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Iron Man 2

tn_ironman2I never reviewed IRON MAN, because I just didn’t feel like I had anything new to say about it. I enjoyed it just like everybody else did, for the same reasons, and every websight I read had examined the shit out of it, so I just let it go.

Now part 2 is out and I almost did the same thing (tradition is very important to me) but as I was thinking about writing up an explanation of why I wasn’t writing up the movie I realized I did have a couple things to say, so what the hell. Review time.

mp_ironman2I enjoyed IRON MAN 2, but not as much as IRON MAN.

the end

thanks everybody

p.s.

IRON MAN 2 is all the same sort of fun as the first one, and there’s nothing real embarrassing in it. Its only weakness is that it’s kind of formless, going around trying to do so many things. It picks up with Tony Stark now openly living an Iron Man lifestyle, and deals with the consequences of that: the government not wanting him to use it, private contractors and other countries wanting to copy it. So they gotta have these Senate hearings but also he’s holding his own personal World’s Fair and also he visits a car race in Monaco. And they have to introduce new villains that are after him and continue his relationship with Pepper Potts and have him solve his health problem again and also he’s depressed so he’s starting to hit the bottle too much and he learns some things about his dead father. And Samuel L. Jackson is back (before the credits this time) as the famous David Hasselhoff TV character Nick Fury, delving more into that, plus Scarlett Johansson (who has got to be at peak hotness by now, jesus. Sorry, but it must be said: hubba hubba) and those two are wearing Blade and GI Joe costumes respectively. That I enjoy but I gotta admit they’re too cartoony to fit into the sort of realistic world established in part 1.

So there’s alot to deal with there and the plot feels a little aimless. Like the first one it does culminate in a bunch of Iron Man flying and punching and shooting, and like the first one it was a bad idea to set it all at night and also it’s a little less exciting than the rest of the movie because you really feel that these human characters we’ve been enjoying have just been replaced by animation. I mean there’s some pretty cool stuff with him fighting a bunch of robots, but none of it works as well as that desert stuff from the first one, which I guess was good partly because it was shot in daylight and partly because alot of it was really him in a suit and not just computers taking over.

To me the most exciting scene wasn’t him in the suit, it was his people trying to get the suit to him. He’s been attacked in his race car and his bodyguard (director Jon Favreau, pulling a Spike Lee) drives his car onto the track to deliver him a suitcase that transforms into the Iron Man suit. It’s totally ludicrous but it’s a good combo of suspense, teamwork and loyalty.

But I guess my favorite action in this one is actually Favreau and Scarlett Johansson as The Baroness breaking into some laboratory so that they can use a computer to regain control of the Iron Man suit that Don Cheadle is wearing but not the rest of them (?). Scarlett and her stunt doubles acquit themselves well beating up security guards in a hallway in a loving tribute to the scene from BLADE TRINITY. She’s not always that good at sounding like she knows what the stuff she’s saying means, but at least they make it look like she knows how to scissor a guy’s head. So I forgive her for THE SPIRIT.

By the way, this is off-topic, but do these stupid shortened nicknames for female actresses bother anybody else? Like I keep seeing articles that call her “Scar-Jo” or the gal from TWILIGHT and PANIC ROOM is “K-Stew” and I believe there’s “H-Mirr” and “J-Dench.” And I can understand if you’re a gossip columnist or a British tabloid headline writer, because obviously you made a choice to part with dignity when you took that job. But otherwise I don’t think adult, literate humans should be writing that bullshit. Is it supposed to be funny? Is it supposed to be cute? Is it supposed to save time, because for me personally it takes alot longer because I have to check my decoder ring to figure out who the fuck you’re talking about.

WIth J-Lo I guess it’s fine because she chose to have that nickname herself, and it was given to her by a rapper, and rappers have names like that because it makes it easier to rhyme. And with Flo Jo it was okay, because she was in the Olympics. But anyway, stop doing that. I will punch you.

The weirdest scene and maybe a controversial one I guess is when Stark is depressed on his birthday so he drunkenly DJs a party for a bunch of rich girls while wearing the Iron Man suit. Then he has them throw his vases in the air and shoots them with his laser hands. It’s real awkward and maybe too Spiderman-3-dance-sequence-esque for some people, I don’t know. The crowd I saw it with was laughing like it was a comedy scene, but I thought it was real disturbing and sad. And definitely unlike anything I ever saw in one of these movies before, so points for that.

But then Don Cheadle as Roadie goes and puts on one of the other Iron Man suits to have an intervention, and they get into a super-powered buddy-fight. This was a problem for me because I was still getting used to Don Cheadle playing the character that Terence Howard played in the first one. I know this Marvel company pays minimum wage and Terence Howard wanted an extra 15 minute smoke break so they thought he was uppity and implied that everybody thought he was a pain in the ass anyway and didn’t want to work with him again. I don’t know, maybe there was no way to keep him in the movie. But whatever happened it takes away the emotion that would’ve been in this scene if it was Howard. There was no way for me to mentally transfer that relationship to a different body, so this face-off didn’t have the punch it should’ve. Too bad.

I’m not sure the development of his relationship with Pepper works all that great either. I loved the flirtatious-but-they-know-it-could-never-work approach in the first one. This one I’m not sure they earn the places they bring it to. The entire movie has Pepper angry because Tony’s being a dick, then at the end she’s absolutely at the end of her rope but he interrupts her so suddenly they’re in (SPOILER) love. I don’t know, man. Could’ve been done better.

I think one of the main things that made IRON MAN stand out from other super hero pictures is the approach to acting. Robert Downey Jr. had obviously been allowed to improvise constantly, making the whole thing very funny and loose. No other super hero I can think of has had that type of feel. I don’t think Christian Bale gets a couple extra takes to make up different lines, except when he’s doing those off-the-cuff riffs on lighting and professionalism.

Luckily in IRON MAN 2 they turn Mickey Rourke loose the same way they did with Downey. They hired him to play this Russian super villain but they let him be the Mickey Rourke version of a Russian super villain. Covered in Russian prison tattoos, gold caps on his teeth, blue streaks in his hair and (most importantly) they let him add his cockatoo into the plot. (He did the same thing with his late chihuaha in ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO.) Also he’s introduced standing with his face in the corner wearing a hoodie and holding a bottle of water. I’m not sure what that was about. So even though he’s building evil robots he never feels like a super villain from any other movie I ever saw. Well, except maybe in that opening scene when he lets out a devastated roar over his father’s death.

Anyway, he never makes any speeches or anything. He explains his beef with Tony Stark a couple times, but he keeps it pretty brief, and the rest of the time he pretty much keeps to himself, barely even talking to the guy funding his evil robots (Sam Rockwell).

Like anybody I always like Rockwell, and he did better with this smarmy character than most people would’ve. But he already played the villain in CHARLIE’S ANGELS, he’s had his chance for a big movie like this before. So let’s continue appreciating Mickey Rourke. I’m glad his great performance in THE WRESTLER gave him this opportunity. I love actors who have a raw talent but also have no shame about being total weirdos. That way they can channel their eccentricities into greatness and sometimes when they suck it’s still entertaining. I think Rourke can do this, Nic Cage can do this, Marlon Brando could do this. Rourke is a great actor, a lovable weirdo, a total badass, an Oscar nominee and played Stavros in DOUBLE TEAM. That in my opinion is a life to be proud of. With another actor this would be a pretty lame and under-written villain, but his out-there-without-being-over-the-top approach makes it one of the better ones.

And of course Downey gets to fuck around and do whatever he wants too. At first I thought that might be causing a problem. His humor and cocky charm keep it fun but the plot’s swerving all over the place and some of it’s a little choppy, like one of those lesser Apatow productions where they had to cobble 72 hours of riffing into a coherent plot.

But then I figured out what it is. The first one had all the same qualities, but they were grounded by a real solid story backbone. They got to introduce asshole Tony Stark and put him through the mythic events that inspire him to rise to the occasion, find a purpose in life, build an awesome robot suit. And then he fights Jeff Bridges, but that’s just kind of the ending and not the best part. Part 2 doesn’t have as much of a structure to it.

I think some of the SPIDERMAN and XMAN pictures are kind of like that too. Maybe not as extreme, but they’re pretty overstuffed with updates on all the old characters and introductions of new ones and some new problem the hero has that ties into some old problem and at the end he has a realization but then he has to break up with his girlfriend or something. Comic book nerds like to say that super heros are the Greek gods of modern non-Greece, but really maybe they’re just soap operas with electric beams that shoot out of people. And I’m not knocking that. I like watching them too.

Here’s the thing. I bet with reading the comic strip books there are sometimes the real classic, timeless stories you’ll go back to again and again, like THE WATCHMEN or the one where Ziggy gets a DUI. But most of the time there’s just the ones that come out every month and sometimes they’re pretty good and you enjoy them but then you just shrink wrap them and lock them in your refrigeration chamber and probly don’t think about them too often. That’s the same way with these super hero sequels, I would say that DARK KNIGHT and BLADE 2 are the real classic ones that tell solid stories and deliver on everything you love about the first one but also elevate it to a whole new level and make you want to immediately see the next one except also you fear that there’s no way they could do another that good again. And then there’s ones like this that come out during the summer and you’re happy to see those characters again and you enjoy watching it once, and that’s about it.

So, you know, I would’ve preferred better, but I enjoyed it well enough for what it was.

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TOP SECRET SPOILER ABOUT THE PART AFTER THE CREDITS. I wasn’t really sure what was going on but fortunately some guy wanted to make sure everybody knew that he read about it on the internet so he yelled out “THOR!” before it even showed the metal box or whatever it was. So I know it has something to do with Thor.

However, I would like to propose the obviously way better Marvel Comics ending that would’ve made everybody’s pants explode, clean up the oil spill and invent a new multi-layered Middle East so that Israel and Palestine could both have equal portions of land. See, it’s exactly the same with the SHIELD agent saying “We found it,” while surveying a powerful object in the middle of a crater in New Mexico. Except he’d say, “We found them. The Daywalker’s sunglasses.” And that could be that or for extra awesomeness he would throw them in the air and Wesley Snipes would catch them and then fly at the camera with his sword and slice the screen in half while being drowned out by the same sort of nerd yelps and moans of ecstasy as the Thor ending except in my opinion it would be real and not faking it.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 8th, 2010 at 8:03 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

105 Responses to “Iron Man 2”

  1. Scarlett at peak hotness right now? Mmmmmmmm.

  2. I kind of like the shagginess. Instead of doing the standard superhero three-act plotline, Favs and his team seemed more interesting in exploring the character of Tony Stark as he experiences and reacts to different situations. It’s less about COOOOL action scenes and more about this kooky guy trying to figure out his life. It’s so different from what other people are doing and such a great performance that I dig it. It definitely could be tighter though, I’m not saying it’s perfect.

  3. Yeah it would be kind of cool if somebody gave Wesley Snipes a job right now.

  4. but weren’t the greek myths the soap operas of their time (but with beams shooting out of people)?

    p.s. haven’t seen iron man 2 yet. JAPAN!!!!! (to be read like shatner)

  5. Jareth Cutestory

    May 8th, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Virgin Gary: As I understand it, Greek myths were attempts to understand the world. When Early Man saw the sun set in the sky, he tried following it in order to keep warm. When he learned that he couldn’t catch up with it before it rose again behind him, he came up with a story about why that shit was happening. Maybe THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS does the same thing, I don’t know.

    Also, Ziggy calling those cops “sugar tits” during his DUI was probably what provoked them to go all Rodney King on his ass. A crying shame.

  6. Seems like a pretty spot on review Vern, I tend to agree with you I think, but feel like I enjoyed it more, though I can’t really comment on your level of ennjoyedness now, really. That’s a bit presumptuous of me. I was saying to a mate earlier today that it just felt like the Black Widow character (Scarlett Johannson) was really only in there to pad out the roster of Marvel characters on film, apart from being really pretty, didn’t add that much to the film narratively.
    Also, props for putting Blade II as a favourite. Definitely my favourite Blade film, and also my favourite Del Toro film. It’s just got it all.

  7. CrustaceanHate

    May 9th, 2010 at 12:03 am

    I liked IRON MAN 2. Not as good as the first one, but I’m glad they realised that the natural charisma of Downey Jr (aka Dow-Ju) was the arc reactor at the core of the movie, and kept him out of the suit for as long as possible. I was worried they’d make it too action heavy and fuck it up. The stuff with Nick Fury and Black Window seemed pretty incongruous and unnecessary to me, like studio-mandated product placement for the Avengers movie.

    What was up with the release date for this movie anyway? It came out over here like two weeks earlier than in the States and that never, ever happens.

  8. I took your point and stopped reading at P.S. I figure you were right the first time around. I got the gist – ‘worth seeing, but not as good’. I was teetering on the ‘dun bother with cinema for this one’ precipice, but your echoing of that same line was the final nudge to tip me over.

  9. I thought it was pretty nifty myself. I like shiny things.

  10. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned that the IM2 climax is almost basically a remake of ROBOCOP 2’s finish. Just saying.

    That and unlike that one, IM2 was pretty good.

  11. The IM1 climax is also almost basically a remake of the ROBOCOP 2 finish. Jon Favreau just loves paying homage to ROBOCOP 2, and that’s all there is to it.

  12. I did think the action in this one was kicked up 2, perhaps 2.5 notches. And the action was pretty varied. Especially the Monaco sequence. Although what was with Whiplash’s master plan to go to Monaco just in case Tony Stark happened to impulsively personally replace his racecar driver at the last minute so he could walk out on to the track and laser whip his car in half and then flaunt his bare chest and et cetera in an extremely dangerous environment? Kind of a weird plan. But Mickey Rourke does seem to project the type of psychological profile that would devise a villainous plan like this.

  13. Hey Vern are you going to review THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE?

  14. I roughly agree with Vern.

    I mean outside of the heavy CGI and action save-the-world-shit that we get every 2 weeks at theatres…the best most interesting and fun scenes was the Tony Stark inner-circle dealing with their global fame and being obsessed by a hero-hungry, celebrity-driven global culture. No spider-man guilt of being found out, just…well, what you would expect with a superhero that everybody knows his real name.

    In a way those moments were almost a superhero version of A HARD DAY’S NIGHT. Or another episode of VENTURE BROS.

    You’ve got the well-meaning but impulsive, selfish, moody asshole hero. You’ve got the overwhelmed assistant/boss/caregiver/lover having to clean up the hero’s bullshit. You’ve got the best buddy who repeatedly tries and fails to stop the guy from being himself.

    Then you have Jon Favreau, an ex-athlete/boxer now as chauffer/bodyguard/sidekick who’s stuck dab middle in this fucking crazy superhero mad apeshit circus, carrying the Iron Man Briefcase by handcuff to the wrist around as if he’s some Secret Service agent holding the “Football.” Less screentime than Black Widow, yet he was more fascinating and memorable.

    Take that scene of RDJ buying the strawberries. Was it necessary for the action mechanical plot? Why no, but I liked that interaction between some random migrant fruit seller and this superhero. “Hey are you that Iron Man guy?”

    SDAL – Is Marvel trying to fuck as many movies with their SHIELD set-up shit for that AVENGERS movie? What if that movie doesn’t happen*, much less suck too as the current consensus on CAPTAIN AMERICA?

    *=Just ask George Miller what happened to JUSTICE LEAGUE.

  15. It could have been what you said Vern, about the Howard to Cheadle change, but I remember I got really disconnected to the characters. I was actually kind of on Whiplash’s side. Maybe I’m just too big a Mickey Rourke fan but I mean, he had the clearest motivation out of all the characters (note* he also gets the most badass moment when he walks away with exploding F1 cars flying over him). Tony Stark is still kind of a corporate asshole and obviously motivated by fame. Then Sam Rockwell’s character is just a slightly more corporate asshole than Tony Stark. I guess he fights a little dirty. And then you have Whiplash who’s this poor Russian dude who’s Pops raised him shitty as an angry drunk. But he’s still super choked when his Dad dies and he wants to avenge his death. Tony Stark may not have killed his Dad but his father was a corporate scumbag who screwed the guy into drinking himself to death. Later we are supposed to like Stark’s Dad because he (spoiler) left his kid some clues to make up for the bad parenting. Plus a special heartfelt video outtakes message. I just don’t get why I’m supposed to want to see Iron Man triumph over the Sam Rockwell character, a character who shares many traits with the Starks. Whiplash is not that far off from being in his own kind of Death Wish revenge scenario. As far as I can remember Whiplash didn’t cause a whole lot of collateral damage or do anything really evil. Henchman are expendable in movies and I guess he crashed some cars. I guess I just needed Whiplash to be established as more evil. He’s even set up as an animal lover. I don’t know, I think I’m just finding all these Superhero movies a little convoluted and full of unclear political messages. I thought Defendor was great though, better than all the recent ones.

  16. Maxo – We’re supposed to root for RDJ because he’s funny.
    I mean he uses Captain America’s shield to prop up a pipe. How can we hate such a chap?

    It’s like GOOD, BAD, & UGLY…why should we root for Clint? He’s a violent amoral greedy sociopath. No more than Lee Van Cleef. Yet we get rowdy when Clint is Clint. Poor Eli Wallach only becomes the most sympathetic guy of the three because he comes up pathetic puny to Lee and Clint.

    I guess?

    And what you mean establish Mickey Rourke as more “evil”, a random scene where he eats a Puppy? Pray to Satan? Pay to see a Platinum Dunes production? Give CUT THE CRAP a thumbs up at Amazon?

  17. Agreed Vern. The movie was in between good to great. An ‘almost’ movie. I felt Rourke’s character was awesome and that there was supposed to be some kind of sympathetic reaction to him but perhaps he lacked a scene where you felt he was bringing about a real sense of danger to the characters Tony Stark really grew to care for eg. Pepper. Perhaps since it was a revenge motive from the Russian guy, they could have written it in that way a little more. ie. He could have been plotting to destroy everything Tony built or/and cared for… I mean rather than flat out flying to kill Tony and Rhodey directly. Especially since thematically they had the whole ‘lack of a family’ thing in the Yinsen scene in the first movie (You’re a man who has everything, and nothing) in the first movie which I thought was a great idea to explore. I mean this version obviously still works but it’s not nearly as heavy emotionally as it could be.

  18. Maxo – On second thought, you do have a point of how IM2 has a muddle political message.

    On one hand, Rockwell like Bridges in #1 represents the darkside of the military-industrial complex. This one, he’s like the times the American government backed obvious pieces of shit out of pure short-term convenience. Who then ultimately bite the hand that feeds them. Rourke might as well have been named Noriega, Saddam Hussein, etc.

    Then the movie claims Iron Man has stopped war. What does that mean in 2010 anyway? Did he personally intervene in all those endless bush guerilla fighting down in Africa? Plant a foot up Hamas’ ass or keep that Israeli/NeoCon lobby* from starting more wars?

    What of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan? Would they constitute “war” in Stark’s book? Why would Bill O’Reilly act like as if he believed Stark’s quest was a good one in the first place? Not like America and Russia were recently itching for a confrontation like say during the Cold War.

    And for that matter, “war” in our current times means more these low tech insurgents or terrorists bombing select-political targets. Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, whatever.

    *=I just realized that whole segment of Stark pointing out how Iran and North Korea were pathetically decades away could be a tweak at the NeoCons for their overreacting pre-Iraq War assertions of Saddam’s doomsday arsenal. Or instead of a nuke, he only had firecrackers. Same which some currently argue for….Iran and North Korea.

  19. Greg B – A problem might be that the film’s villain got split into two. Maybe in a different rewriting situation where Favreau didn’t preconceive of getting his dream cast Rockwell and rourke, you combined the two characters.

    In contrast, DARK KNIGHT has your Joker who is the undisputed bad guy. He’s joined in a different journey with different objectives by Harvey Dent, who started out a likeable responsible good guy who becomes bad. A rare movie where multiple-villains actually WORKS for the better.

    Actually combining the IM2 villains could work. Imagine your Russian genius CEO, who’s dad got ripped off/fired by his business/intellectual rival in Stark. If Stark gets the chicks and the fame, charismatic and quick on his feet wit plus the best contemporary military tech….the Russian is the opposite.

    So combine the righteous vengeance factor with competing with Stark in what effectively is a dick-sizing contest (the Russian always coming up short)…that could work? Just a thought.

  20. RRA,
    Iron Man 2 is no The Good The Bad and The Ugly but it’s an interesting comparison to make. Three characters pitted against eachother by greed. Most people feel that Tuco steals the movie, and I believe that was a strong part of the falling out between Leone and Clint. I don’t believe we are pushed so hard to root for a certain character in that film though. Plus Tuco lives and he gets his share of the gold. It’s funny you bring Spaghetti Westerns up because I believe that’s where a lot of Action Movie and Anti Hero construction originates. Think of Leone’s next film “Once Upon A Time In The West”, how is Henry Fonda introduced? He kills a young Girl and a whole family before we even see his face. Then he gets one line and kills a child. THAT’S how you introduce a character as a villain.

    Gwai Lo,
    That breakdown of Whiplash’s plan for the Monaco sequence was amazing. Never would have thought of that.

  21. I felt the same way Vern

    it was an enjoyable movie, but I’m not sure it’ll be worth revisiting

  22. I totally agree with your review.

  23. Talking about Sam Rockwell: He was da bomb in Galaxy Quest! It still amazes me how he managed to steal every single scene in a movie with such a perfect cast!

  24. It’s a good movie alright. Just maybe about the same as the first or not really surpassing it enough to be compared to other superhero sequels that upped the ante like X2 or Spider-man 2.

  25. Maxo – Well I agree. Just for some reason GBU came to mind.

    BTW I wonder if in IRON MAN 3 they will bother with the hero actually using his arc reactor shit for some actual real good like making a viable energy source.

    Otherwise he’s a bigger asshole than I think he is.

  26. I’m with Brendan: I like the shagginess. It fits Downey Jr’s interpretation of the character. Everybody else in the movie is trying to get him to focus and stick to the plot, but he’s more interested in random tangents and diversions. And he’s just so damn charming that I don’t really care if he ever actually gets down to business. That’s why you’re expected to root for him and not Sam Rockwell (playing Robert Downey Jr Jr). Rockwell has all of he same qualities that Stark has, but no style. Check out that little wannabe dance he does at the presentation. Style matters.

    As for the S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff being shoehorned in, I would argue that the central arc of Stark in this film in his going from self-destructive lone wolf to part of a team. He can’t very well join the government, who are depicted as a bunch of stick-in-the-ass pricks, so he joins S.H.I.E.L.D., which is made up of eccentrics in funny costumes, just like him. I think it fits the movie perfectly.

    But maybe I’m biased because I can’t wait to see what Joss Whedon does with the AVENGERS movie. This has the potential to be the single snarkiest movie ever made.

  27. Mr. M – You just summed up what I loved about this flick. That SHIELD are the only ones to make Tony get down to business. Everyone else is totally exasperated with his eccentric behavior and sideways thinking. But that’s what works for him. He cuts through the bullshit while leaving bullshit in his wake to cover his tracks.
    When Samuel L. appeared he was a breath of fresh air. He delivered his lines with gusto and intelligence. He was the man that even Tony Stark had to respect and it totally showed.
    I enjoyed this one a great deal. As Vern mentioned the big final battle is a bit of a mess but I forgave it because everything else was so much fun.

  28. I liked the first 30 minutes of Iron Man part 1. After that I was bored (“Man, I can’t believe Obadiah Stain turned out to be the villain!”). It’s so predictable that I think a little formlessness might have actually helped it. But, then again, people love Iron Man, so what the the hell do I know?

    Really enjoyed part 2. The scene during Stark’s birthday party was maybe a little misjudged. For me, there’s something really disturbing, too disturbing, about watching Robert Downey Jr. go “off leash”.

    Also, really like seeing Mickey Rourke in movies. He did a great job. And I hate to get all Peter Biskind-style negative, but there is an aspect to it that bothers me: Mickey Rourke just made The Wrestler in which he gives a legitimately great performance. And what is his reward for that? He gets to play the villain in an enjoyable, slightly above average big corporate franchise movie. Ok, fine. I’d rather see Mickey Rouke in movies than not see him, but, is that really all we have for the guy? Iron Man 2? It’s almost like if, after winning the Oscar for The Godfather part 2, instead of making Taxi Driver, De Niro had starred in Captain America. I’m sure nerds would have loved it, but, 35 years later would anybody give shit about that movie? I doubt it.

  29. I loved that Sam Jackson chose to play Fury as the straight man. Downey was riffin’ and punnin’ and flippin’ off the wall like Lucille Ball, but Jackson just stone-faced him into acquiescence. Stark’s quirk factor wears everyone else in the movie down, but it won’t budge Nick Fury an inch. It reminds me of a line in a Drive By Truckers song about the guy who owned Sun Records: “Mr. Phillips was the only man Jerry Lee would still call sir.”

  30. WS: Maybe a better analogy would be that Brando’s iconic role in THE GODFATHER, which was considered somewhat of a comeback at the time, landed him the role of Superman’s dad.

  31. WS – That’s the way Hollywood operates. His good work in THE WRESTLER is rewarded with a higher profile picture and a bigger paycheck. Couple that with more freedom to chose interesting roles later and it’s win/win for Rourke. That’s how to play the game. Don’t worry, I can almost guarantee that the return of Mickey Rourke will be anything but formulaic or mainstream. He’s just gettin’ paid first.

    P.s. Did anyone else notice in the credits that Mr. Rourke’s personal assistant is named Superbad?

  32. Jareth – of course i realize that the greek myths were originally organically devised to explain the mysteries of nature and the universe, but i think that once they became solidified as stories, they began to function mainly as pieces of entertainment for the average joe (or giorgios, in this case). this is just my personal theory, and feel free to disagree, but i kinda think that all narrative, in all it’s forms, basically provides a kind of melodramatic entertainment for the people, be it a religious fable, a dostoevsky novel, a children’s comic strip (like THE WATCHMEN), an actual soap opera, a children’s super hero movie (like IRON MAN 2), or a sports event.

    i’m not sure what exactly i’m trying to say, partly because i am very tired and slightly drunk, but largely because i already typed a really long response and then accidentally deleted it, which made me angry at no one in particular (except maybe the greek gods). however, i hope it made sense to someone.

    i have avoided the majority of comments for fear of spoilers, but good news guys!!! i discovered that IRON MAN 2 actually comes out in two days here in japan. one of those rare movies that’s released here almost the same as time as the rest of the civilized world. weirdly there has been almost no advertising, which is strange because the first one was a pretty big hit here.

  33. Majestyk – great points on the shagginess. What you’re describing is part of what sets this franchise apart from all of superherodom. I also think you identified the arc that a lot of the critics are completely missing: Tony’s transition from unilateral bully to team player. The S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff falls neatly into place under this premise. Each character is a reflection of this arc somehow as well, from Whiplash and his unceremonious exile from the team that causes him to become a dark opposite of Tony’s lone wolf persona, to Pepper Potts as the ultimate team player gracefully assuming control of Stark Industries, to Justin Hammer trying to have it both ways by hiring a lone wolf on the sly but playing ball with the government whenever it suits him.

  34. I think I prefer this one to the first one as well, guys. I actually kind of agree with WS in that IRON MAN is almost too formulaic for its own good, and that some of the diversions and scenic routes taken in IRON MAN 2 might have actually loosened it up a bit. IRON MAN 2’s weakest act is its second act, but IRON MAN’s weakest act is its third act. There was unfortunately more AC/DC in this one but there was also more action, so it’s an acceptable trade-off. They both get roughly the same score from me but I think this sequel has more in it to revisit than the by-the-books origin of the first installment.

  35. I thought they missed a HUGE opportunity in not naming Rourke’s character Ivan Drago.

  36. Timmy – Funny you should say that. I would actually contend that IRON MAN 2 is more analogous to ROCKY 3. Stark as Rocky, Whiplash as Clubber Lang, Rhodes as Apollo Creed, Happy as Pauly and the ghost of Stark’s dad as Rocky’s coach. Stark/Rocky is at the top of his game and his fame. Whiplash/Clubber, arrives from the mean streets to take the hero down more than a few pegs. With the tough love of his friend Rhodes/ Apollo our hero redeems himself and makes a heroic comeback. The sequence where Stark is creating a new element to save his life could easily have Eye of the Tiger playing over it.

  37. I don’t know what “unfortunately more AC/DC” means. I understand all the individual words but in context they see to be gibberish.

  38. I know I’m inexplicably in the minority on this one but I find Bon Scott’s voice to mimic the sound of a cat being raped with a porcupine. I’m not big on cock rock. I mean I like classic rock (god, are AC/DC considered classic now?), I listen to fucking Blue Oyster Cult non-ironically, but do not like the particular strain of shriek rock that is AC/DC, Van Halen, Guns n Roses, Def Leppard etc.

  39. Also the Black Sabbath (who I like) song in the first IRON MAN made sense but the AC/DC just seems like obnoxious pandering to me. Like the DJ who plays “Thunderstruck” or “Highway to Hell” for any place two or more of the following converge: men, beer, hockey, fighting

  40. Anyway I’m leaving the house so I can’t stick around to defend my musical taste but if you guys like the musical equivalent of Bobcat Goldthwait then more power to you I guess.

  41. ebonic_plague

    May 9th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    “Musical equivalent of Bobcat Goldthwait” As a non-hardline fan of both AC/DC and Bobcat Goldthwait, I must salute the utter truthiness of that statement. Though, when I was listening to the Brian Johnson era AC/DC growing up, my mom always called it “Donald Duck’s band.”

    Great review as always, Vern. Since I’m not as versed in esoteric action movie knowledge as most of the people here, I usually just lurk and read (and learn!) from the comments, but when you delve into comic strip territory I feel like I, as an accredited representative of the fanboy community, can wade into the discussion with a little something more to contribute. Not here though; I never read any Iron Man. You pretty much summed up my take on this… not as compelling as the first one, but anytime I alternately get jet-robot fights and Scarlett Johanssen’s ass featured prominently in a movie that isn’t embarrassing on most other levels, I find my money has been well spent. I’m thankful for the Iron Man movies for bringing a respectable level of T&A back to comic book movies.

    I was kind of surprised to notice the party/intervention fight scene DJ was Adam Goldstein (aka DJ AM), as he died last year after some pretty horrific plane crash. It actually took me out of the movie during that scene, because it made me think that since he was in this I must have dreamed that he died, and the realization that I only knew about all this stuff because of tabloid news kind of bummed me out. Thankfully there was enough cool robot fighting and snappy one-liners to distract me back into enjoying it again.

  42. I am a hardline AC/DC fan, but I can understand why some people don’t like them. Not everyone is genetically equipped to rock that hard.

  43. I’m an agreement with some of the more recent posters in that I liked this one as much if not more than the first Iron Man. The main complaint I’ve been hearing is the juggling-too-many-characters-and-plotlines one, but I dunno. I felt like it all worked well enough together and that there was a pretty legitimate reason for everyone to be there. The only one who I think could be considered shoehorned in is Black Widow, but I mean, c’mon guys, are you really gonna complain?

    There is the “wait…what?” sequence in the middle where Tony’s dad hides the molecular structure of the new element in the Stark Expo model (…?) but The Dark Knight scene where Bruce keeps shooting those bricks to find a fingerprint (…?) was about equally weird, not fully sensical science. I mean, compared to say, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, which I consider to be the standard for striving to be epic but really just having too much random shit going on, I felt like this was pretty coherent and all of a piece. A couple other things no one’s mentioned:

    -I kind of enjoyed what I interpreted to be a lot of meta commenting on shit throughout, the main ones that stick out being Iron Man’s grand reintroduction (“It’s good to be back…”) and Don Cheadle as Rhodes introduction (“Yes, it’s me, I’m here, let’s get on with it”) I think there were a couple other ones too, but none I remember.

    -Did anyone else think it was an intentional shout-out to Tarantino to have the first big Sam Jackson scene take place in a diner? Just a couple of dudes talkin in a diner except one’s Iron Man and the other is Sam Jackson with a fuckin eyepatch.

    -I’ve kinda been hoping Vince Vaughn would show up somewhere in these movies, and I couldn’t help but think that all of Hammer’s shit, getting owned by Tony throughout the movie and sucking up to/annoying the shit out of Mickey Rourke, would have been perfect for him, not to take away from Rockwell, who does rock in the role.

    -I’m also in agreement with some other posters that it was kinda off putting having a casting switch on Rhodes. Its strange, I didn’t think it would bother me cuz I do tend to enjoy Cheadle more than Terrence Howard, but all through the movie I found myself missing Terrence in the role, so maybe they should have paid him more or whatever it is he wanted

  44. One Guy From Andromeda

    May 9th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    downey is good in everything, and i enjoy him becoming a superstar. but this is a movie thats aimed solely at 15 year olds, it just doesnt interest me in the slightest. i thought it wasnt any more exciting or engaging than transformers. just not as extremely stupid.

  45. darth_irritable

    May 9th, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Vern, I love your random rants in these reviews. First of all, I just love angry people, and second, I agree with most of them (though I think the „racust robots in transformables 2„ may be giving one M. Bay too much credit… I’m not sure.he is that creative ).

    Side note: and I probably deserve a kicking for this, but I saw the Nightmare on Elm Street Reboot. It firmly continues the grand tradition of Platinum Dunes completely failing to grasp what made the original great. Sure Freddy is actually evil, but everything else was way off base.

    On the AC/DC topic… yes both singers sound like chickens getting violated, but damn if their best songs font imporove almost any movie/drunken binge…

  46. Jareth Cutestory

    May 9th, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I hear what you’re saying, Gwai Lo. I prefer my big dumb rock songs to come from the Stooges. I think there is probably a profound difference between AC/DC and Van Halen (apart from the amount of mascara and sequins worn by the singers), but, as Majestyk says, I’m not equipped to do the research.

    Anyway, I’m sure we can all agree that the Ramones are awesome. Peace.

  47. Well, although AC/DC and Van Halen don’t sound anything alike (AC/DC is basically just a heavy boogie woogie blues band based on the almost telepathic guitar interplay of the Young brothers, while VH is early Sunset Strip pop metal centered around Eddie’s solo six-string histrionics), they do have one superficial thing in common. Both started out with wry, witty singers who celebrated rock cliches while actively skewering them, and both replaced those singers with iron-lunged screamers who took it all a lot more seriously.

  48. Oh, and they both have really tight rhythm sections. Plus, their music increases your tolerance for hard liquor by 38%, according to a statistic I just made up.

  49. Mr. Majestyk – I think its funny that in spite of the heavy promotion and release of that AC/DC “official” soundtrack for IRON MAN 2, unless my math is wrong there is just as many Clash tunes as there are AC/DC tracks.

    I mean this is the first summer blockbuster to my knowledge which employed The Clash’s “The Magnificent Seven”, and more people over three days have heard it more than the SANDINISTA! album ever did in its 30 plus years.

  50. I think it’s funny that IRON MAN 2 and MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE have basically the same “official” soundtrack. If you have a movie about technology run amok, AC/DC has your back.

  51. So they get Mickey Rourke, give him a Russian accent, equip him with laser whips and then… sit him in front of a computer for half the film and we watch him type stuff. Oh. The showdown in this thing is the definition of “let down”; build up to the big fight and then blink, it’s over. However, that Monaco scene makes me forgive a lot. That bit was ace.

  52. Jareth Cutestory

    May 9th, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    That film GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO punctuates its numerous (endless) scenes of characters dicking around on computers with the most absurd action film soundtrack. There’s something wrong with your film when the director is working so hard to get you pumped up about a dude opening a scanned image file on his Mac.

  53. I’ll take AC/DC over Van Halen any day. There’s a cheesy, flashy, Las Vegas quality about the latter that I could just never get behind. But I wouldn’t fight about it.

    The Stooges are something else. If you don’t like The Stooges, you have a right to live your life…just please go and do it over there somewhere, out of my sight.

  54. My girlfriend fell asleep many times during IRON MAN 2. I couldn’t find a reason to weak her up.

    What about »Striving for excellence«? A solid story? Protagonists with hopes and motivations i can relate to? Intense action sequences, where somebody i care about is in danger? Some emotional weight? A spectacular showdown? With a real villain? Whiplash IS a lame and underwritten villain – but that’s okay because he is played by a great actor? Don’t get it.

    IRON MAN was a generic, but (in the first two acts) simple and fun superhero movie with a great cast. IRON MAN 2 is a boring sequel to a generic superhero movie, neither simple or fun – but also with a great cast. Maybe they find something to do with all the available talent in IRON MAN 3D. Oh, and i enjoyed the Monaco sequence. And the moments with the Audi-driving Tony Stark (strawberrys, transporting the STARK EXPO model).

    While the end credits rolled i asked my girlfriend, what she remembered from the movie: »It was loud at the end.« Then we watched the rest of the credis, waited for Debneys new Iron-Man-Theme to return (never happened) and watched the After-Credits-Sequence. I had to explain to my girlfriend, what that meant. Don’t know, if this is the right way to build up the excitement vor THE AVENGERS. And: if they are unable to tell a intense and suspenseful story about one superhero, i’m really excited what they do with more of them in one movie.

  55. This movie was hugely flawed but had just about enough moronic shit for me to enjoy it.

    First of all I don’t really get the appeal of Tony Stark, seemed like a complete asshole to me. I mean everyone laughed in the theatre when he decided to drive the formula 1 car but I kind of sided with the driver he replaced, that guy put in all the practice and qualifying and was probably pretty psyched up for the race only to be told the rich asshole owner of the team was taking over because he’s like, cool. And Tony fucking up the waiter’s day just picking whatever table he wanted, why does he have to give working folk such shit? But then Rourke showed up and I was won over. I mean his ‘plan’ made zero sense, gotta appreciate that stupidity. And Tony’s bodyguard drives through one gate and he’s ON THE TRACK? Brilliant. I also liked that Sam Rockwell was very similar to Tony Stark, so to make you hate him they have him make terrible jokes all the time.

    But then the movie just put Mickey Rourke in a room and had him doing nothing, so I started to dislike it again. Until the other two major stupid scenes: the whole making a new element shit that a highschool physics student would tell you makes absolutely no sense (and Tony builds a super-collider using a spirit level!), and also the filmatists apparent lack of knowledge of how broken glass can injure you. I mean, drunk Iron man showering his party guests in broken glass and they applaud and laugh? I loved it. (Later when the evil robots take off they crash through a glass ceiling over the expo, again showering thousands of people with glass with no consequences). The last fight was really crappy though.

    So overall, it was poor but had enough stupidity for me to enjoy it. I was kind of annoyed they didn’t show how Rourke killed those bodyguards, I don’t think they had really established that he could do that easily, unless his having tattoos counts. They did show him taking out that guy in prison but that was an easier scenario that taking on two highly trained dudes who are watching your every move.

    Sorry that was long and rambling, anyway good review Vern.

  56. Agree with what everyone has said but wanted to add:

    – The biggest sin of the movie is having that annoying asshat Hammer and never kill him. What? I mean, when he’s at the event, with a bunch of robots behind him… what a hasted oppotunity to fill him whith bullets. Oh, Robocop 1, how I miss you.

    – What’s wrong with you people? talking about AC/DC, the Clash… and absolutely no mention of the big Daft Punk! A little Robot Rock during the party fight… AWESOME.

  57. I’m kind of hoping that they save valuable backstory space and ret-con Justin Hammer into Giant-Man for the Avengers movie. He’s perfect: a little man who wants to be big.

  58. RRA – the very first thing I thought was “Robocop 2”. Not only was the “big expo unveiling goes beserk” ending straight from R2 (which I guess you could say goes back to King Kong), the structure is similarly unfocused and sloppy. Subplots, storylines, and main characters just disappear and reappear for giant chunks of the movie. Also, Villain #1 (the grungy one) is easily defeated early on, but then teams up with Villain #2( slick corporate one) to come back in new form at the end to get his ass whipped again. The main character has some internal battle going on and doesn’t act like himself for most of the movie but then fixes himself through some cobbled up deus ex machina. Oh, and there’s a comedic film-reel montage of other attempts to make knockoff Ironmen/Robcops with disastrous results/people getting mangled. I guess Favreau liked how X2 paid homage to Star Trek II and decided to pay homage to one of the most disappointing sequels of all time.

  59. Robocop 2 rules. I told Tom Noonan that when I ran into him on the street one day. I think he thought I was making fun of him, but I was totally sincere.

  60. John_b & neal2zod – You both make excellent points that are provable in a movie court of law. IRON MAN 2 should have probably gotten some community service or something. Unfortunately, the judge was so busy chuckling at the unadulterated, comic book fun of it all, that he missed your salient points. Court adjourned.

  61. Majestyk – you’re obviously a smart guy from your other posts, but if I was Tom Noonan I would have thought you were making fun of me too! I once thought I was too hard on Robocop 2 b/c a) it’s a sequel to one of the best movies ever made, and b) it’s directed by the guy who directed the BEST sequel ever made, but I saw it again recently, and man, what a vile, mean-spirited mess of a movie. I personally would have praised him for Monster Squad or even his work in Last Action Hero, but then again, I’m so stupid I ran into Elijah Wood and told him he was awesome in Spy Kids 3D, so I’m not one to judge.

  62. What can I say? I like Robocop 2, but even if you don’t, you’ve got to admit that Noonan is great in it. He was walking by while I was standing outside a bar, so I only had a few seconds to come up with something. If I saw him again (which would be my third time randomly running into him—the first time he was ducking to get on the subway) I’d praise him for his surprisingly sympathetic turn in House of the Devil.

  63. To be fair, Elijah Wood’s cameo is the best part of SPY KIDS 3D. I vow that if I ever run into Elijah Wood on the street, I will specifically praise him for that film and nothing else.

  64. MAJOR SPOILERS!!!!

    I MEAN IT DUDE!!!!

    Never mind ROBOCOP 2 (which I will also admit to being a fan of), doesn’t the ending also rip-off ROBOCOP effin 3?!? I mean a bunch of robots get killed and that somehow triggers an explosion that kills the villain but the hero flies away from it? Made me think of R3 anyway.

    Noonan is actually a deceptively versatile actor though, isn’t he. I know he always/often plays psychos, but I didn’t realise until recently he was the psychos in MANHUNTER, LAST ACTION HERO _and_ ROBOCOP 2.

  65. neal2zod – Really?

    Maybe its because I survived the MATRIX sequels and SPIDER-MAN 3 and BLADE TRINITY and SUPERMAN 3 and 4 and some of the last few pre-Abrams STAR TREK entries, but perhaps….

    Well, what movie did you imagine in your skull for which the final product “disapoints” you?

  66. RRA – yeah, I purposely said “disappoints” re: Robocop 2 because stronger words such as “sucks ass” need to be saved for many of the sequels you named. I mean, the word “disappointment” doesn’t really sum up how I felt about Episode I. Or KOTCS. Or Alien Resurrection, POTC: At World’s End, or Superman Returns. Or the Halloween with Busta Rhymes. Don’t get me started on AVP: Requiem or Transformers 2. So yes, don’t get me wrong, there’s many sequels worse than Robocop 2. But it’s basically at the very bottom of the tier that includes IM2, Quantum of Solace, T4, Predator 2, Die Hard 4.0, etc…

    What movie did I imagine in my skull for Robocop 2? I guess one that had a tight plot and likable characters like in part 1. Where Murphy and Lewis didn’t disappear for 20 minutes at a time. Where actual humor existed instead of shock gags like little league teams cursing up a storm. Where “the old man” acted like the old man in the first one. I’m pretty sure the scientist lady got more screen time than Murphy and I’m still not sure why the hell she put Kane’s brain in Robocop 2.

  67. For the life of me i can’t understand the fixation people have with that movie BLADE. BLAND more like it. If the Hitchcockean rule of a movie beign as good as the villain aplies, BLADE fails miserably. When the vilalin gets into super mode, Blade still kills him easily. What kind of shit is that? And the movie is hardly as stylish or interesting as most claim. It’s actually pretty banal looking. Yeah, so what, there’s the blood shower scene. What, you telling me that you elevate the whole bloody movie just because of one scene at the start and forget the flaws and blandness that fulfills the rest of the procedings?

    Oh, Wesley Snipes is cool as blade, bla bla bla… WHaTEVER!!! The movie looks more like Snipes paradign his ego then anything else. “lookie me, i’m so cool, worship me, motherfuckers!” In dreams, buddy. What Guilhermo Del toro achieved with the sequel, that’s the movie one should admire and be amazed at. He turned an over-hyped crappy movie into a genuinely exciting and stylish and cool horror-adventure movie, one which has a vilalin that matches and surpasses the hero, thus making his final victory even more deserved. Even though in fact the villain technically comits suicide… and he’s even portait as tragic and a victim of a bigger evil. Which i liked.

    Frankly, i can’t give a toss and two two craps about BLADE. BLADE II, however, another matter.

    And what all this has to do with the price of salt and IRON MAN 2, you ask? Not much, i guess, but to say that i found IM2 to be as good as the first. And i don’thave the same misguivings that Vern, or most americans for that matter, have about it. I’m the hyper-critical dude, and i’m the one who is far more relaxed and acepting of IM2. Who can understands this? I mean, suddently the nerds, geeks and reviewes became hyper-critical of IM2, a genuinaly good old fashioned fun movie? Where you and that critical attitude when real shit like JJ Abramanito’s STAR SEWER TREK was released? Taking an holiday, visiting the relatives? Give me a break, will you?

  68. And Mickey Rourke, get a haircut, you are not 17 anymore.

  69. Daniel Strange

    May 10th, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I didn’t like IM2 as much as some of you, even including Vern. I found it completely lacking in story whatsoever. Plot, sure. Story, no. I read this once somewhere and I’ve always loved it: “Plot is: the queen died, then the king died. Story is: the queen died, then the king died of a broken heart.”

    I don’t know what the fuck the story of IM2 was. Tony learns to be a team player, as someone mentioned above? Tony is able to use his brains to create a technology to save his own life? Tony learns to stop wearing the Iron Man suit when he gets drunk at parties? Tony learns that his dad loved him and left him a secret message inside a model?

    Speaking of which, I have to call bullshit on that. Since when did Iron Man live in the same universe as National Treasure? Is he going to start decrypting codes on dollar bills next? You know, I never met Howard Stark, I don’t know how he ran his company, but if I discovered a new element that I couldn’t synthesize with the technology available, I’m not sure I would use a table model of my ’74 expo as a notepad. I mean, you couldn’t draw a diagram and leave a safe? But, okay, I will play this game – let’s say I wanted my son to figure it out for himself, to unlock some sort of puzzle. Even so — a table model of the ’74 expo? There are more convenient ways to do it. What if some workman knocks over one of the merchandise kiosks when they’re, you know, shoving it in the warehouse full of all the other garbage your multibillion-dollar company has collected over the decades, after you’re dead and the son that you treated like shit is getting rid of all your old crap? But what do I know, it seemed to have worked out for him okay.

    And getting back to Tony creating a new technology to save his own life – excuse me? Isn’t that, um, *exactly the same thing* he did in the first one? Oh, wait, I’m sorry. This time it was different, because it was a triangle. Not a circle. I guess I missed that. First time around it was a circle, now it’s a triangle, sorry about the confusion. Totally different. I retract that complaint. Now I’m excited about Iron Man 3, what shape is he going to make an arc reactor this time? Nobody tell me, I’m trying to go spoiler-free for it.

    Anyway, I could forgive all this garbage, literally all of it, if the movie was at least fun. You know? If Tony had some witty dialogue, or did something charming, or anything vaguely interesting thing happened. But overall it just kind of plodded along for me, not doing anything at all. So, yeah. I didn’t like it.

  70. Robocop 2 was kind of a piece of shit but I do remember liking three things about it. Which is three more things than I liked about part 3.

    1. As mentioned elsewhere on this thread Tom Noonan was fucking great as the villain. His scenes might be the best in the film. Nobody does zonked out psychopaths quite like he did. Too bad he gets killed off and gets replaced by a goofy looking stop motion robot. Kind of reminds me how they kept frustratingly replacing Nicolas Cage in Ghost Rider with that less charismatic flaming skull. They could have at least kept his voice.

    2. The part where they re-program Robo to be ultra PC was also pretty good. Nice idea. Comes in and delivers the laughs and then exits right about the time when it was starting to get old. Good job. Unfortunately about 98% of the other jokes in the movie completely bomb and sometimes made me groan and role my eyes(not in the good blowjob way though). The Ads in particular were pretty much all terrible. Not the ideas really but the execution.

    3. That part where Murphy starts acting really creepy and starts driving past his widow’s house over and over again. I think I found that to be the most interesting and tragic thing in the movie. I wish they had resolved that in some way. It feels like maybe something was left on the cutting room floor with this since it brings it up and then just drops it and doesn’t bring it up again.

    So yeah….some interesting ideas but its still not very good, especially when compared to the first.

  71. Jareth Cutestory

    May 10th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    RRA: I heard that both the writer and director of ROBOCOP 2 have claimed that the film was interfered with by the studio. The writer – the SIN CITY guy, if I remember correctly – had his version of the script published in a funny book. I haven’t read it, but I know more than one person who admitted that they like the comic version better than the sequel. I’m sure you guys all know better than me what this is all about.

    Also, Tom Noonan was really good in THE PLEDGE and HEAT, but was overshadowed by Del Torro in the former and Pacino/De Niro in the latter (and probably by Kilmer too). But his wardrobe in ROBOCOP 2 is incapable of being overshadowed by anything.

  72. I love how you never miss an opportunity to rag on the exploits of comic book nerds Vern. Quality. I really want to see mickey Rourke in another movie after his performance in The Wrestler, but not enough to watch this. Bit burnt out on superhero movies after watching every one i could find in the last couple of weeks.

  73. AsimovLives – re: Blade. It’s all about context. Blade was created in a time before matrixes and endless matrix remakes and bullet time and yuen wo-ping being fight coreographer on every movie where someone has to jump in the air or throw a punch.

    Trust me, it was awesome on release. I went back and watched it a couple of years ago and none of the action sequences really stood the test of time, nor the special effects. But it was fresh and new and exciting at the time.

  74. BLADE was really the first film of a new era for funnybook movies. Before BLADE Marvel had a lot to be embarrassed about: CAPTAIN AMERICA, that Corman FANTASTIC FOUR, Dolph’s PUNISHER. And superhero films in general were completely ruined by the nineties, think the later BATMAN movies, SPAWN, THE PHANTOM, etc. But out came BLADE with X-MEN on its heels and the game was officially changed. BLADE and X-MEN dragged the superhero movie out of the quagmire it was in by taking the comics somewhat seriously. So for that it gets points. Personally I don’t love any of the BLADE movies, but I admire things about the first two and respect their context in movie history.

    Although I must say I think AsimovLives is an internet treasure and I always appreciate his rants and hilarious parody titles ie FRAUD TREK. He has this Mr. Hyde thing going on for blockbusters, but I’ve seen him as Dr. Jekyll intelligently discussing obscure silent films on AICN and whatnot. Keep it up AL.

  75. Tangentially, Roger Ebert is right, Tom Noonan MUST play the Judge if they ever make a BLOOD MERIDIAN movie. And tangent squared I want to see a SUTTREE film starring Michael Shannon.

  76. Daniel Strange – you make excellent points about why that whole “invent a new element” storyline didn’t work. Tony’s only discernible desire in the movie is to save his life before he’s poisoned by his arc-reactor chestpiece thingamajig. He barely does anything active to achieve the goal, besides checking his blood toxicity. He mostly just passively lets shit happen to him ie. all that body horror techno-rash stuff. And then S.H.I.E.L.D. basically house-arrests the guy, gives him a box full of MacGuffin, he finds a bizarre secret message from his father that makes no sense, and one invention montage later he has a new fucking element! With slapstick errors in laser trajectory and everything.

    Add that to Whiplash’s asinine, total-one-in-a-million-coincidence-that-it-worked-out-so-well-for-him villain’s plot, and Justin Hammer’s even dumber villain’s plot to actually employ this madman and give him the keys to the weapons factory, and I am frankly amazed that I enjoyed the hell out of this movie as much as I did. Fascinated, in fact. But I did like it. Mainly because I thought all of the “needs to stop being a unilateral bully and democratize some of his power before something really shitty happens” stuff worked, and was interesting thematically. As others have stated I liked a lot of the riffing and the ad-libbing and the shagginess and whatever. And I liked all of the characters, even though they’re mainly just good character actors ignoring clumsy plotting with aplomb. I like the way the characters interact with each other, even if the plot is not moving as mechanically as it maybe should. Plus shiny things and explosions.

  77. I’m going to join in on the Robocop 2 love fest. As odo19 stated above, lots of cool ideas and images, unfortunately at the service of a thematic retread of the first movie. It’s almost like you could put any of the really good parts of Robocop 2 into Robocop 1: The Internet Commenter’s Cut and it would become a slightly better film, because the two films are telling the same basic story.

    As well as the bits odo19 mentioned, I also liked the cool stop motion robo rumble at the end, with the crashing through floors, etc. and the nice poetic justice way Robo finally brings down Robo 2 – hey a superhero movie where the final fight actually ties in with the themes of the film!

    Stop motion final rumble for Iron Man 3 plz

  78. I just re-read Vern’s review of Robocop 2 and he says pretty much the same shit I said but much better. So facepalm and all that.

    Except the appeal for more stop-motion in Hollywood blockbusters, but I’m sure he makes the same appeal more eloquently in another review I haven’t read.

  79. I’m not a huge fan of BLADE per say, but I do get the whole BLADE thing. It’s the BLADE II thing I don’t get.

  80. RRA – Regarding the solution would be to combine the two villains into one, that would make the story seem a lot more singular and powerful and I’d dread every scene that the baddie appears in (in a good way). Yeah sure, good idea, but the tone would remain the same I feel. I mean all things considered the two villains were quite well-written and well-acted CHARACTER-wise, but PLOT-wise or DRAMA-wise it always ended up LIGHT. In fact that awkward scene at the table between the two, and the overall contrast of characters was something entertaining, at least for me, to watch at first. You got to see Rockwell be a complete kiss-ass, and ultimately, asshole to Rourke, which was fun, but it kinda went nowhere in the end, coz you wanted to see Rockwell get his just desserts from Rourke but it just never happened. It was just like the movie – so many fun little ideas, so little time to make it MEAN something, something bigger. Like Downey’s little almost-flirtations with Scarlett… didn’t go anywhere. Like that fight between War Machine and Iron Man – it happened, there was some sadness, but when they got back together and fought together it wasn’t emotional enough, I didn’t feel Tony got his best friend back. I kinda thought yeah it was always gonna happen anyway. I took everything for granted, it was that popcorny and light. It was just cute little banter all the time, just clever dialogue everywhere but ultimately there was no ‘moral of the story’, no heavy emotional punch. I feel the first movie nailed that emotional punch a lot more. That scene just before he put on the Mark III for the first time still gives me goose bumps, simply coz he was pissed that his own weapons were being used for evil behind his back. In Iron Man II, the closest thing was that tribute to Ultraman when Tony finally got to don the suit in the midst of battle on the racetrack- pure awesomeness sure – but unfortunately not emotionally-charged coz nobody knew where this new villain suddenly popped out from.

  81. Greg – I dunno, isn’t it nice though that for once a supervillain doesn’t get a grave in these sort of movies? I mean how many actually, outside of I suppose The Joker or Kingpin, simply get caught and go to jail?

    As most of them do in the comics?

  82. Gwai Lo, i aim to please.

  83. I don’t understand why the fact that Whiplash attacks Tony on the track has become the “nuke the fridge” scene in this movie. Whiplash didn’t plan ahead of time to attack Tony on the track; he planned to attack him wherever he was. Tony just happened to be on the track at the time, and the reason Whiplash knew this is because it was all over the news, and probably even those big screens they have at every sporting event. If you were looking for someone in a crowded stadium and the TV told you exactly where the was, wouldn’t you go there? Especially if your plan was to humiliate him in public and you knew every camera would be on you?

  84. Is it just because he had a jumpsuit on? Seems like a pretty petty reason to disown a fairly awesome action sequence. If you’re gonna get up in arms about anything, it should be the fact that he got hit by a car two or three times without injury. Don’t cars hurt people anymore?

  85. The scene is awesome. I actually consider Mickey Rourke as Whiplash a pretty awesome character, I buy into his backstory even. It’s just every single thing he does in the plot is based on assumptions and coincidences. They make a big deal out of some guy giving Whiplash his tickets to Monaco and the Grand Prix with his fake passport even. He definitely wants to hit him at this big event. But someone as impulsive/flaky as Tony would definitely not even be 100% to show up at the race. Then it’s even more impulsive of him to jump in the driver’s seat of his car. Those drivers are actual athletes, he would have been practicing for who knows how long. Whiplash is prepared for this impulsive move in an orange pit suit, however. I mean sure you can argue that he would have settled for attacking Tony at the bar of his hotel or something instead if Tony had not in decided to actively join the race he was not meant to be in, or that he would have just got new tickets to the US if Tony had not shown up in Monaco. He could have, for instance, showed up at one of them senate hearings and fucked up some shit in royal fashion. But he’s a weirdo with a bird and dammit he wanted to go to Monaco and things just happened to turn out pretty well for him. Same deal for the rest of the movie, he was pretty lucky to have dumbass Justin Hammer spring him from jail and turn him loose with his arsenal. Again, I thought the things physically happening on screen in the Monaco sequence were awesome. It just felt like even some expository dialogue here and there or a few adjustments would have made some of this stuff more plausible.

  86. Who get’s to be on the top layer that gets the sun? The Israeli’s or the Palestinians? Sorry Vern, I don’t think your multilayer solution will help, although I appreciate you trying because I don’t feel like in general people are trying enough to come up with creative solutions to that problem and the thing about people being creative is that lots of the ideas are stinkers but you have to cherish the stinkers anyways because otherwise you never get the good ideas.

  87. I thought about that, but I figure we’ll work the bugs out later.

  88. I think the answer is a bunch of mirrors.

  89. thanks Vern for commenting on the Rhodey switcheroo. I have read lots of reviews saying how much better Cheadle was but I’ve got to disagree. I really liked Terrence Howard in IM1 – I totally believed he and Tony Stark were friends, I totally believed him as a military man, he was funny and charismatic just like RDJ. Cheadle – no. Never for one minute believed this guy was ever in the army. Never believed them as friends. I’m a big one for continuity in sequels (has it ever worked out where the replacement did a better job?? I’m sorry I don’t even buy the Rachel switch in TDK, her death would have been totally more resonant if it was Tom Cruise’s bitch) but replacing Howard with Cheadle robbed the robot fight of any emotion because this is in effect someone we have only just met. There was no scene establishing them as friends and we have to rely on what happened in IM1 when this was a totally different person. I thought when I first heard that Howard wasn’t coming back that it was a bad move but never realised quite how much he would be missed from the story.

    Secondly – the story itself felt too insular. Basing the whole story on more international arms dealing? I seriously don’t care about that shit. I’ve never read the comics so I don’t know how this compares but IM1 established Iron Man as a superhero who would travel the world and use his powers to help people and to blow up bad guys. So why not have more of that? Why just mention in passing that Iron Man has done all these great things around the world without ever showing it to us? Why spend so much time at that fucking Expo?? I mean seriously a whole film revolving around a military technology expo in New York?? Have Iron Man flying to North Korea and killing Kim Jong Il or some shit. Do something spectacular with the world you’ve created. I don’t know – maybe they’re saving that for The Avengers film. Lets hope Edward Norton returns for that one or I won’t have a clue whats fucking going on.

  90. Frank Miller, the Sin City/Dark Night Returns guy, wrote Robocop 2
    but as far as i know he didn’t do much work on Iron Man comics. he’s mostly known for Daredevil
    this movie was a bit rambling, with not enough action
    Blade kicked off all the Marvel movies. and he did team up with Spider-Man in the cartoon

  91. Everybody talks about Miller, but I’ve always wondered how much input Wallon Green had into the script for “Robocop 2”. I mean, the guy not only wrote “The Wild Bunch”, he worked on two of my favorite movies of the 70’s: “Sorcerer” and “The Border” (both criminally under-rated, misunderstood, and, sadly, almost forgotten). Also, he wrote “Solarbabies”.

    I think the biggest drawback of Robocop 2 is that the violence in it comes off as sick and unpleasant, rather than perverse and funny like the first one. Also, the movie REALLY looks like it was filmed in Toronto. I’m not even sure if it was, it just looks like it.

    It is weird to think that there was once a time when a summer movie could feature a scene where a fat guy is sliced open while a little kid is forced to watch. You don’t see that shit in Iron Man.

  92. (I guess you could argue Kick Ass had scenes similar to the Duffy subplot in Robocop 2. But, I think Kick Ass is more of a lower budget, culty niche movie that’s completely aware of what it’s doing. Whereas, in Robocop 2, they slice a guy open just because that’s how they did shit back in the 80’s.)

  93. Frank Miller did a comic of Robocop 2 that tells the story the way he originally wrote it

  94. Tony had always intended to race his own car, he obviously trained for the event using his own racing simulator. He used the alternate DeFilipo since he was sick from Palladium toxicity. When Hammer shows up, Tony activates his plan to drive the car anyway to grab the “spotlight”.

  95. Finally saw it.

    The theater I went to played Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca first and I stayed to watch this one.

    Rebecca was better.

  96. Who get’s to be on the top layer that gets the sun? The Israeli’s or the Palestinians? Sorry Vern, I don’t think your multilayer solution will help, although I appreciate you trying because I don’t feel like in general people are trying enough to come up with creative solutions to that problem and the thing about people being creative is that lots of the ideas are stinkers but you have to cherish the stinkers anyways because otherwise you never get the good ideas.

  97. the only film made after mike came into the boxing picture was rocky v and it came out just before tyson got knocked out by douglas. seems it woulda made for a good storyline to have iron mike fight tommy gunn,

  98. With out a doubt Captain Ivan Drago. Without a huge reason why, here are some facts. "Clubber" beat Rocky because Rocky was not prepared. He had gotten soft from 10 soft defenses. When Rock’ fought Lang, he had his mind on Mickey, not the fight. When Rocky came back, he cleaned "Clubber" Lang in 5 rounds. Fast forward to Drago. Rocky was 100% consentrated. Ivan Drago KILLED Apollo inside 2 rounds. Drago averaged 1,850lbs per square inch in a punch, and up to 2,500lbs. Even though Rocky was better prepared than the Lang fight, it still took a last minute 15 rd KO for the Rock’ to win. If Drago made it in the last round in Russia, he would have won. I’d say Drago keeps his cool and let Lang where his crazy ass out. Drago is so big, long, and iron jawed. He’ll wait for "Clubber" to slow down, and then tear him up. I say Drago inside of 6-8 rounds.

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  101. Surprised with all this Noonan talk, that nobody mentioned his performance in MANHUNTER*, which was probably instrumental in getting him the ROBOCOP 2 gig in the first place (LAST ACTION HERO, too). Yeah he’s in HEAT*, but it’s for just one scene with De Niro.

    It wasn’t a very memorable film, but he’s great in (I think) the opening scene of a David Gordon Green film SNOW ANGELS, where he plays a marching band leader who’s criticizing his troupe for not pulling off Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” with enough emotion.

  102. Oh, the asterisks. I want to add that I’d love to see Vern review those two Mann films (and THIEF).

  103. I gotta give Jon Favreau some R. E. S. P. E. C. T. for kicking off the whole AVENGERS series with a great super hero movie in IRON MAN 1. I think he set the bar pretty high with his filmatism on this one. Great clarity and comprehension in the action scenes. Lots of actorly touches, probly because Favreau the actor ‘gets’ the actor dynamics. I like the chemistry between Downey Jr and Gwyneth. And Terence Howard is STILL the man in my opinion. HUSTLE AND FLOW. End argument.

    Have to be honest here and confess I’ve never read comics, apart from THE DARK KNIGHT and WATCHMEN graphic novels in my teens – a mate lent them to me with the reverent solemnity of a Jewish Pharisee passing on Holy Scripture in the Temple. He said they would change my life. I guess they did for a couple of weeks. It was around the time Burton’s BATMAN came out so I did find an appreciation for the whole legend of The Bat/Man.

    Point is, I can’t expound the way some of you guys do on the Marvel Universe, I can only comment on the films and my limited knowledge thereof. So having seen all the Avengers related movies to date, THE WINTER SOLDIER being the latest, I think IRON MAN is my fave. And I think Jon Favreau directed it like a pro.

  104. RIP Garry Shandling

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