The Videogum Movie Club: Iron Man 2

Oh well. And I had been looking forward to this one, too.

Iron Man 2 was long, and boring, and overly complicated only to be too simply resolved, and most importantly it wasn’t very much fun. But I think you could tell we were in for a bumpy ride in one of the film’s opening sequences. It was at Stark-Con, or whatever, when Robert Downey Jr. takes the stage as Iron Man to the excited cries of his adoring fans and proceeds to give a completely incomprehensible speech, like, it literally made no sense, followed by a filmstrip from the 1960s? And let’s go back for a second. What the fuck is Stark Con? It is one thing to make me willfully suspend my disbelief that we are in a world where superheroes are real, but there is no suspension strong enough for the disbelief in a months-long industry conference on the development of WEAPONS TECHNOLOGIES that is treated like a year-long Ibiza rave. I know that people get excited for Steve Jobs’s keynote speech, or whatever, but first of all, Steve Jobs is introducing toys not guns, and his keynote speech is twice a year for an hour in California, not six months long and in the middle of Queens. Then Tony Stark is like “I am not saying that this is about you, this is about my dad.” WHAT ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT? And then John Slattery comes on covered in Manic Panic and you actually start wishing you were just watching an episode of Mad Men on DVD because a) it would have been a lot cheaper, and b) it is nice when people actually put some thought into what they are making.

The thing about Iron Man is he’s an asshole. You know the parts in Batman where Bruce Wayne is being a flippant, misogynistic creep to throw people off because they would never even think he had it in him to be a hero? That’s Tony Stark ALL THE TIME. So who cares if Mickey Rourke kills him? Kill him! He’s mean!

Speaking of Mickey Rourke, he is a great actor, and he was perfectly good in this movie (as was everyone else, EVEN GWYNETH PALTROW*. The myriad problems were in the directing and writing, not the acting), but his cheeseburger is only more absurd after having seen the movie. Spicy mayonnaise? What?

He’s not even that good at his job. For all of his big talk about how he and the suit are one in the same and it can’t just be operated by anybody, the second that someone else puts the suit on (Don Cheadle) they are able to beat him in a fight and fly away. (Not to mention the fact that even Tony Stark had basically a vertical-line-learning-curve when it came to mastering his “complicated” invention.)

And where was the action? I’m sorry, but driving a Rolls Royce the wrong way on a racecar track in Monaco is a scene in a fucking Mr. Bean movie.

Mr. Bean is the hero that Monaco deserves, not the one it needs.

But on a simpler, more fundamental level, this movie just needs to go back to drama school and learn what stakes are. Because every single dramatic element requiring resolution was set up as impossibly dire only to be instantaneously resolved with zero effort. Tony Stark is dying from the chemical in his arc reactor? Well, out of nowhere, Samuel L Jackson will give him a shot in his neck and that will clear things up long enough for him to DISCOVER A NEW ELEMENT (hidden in a 50-year-old PAPIER MACHE DIORAMA). Mickey Rourke has created a Whiplash suit that is more powerful than two Iron Man suits combined? Well, just fight him for an extra 30 seconds and then kill him. Seriously when Mickey Rourke died I thought it was a joke. That can’t be the end of this fight, can it? Oh, that is the end? Good joke.

LIKE, at one point, when Tony Stark is CREATING A NEW ELEMENT (based on his dad, Roger Sterling’s 50-year-old papier-mache model of an amusement park, because if there is one thing that billionaire weapons designers do, it is hide their revolutionary discoveries in dioramas and never EVER mention them again) he shoots a laser across the room (why didn’t he just aim the mirror in the right place at the beginning? NEVERMIND) and it cuts through, like, his MC Escher poster, and his tool chest, and then he points the laser at a piece of metal or something, and in 5 seconds, his super-computer, Ask Jeeves, tells him that he has successfully created a new element. (Incidentally, 20 seconds earlier, his supercomputer had told him that it was impossible to create a new element. So I am starting to think maybe it is not that good of a computer?) Tony Stark pushes his work goggles onto his head and says, “that was easy,” in a tone that is supposed to suggest that it was anything BUT easy. Except, uh, it was easy? He pointed a laser at a thing for five seconds and made an element that is going to save his life and change the world. So, yeah, THAT SEEMS PRETTY EASY. I’m sure he can get another MC Escher poster at the mall.

Ugh, this movie.

And then it ends exactly where it started. He is still just a rich, self-obsessed jerk. He’s not even invited into the secret superhero society. I guess Sam Rockwell might come back as a super-villain, but he was already the villain in this movie? So, you know, snooze. The biggest SPOILER is that in the end, Tony Stark is dating Pepper Potts. Yay? If there is one question on everyone’s mind as they entered the theater to watch this movie, I am sure it was: WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITH TONY STARK AND PEPPER POTTS? Right, you guys?

This post, like the movie, is weirdly, and probably a little bit misguidedly, dedicated to DJ AM.

*Gwyneth Paltrow is an awful HUMAN BEING, but a perfectly functional actor.