2011 Academy Award Nominee:
Visual Effects: “Iron Man 2” Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick
Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2 really took me by surprise. The original film was refreshing, because it didn’t attempt to replicate the tone of any of the other recent super hero films and it’s sequel continues this trend. Wisely, Jon Favreau’s film just doesn’t take his source material too seriously. One result of this attitude, is I am much more forgiving of its flaws than I probably would have been otherwise.
Iron Man 2
When Entertainment Weekly published their list of The 25 Greatest Active Directors, I was surprised to see Favreau make the list. While I wouldn’t have put Favreau on my own list, I have to admit that he is an extremely successful populist director.
The first time we see Mickey Rourke’s character, Ivan Vanko, he is standing at the end of a hallway, and then turns menacingly towards the camera. There was no reason for Vanko to do this other than to look cool. The same thing can be said about Vanko’s presence at the racetrack. None of the characters know that Tony Stark plans on driving one of the race cars. He makes this decision spontaneously, so Vanko should not have known he was going to be on the track.
Plot holes like this are dime a dozen in Iron Man 2; however, in this film they feel forgivable. The movie is pure fun from start to finish. It doesn’t have grand ambitions, but it achieves exactly what it set out to do…entertain.
[ad name=”Google Adsense-bottom”]One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about the first Iron Man film is that it didn’t really have a memorable villain; this is certainly not the case in the sequel. Mickey Rourke’s portrayal of Ivan Vanko is wonderfully over the top. The same is true about Sam Rockwell’s portrayal of Justin Hammer. There is not a shred of realism anywhere in Iron Man 2, and that’s not a bad thing. From flourishes that include a huge drone battle to Iron Man’s suitcase suit, Favreau uses tricks and devices to make a fun summer movie. There is never any question about the movie’s tone, it’s over the top comic book all the way.
One of the fun additions to the Iron Man universe is Natasha Romanoff played by Scarlett Johansson. She spends her time on screen kicking ass. I also enjoyed watching Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, Pepper Potts, develop more than she was able to in the first film.
It’s well known at this point that Marvel intends to make an Avengers movie that combines all of the characters from their others films. Joss Whedon is currently in preproduction on that film. The Avengers plan is obviously ambitious, because not all of the films leading up to the Avengers have been completed. Before that film makes it to the theaters Marvel plans to release Captain American and Thor. So far the only films they have completed that are meant to lead up to The Avengers are Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and The Incredible Hulk.
Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk was not as successful as Marvel would have liked, so at this point it seems that Marvel is trusting that the success of the Iron Man films will be enough to turn the Avengers into a blockbuster.
I love seeing how referential the Marvel movies have been to one another; however, they reference other properties in a very straightforward way. J.J. Abrams filled his re-envisioning of Star Trek with many references to the earlier films and series for the fans; however, the references never impeded the film’s plot. Iron Man 2 is not as elegant as Star Trek in the way it makes its references. Favreau spends a significant portion of time in the Iron Man sequel setting up The Avengers. I could see how this could impede one’s enjoyment of the film; although, it really didn’t bother me.
If you are looking for great escapism in theaters, then I recommend you go see Iron Man 2. As long as you can suspend your disbelief through a few bumpy spot, I think you will have a great time!
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