SKY Movies HD kindly invited me along to the World Premiere of IRON MAN 2, but before the red and gold carpet could be rolled out Eyjafjallajökull erupted and the whole shebang was relocated to LA. Makes sense. There Tommy Lee Jones is way better equipped to deal with rogue volcanic activity than UK airspace. So it was a pleasant surprise when my invite arrived for the UK Gala Premiere for the same evening. Technically we got to see the movie ahead of the actual ‘Premiere’ but with a whole lot less Americans.
Unfortunately there wasn’t enough free drink to disguise that the movie is lacking in just about every aspect. The first one set a very high bar, but let’s break it down:
Sam Rockwell. I’ve already written about Rockwell’s Oscar worthy performance in MOON so yeah, I’m a fan. Here he gets to play a douche bag – the anti-Tony Stark if you like – and he has way too much fun doing it. The script ensures his character is always second fiddle to whoever he’s sharing screen time with, but the rest of the cast don’t have a chance. He’s the one thing that I’d really like to see back in a third movie. Hell, if there’s one thing this franchise needs it’s a decent villain. Rockwell could be it.
Scarlett Johansson.Yeah I know. No brainer. Takes a while for her to kick ass, but when she does it’s the highlight of the movie. In fact that single sequence is far better than anything that Iron Man gets to do. Which takes me nicely to…
Iron Man. The hero of the movie makes three appearances in two hours. The ‘case’ suit is cool, but as with all the action scenes there’s never a moment of real jeopardy for Shellhead. I suppose you could argue that Tony Stark is Iron Man so let’s move on.
Tony Stark. The hubris of the first movie is replaced with self-pity. Big mistake. Stark the charismatic asshole from the first movie is replaced with just an asshole.
Pepper Potts. Sadly the inclusion of Johansson’s foil to Gwyneth Paltrow leaves Pepper with nothing to do but answer a few phones and get rescued. What a waste.
The bad guy. There isn’t one. There are a few pains in the metal ass for Stark to deal with, but none of them, even combined, make for a decent threat.
The Avengers. Way too much screen time is given up to pave the way for what is still a non-existent franchise. Pacing and plotting suffer a lot because of the inclusion of Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D and the goddamn Avengers initiative. All these scenes feel like DVD extras. Although there is a nice ‘shield’ gag in the mix.
CGI. There’s one shot at the racetrack that wouldn’t look out of place in one of the fan made videos doing the rounds on YouTube. The final (and woefully anticlimactic) action sequence is just metal banging metal with some explosions. It’s not TRANSFORMERS bad, but it is yawn inducing. Enough.
The first movie had so much charm that its few faults didn’t matter. The second has so little charm that the movie itself doesn’t matter. It’s a tick box on the way to an Avengers franchise. But if this and the Hulk movies have shown anything its how difficult it is to get it right with one hero on screen. How they think they’re gonna cram a team of these idiots into a movie, along with supporting cast and bad guys is beyond me. Sadly it’s probably beyond them too.
I hope THOR and CAPTAIN AMERICA learn a lesson here and shove that Avengers crap on a separate disc for the BluRay. What are the odds?