The Trouble with Quibbles: Iron Man 2

Last week was a bit slow for us here at Shooting the Script. Bryan’s got his “responsibilities,” with his wife and kids and all. But more importantly, I was sick. And with my really bad cold/sinus infection making it nearly impossible (read: improbable) for me to do anything but sit around watching movies in a Dayquil-fueled coma, not a lot was updated on the site. I blame Bryan.

Fortunately, he made up for it by getting us tickets to a screening of Iron Man 2 that included complimentary cocktails. Somehow, I was able to muster the strength to leave the house and meet Bryan at the screening. And after discovering the perfect combination of sinus medication & tequila, with my homeostasis restored, my enthusiasm about equal to Bryan’s, we were able to enjoy Iron Man 2

Oh, and Bryan’s a lightweight:

BP: Well, I’m not sure what a lot of people are complaining about and while it isn’t exactly high art, I have to say I really liked Iron Man 2.

AS: It did seem kinda all over the place.

BP: Oh, there are problems, but I didn’t really think about that while watching it. No, while watching it I was entertained and having a great time, which is all I think these films try to do, so mission accomplished. What are some problems you noticed?

AS: I liked it and I was entertained, but this one just seemed much sillier than the first. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I like silly. I don’t know. I just didn’t love this movie. It seemed kinda rushed and a bit flimsy.

BP: I think they’re both flimsy and rushed. I think there’s this idea that the first one was some masterpiece or something, but it wasn’t.

AS: Well, this one seemed more so… rushed, not a masterpiece. Neither of them are masterpieces, by any means.

BP: So you like the first one more?

AS: Not really, no. Even though this one is much more camp, I think I can safely say I like them equally.

BP: I have to say they both have some of the same issues, final battle letdown, weak execution of themes, but number 2 added Sam Rockwell and Mr. Rockwell almost stole the movie away from Downey, so the edge goes to the sequel. ScarJo in a cat-suit did not hurt either.

AS: Really, Rockwell stole the show for you? I like him, but he’s still no Downey.

BP: I think he matched Downey. It was a great 1-2

AS: He was good, a nice foil for Downey. But, he just seemed like a staple Rockwell character, nothing really new.

BP: Rockwell always makes whatever he’s in just a little better, even when he’s playing his staple characters. Also, I should say, full disclosure: the three White Russians in my empty stomach might have made the whole movie just a little more fun, but it was fun.  What more could you want from something like this than a fun time at the movies?

AS: You’re such a whore for Rockwell.

BP: I think I wouldn’t mind a gang bang featuring the entire Iron Man 2 cast, to be honest.

AS: That’s one hell of a sausage fest. You’d probably end up as Garry Shandling’s bottom.

BP: No gang bang is a sausage fest when Scarlett is there. I meant cast from the poster, damn you! Now I’m thinking about Shandling naked!

AS: The presence of one woman does not make up for the smorgasbord of sausage. That’s still like 90% man-meat.

BP: Poster cast, poster cast!!!  That’s more like four dudes to two awesome chicks. Getting back to the movie, maybe the question is: are you okay that these films are just okay and fun, and not something more substantial?

AS: Yeah. I’m ok with it. I got what I was expecting… And that’s still 66.6% sausage… not ok.

BP: If it’s Downey/Rockwell sausage and the girls I mentioned, then I’m more than okay.  My latent homosexuality aside, yeah I got my laughs and my action without robot balls (Transformers 2) or nuking the fridge (Crystal Skull), so I would say big success, even if my expectations were a bit limited.  Not every summer film can be The Dark Knight.   B+

AS: I was satisfied, but it would’ve been nice if they’d tried to exceed my expectations, beyond just adding new people to the pot. It kinda feels like they’re just treading water. And I hope it’s not a vibe to be repeated with the rest of the films leading up to The Avengers. But, it feels like they’re just kinda killing time until The Avengers. It’s like the cinematic equivalent of muzak. You know? “Here, enjoy this while you wait.”

BP: But more fun. I don’t think they are reaching for anything more than that, and the only reason I’m okay with that is because of how fun they make the wait. But yeah, I get that vibe too.

AS: Right, but if the build up to The Avengers continues to be mediocre filler, then what evidence are they really giving us that The Avengers is going to be anything more than that? It’s like they’re intentionally setting the bar lower, so they can “blow us away” with something that’s not actually that amazing. It seems kinda lazy.

BP: It’s the problem with trying to turn movies into comics.

AS: Um… no, it’s the problem with trying to squeeze every last penny out of the audience under the auspices of “giving the people what they want.” If they’re not going to make it as good as possible, then why should we continue to shell out our money to see it? They should make the best movies they can, and if that means that they have to raise the bar for The Avengers, then they have to deal with that, because that’s the challenge they setup for themselves in deciding to make it into a movie.

BP: The reason the new Batman is working is because they are doing that.  Each one feels like its own resolved story.  We don’t want to see Spider-man 9 or Iron Man 4.  We don’t go to the movies to see small incremental changes in a character (like a comic).  So yeah, they better start killing some people and explaining the meaning of the universe sooner rather than later.

AS: I don’t have a problem with continuing franchises. And I don’t need them to kill anyone or explain the universe. I just expect them to give me their best, instead of jerking me around while they’re setting up. Comic book geeks have waited this long for The Avengers. And I don’t think we’ll have a problem continuing to wait, so long as it’s worth it and the studios don’t alienate us with filler. I’d rather they take the time to make good films, than crank out a bunch of lesser films quickly. But what do I know, I’m just a geek.

BP: I’m confused now, so you liked it or it pissed you off or both, how about a grade?

AS: I enjoyed it. It didn’t piss me off. But, I found it wanting. It felt rushed, very slap-dash. B-

BP: Okay, well I hope Marvel is listening or else an angry geek might get them.

Photos & poster: “Iron Man 2” (Paramount Pictures).


4 responses to “The Trouble with Quibbles: Iron Man 2

  1. Ok, I don’t disagree that from a filmgoers standpoint it wasn’t TDK, it was slapped together BUT it was slapped together so people who are avid comic book or comic book movie fans would feel like it remained loyal to the mythology of the first Iron Man and the comic books. I think it succeeded in that respect.

    I also think Robert Downey Jr. plays the perfect Tony Stark, Don Cheadle played a great Rhodey, Sam Rockwell was an AWESOME Hammer but there could have been more Rourke. The rest of the cast was more than adequate.

    The comic book kid in me was defiantly satisfied, yes it could have been better, but I am thankful that it wasn’t another Spider-Man 3 or The Hulk (Ang Lee’s).

  2. Pingback: Oscar Checklist – Part One: Docs, Thoughts, and Links | Shooting the Script

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