Monday, May 10, 2010

Iron Man 2. B+

'Strange' would rarely be a word to describe a sequel to a huge blockbuster, but that's the case with 'Iron Man 2.' I have never seen a superhero movie so busy yet so concerned with conversation rather than action. I talked to a few people who saw it opening day and they reported that the movie sucked. I asked why, and they replied that there wasn't enough action. That's why you didn't like it? I thought. Then I'll probably love it. That's not to say that I don't like action. It's just that sometimes I find it tedious and a lazy excuse to thrill the audience. 'Iron Man 2' is smarter than that. It thrills the audience for sure, but not with high-octane CGI driven action sequences. Instead it uses wit, science, and great performances from its splendid cast. Besides Robert Downey Jr., who was terrific as expected, I really enjoyed Sam Rockwell's turn as evil weapons manufacturer Justin Hammer. I recently wrote about how good Rockwell was in 'Moon.' And what do you know, he was probably the most memorable character in 'Iron Man' as well. Is the movie as good as the original? No, but it comes a lot closer than I expected. There are two main problems in my mind. The first is that the script by Justin Theroux doesn't have the same smooth flow as the original. It goes all over the place with random scenes that seem pointless and a large group of new characters who we don't get to know as much as we'd like. Secondly, for a lot of the movie, Tony Stark seemed pretty bored with his life. Besides his heart condition, he doesn't really have much to do in the movie till the final third or so. In the first one he had his suit to build, but in this one he's mainly just acting like a bigger ass than ever before. But I guess that problem is relative. 'Iron Man 2,' though not perfect, is a lot more fun than I had anticipated, and its lack of action really made the movie more interesting and ultimately better.

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