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Iron Man 2 (2010) Movie Review

May 7, 2010

There is something inherently interesting about Iron Man.  Perhaps this is because he is a superhero with a built-in jet pack.  Everything that attracts us to Iron Man made the first movie stand out from the crowd.  However, much of that draw is lost when the novelty wears off.  In the first movie, Iron Man was new to us and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) was too.  Because of this movie’s use as a place holder to bridge the gap and continue the story, I felt disconnected from most of the movie.

Right after the opening scene, Stark is called before the Senate because the United States Government wants him to turn over the Iron Man Suit.  In typical Stark fashion, Tony is quick to refuse and storms out of there to continue living a life of luxury and feeding his ego.  This is quickly interrupted by an unexpected guest named Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke).  Vanko shows up in his own hastily-manufactured suit in an attempt to challenge Iron Man.  This confrontation serves as the first major action scene of the movie and is executed nicely although cut far too short.  Vanko is taken into custody after the fight and Stark expects it to be the last he sees of the man.

Of course, Stark has bigger things to worry about than Vanko.  Behind the scenes, Stark is having some issues with his core.  His body is starting to deteriorate after extended use of the material that powered his suit in the first movie.  Because Stark believes he is dying, he goes into a self-destructive spiral, taking the audience with him.  We watch in annoyance as he pushes those important to him away from him and makes a total fool of himself.  Stark’s despair eventually leads him to the discovery of a new compound that can power his suit and postpone his demise.  This happens just in time for Stark to face the final battle and save the day once again.

“Iron Man 2” is not bad by any means and some may even enjoy having a movie show their favorite superhero experience times of weakness.  The problem is that the fun is restrained by bureaucracy and realism.  This leads to another weak point of the movie, sound mixing.  I was very excited coming into the movie to hear the soundtrack.  I read that it was composed by John Debney for orchestra and choir.  However, even as someone used to focusing on the soundtrack during a movie, I could barely even notice it.  This is because all the action scenes are loaded with loud sound effects and the music is never given a chance to shine.

It seems to me that if the studios can’t respect the music composed for their movies, they may as well just bloody do without.  Film music is meant to enhance the impact major scenes have on the audience.  John Debney’s score was simply thrown under the rug almost as if the studio was ashamed of its presence.  On the other hand, each time a contemporary piece of rock music is played in the movie, there are no sound effects to drown it out.  Clearly the studio respects the music of AC/DC, The Clash, Queen, Tupac, Daft Punk, and Beastie Boys more than the music they hired John Debney to compose.

If you are looking for summer action, there are a few solid scenes hidden among the drama.  Because the movie itself is essential viewing for anyone who plans to watch the inevitable third film as well as the upcoming Avengers flick, I suggest you wait for Blu-Ray so you can watch the movie in a rental rather than a theater.  “Iron Man 2” is a poor follow-up to its predecessor.  They will have to do a lot better on the next one if they want to bring back the fanbase they created.

3/5

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From → Action, Comic-Book

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