“Iron Man 2” review

On Monday afternoon, I went to see Iron Man 2 (wiki) with my brother and sister. It was a fun ride, but it didn’t break any “OMG you must watch this” barriers (and I wasn’t expecting it to). I’d say, however that it was fun and worth the money.

Right, so a few things I’ll mention since I’m not going to really do any recap because you can just read the summary for yourself on Wikipedia if you so desire. Or, you know, shell out the cash and see the movie for yourself. I don’t even think you have to have seen the first one to see the second one, but it doesn’t reintroduce the characters or anything, so you might want to see the first one first. That is, IM2 assumes that you know who all the characters already are and doesn’t bother explaining any backstory that was covered in the first movie. Anyway…

Iron Man
Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man in Iron Man 2

First, Tony Stark’s father (Howard Stark) reminds me of Walt Disney—which my brother said was exactly the point.

Second, I learned before I went that the soundtrack (not to be confused with the orchestration or musical score) was comprised completely of songs by AC/DC, which isn’t true. There’s a “Tomorrowland” 1950s-esque vocal piece in the credits which is most definitely not AC/DC.

Third, maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t notice the difference between the guy who played Rhodey in the first movie and the guy who played Rhodey in this movie. I read somewhere, while I was looking up criticism on IM2, that the actor was replaced, but it’s not like I’ve seen Iron Man (wiki) a thousand times or anything (I’m pretty sure I haven’t even seen it twice), and Rhodey didn’t stick in my mind as a super important character in the first movie, so whatever.

Fourth, the thing with the strawberries was genius. That is all.

Fifth, I did not like the kiss between Tony and Pepper at the end (yeah, sorry, I spoiled it). It was out of character for Stark to give in to his admittedly obvious feelings for her, and it was out of character for her to let him. For her, I have to chalk it up to the stress of running a company and then almost dying. Go back to the strawberries thing. That‘s more how their relationship should work.

Sixth, I also liked the sequence in which Stark becomes progressively more… I guess you could call it more “eccentric”… as he becomes progressively more ill. He acts out in numerous ways—including signing away his entire company to his secretary—while he’s dying that speak to the way humans treat their last days. When they know that their last days are upon them, that is. Stark doesn’t tell anyone, including Pepper, that he’s dying, though, and that makes for some confusion and frustration on the part of others trying to clean up after his messes.

The review over at Feminist Review says that IM2 passed the Bechdel Test, but I was looking for it to pass, and I’m not so sure. (Full disclosure: I also write for FR, but I didn’t write the review for IM2.) Sure, there are at least two women (Pepper and Natalie) who do talk to each other, but I’m pretty sure they’re talking about cleaning up a mess Stark made, which—in my book—would count as talking about a man. But I’d have to watch it again to be sure. That scene is like… 15 seconds long, so it’s really a matter of (a tiny) quantity over (dubious) quality.

Anyway, it was a good movie, poor women models notwithstanding. (To see what I mean, read the FR review I linked to, above.) Can’t have everything, I guess.

EDIT 13 May 2010, 17:42: Also, this. (Why do I even bother reviewing anything anymore? I should just link to all the other blogs which say what I think much better than I could.)

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

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