Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2

A Paramount release presented with Marvel Entertainment of a Marvel Studios production in association with Fairview Entertainment. Produced by Kevin Feige. Executive producers, Alan Fine, Stan Lee, David Maisel, Denis L. Stewart, Louis D’Esposito, Jon Favreau, Susan Downey. Co-producers, Jeremy Latcham, Victoria Alonso. Directed by Jon Favreau. Screenplay, Justin Theroux, based on the Marvel comicbook by Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby.

Tony Stark - Robert Downey Jr.

Pepper Potts - Gwyneth Paltrow
Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes - Don Cheadle
Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff - Scarlett Johansson
Justin Hammer - Sam Rockwell

Ivan Vanko - Mickey Rourke
Nick Fury - Samuel L. Jackson
Agent Coulson - Clark Gregg
Howard Stark - John Slattery
Senator Stern - Garry Shandling

In 1968, the year that Marvel’s Iron Man finally got his own comic book, the US Department of Defense announced that some 24,000 troops would be sent back to Vietnam for involuntary second terms. In the Heat of the Night won 5 Oscars including best picture. The radio was filled with “Hey Jude” and “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”. TV had Star Trek, The Wild, Wild West and Mannix, all with those memorable theme songs.

There was also Underdog, who used to pop pills to become a superhero. Just say “No”, Underdog.
“When Polly’s in trouble, I am not slow - it’s Hip, Hip, Hip and away I go!” Good o’l Wally Cox, such the antithesis of a hero, voiced the cartoon for something like 9 years of production. Amazing.

18 months later this little boy would
pick up the latest Marvel production of their Hero “Iron Man”, with the latest issue numbered 18, from the original series. In this issue, Tony Stark battles something called a Life Model Decoy, which is essentially a drone of Iron Man with it’s own sentience. But he must battle the rogue Iron Man/Robot/Droid with his original gold Iron Man armor before his injured heart gives out and kills him. Old stories never die, they just come back for a new audience. That’s not to say that Iron Man 2 is the exact same story, because it isn’t. But the new, intricate and stuffed full story of the new movie does try to do what few could imagine.

It does try to give an outline
of all those years I read the book from the seventies, through the eighties and then a bit into the nineties, all in the span of 2 hours and 5 minutes. Quite the feat considering that it’s initial time is only one minute shorter than it’s superior predecessor. This movie isn’t the pleasing ride that the first one was, mainly due to the fact that like all sequels; Spider Man 3, Superman 3 and a few others of the like, it tries to tell too many stories. This makes the whole exercise a bit more unevenly paced and down right jolting to watch.

It has a rote type narrative in too many places where it simply goes from one surface story line to the next without any internal development of those stories. The action scenes are top notch, especially that first one where Tony Stark has to face the bad guy without his armor, but they get a bit “video game” mind num
bing after wards and when we get back to actual characterization and humanity coming from the actors present, it’s like a cold glass of water in the face.

Our first Iron Man movie had a single story that it developed with wit and visual flair that drew in the audience and made you want to see the next step in the narrative. This time however, we have to wait through too many beginning steps of min
or plot lines that only marginally develop the overall story line.

The real story here is Stark and his father Howard Stark, and their past relationship with a Russian scientist named Vanko, whose son has been raised to believe his father was destroyed by the elder Stark, who then went on to fame and riches.
This is the story that is the real meat of this movie and would have benefited from being much, much more detailed instead of being short shrifted by all the other plot lines surrounding it.

I under
stand that several of the actors have since complained about the grueling production practices of the director and writers on this film who wrote and re-wrote as the movie was being made. And you know what? It shows.

The one scene that really illustrates the better story line is one where Tony is watching an old Super 8 reel to reel movie of his father, now long deceased, who rambles on and on about the possibilities of technology for the future to some unseen audience. Then after the film ends, it abruptly starts again and Howard Stark turns and addresses Tony as an
adult, not in fantasy, but in the pre-planned fashion of a seer. This was very nicely done and it’s something I don’t think I have ever seen quite done in this way, very inspired. Should have been a lot more of this.

The action is top flight and furious as Tony Stark and James Rhodes, now War Machine, go through a buddy tiff that took the comics something like 8 years to develop, and then they come back together to battle an army of Iron drones and the return of Vanko’s son as the suped up Crimson Dynamo/Whiplash. This is great stuff that Superman, Batman and Spiderman never had the chance to do, but merely because it isn’t their milieu

I enjoyed Robert Downey Jr.’s performance once again as Tony Stark, but he isn’t able to have enough camera time this time around and we only really get fleeting shots of him doing his version of Matthew Perry’s "Chandler" from Friends. Guest cameos abound also and the overflowing cast all get their 13 1/2 minuets of fame to do what they do quite well. Scarlett Johansson is especially well received as the Black Widow and received applause from the audience for her performance. I agreed with them whole heartedly. Still, all writing problems aside, the m
ovie is top notch and should be a big block buster once again.

Just keep one thing in mind. You can only discover new elements. Creating them is for a higher power.

4/5 stars

Anybody remember those guys ------>

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