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Iron Man 2

December 18, 2009

Iron Man was the best superhero movie of 2008. It might even have been the best superhero movie of all time. It was certainly better than The Dark Knight — which was no slouch itself — and it as all because of Robert Downey Jr., who played a strange combination of himself and Tony Stark.

This movie looks even better.

The problem with origin stories is the slow build of story before we see the suit. This used to be an effects issue — sorry, but nobody watched The Incredible Hulk to see Bill Bixby’s Human Littlest Hobo routine, and we waited for those short, rare Lou Ferrigno moments. Back then, it was about money. CGI solved that problem, which means we have digital Spidey and that annoying guy as The Human Torch.

But in introducing superhero concepts to the mainstream, Hollywood feels the need to set the stage.

Daredevil got it right, particularly in the director’s cut (this does not excuse the other problems with that Afflecky film). X-Men got it right, although we’re going back to the beginning with Bryan Singer’s First Class movie, which is a prequel to the X-movies and a sequel of sorts to Wolverine. Marvel is going a different route with its current slate of Avengers films, which will see the characters established in their own movies before they all team up for tea at the mansion.

Iron Man was set up nicely in the first film; now we get to see RJD cut loose and the story come together. This is due in part to the nature of the film; it isn’t about superpowers, but about technology, so it became a solid science fiction film rather than a fantasy funfest.

Senator Larry Sanders? I love it. War Machine, Mickey Rourke, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Don Cheadle … I’m actually okay with Cheadle taking over for Terence Howard. Howard looked the part, but when he spoke, he sounded like Webster doing a Michael Jackson impression. “Next time, baby?” Sorry, no.

This one can’t hit screens fast enough for me.

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