SPOILERS abound in what follows. Read at your own risk.
So I saw IRON MAN 2 last night. Well after the rest of the world, yes. What can I say? I've been kind of busy.
I enjoyed the film well enough. The first one was better, but this one kept me entertained from start to finish. Lots of iron action and stuff blowing up. I certainly didn't feel any need to demand my money back or anything.
Which is not to say I don't have some gripes, cavils, and observations. I mean, I know this iron guy, all the way back to the beginning. Which I say as an original member of the Merry Marvel Marching Society.
Iron Man is a guy in an armored suit. Cool. So in the first movie, he fights another guy in an armored suit. Well, okay. I mean, Iron Man in the comics fought a lot of guys in armored suits too. There was the Crimson Dynamo, there was Titanium Man, there was... well, you get the idea. And the movie kicked along well enough.
So here's the second movie, and who does he fight? ANOTHER guy in an armored suit. Plus a bunch of drones. Yawn. The drones were about as effective as the drones from STAR WARS. They're just there to get blown apart. No personality, no menace, no suspense.
And Whiplash in his armored suit ended up being much wimpier than Jeff Bridges in his armored suit from the first movie. And what was with those electric whips? Sure, they looked cool, and they seemed very dangerous at first when he was slicing Grand Prix cars apart with every stroke, shearing right through the steel. So how come he couldn't shear right through Iron Man's steel armor (and the limbs beneath) the same way? It's not as if he never hit him.
All those issues of Iron Man to work from, and the scriptwriters couldn't find a better villain? C'mon. I mean, okay, okay, the Mandarin is probably pretty much off limits these days, on political correctness/ yellow peril grounds, fine, let's scratch him. But hey, why not Hawkeye? He began as an Iron Man villain. Teamed with the Black Widow, who was a Russian agent before she ever heard of SHIELD. I love looking at Scarlett Johansson as much as the next guy, but she was pretty much wasted here. Even her big action sequence, going down a hallway and kicking the crap out of a bunch of security guys, was much less effective than the virtually identical sequence in KICKASS, where Hit Girl goes down a hall and kills a few dozen Mafia goons.
I will say that Mickey Rourke did a nice job portraying Whiplash. And the secondary villain, the rival armiger Hammer, was a hoot. Though his role too seemed a bit of a reprise of Jeff Bridges from the first film. Just as the hostile senator seemed a retread of the hostile senator from the first X-Men film. C'mon, guys, there are hundreds and hundreds of Iron Man comics to mine, give us something new.
This thing of superdudes battling it out with supervillians with the exact same power is getting old, though. They did the same thing in the HULK film (the good one, not that awful Ang Lee thing), where the giant green gamma-ray-irradiated Hulk fights another giant green gamma-ray irradiated guy, the Abomination. It was okay, but really... would have been much more interesting if they'd mixed it up, and had the Hulk fight the guys in the armored suits while Iron Man took on the Abomination. Actually, having Iron Man fight the Hulk would have been the best of all... which is why I am looking forward to the eventual AVENGERS film.
And speaking of the Avengers...
The little throwaway bit with Captain America's shield was very cool. But I thought they would do more with it. I knew there would be a post-credits epilogue scene, as in the last IRON MAN movie, but didn't know what it would be... so when I saw that I thought maybe it would Cap showing up in Tony's lab and demanding back his shield.
Instead we got the scene in New Mexico. After a bit of misdirection. We're supposed to think the SHIELD agent has gone to New Mexico to deal with something involving the Hulk, of course. I mean, it's always been the Hulk stomping around the desert. Instead we get Thor's hammer in a crater. No, no, no. That's wrong on so many levels. Thor's hammer does not belong in a crater in New Mexico, it belongs in a cave in Norway. And anyway, if it had been buried for any length of time, it would have turned back into a stick. Do these guys presume to rewrite the immortal Marvel mythology as devised by Stan Lee??? Sacrilege! Burn them!
(Good rule for all superhero movies: the closer they stick to the original comics, the better they are. The more they change and add and fiddle with, the more they stink).
I now have deep forebodings about the THOR movie. But then, I always had keep forebodings about the THOR movie. Thor is a great character in the comics, but on screen I fear he's going to seem like a kind of cross between Conan and the Swedish Chef.
And in conclusion, let me say that if they don't include Ant-Man and the Wasp in their AVENGERS movie, it won't be the real Avengers. Ant-Man Rules!!!