Movie Review: Iron Man 2

Hi all!

Was I excited by the fact that Favreau and Downey Jr. were at it again with the next installment of the Iron Man movie franchise? Of course I was! It’s been two long years since we last saw old Shell Head kick some butt on the big screen. Worldwide Iron Man made about $600 million and I know I contributed to that by seeing it in the theater a couple of times and buying the DVD…

So how was Iron Man 2? Well, I’m sorry to say that it was good, but not great and definitely not as good as the first one for me. Was it still entertaining? You bet! I expect it to beat the first one in terms of ticket sales hands down.


As most of you know (unless you were hiding in a cave a couple of years ago), Iron Man ended with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) announcing to the world that he is Iron Man and the suit isn’t simply a bodyguard. Though most of the world was pleased with this, it turns out (surprise, surprise) that not everybody is a fan. The sequel picks up about six months after the first one ended.

The gang is back – Stark/Iron Man (Downey Jr.), Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and Happy Hogan (director Jon Favreau)… And there are some new faces. Jim Rhodes (now played by Don Cheadle who picks up where Terrence Howard left off), Natalie/Natasha/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson, who surprised me in this role in a good way), Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell in a beautifully over the top performance), and Ivan Vanko/Whiplash (Mickey Rourke, who stole the show when on screen)…

It took a while for this film to get going for me. But once it gets going, there’s no turning back. The main players – Downey, Jr., Jackson, Cheadle, and Rourke dominated the screen in every scene. I was happy to see Favreau back as Hogan in a meatier role and Scarlett was stunning as the Black Widow. If there was a surprise in the film for me, it was her.

The whole Cheadle vs. Howard debate never really happened for me. I like Cheadle. He brings a solid presence to the role of Rhodey that I never really felt with Howard. But I did I think Paltrow was lacking in this one a bit. Somehow she never gained that witty exchange between Potts and Stark and whenever she was in a scene it was a bit of a buzzkill for me.

Once the action starts going – from the scenes during the race in Monaco to the explosive finale – it seriously grabs your attention and only lets up a bit here and there. At least that’s how it felt to me.

I know Iron Man 2 has had some mixed reviews. And my opinion is mixed as well, but I enjoyed it, will see it again, and will purchase the DVD when it’s released. A solid 3 out of 4 stars for me. So I think it’s definitely worth seeing. The only debate now is whether to see it in IMAX or on the regular screen the next time I want to see it!

What did you think? Leave me a comment with your review below!


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Thor is revealed!

Hi all…

Yes, more comic book movie news. Thor, another in the line of Avengers-worthy films from Marvel, is coming next year – May 6, 2011. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, known for his acting and directing talents, Thor will likely have a very different look and feel from The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man franchises.

For a while now, I’ve been wondering who they would get to play the mighty Thor and his alter-ego Dr. Donald Blake – and it’s none other than George Kirk, father of James T. Kirk from the JJ Abrams-rebooted Star Trek film – Chris Hemsworth.

Yahoo Movies somehow managed to snag the first image of the costumed Hemsworth as Thor, and I have to say it works for me. And yes, even the cape works.

This is another comic book movie that has attracted some top-shelf actors… Natalie Portman, Idris Elba (as Heimdall!), Anthony Hopkins (totally believable as Odin), Stellan Skarsgard, Ray Stevenson, Rene Russo… So this should be interesting.

Also out next year will be Captain America: The First Avenger on July 22, 2011. Director Joe Johnston will direct current hotshot actor Chris Evans as the titular Steve Rogers / Captain America character. How will Evans pull off the seriousness of Cap when all he’s done is a bunch of smartass characters? Heck if I know. But it should be interesting to see how it works out.

Then the big event – The Avengers movie, due out on May 4, 2012 – will bring together Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Nick Fury, and others under the watchful eye of director/writer extraordinaire Joss Whedon.

Marvel has the potential to knock all of these movies out of the park. And I have to say I’m extremely geeked up to see Iron Man 2 next weekend. Can this all-star cast – Favreau, Downey Jr., Don Cheadle (stepping into Terrence Howard’s shoes as James Rhodes), Scarlett Johansson (as Black Widow), Paltrow, Sam Rockwell (as anti-Stark Justin Hammer), Mickey Rourke (as Whiplash/Ivan Vanko), Sam Jackson (back as Nick Fury) – pull off another home run this season?

Let’s hope so. The next couple of years will definitely be interesting whether they do or not…


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Superman Reboot a la Batman Begins?

SupermanImage via Wikipedia

Hey all…

The web is abuzz this weekend about a Warner Brothers plot to reboot Superman (again) even in the wake of the failed Superman Returns. WB wants to mimic with DC heroes what Marvel has done with its properties.

So over the next few years, we’re looking at another Batman movie (with or without Christopher Nolan, preferably with), a Superman reboot, and two other DC heroes plucked from the pages. Once they’ve got their individual movies wrapped, a Justice League movie won’t be too far out on the horizon.

Does this make sense? Sure. I can see a Superman movie with a darker tinge of blue, but it would be a tough sell. Superman is a larger than life Boy Scout (no offense to the Boy Scouts). How will they make his character darker?

Now… I can see taking a new Clark Kent/Superman character in the classic vein of superheroes and rebooting the villains. If you take Smallville (shudder), they rebooted classic Superman villains such as Lex Luthor and Brainiac. But there are so many others to choose from (take this list on Wikipedia for starters), I don’t know where they’d start.

If it’s a true reboot, I think they’d have to start with Lex Luthor. He’s THE epitome of Superman villains, much like the Joker is the pinnacle of all Batman villains (at least in my book). A Lex luthor in the time of terrorists, Russian plots to retake old states, and a nuclear Iran would be scary. Capitalism with flexible morality. Why the heck not?

So if they go that route, who would they choose to go along with Batman & Superman in the League? Aquaman, ruler of the deep, might provide an environmental angle, as might Wonder Woman. Green Arrow was always one of my faves, but he’s a bit too similar to the Batman mold. Maybe the Flash would be an interesting character to update.

Marvel has Iron Man 2 on the horizon for 2010, with Ant-Man, Thor, Nick Fury, and Captain America being bandied about. So an Avengers project is out there for all to see… Wolverine is coming next year, with rumors of a Magneto movie.

With this resurgence of interest in comic book heroes, I think that geeks may be the ultimate winners. And as a geek, I have to say “huzzah!”

It’s good to be a geek. 🙂


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