Advertisements

Haiku Review: ‘Iron Man 2’

by

Some might say that three months is too long to wait to review a movie. Of course some people don’t have the foresight to consider that eventually that movie will be released on DVD, and people will NEED TO KNOW THE TRUTH. We are never not looking out for you at Lifting Fog.

Iron Man was fun
Iron Man 2 is less fun
(Too many robots)

It is one of the great truths of Hollywood that barring some fortuitous circumstance — as in the involvement of Francis Ford Coppola, Pixar, or Boba Fett — a sequel will never quite live up to its predecessor’s mantle. Stuff it full of name actors and spike the budget all you want — it doesn’t change the fact that things are different this time around and the chances of recapturing the magic of the original are slim. Which is not to say that this sequel will always be BAD or POINTLESS, just that there is a reason “2” follows “1” in any sort of medal ceremony: not quite good enough. And so it goes with Iron Man 2.

By now you know the basic plot: Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has revealed himself to the public and in the process put something of a target on his back, both professionally and personally. The former takes the shape of his weapons manufacturing rival, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell); the latter, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) shows up at a car race in Monaco to kill him. Even best buddy Jim Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is pissed at Tony, mostly for his awesome facial hair and the fact that he don’t care about nothin’. Oh, and Tony almost dies but then discovers a new element and saves himself. There is also somehow time for Iron Man dancers…

and an homage to Eminem’s “Stan” video.

I wondered watching this thing if Jon Favreau had forgotten what made the first one such a fun superhero movie when it came out in 2008. Surrounded by epics like the Batman and Spider-Man series and even also-rans like The Incredible Hulk and Hellboy, Iron Man distinguished itself by taking the whole comic book credo somewhat less than seriously. It was such a weird, fun little movie. I mean not LITTLE (the thing cost upwards of $150 million to make) but maybe small-scale? Even like an independent comedy, at times, in the way it focused less on set pieces and more on character interaction. Little scenes between Downey and Paltrow (their little game of “Operation”), or Downey and the press, or Downey and his WORKSHOP ROBOTS — really! — are what gave Iron Man such a unique heartbeat. The Dark Knight and Spider-Man 2 remain “Best in Class” of superhero movies for the foreseeable future, but in taking a cast that’s (on paper) totally wrong for the genre and letting them sort of do their own thing, Iron Man at least deserves a “Fresh New Thing!” stamp.

It's Casual Friday at Stark Industries and Tony's too cool to nod his approval...but, you know, he agrees

#2 by comparison just feels HEAVY with everything you’d expect from those other types of superhero movies. After #1 made boatloads of money, the onus was obviously on Favreau to make the sequel a true summer tentpole, one that leaves no cinematic — or hell, demographic — stone unturned. Something for everyone. What he came up with is not the kitchen-sink-awful Spider-Man 3, necessarily, but definitely more bloated than necessary. Iron Man testifies before Congress. Iron Man races a car in Monaco. Iron Man gets drunk (in the suit). Iron Man fights fifty robots. Iron Man nearly dies.

(Oh right, Iron Man nearly DIES. Turns out the stuff he uses to power his suit — Palladium, for you nerdbags reading this — is actually killing him and the only way he can survive is to synthesize a TOTALLY NEW ELEMENT. And quick.

Steady…

Just a few more inches and…

Yeah, we’re good here.

Science in six easy steps! Just don’t forget your designer protective glasses.)

The biggest evidence of fat in the movie, though, is the introduction of Nick Fury and SHIELD. Technically, Fury was introduced in the last movie…but it was over the closing credits, which not everyone saw. To bring him in halfway through this one (“oh hi!”) as though the audience has been appropriately prepped for his arrival is poor dramatic form, and transforms IM2 from a mostly cohesive movie into…well, kind of a comic book.

Let me explain. 20 or so movies have come out in the last decade based on comic books that more or less successfully brought characters and images to life, but few have tried to actually capture the EXPERIENCE of reading a comic book. Before IM2 (and what appears to be the true launch of Marvel’s film universe), only Ang Lee’s HULK attempted that recreation. And people hated it. Why? Because movies are different than comic books — they behave differently as art forms, with rules unique to their medium — and to attempt a cut and paste in either direction is missing the point of adaptation. But IM2 does just that. Like you might see in an ongoing comic series, there’s a superhuman initiative being formed in the background of the story that we’re just EXPECTED to know about. Abrupt resolutions, bordering on soap operatic (Pepper’s going to die! Pepper’s saved! Toss-off joke!), allow the movie to switch story gears on a dime. You half-expect thought bubbles to appear above Happy Hogan’s head.

Marvel Studios is trying to do something unprecedented and establish a fully-formed, inter-connected cinematic world for their characters. That’s awesome. I respect the hell out of producer Kevin Feige and everyone involved for even trying. But again I come back to the “what movies do” and “what comics do” divide, and I can’t help but think they’re sacrificing some level of cinematic artistry to try and jury-rig this whole thing together.

Gwynnie's definitely concerned!

…I’m 1000 words into this review and have yet to mention the performances (great, as expected!), the special effects (f*cking sweet!) or the winking nod to Don Cheadle’s replacement of Terrence Howard (yanks shirt collar sideways; grits teeth with “uh-U-uh-U-uh” noise), but that just proves — to me, anyway — what fundamental problems IM2 wrestles with and how essential it is to nail STORY FIRST. However awesome your briefcase armor might be.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , ,

11 Responses to “Haiku Review: ‘Iron Man 2’”

  1. Haiku Review: ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ « Lifting Fog Says:

    […] character, but a comic book universe to the screen. So far that’s met with mixed results. Iron Man 2, you’ll remember, blew — and precisely because of Marvel’s attempts to shoehorn […]

  2. video de x Says:

    I actually love the theme on your website, I run a internet web site , and i would adore to use this theme. Is it a free style, or is it custom?

  3. Candy Crush Saga Hack Says:

    You can also use awe to buy various items in the
    store, including money. Check out the results here and compare and see which ones right for you.

    To give more challenging touch, I added some extra
    advanced stages.

  4. Geri Says:

    Candy Crush Saga was developed and created by
    King. When you reach the end of a Candy Crush Saga section, you
    need three tickets from friends before you can move on.
    From there you can check ‘delete all’ to remove all unwanted e-mails.

  5. http://www.youtube.com/ Says:

    com announced the casting of Luke Evans as Bard and also Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug.
    The graphics are not that bad, but they could be better.
    View detailed game photos in the accompanying slideshow.

  6. candy Crush game cheats Says:

    I blog often and I seriously thank you for your information.

    Your article has really peaked my interest. I am going
    to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week.

    I opted in for your Feed as well.

  7. www.youtube.com Says:

    wonderful points altogether, you simply gained a new reader.
    What may you suggest in regards to your put up that
    you just made a few days ago? Any sure?

  8. Maryanne Says:

    Below you will come across Cindy’s general Recruiter resume with her Information Technological innovation Recruiter resume:.
    Be sure to have an updated Linked – In profile and a professional online
    presence. The computer engineer is basically
    a computer software engineer.

  9. tiresomehysteri70.blog.com Says:

    First you should measure your band size – the numeric portion in your
    bra size (ex: the. Breast size doesn’t contend with accuracy
    of images but with the skill of the measurer in band below and around, and
    the above bust size. The best way is to use your best fitting bra as
    a starting point.

  10. www.Lucho.in Says:

    Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It in fact used to be
    a amusement account it. Glance complicated to far added agreeable from you!

    However, how could we be iin contact?

  11. mlb perfect inning 15 cheats Says:

    Hi it’s me, I am also visiting this website daily, this web site
    is actually good and the visitors are really sharing nice thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: