A successful sequel should simply do everything that the first movie did, but more. Iron Man 2 does that. It adds more backstory, more character development, more characters and more action and special effects.
Iron Man 2 picks up where the last movie left off. Tony Stark’s mechanized suit and it’s limitless power source is the new most powerful weapon on the planet. Because of its existence, all countries have backed down due to Tony working with the U.S. government and the United States now possessing unrivaled military supremacy because of it. When a new enemy appears who seemingly has developed a suit and power source similar to Tony’s, Tony Stark must now advance his technology even further to defeat this new enemy and maintain the peace established by him and his Iron Man suit.
The same light hearted tone from the first movie is maintained in this one and this film is all the better for it. It’s what most people loved about the last film and Robert Downey Jr.’s performance. There is also plenty of action and there are higher quality special effects and more of them.
The biggest addition to this film is the introduction of Natasha Romanov, or the Black Widow. This is Scarlett Johansson’s first appearance in the Marvel movie universe and the beginning of a long career making these Marvel movies. She’s great and I always wondered why it took so long for her to get her own superhero movie since she’s undoubtedly an A-list actor. I later learned from Bob Iger’s memoir that it was because Ike Perlmutter –a powerful figure in Marvel and then Disney– was a sexist and felt that a woman would not be successful as the lead in a superhero movie (Perlmutter was also a racist and was the reason why a Black Panther movie was not made earlier because he felt that black people –like women generally– could not carry a movie). Thank goodness, Perlmutter has since been put out to pasture.
Overall, this was a fun movie that adds more of everything fans liked in the first movie. It’s not too serious and it should not be. It’s just a fun summer movie with lots of laughs and explosions.
I recently got access to Disney Plus, which means I now have access to all the Marvel movies. Disney has conveniently laid out of these movies in their intended watching order and I’ve decided to give them all a watch through. First on the list is Iron Man, a movie so successful that it spawned the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Tony Stark is technological genius. He is the head of Stark Industries, a weapons manufacturer who sells weapons to the United States military. After getting kidnapped by terrorists in the middle east, Tony realizes that his business may cause more harm than good. He then constructs the most technologically advanced weapon on the planet, a high tech suit of armor powered by a nearly limitless power source. With this new weapon, he seeks to rectify the mistakes his company has committed.
Much of what I liked about this movie are the same thing I enjoyed in Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie. It’s the perfect balance of comedy and drama, which is a high dose of comedy with a little drama. The action is very good and the special effects — which were amazing at the time– still hold up surprisingly well.
The main attraction of this movie is Robert Downey Jr., who plays our protagonist Tony Stark. Downey does a great job portraying a charismatic jerk. His dialogue flies fast and loose. Part of that may be because much of film is flying by the seat of its pants. I watched some behind the scenes for this movie and much of the dialogue was not finalized until the day of shooting. Production simply moved too fast to slow down (probably due to financial restraints) and the actors adapted accordingly. Somehow, the dialogue and performances still felt natural and fun, though you can see a little bit of that improvisational energy that you’d see in your local improv troupe.
Overall, this was a fun movie. It doesn’t get too dark like Batman Begins nor does it get too campy like the old Fantastic Four movies. It’s the right balance of funny, action and special effects. Iron Man stands the test of time as an ideal summer blockbuster movie.
At the end of Secret Wars, the Fantastic Four bid their adieu and disappeared, possibly never to return. While it is common knowledge that superheroes never truly die, it seemed as if the Fantastic Four had finally met its match: greedy business people fighting over movie rights who were willing to kill a historic comic book series in order to get their way. In my stupor over the potential death of the Fantastic Four comic book line, I desperately looked for some alternative to get my science fiction comic book fix. Luckily, Marvel decided not to wipe out all the characters in the Fantastic Four franchise and left us with the Infamous Iron Man.
There won’t be spoilers for Infamous Iron Man ahead, but I will go over the events leading up to Infamous Iron Man.
If your buying a ticket for this movie, then you should be well aware of the reason you want to see this movie: the action. Everything else is tertiary, supplemental, not that important.
There are a number of plots going through this film. They are all pretty bare. The acting is standard action movie fare; no one’s taking an academy award home for this movie. Maybe special effects.
But the action… man, that action. I’ve read a number of reviews comparing this film with other films and the consensus is that the action is some of the best, if not THE best of the Marvel movies. And they’re right. The entirety of this film consists of five set pieces: opening terrorist scene, Bucky taken in, Bucky breaks out, airport scene, and the final scene with Iron Man. Every action scene is amazing and it’s wonderful to see the Russo brothers continue their brand of action cinematography from the last Captain America movie. It’s visceral, suspenseful, and funny. There are lots of special effects being thrown around, especially in that airport scene, and yet it keeps the audience’s attention. Something Star Wars: Episode One could not do.
Worthy of mention are the two new superheroes being introduced: Black Panther and Spider-Man. I found their inclusion not as amazing as other reviews make them out to be. Black Panther is a great addition, but he doesn’t get a lot of screen time without his mask. Spider-Man is also great and the actor they picked is spot on. However, it’s clear they threw him into the movie the moment they got the rights to him, probably sometime after the majority of the film had already been filmed. Spider-man is not essential to the story.
Score: 7.4/10 Fun movie. Well worth the ticket price. Do not bring people who hate superhero movies and action movies. This is not for them.
Details: A little under two and a half hours long. Stars way too many people.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is not a bad movie. Unfortunately, it isn’t a great movie.
Age of Ultron brings nothing new to the superhero movie genre. It is the same thing all over again from the first Avengers movie. Where the first Avengers movie was the first time you got to see a superhero team movie, this movie does not bring anything new. It brings the old rehashed themes and action from the other movie.
That’s not to say the action isn’t fun or great. It is fun. It is great. But it’s more of the same.
Actually, there are too many jokes in this movie. I read a lot about how Marvel is never going to be as dark as Nolan’s Batman, but it would be nice to have a little bit of that in the film. For instance, Daredevil was pretty dark and I think it’s the greatest thing out of Marvel in the last few years.
Score: 6.2/10 Bored of this film. Captain America: Civil War should have replaced Avengers: Age of Ultron. This film also suffers from being released right in the shadow of the juggernaut that is Mad Max. Can’t wait to watch that film. I’m sure this movie will make a fortune in the box office and merchandising, but I had a horrible feeling of deja vu akin to watching the Star Wars prequels. This movie was probably targeting children under the age of thirteen.
Additionally, in defense of Joss Whedon, I’m sure he had plenty of awesome ideas he wanted to implement. Unfortunately, for a big hundred million dollar movie like this, I’m sure the Disney/Marvel corporate overlords had a lot of overbearing creative input on what this movie should be and what boxes need to be checked for merchandising, franchise-building, Hollywood politics, etc. I hope Ant Man doesn’t suffer because of the interference of the corporate overlords.