Shave me down and call me Gerald, Iron Man 2 rocks.
Around about this time two years ago I arrived through the doors of Feref Towers and a golden ticket to the Premiere of Iron Man at Odeon Leicester Square was pressed firmly into my sweaty little paw and off I skipped down to the theatre of dreams. Little did I know I was about to see one of the funniest, coolest and most unexpected hits of the year. With the immediate announcement of the next Iron Man instalment I was wetter than an otter’s pocket. Fast forward two years and add into the saucepan of excitement all the hype that has surrounded the film like the new additions and departures to the cast plus the theories on where the plot will go now that the world knows Iron Man’s true identity and you have the makings for one spicy pot of cinematic jambalaya.
The plot picks up 6 months after the revelation that the billionaire Tony Stark is Iron Man. However, Tony soon comes under immense pressure from the government, the press and the public and his fiercely competitive rival Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) to share his technology with the military. As you can imagine Tony is somewhat reluctant to divulge the secrets behind the Iron Man armour because he fears the information will slip into the wrong hands. Oh Tony… How right you are. With his health being compromised and a new enemy in his sights in the form of Whip Lash (Mickey Rourke) Tony is made to forge new alliances and confront powerful new forces. Aided by his go to gal Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and best friend James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) Tony begins to realise that in order to restore order he must negotiate with the one person he’s always battled against. Himself.
The film is a top, top, top action movie, and thanks to the majestically written script by Justin Theroux all the humour and banter that occurs in the first movie has been matched and surpassed by this new addition to the super hero movie collective. The action scenes are nothing short of awesome and clearly big Jon Favreau has had a wail of a time with the larger budget, but not so much that he has forgotten about what made the first film so memorable and fun. It’s a big blow out Hollywood movie with all the charm and charisma of Swingers.
I have always thought that Tony Stark was such an interesting character when suited up he lost something of that personality. Thankfully JF has managed to manage this carefully once again. Some of the most memorable moments occur when tony is suited up but you can see his face. What is interesting is that whilst in one respect the idea anonymity goes clean out of the window, there is still a sense of keeping things under cover and secret, fuelled by the arrival of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) who do their best to keep Tony falling off the rails.
After you have seen the movie, with any luck you will come out with the same feeling as when you dunk your face into a bowl of cold water on a hot summer’s day. It’s testament to all of the factors I have mentioned, that despite not being in 3D, it still blew me away. It’s really is a genuinely good action film. Good to see that despite all the hype of Avatar and the insistence by Louis Leterrier to upscale his Clash of the Titans to 3D, Favreau has let the action and the concrete script do all the work. I’d still go and see it at the IMAX though because let’s face it, any film can be enhanced with little trip down to the Southbank. There is an immensely tense scene on the Monaco race track which actually makes formula one look half interesting and when Mickey Rourke appears flailing his whips (is it just me or are them some heavy S&M connotations with this character? Perhaps a discussion best saved for later) the movie takes a turn for better as the new suit is revealed and Tony takes on his new adversary for the first time.
The cast are all spot on. The chemistry between Pepper and Tony remains with Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff adding some extremely welcome spice to the mix. Having replaced Terrence Howard in the first movie, Don Cheadle is both a worthy and equally entertaining replacement. His first line in the film is quietly brilliant, “It’s me…deal with it.” I think if any one looked of felt out of place it was Samuel L. Jackson who provided Tony with some ammo for banter, looked a little awkward as the S.H.I.E.L.D agent.
However, even with my out of control man-gasm after the film, it is certainly not without its faults. There was an insistence on plugging the new Avengers movie , which for non-fans and those not so clued in to all the forthcoming Marvel films, may have gone over their head. The Captain America shield joke was spot on though (you’ll see what I mean). There is also a period in the second half of the film that could have done with being a little snappier. My criticisms are minor because you’ll leave the cinema with a smile a mile wide. Go with no preconceptions and no expectations, like you probably did with the first one, and you’ll definitely get your 12 nuggets worth.
What drilled down my appreciation for Iron Man 2 was that the moment I got back to the flat, X-Men: The Last Stand was just starting on Film 4. Now there’s how not to direct a super hero movie. Fingers crossed for the next Iron Man movie.
Take a spare change of shorts because Iron Man 2 will make you wet.
Iron Man 2 arrives at cinemas Friday