Iron Man 2 Directed by Jon Favreau Runtime: 124 min.
Iron Man 2 isnt any worse than the first Iron Man, but we need new language to discuss the cultural stagnation evident in the ho-hum response to this sequel. Iron Man 2 is exactly what critics and audiences deserve following the celebration of that awful, dung-hued first film.
This sequel is product, and the proper terms to discuss it ought to come from economicsnot aestheticsto describe such instantly disposable junk: Director Jon Favreaus ignorance about pace and composition features an inane pan of a sandwich on a workbench where Tony Starks nemesis Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) puts together his diabolical contraption. Theres no art in screenwriter Justin Therouxs juvenile dialogue (Google her? I thought I was ogling her.) And surely only economics explain the phenomenon of CNNs Christiane Amanpour and FOX-NEWS Bill OReilly shamelessly appearing as TV newscasterscontinuing the blur between entertainment and journalism.
Obvious, uninspired and uninteresting, Iron Man 2 also blurs form and function: The problem isnt only the videogame/comic book look but that the videogame/comic book premise has taken the place of plot and kinetics. Tony Starks exploits (Ive successfully privatized world peace) pretend the same political naivete as The Dark Knight. But its not allegorical, just a blatant celebration of commercialism. Stark, the ultimate capitalist, has inspired a dully capitalist movie franchise. His character doesnt deepen (Robert Downey Jr. has become increasingly harder to look at; his solemnity is as dire as the tats and welts on Mickey Rourkes body). Starks narcissism is Hollywoodsmerely an occasion to sell more tickets and toys. In the single visually interesting moment, Stark converts a suitcase into his Iron Man uniform; its really a Transformers shtick but without the exuberance Michael Bay summons to make merchandise expressive.
The Hollywoodization of comic books is not necessarily a tribute to the original form, even though devotees feel that their taste is being ratified. But if they cant judge a film adaptation as cinema and simply accept its pitch, then they have been completely acquiesced to marketplace ideologyas when one reviewer slammed this sequel by stupidly called the first Iron Man a fun machine.
Iron Man 2 has been upgraded to IMAX with brighter cinematography than the first, but what's Favreau gonna do with a bigger screen except exaggerate his ineptitude? Hes given his actor-buddies a bigger payday but their roles are an embarrassment (especially Scarlett Johansson doing an adult version of Kick-Ass. Like Rourke, shes also unceremoniously dropped from the picture). The big fight between Vanko and Iron Man and his glorified butler Rhody (Don Cheadle) is the same noisy, senseless CGI template as the rampaging polar bears in The Golden Compass. Somewhere Michael Bay is yawning.