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Peter T Chattaway

Iron Man 2

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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.

Oh, I noticed it and mentioned it in the Cautions section of my review, but didn't elaborate in the review itself. It didn't seem overtly theological to me -- more of a metaphor implying that Iron Man only seems indestructible but is actually quite vulnerable to those, like Vanko, who know how to tame him. But maybe I should've addressed it head on, if only to point out the irony of the comment in light of the crucifixion and the global ascendence of Christianity.

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The problem with this movie can be summed up in one simple but telling little detail.

In the trailer, there is a scene where Tony Stark asks Pepper Potts to kiss him for luck before he jumps out of his plane, and she kisses his helmet instead and throws it out and says, "Go get it, boss." Tony then leaps out of the plane, but not before turning back to Pepper and saying, "You complete me!"

This scene is nowhere in the movie itself.

And I felt robbed when I realized it was nowhere in the movie itself. The trailer promised more of the stuff that had made the original movie so much fun. But the new movie itself doesn't deliver; indeed, by cutting stuff out that had been in the trailer, it kind of performs a bait-and-switch on us.

Nearly every angle in this film is underdeveloped. The Tony-and-Pepper relationship barely gets a chance to breathe -- so much so that I found myself clinging a little more than I should have to moments like that "omelette" line, which was brilliant. Ivan Vanko wants revenge, but it's not really clear what for, and he's given no greater depth than that in the end, so never mind. The SHIELD agent shows up just long enough to announce that he's setting up the next Marvel movie. Tony spends time watching old movies of his dad, but the scenes don't resonate. And as for Rhodey, well, he's basically a prisoner of the plot devices here -- quite literally, for one significant stretch of the film. (And the less said about people who wave loaded weapons around a party, the better.)

I don't remember the original film well enough to say which film is "better", but I do think the original film had a freshness that this film lacks. The trailer for this film had it too. More's the pity.

bowen wrote:

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

Yeah, this line is in the trailer, too, and it's ultimately just another element in the movie that goes nowhere. It's kind of like the scenes in The Dark Knight where the Joker tries to turn Gotham against Batman, except in THIS movie, the idea is never followed up; Vanko seems to think that if he can wound Iron Man, other people will imitate him (Vanko, that is) and try to wound Iron Man too. But this never happens, at least not within this movie.

: Not exactly an idea supported by historical experience, is it?

Well, in fairness, we believe in Jesus because of the Resurrection; the Crucifixion itself sent the original disciples running for cover and questioning their faith, and the Crucifixion remained a stumbling block for Jews and Gentiles alike as the faith spread.

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bowen wrote:

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

Yeah, this line is in the trailer, too, and it's ultimately just another element in the movie that goes nowhere. It's kind of like the scenes in The Dark Knight where the Joker tries to turn Gotham against Batman, except in THIS movie, the idea is never followed up; Vanko seems to think that if he can wound Iron Man, other people will imitate him (Vanko, that is) and try to wound Iron Man too. But this never happens, at least not within this movie.

: Not exactly an idea supported by historical experience, is it?

Well, in fairness, we believe in Jesus because of the Resurrection; the Crucifixion itself sent the original disciples running for cover and questioning their faith, and the Crucifixion remained a stumbling block for Jews and Gentiles alike as the faith spread.

Actually his arrest sent them scurrying for cover. But be that as it may, the line is so inescapably freighted with theological significance that if it isn't going to be developed, it just shouldn't be there. Which leads me to agree with your general conclusion about the movie: it has too many set-ups without enough pay-offs.

I also think the big action climax was emotionally weightless. This was also a problem with the first IM movie. Logically, it was set up well, but I think the problem is that the film's emotional center is Stark-Potts, and the IM villains are peripheral to that. If we look at The Terminator, for example, the emotional center is the relationship between Sarah and Kyle, but Sarah's relationship with Kyle and the fact that the Terminator is trying to kill her aren't disconnected events in her life: they are intimately connected and that makes the movie as a whole hold together as a unified work.* That is not true for either IM movie. There is nothing tying the IM villains to Potts or the Stark/Potts relationship, and that disconnect splits each movie in two. What makes IM2 weaker than IM in this regard is that it has the additional problem of yet another major plot strand thrown in that isn't connected with either one: the set-up for the Avengers movie, which accounts for much of IM2's more scattered feel.

In critiquing the movie, I don"t want you to think I didn't like it. In spite of its pretty deep structural flaws, the Potts / Stark characters and their relationship are still enough to carry me through it and make me glad I saw it. It also did have a number of really nice moments: the Black Widow taking out the hallway guards was a terrific little action set-piece, for example. (Nolan, who in two Batman films hasn't figured out how to do a really good hand-to-hand fighting scene should take notes.) The movie as a whole though wasn't cohesive enough to take it to the next level.

* Cameron just does this sort of thing so much better: look at his entire body of work to see what a consistently good job he does of connecting the emotional centers of his movies with his action storylines. For a non-Cameron example of an action movie whose emotional center and action scenes are well-connected, I'd suggest The Incredibles.

Edited by bowen

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bowen wrote:

: I also think the big action climax was emotionally weightless. This was also a problem with the first IM movie. Logically, it was set up well, but I think the problem is that the film's emotional center is Stark-Potts, and the IM villains are peripheral to that.

Hmmm. Well, if memory serves, the first film might have been a bit better in this respect, since one of the villains there turned out to be the Jeff Bridges character, who was sort of an old family friend of Tony's, right? Also, as far as the Stark-Potts relationship goes, the event that caused Stark to turn his life around ALSO caused him to abandon his promiscuous lifestyle, at least as far as we can tell -- and this, in turn, makes him "available" to Potts in a way that he wouldn't have been before. But as far as IM2 goes, yeah, you're right: the Stark-Potts relationship is almost a separate movie from all the other stuff. The new movie TRIES to connect things by implying some sort of rivalry between Potts and the Johansson character, but it doesn't quite work, because Johansson is primarily there to help set up the Avengers movie, and not because of the Vanko revenge storyline.

: It also did have a number of really nice moments: the Black Widow taking out the hallway guards was a terrific little action set-piece, for example.

Absolutely, and the punchline to that sequence was hilarious.

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...one of the villains there turned out to be the Jeff Bridges character, who was sort of an old family friend of Tony's, right?

It's interesting that the film portrays it like this. I can see where you would think that. In the comics, Stane was always after the empire, and even took it over for a time when Stark relapsed into alcoholism.

As a person coming to the film from the comics you have a different reaction to anything involving Stane -- immediate distrust. I think Stark does, too, in the first film, but it's more in-between the lines.

Edited by Persona

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Ivan Vanko wants revenge, but it's not really clear what for, and he's given no greater depth than that in the end, so never mind.

It seemed clear enough that he wanted revenge for what he believed was the theft of his father's life & work, essentially. They could have played that up more, but it was a decent mirror for Stark's father issues.

Saw the movie with friends at a morning matinee--we were surprised at how many other people had the same idea! We were afraid there would be more, bigger, and louder explosions, since it was a sequel, but they still managed to keep a decent level of human interaction--so much so that the 8-10 year old children in the row behind us were bored and started quarreling several times. They should have gone to How to Train Your Dragon again. Also, Scarlett Johansson, Action Heroine, is much more entertaining than S.J., gleaming icon of timeless beauty, which is the not particularly interesting role she's been playing in almost everything since Ghost World.

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Also, Scarlett Johansson, Action Heroine, is much more entertaining than S.J., gleaming icon of timeless beauty, which is the not particularly interesting role she's been playing in almost everything since Ghost World.

I agree.

IR2 was fun, but, oh, I don't know. I kept waiting for it to get kicked up a notch. It was nowhere near as much fun as the original. It also seemed like they were trying to do too much with it. Concentrate on Whiplash, or the romance with Pepper, or the Avengers, or the alcoholism, or the suit being argued for by the government. Or on Natasha, who probably should've been in Daredevil first (or am I misremembering this?)... (I just looked up Black Widow at Wikipedia, and I am misremembering that she was an Iron Man character before she was Daredevil's girlfriend. But the character was so much stronger in Daredevil, or at least that's how I remember it as a kid.)

It was fun. I'll probably see it again sometime, but I probably won't seek it out with much intensity.

Edited by Persona

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BethR wrote:

: It seemed clear enough that he wanted revenge for what he believed was the theft of his father's life & work, essentially.

Right. But that's as far as the movie went with that. The exact nature of the theft, or whether Vanko's feelings were justified, or whether Tony had any doubts about his father's culpability ... none of these things were explored, at least not that I can recall.

: They could have played that up more, but it was a decent mirror for Stark's father issues.

Perhaps, but like I said, even Tony's father issues weren't given the sort of depth that might have given them any resonance, at least as far as I could see.

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Ok, what the heck is Shield? It felt like I'd missed half a movie between the first Iron Man and the second.

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SHIELD was there in the first movie, but it wasn't called by its acronym until near the end; up until then the agent referred to the organization's full name instead. Samuel L. Jackson's character was also in the first movie, but not until after the end credits.

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I have just started reading the Marvel "Civil War" series in which Iron Man (at least initially) appears to be a punk (along with S.H.I.E.L.D.) and even lets the Green Goblin free again. Seriously, who does that?

In protest, I will not be a patron to his latest movie.

Edited by M. Leary

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I have just started reading the Marvel "Civil War" series in which Iron Man (at least initially) appears to be a punk (along with S.H.I.E.L.D.) and even lets the Green Goblin free again. Seriously, who does that?

In protest, I will not be a patron to his latest movie.

The "Civil War" series starts out thoughtfully but is deeply flawed and cops out in the end. The series' Iron Man is, indeed, a punk. I wouldn't hold it against the big-screen version of the character.

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The "Civil War" series starts out thoughtfully but is deeply flawed and cops out in the end. The series' Iron Man is, indeed, a punk.

Then, in protest, I will not finish the series either.

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The "Civil War" series starts out thoughtfully but is deeply flawed and cops out in the end. The series' Iron Man is, indeed, a punk.

Then, in protest, I will not finish the series either.

:lol:

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The "Civil War" series starts out thoughtfully but is deeply flawed and cops out in the end. The series' Iron Man is, indeed, a punk.

Then, in protest, I will not finish the series either.

:lol:

Marvel's massive crossovers almost always seem interesting at the start, but fall apart by the end.

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The problem with this movie can be summed up in one simple but telling little detail.

In the trailer, there is a scene where Tony Stark asks Pepper Potts to kiss him for luck before he jumps out of his plane, and she kisses his helmet instead and throws it out and says, "Go get it, boss." Tony then leaps out of the plane, but not before turning back to Pepper and saying, "You complete me!"

This scene is nowhere in the movie itself.

And I felt robbed when I realized it was nowhere in the movie itself. The trailer promised more of the stuff that had made the original movie so much fun. But the new movie itself doesn't deliver; indeed, by cutting stuff out that had been in the trailer, it kind of performs a bait-and-switch on us.

I've noticed that this continues to be in trailer commercials on TV, now more than nine days into its US run. And there's also a scene in which Tony is apparently shooting something with the Black Widow, and I don't remember that, either. I know my memory is bad -- is that scene in the film? (Goodness. I don't think it is that bad.)

Here's my question -- why would they play a trailer that has scenes not in the actual film? And then, especially now that it's been out nine days -- why would they continue to play it? What's the tactic there? Is is so that we'll all know that the future DVD has deleted scenes?

I agree that it's a terrible bait and switch and feels like false advertising to have scenes in the trailer that aren't in the actual theater.

Edited by Persona

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Here's my question -- why would they play a trailer that has scenes not in the actual film? And then, especially now that it's been out nine days -- why would they continue to play it? What's the tactic there?

It's quite common practice. Many, many trailers contain deleted scenes, often because they're cobbled together before the edit of a film is finalized (for example, the CASINO ROYALE trailers contain a great deal of scenes and sequences that were ultimately dropped from the finished product). As to why they'd continue to use it even after the film's been out: it's generally out of laziness. They've already used it in previous advertisements, and advertisers tend to cobble trailers together based on the previously existing materials, rather than starting from scratch.

Edited by Ryan H.

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It would take ten minutes or less to edit those scenes out and add some new ones in. Distribution in the digital age shouldn't be a problem, either. If it's laziness, it is of the extreme kind.

Edited by Persona

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It would take ten minutes or less to edit those scenes out add some new ones in.

I suppose, but it's likely that nobody on the advertising team really cares about whether or not the moment is in the finished cut of the film.

Personally, I don't think it's that big of a deal. It's a nice moment, and sure, seeing it in the trailers led me to expect it in the film, but it didn't put a damper on the film for me or anything. I was much more concerned about the slapdash story.

Edited by Ryan H.

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It's false advertising if you ask me.

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It's false advertising if you ask me.

Maybe so, but as I've stated before, it's pretty common practice.

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If the trailers are handled by a contractor, some company doing the work for the studio, then its probably more cheapness than laziness. That's got to cost a ton just to remove the deleted scenes from the trailers. Too bad you can't sue for false advertising, but I don't think they're making a claim. You may be inferring that the movie is fun and lighthearted, but that's on you--they're not saying it! ;)

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"Costs a ton."

If they send me the footage I can do it on my Mac in ten minutes and it'd be just as good as the commercial on TV.

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You're obviously not in the trailer cutting business.

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