By Alban Yee
I have been tasked with writing an article about Iron Man 2, the worst of all the recent Marvel movies.
If you’ve already seen it, you probably are already familiar with its problems: undefined plot, no climactic ending, and the devolution of our favorite characters from the original Iron Man.
If you’ve seen it and you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you’ve done what I have been trying to do — gracefully forget how bad it was.
First, the plot. Do you remember the plot? Vaguely, there’s a Russian physicist with an electric whip who’s trying to kill Tony Stark. Also, there was a hot girl in the form of Scarlett Johansson. We’re not really sure what her role was, other than wearing tight clothing, but you might vaguely remember a fight scene where she beats up a bunch of guys at the end. Additionally, she’s a computer hacker.
You might also vaguely remember that Tony Stark was dying from palladium poisoning from the power source in his chest. He needed to get that fixed too, by inventing a new element. Which, apparently, was really easy:
Tony Stark [upon discovering and inventing a new element in his garage]: “That was easy.”
Secondly, the anti-climactic ending. Whereas the first Iron Man had a villain that rivaled Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit (and Stark was limping on a nearly depleted power source), the sequel had a bunch of flying drones that never established themselves as a threat. There was never a moment when I thought that Iron Man was in any real danger. He didn’t get beat up. He didn’t get kicked around. He just took care of business. When he finally squared off against electric whip guy, he beat him down fairly quickly and again, way too easily.
Thirdly, the characters we loved from the first Iron Man — Pepper Potts (lost in the CEO storyline), Tony Stark (self-destructing and despicable), and Rhodey (replaced by Don Cheadle) — were missing. Gone is the fun, jazzy chemistry from the first movie, replaced by a stale script and wooden acting. If you were hoping to laugh at witty banter, one-liners and zingers, Iron Man 2 disappoints here too.
So what does this movie do? It introduces two new characters: War Machine (who regretfully doesn’t have a part in The Avengers) and Natasha Romanoff (who regretfully does). It’s not that I don’t like Agent Romanoff, who turns out to be a Russian spy/assassin/computer hacker. It’s that I don’t like the woman who played her. Johansson does nothing to bring this character to life. All we have on screen is a scowling seductress who unleashes a few kick-ass moves and then surprisingly hacks into the bad guy’s computer system. In fact, I didn’t even know she was Russian until she tells us she has a long Russian back story in The Avengers.
And War Machine? Where was he in The Avengers? You would think that he would show up to help save the earth.
I’m sure there were some good parts to this movie, because I didn’t hate it when I came out of the theater. I just knew that I didn’t like it. Unfortunately, I just can’t remember any of those things right now.
If anyone has anything good to say about this movie, please speak up. Until then, this movie will remain where it belongs, at the very bottom of the Marvel movie canon.
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