First off, I’ll say I enjoyed it. I laughed, I almost cried, and it was pretty thrilling. There are SPOILERS below, so you may as well just skip to the end for the star rating if you don’t want to know what happens.
It was actually pretty good. Sequels are always iffy, but I felt like the second one was more of a lead in for The Avengers than a sequel to Iron Man. This one can stand on its own. The anxiety Stark has now, after almost dying in New York in The Avengers, was important, but I felt like they iced over it a little.
I was also a little disappointed with the Pepper storyline–yes, of course she needed to be kidnapped, but of course, it was the perfect opportunity to give her superpowers in this film. That’s one ploy I really hate in these comic book stories. Yay feminism, maybe, that she can save the day too, and she does–Pepper saves Stark from the Mandarin at the end.
The script/dialogue was a little subpar in places. It got a little corny, and a little silly, especially during those big action scenes, but for the most part, it was true to Stark, Pepper, and the villains were pretty well scripted.
I really loved the storyline with the kid in Tennessee. It was funny, sweet, and it was just the sort of down-to-earth piece that Stark needed after New York. In The Avengers, Tony really saw how small he was compared to the others, to Steve, to Bruce, to Thor, and so in this story, we see him trying to make up for that by building more suits, building new designs, giving them new capabilities to try to feel as powerful as his new “superfriends”. But it’s his humanity that makes him Tony Stark, and it’s his humanity that makes him so powerful as Iron Man.
It took him the whole movie to find that humanity and realize it was a blessing and not a weakness, but it was needed. He goes through most of the film without his suit, which has become sort of like a security blanket since New York, and because he has to go back to basics, wits and cleverness he had before he became Iron Man, that allows him to get back in touch with himself and who he is, in addition to the man in the iron suit.
Hardcore. The suits were a bit much. He basically has his own army of them. And he puts one on Pepper at one point, and Rhodes gets his own suit, renamed Iron Patriot, for campaign purposes. It was all a little over the top–but that’s what happens when a movie as big as this gets that kind of money. They blow shit up. It didn’t detract from the movie, and it was really only toward the end that it got a little crazy, but for me, I could have done with a little less “boom”. And I like action movies, so don’t take this as a burn on action.
Jon Favreau didn’t direct this one, and I get that – I’d hate to follow Joss Whedon’s act, too. He still had his role, but it was minimal. The directing overall and photography was pretty well done. Nothing really looked fake, and they did get some great shots, but again, I would have preferred a little less focus on the explosions and the heat-ray stuff, though the heat-ray stuff was definitely better than the too-many suits bit.
The bad guys
Guy Pearce is a fucking awesome bad guy. We already knew this. In here, he’s quite a predictable bad guy, out for revenge once again after someone slighted him ten+ years ago, but he definitely has some hardcore weaponry to show off. He’s got this fancy brain rewiring thing that regrows limbs and also gives the people the ability to heat up to 3000+ degrees and detonate like a bomb, but they can continue to heal themselves and withstand those temperatures to be able to walk away from it all. (Enter: Pepper’s fate and new superpowers)
The Mandarin bit was a little funny, but kind of a let down. You call in Kingsley to play the bad guy and then he’s not even the REAL bad guy? WTF. Kingsley is an even better bad guy than Pearce, so I was disappointed when it turned out that he wasn’t the actual Mandarin.
So, one of the heat guys that works for the Mandarin (Pearce) manages to subdue Rhodes and take his suit, then later put the POTUS in it in order to string him up and blow him up. It rang false. Why? Earlier in the film, we see Tony call one of the suits while he was sleeping and it keeps running this eye scan verification thing (like Minority Report) on him and Pepper when they enter the suit. If they can eye-dentify you when you put on the suit, shouldn’t the suit deactivate if someone without permission, like the bad guy, puts it on?? That didn’t make sense to me.
At the beginning of the story, and at a couple places during the middle, Stark narrates and it sounds like he’s telling a story to someone. Perhaps a therapist? Who could handle the Great Tony Stark as a patient?
The one, the only, Dr. Bruce Banner, aka, the Hulk. You gotta sit through the credits for it, but we finally learn who Stark was talking to. However, it turns out that Stark is somewhat longwinded and he managed to put Banner to sleep during the story. Worth 8 minutes of credits to see that. Mark Ruffalo rules.
Fun, entertaining, and funny. Business as usual, Marvel. STAN LEE CAMEO! I almost forgot: he’s judging a swimsuit contest in Tennessee while Stark is down there trying to recharge his suit and figure out the superhot bomb thing. If you blinked, you would miss it. It’s very brief, but I love hunting for Stan Lee in these films, so I enjoyed a short nerd-out along with some of the others in the theater that day.
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