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Summertime Rolls 2010: Iron Man 2

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I like when Tony Stark is just being a scientist.  You know, just tinkering around the lab in his cool Malibu pad. The scenes in both Iron Man movies that just show Tony Stark batting holograms aside, talking to his stuffy British computer, or testing out, oh say, rocket boots, in his quest to create the coolest shit on the planet, are the best scenes in both movies.  There should be a show on TLC that just has Robert Downey, Jr., as Tony Stark, creating gadgets in his Malibu pad.  It’d do at least as well as The Littlest Chocolatier, right?

The first Iron Man movie dedicated a lot of time to Tony’s scientific side.  We watched Stark create an Iron Man prototype (along with a method to jumpstart his own ticker) from scraps found in a Taliban cave. We got to see him test out his Iron Man suit through a series of trial and error, and as a result, the audience got to know Tony as not only a womanizing playboy, but a smart, smart dude as well.

Iron Man 2 spends a bit more time on the womanizing playboy aspect of Stark. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it may be where the movie had to head, considering the celebrity status that would accompany admitting that he was Iron Man at the end of the first movie.  So we see him make a huge entrance at his Stark Expo, backed by what I assume are the same dancing girls used in the James Brown “Living in America” scene that introduced the Apollo Creed/Ivan Drago fight in Rocky IV.

That is a lot of fun to watch, as is him sassing Garry Shandling as a dicky senator who wants the Iron Man suit to be turned over to the government.   I also liked the idea of Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer being Salieri to Tony’s Stark’s Mozart, especially since Rockwell is one of the few actors out there who can match Downey, Jr.’s oversized personality.

I think the movie lost me (a bit) when Iron Man gets drunk and spins records with the late DJ AM.  It isn’t a good sign when anything reminds me of Superman III, but the “Iron Man is Irresponsible and Drunk” scene echoed the “Superman is Irresponsible and Drunk” scene a bit too closely. Granted, Superman wouldn’t have spun records with a hip DJ- in 1983, he would have most likely picked up a sax and jammed with Huey Lewis and the News.

The Drunk Iron Man scene is the worst scene in the movie, mostly because it leads to a ridiculous fight between Iron Man and his buddy Rhodey, who has decided he needs to give the Iron Man technology to the military.  He dons a spare silver suit, and proceeds to brawl with Drunk Iron Man in an action scene that seems to exist only because there hasn’t been an action scene in a while.

And there are some good action scenes in this, but only because there is some fun in watching what the latest model of blockbuster is capable of showing you. There isn’t any real reason for any of the action, not really.  And it IS cool watching Mickey Rourke slice cars in half with his electric whips or Scarlett Johansson scissoring bad guys between her legs.  Actually, ScarJo’s scenes got more cheers than any other scenes in the movie, at least with the crowd I watched with.

Should that be right, though?  Should stunts that Trinity from The Matrix rocked ten years ago be the most memorable thing in a shiny summer blockbuster like Iron Man 2?  And remember when Scarlett Johansson was in Ghost World?

Basically, this ain’t that bad.  It’s not Spiderman 3, much less Superman III.  But the first Iron Man set the bar pretty high two summers ago, as did The Dark Knight.  And since Part 2’s of superhero movies are supposed to be the best, I guess I just wanted more.

We can at least give it points for not insisting to go by IM2.

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