but Joe Bloggs that reads all the comics and knows all about Iron Man would be majorly pissed off. But those guys are a minority and Marvel don’t fucking care. All they want is to use it as a vehicle to set up the Avengers flick. This is what happens when you try to tie all these seperate movies together.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah totally. I don’t care about the comic book dorks, who all in all are were on board with the first one anyway. But its just a total fucking cash in, in the worst sense.

        Its not even really fun, or super zany enough to just be fucking odd (like Pirates 3). It just sucks because you know it WON’T BOMB. No way is this thing NOT making over $600 million world wide if not A LOT MORE. Its just sad.

  16. koutchboom says :

    And jesus, do they even mention that Cheedle was going to become War Machine before he just puts the suit on? That whole fight between them was fucking stupid.

    • Droid says :

      And theres a line of dialogue where someone says to Stark “You said those suits were designed for a specific individual.” or something like that. And Stark says “It was.” Implying that he made it for Rhodey. Which is never brought up before or after. It just is. It’s so lazy.

      • koutchboom says :

        Its just funny how all those scene in the trailer are either not their or they do not hit at all.

        I wish they would have a feature on DVDs more often about the making of the trailer. Like all the different ideas. Because again the best part about Iron Man 2 is the trailer. And it’s not great.

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