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Peter T Chattaway

Iron Man 2

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No time to write much now, but I see that some here prefer this film to the first. I wasn't a big fan of the first. Didn't understand the appeal of Tony Stark, who struck me as a misogynist (sorry to be so Serious). I was assured that his character would develop in future installments.

I'm not sure I saw much development in the character in the second installment, but at least the gyrating dancers who surrounded him were part of a show for other people, not just for Stark. The whole thing seemed less objectionable, but nothing in the new film rose to the quality of the parts of the first film that I admired. I'm thinking primarily of Stark's friendship while he was held hostage (my memory may be failing me a bit here with the details). I also liked Paltrow's character in the first film, found her a bit screechy this time but still a nice anchor in Stark's life.

I'm a bit ambivalent, but leaning a little negative. The big disappointment this time was Sam Rockwell's character and performance. Not much there -- slimy guy who made me uncomfortable, so successful in one sense. But I didn't think Rockwell had all that much to do. Pretty one-dimensional. Bridges was one-dimensional in the first film but appeared to be relishing the role. Rockwell not so much. Cheadle didn't register, although Howard barely made a blip in the first film. I did kind of like Rourke's villain, although I wanted the film to go deeper into the motives for revenge, and especially into his grudge about the U.S.'s role in killing/humiliating his people, and how that factored into his payback.

Gosh, so much for "not much time to write now."

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SLJ is over the top as Fury, as expected (Lawrence Fishburne would have been better, but I guess he's too old and fat).

Except that the casting of SLJ is a nod to the character of Fury as portrayed in THE ULTIMATES (the ultimate universe Avengers team), who was directly modeled on Jackson. I actually thought Jackson was a weak link (I'm a fan of the man!) and not given much to do.

Gwyneth Paltrow again saves the day. She's the franchise's secret weapon.

Paltrow is definitely the better actress when compared with ScarJo (who as I commented, is horribly flat in the film, character-wise), but, wow, is it just me or has she lost a little too much weight?

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Iron Man enters the ‘No Spin Zone’

It’s safe to say people are sick of seeing Larry King in mainstream movies.

Check out Mr. Suspenders’ impressive imdb.com list. Casting him in a movie

is supposed to show the film’s characters – or themes – have infiltrated the culture at large.

But these days King’s audience isn’t nearly as big as it once was, which makes the standard King cameo meaningless.

Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” draws a much bigger crowd, something that mattered to the folks behind “Iron Man 2.” . . .

Christian Toto, May 5

Iron Man 2 Full of Weird Cameos, But It’s Robert Downey Jr.’s Movie

“Iron Man 2″ hits theatres on Friday and it’s chock full of strange cameo appearances.

Oracle’s founder Larry Ellison gets to say a line and some face time. It also looks like he may have put quite a bit of money into “Iron Man 2.” Oracle is the most prominent advertiser on screen. Its logo turns up constantly. It’s worse than when Starbucks plastered its name all over one of the “Austin Powers” movies years ago. Yikes! . . .

Roger Friedman, May 5

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You people have me stoked! Except for this:

a second-tier hero like Iron Man

Hey, watchit! That's my childhood hero you're talking about.

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Anders wrote:

: Huh, I'm curious to hear Smith expand on what he specifically thought was so much better.

Ask, and ye shall receive:

I hugely enjoyed "Iron Man 2," particularly its witty Justin Theroux script and its full-throated defense of capitalism, wealth creation and individualism. One of the best scenes is the one in which Tony Stark tells a blustering senator there's no way he's ever going to allow his Iron Man technology to be nationalized. I thought Mickey Rourke was appropriately weird and frightening as a Russian with a long-running beef against the Stark family (though I agree that the special effects seemed pasted together in the otherwise excellent car-race scene in Europe), while Sam Rockwell made for an excellent foil -- smart and funny but also a classic jerk and very much the opposite of Tony Stark in matters of competence and in attitudes toward the Washington bureaucracy, which has made the Rockwell character its pet. For me, the explosive finale worked beautifully and I loved the way Tony and his Air Force colonel pal (Don Cheadle, subbing in for Terrence Howard) mocked and fought each other, as alpha dogs tend to do.

Smith goes into some more detail here, where he says he felt the original film "was a little wishy-washy on questions of capitalism and patriotism", but the sequel, as he sees it, strikes a "robust conservative stance".

FWIW, John Nolte agrees that the sequel is more "patriotic" than the first movie, and he echoes Smith's claim that the sequel takes a shot at Obaman "megalomania", but if I read him correctly, he doesn't think the sequel is necessarily better as a movie:

There were three moments in the first “Iron Man” that took my movie-loving breath away. Stark’s initial escape in his crude Iron Man suit, his first flight, and that delicious moment when he figured out that being a superhero means no longer watching helplessly as tragedy plays out on the television. Iron Man flying off to lay waste to those Jihadists terrorizing that village was a moment this country had been collectively waiting for our Hollywood Masters to deliver since the attacks on September 11th.

The best way to describe the sequel is to think about what the original would’ve been like without those moments; worthwhile and fun but far from a classic.

For whatever that's worth.

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Iron Man enters the ‘No Spin Zone’

It’s safe to say people are sick of seeing Larry King in mainstream movies.

Check out Mr. Suspenders’ impressive imdb.com list. Casting him in a movie

is supposed to show the film’s characters – or themes – have infiltrated the culture at large.

But these days King’s audience isn’t nearly as big as it once was, which makes the standard King cameo meaningless.

Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” draws a much bigger crowd, something that mattered to the folks behind “Iron Man 2.” . . .

Christian Toto, May 5

I thought that the O'Reilly factor joke was one of the best in the movie. Had me cackling like mad.

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Anders wrote:

: Huh, I'm curious to hear Smith expand on what he specifically thought was so much better.

Ask, and ye shall receive:

I hugely enjoyed "Iron Man 2," particularly its witty Justin Theroux script and its full-throated defense of capitalism, wealth creation and individualism. One of the best scenes is the one in which Tony Stark tells a blustering senator there's no way he's ever going to allow his Iron Man technology to be nationalized. I thought Mickey Rourke was appropriately weird and frightening as a Russian with a long-running beef against the Stark family (though I agree that the special effects seemed pasted together in the otherwise excellent car-race scene in Europe), while Sam Rockwell made for an excellent foil -- smart and funny but also a classic jerk and very much the opposite of Tony Stark in matters of competence and in attitudes toward the Washington bureaucracy, which has made the Rockwell character its pet. For me, the explosive finale worked beautifully and I loved the way Tony and his Air Force colonel pal (Don Cheadle, subbing in for Terrence Howard) mocked and fought each other, as alpha dogs tend to do.

Smith goes into some more detail here, where he says he felt the original film "was a little wishy-washy on questions of capitalism and patriotism", but the sequel, as he sees it, strikes a "robust conservative stance".

Huh, that's exactly something I find problematic in the film. Where Smith sees an excellent foil in Hammer, I see a contradiction. We are never really given a decent explanation of why Stark's capitalism is so much better than Hammer's. Because he has good friends that keep him grounded? If that's all that stands between the two, it's not enough sorry. One of the things I appreciate about the benevolent capitalism in Nolan's Batman films is the way that it actually acknowledges that there are people IN AMERICA who don't live it up in Monaco, and that wealth is a power to be used responsibly. Though, I'm not sure that either film offers a completely coherent defense of a economic or political ideology, and to expect a summer action film to do so might be unreasonable.

Also, "nationalizing" the suit is only half the problem. What about "weaponizing" it? I thought the first film did a better job of problematizing the entire issue of military industrialism.

Anyway, I'm not sure the films patriotism is a particular selling point for me either, as a Canadian living in Asia.

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My concern from the trailers is that the sexual innuendo component seems to be amped up in this film - or is that just in the commercials?

The first film, I thought, mocked Tony Stark's womanizing, and portrayed as little of it as needed to make the point. It also located all of it in his pre-"conversion" days.

My 7-year-old son enjoyed the first Iron Man, with a couple of fast-forwards through the womanizing stuff early on. How much of Iron Man 2 will I need to fast forward?

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My concern from the trailers is that the sexual innuendo component seems to be amped up in this film - or is that just in the commercials?

The first film, I thought, mocked Tony Stark's womanizing, and portrayed as little of it as needed to make the point. It also located all of it in his pre-"conversion" days.

My 7-year-old son enjoyed the first Iron Man, with a couple of fast-forwards through the womanizing stuff early on. How much of Iron Man 2 will I need to fast forward?

There's no actual onscreen womanizing. Other than the "Ironettes" production number at the Stark Expo, it's pretty much all innuendo. Tony refers to a past incident with a Vanity Fair journalist or something, but AFAIK it could have been "pre-conversion." After ogling (and Googling) Scarlett Johansson, Tony says to Pepper, "I want one," and she says firmly, "NO." Stuff like that.

Still, 7 is young I would think. I took my 12-year-old and I'll show it to my 9-year-old, probably on DVD. Dunno about 7.

P.S. Oh yeah, and I just remembered, at one point Black Widow changes clothes in the back seat of a car and the driver looking in the rear view mirror has trouble keeping his eyes on the road. Comparable to the analogous scene in Raiders I think.

Edited by SDG

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Crimson: Here's what I put in the "Cautions" part of my review, which is not comprehensive but reflects everything I got down in my notes. Note that the "Sex/Nudity" category is loosely defined (no pun intended!) to mean "pretty much any reference to people in various states of undress":

• Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain; the “f” word is uttered but bleeped out; some obscenities; sexual banter and euphemisms

• Smoking/Drinking/Drugs: Vanko drinks; a champagne toast; a woman prepares a drink for Stark and asks, “Is that dirty enough for you?”; a character is injected with lithium dioxide; a man is said to have spent 20 years in a vodka-fueled rage; guns are referred to using the names of popular cigars; Stark drinks during a party and urinates in his Iron Man suit

• Sex/Nudity: Women in revealing outfits dance on a stage; Stark stares at a woman’s cleavage; a joke about prostitution and masturbation; a joke that Stark rarely appears in videos with his clothes on; Ivan sits in his underwear; an expressed hope that a character will “get laid”; a woman removes her top, exposing a bra; kissing

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Wow, Christian, you're much better at the cataloguing thing than I am.

Was there only one instance of profanity (misuse of divine name) that you noted?

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Christian wrote:

: Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain; the “f” word is uttered but bleeped out . . .

Was it bleeped by the movie itself, or is it something that someone says on a TV or something within the movie? To put this another way: Is this diegetic bleeping or non-diegetic bleeping?

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: Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain; the “f” word is uttered but bleeped out . . .

Was it bleeped by the movie itself, or is it something that someone says on a TV or something within the movie? To put this another way: Is this diegetic bleeping or non-diegetic bleeping?

It's diegetic.

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Ah, okay. I know I've seen one or two movies that have had non-diegetic bleeping, but it's pretty rare, so I'm always on the lookout for more examples -- though, alas, I can't even remember what the other movies were, so it's not like I've been keeping a file on this or anything.

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Wow, Christian, you're much better at the cataloguing thing than I am.

Was there only one instance of profanity (misuse of divine name) that you noted?

No, I use that phrase as a "catch-all" to cover any and all instances that could be construed as a misuse of God's name. For the record, I count "Oh, God" as a misuse of the Lord's name, although some folks might think it's an appropriate cry for divine help in a moment of terror.

Edited by Christian

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My review.

Hammer and Vanko’s uneasy dance rivals Tony and Pepper’s banter for Iron Man 2’s funniest couple, which is saying something. The screwball vibe is even more pronounced in the sequel, with wittier dialogue and even more deadpan delivery.

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Chris Orr returns with a review, in the pages of ... the Atlantic!

He's not actually in the "pages" but will be contributing reviews to the Atlantic's Web site.

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Tony refers to a past incident with a Vanity Fair journalist or something, but AFAIK it could have been "pre-conversion."

It was. In fact, she is the journalist from the first film who Tony takes home after which Pepper makes here "taking out the trash" comment.

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Tony refers to a past incident with a Vanity Fair journalist or something, but AFAIK it could have been "pre-conversion."

It was. In fact, she is the journalist from the first film who Tony takes home after which Pepper makes here "taking out the trash" comment.

(blink) oh. Thanks!

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Just saw it, a lot of fun, and the crowd really enjoyed it, getting a nice round of applause at the end (but then, midnight showing crowds, especially for super hero movies, seem to be that way).

Hammer was a lot of fun as a villain high on cash and resources but not exactly on brains, and his back and forth with "Whiplash" was engaging. It struck me though, that in a future films I hope we get a truly menacing villain for the Avengers. I'm actually pondering who they'll choose as the 'big bad' when they bring all the heroes together. Will they grab villains from the previous movies or go with a classic avengers specific foe like Kang (an adventurer conqueror from the future) or Ultron (a robot turned evil, who's worst act in the comics was to depopulate an entire European country to claim it for his own).

Glad I stayed until after the end credits

Looks like we are indeed getting our Thor movie.

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It would have to be Gallactus. Or is that too Fantastic Four-ish?

87802-198280-galactus_super.jpg

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Just saw it, a lot of fun, and the crowd really enjoyed it, getting a nice round of applause at the end (but then, midnight showing crowds, especially for super hero movies, seem to be that way).

Hammer was a lot of fun as a villain high on cash and resources but not exactly on brains, and his back and forth with "Whiplash" was engaging. It struck me though, that in a future films I hope we get a truly menacing villain for the Avengers. I'm actually pondering who they'll choose as the 'big bad' when they bring all the heroes together. Will they grab villains from the previous movies or go with a classic avengers specific foe like Kang (an adventurer conqueror from the future) or Ultron (a robot turned evil, who's worst act in the comics was to depopulate an entire European country to claim it for his own).

Well, both Galactus and Dr. Doom desperately need better cinematic treatment (especially the latter), but I doubt they'll look to FANTASTIC FOUR-associated foes. Kang or Ulton may very well be the face of evil in THE AVENGERS.

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Well, both Galactus and Dr. Doom desperately need better cinematic treatment (especially the latter)...

Galactus has already been in a film?

I haven't really seen either of the FFs, maybe that was it?

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I'm surprised that nobody here has mentioned Vanko's line "If you can make God bleed, people will cease to believe in him."

Not exactly an idea supported by historical experience, is it? I was also surprised that the movie itself didn't notice the peculiarity of it or make anything out of it.

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