This review may contain spoilers.
Let me start this with the synopsis. 6 month after the revelation that he is Ironman, Tony Stark is under heavy pressure from the Government to hand over the technology behind his suit, his feelings on Pepper Potts grew complicated, and 6 month of continuous and strenuous use of paladium is poisoning him. And then there’s a son of an old Stark Industries’ disgruntled ex-employee trying to kill him, or at least hurt his image.
I do think this synopsis is enough to develop an interesting enough storyline to continue on the success of Ironman 1, but read on to see if it does.
Firstly, this movie have always been on Robert Downey Jr‘s shoulder, from the moment he strap on the role of Tony Stark, the narcissistic genius billionaire, and to a degree, the Ironman suit itself. But still, Downey as Tony would still be lovable enough without the suit, as proven in Tropic Thunder.
However, after watching this movie, I realized that while I enjoyed Tony‘s eccentricity, and the coolness of the suit, seeing them together is kind of too much, or too corny. Donning the suit, Tony is an invincible warrior, and without it, he’s the lovable talkative fragile guy. Bring those two personality in too long a scene, and I got disoriented. I still can’t get the image of him wearing the suit while drunk, or sitting in a fiber glass fast-food outlet seat.
The Ironman suit lost its magic there and then.
I’ve heard positive reviews about Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko, but to me, he failed to portray his bitter side. I really want to feel his pain, but I can’t. He’s as plain as Sam Worthington in Clash of the Titans. He does however, showed that he can be a cool and formidable villain, although not to the level of Joker vs Batman (both in Batman (1989) and Batman: The Dark Knight). It’s a pity though, that Jon Favreau, didn’t proceed to develop this character well.
It’s not that he decided to focus on something more trivial like street dancing (Spiderman 3) or weird parents (Transformers). It’s just, he can always add a little more screen time. The movie runs for 2 hours and 4 minutes.
There are golden moments in this movie. Remember that I said that apart from Tony, the Ironman suits (yes, there are more than 1 suits, if you’re not familiar with Ironman) itself is another popular focus point. The popular briefcase transformation was a wet dream for many geeks, not to mention the watch-and-drool Black Widow (aka Natalie Rushman or Natasha Romanoff, played by Scarlett Johansson, no less).
The banters between Pepper and Tony are sweet to the point that you’d think why haven’t they go on with it yet. I guess having that line drawn between them makes it interesting, and that actually works. Tony’s quick comeback and Pepper’s vast knowledge of the subject of Tony Stark and her sarcasm makes us want them to quarrel more. They are undeniably sweet, but I just worry once the line have been removed (they officially become an item), that the magic might be lost.
If you’re familiar with my reviews, you’d know that I have a grudge against ultra modern and illogical User Interface (UI), most probably because I do them for a living. Floating hologram and device-less manipulation of the hologram have been acceptable, since only the hologram part we don’t really have the technology. It does look cool, but doesn’t really show how it can be used in real productive life.
And for once PLEASE, oh actors acting as a programmer, PLEASE use the mouse from time to time. Click here and there, or at least scroll the text up and/or down. Case in point, is when Ivan is handling all the drones to attack Ironman, would it be more realistic if he controlled it using the mouse, or to keep with the current trend, the touchscreen? Something similar to real-time-strategy game UI with bird’s eye view or radar-like display should do the trick.
Ironman 2 is not a failed movie. It did deliver, but it also carry too much burden on it’s back. Ironman was like a breath of fresh air, after the suffocating Transformers, so it caught many viewers off guard, in a pleasant way. Ironman 2, however, did not manage to ride that wave and improve much, but basically at about the same level with Ironman. I blame it on the media hype.
Ironman 2 is no longer the underdog it was so I gave it a 3.5
p/s: do stay back for an update on the Avenger project. But it’s not like you don’t know it already 🙂