Sunday, May 16, 2010

Iron Man 2

I guess you see what comes first in May to signal in the tide of summer blockbuster movies. This year it is Iron Man 2. I was amazed how much I liked Iron Man in 2008. Robert Downey Jr makes a great Tony Stark. Larger than life. Flawed. At the same time human. I loved his recent Sherlock Holmes. And he brings that same combination of charm and the ability to sense then seize the moment to Iron Man 2. AS in Spider-Man 3, the main opponent to Iron Man is success and acceptance. Often a hero, such as the early periods of Spider-man and Batman must battle public opinion as to whether or not they are truly heroes. Here Iron Man has himself brought about a period of peace and stability in the world by himself being a nuclear deterrant. And of course nothing can consume you quicker than success. So it is a fascinating film about how Tony Stark must come to grips with forces that either want a piece of him(the government) or want to destroy him for their own ends(Justin Hammer and the scientist/villain Vanko). He must also deal with the fact that the power source that is creating Iron Man is slowly killing him. And we get more resolution about the Tony Stark/Pepper Potts romance, which takes another step forward. In the original Stan Lee/Don Heck comics she and the chaffeur Happy Hogan(I love Jon Favreau, I think his Foggy Nelson in Daredevil was great) were simply cartoon caricatures. AS the strip progressed she was drawn prettier and prettier until she became a love interest for Stark. Here she replaces Stark as CEO of Stark Enterprises.

Scarlett Johansson plays one of my favorite Marvel characters, the Black Widow. The Black Widow as I remember was originally a Soviet spy and therefore a villainess in one of the earlier Iron Man stories. She later got a connection with SHIELD and became a heroine. Being a '60's character she was strongly influenced by the Emma Peel character played by Diana Rigg. Her outfit became black leather combat suits. She began utilizing martial arts instead of super powers, also homage to Mrs Peel. She had a great run in Daredevil in the '70's where she and Matt Murdock moved to San Francisco and were a team. These were drawn by Gene Colan and were very very good. I always preferred her to Elektra as a partner for Daredevil. Ms Johansson does a good job playing Natasha Romanova, the last name giving the character a tie to the Russian royal family. She comes in undercover for SHIELD. Robert Downey Jr's line is "I want one." Gwynneth Paltrow refers to her as "an expensive sexual harassment suit about to happen". The martial arts sequences with her are part of a trend in films I don't particularly care for. Like some of the sequences in "The Dark Knight" they are speeded up and the movements are unclear intentionally to add an effect to the film. All her sequences are computer enhanced. Diana Rigg did a lot of her own scenes. My sense is that people might just begin to gloss over the martial arts in the way the media has begun to portray them. I don't know if anyone would think of taking up martial arts from watching the sequences in this film.

This film is seen as a trilogy, with 2 films now done. There is a Thor film coming out soon. Then a Marvel Avengers film. Then Iron Man 3. A good job so far.

I put out an quick new video on irimi nage. Hope you enjoy it.


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