Richard’s Year of Movies — Iron Man 2

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Iron Man.  I didn’t hate it; it was a perfectly fun piece of entertainment, but I didn’t fall in love with it the way some people did.  But, as I always do, I thought, “Well good, now that all the set-up is out of the way, they can just go nuts in the second film with a really cool Iron Man story.”  What happened though is they seem to have made a film that acts as more set-up.

Set up more of SHIELD?  Check.  Set up more Avengers?  Check.  Set up War Machine?  Check.  Set up Black Widow?  Check.  Set up Thor?  Check, but only if you stick around until after the credits (although there are a few scenes that even set up that scene).  Not that a film can’t have a lot of balls in the air, but you’d better be a damn good juggler if you’re going to do that.  And Jon Favreau is no juggler.

And why do so many super-hero films decide to go kitchen sink with the sequel?  They try to throw as many characters in as they can, I guess because they’re not sure there’s going to be a third and they want to get as many action figures out while they can.  The problem is, many of the most compelling comic stories, particularly from Marvel, have one hero and one villain, and many times not event that; sometimes it’s just the hero dealing with what it means to be a hero.  Sure, there’s the occasional Sinister Six or Knightfall where you get the villain buffet, but those usually get multiple issues in which to unfold.  It’s hard to set all that up and pay it off in two hours.

Iron Man 2 wraps up with a pretty big action set piece that will probably send people out on a high, and Downey is Downey, so it’ll do well.  Just not as well as it would have if it had decided which one of the seemingly five movies it tries to be it really wanted to be.

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