Stark Contrast

Iron Man 2 – I’m trying to get caught up on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is a little confusing as there were two Hulk movies made within five years of each other, one of which counts and one doesn’t. I know which one is which, but is the Ang Lee one worth watching? Anyway, let’s get back to this film, featuring a superhero who’s basically a jerk but also charming enough to get away with it. I imagine that Robert Downey Jr. is just being himself when he plays Tony Stark, although obviously I don’t really know the guy. His superhero name presumably seemed really cool in the 1960s when the character was created, but now it kind of sounds like he’s just someone who’s really good at steam-pressing clothes.

It’s like how Superman (who, in fairness, originated considerably earlier) is called the Man of Steel, even though he’s practically indestructible and steel, well, isn’t. You’re selling the guy short! Getting back to Stark, the device that keeps him alive is quickly losing power, and his competitor Justin Hammer is working with the villain Ivan Vanko to produce duplicates of his suit. Hammer is played by Sam Rockwell, but his mannerisms put me in mind of Bill Lumbergh from Office Space. I guess I have to feel a little bad for Gwyneth Paltrow, as the fact that she shares many of her scenes with Scarlett Johansson means she doesn’t even get to be eye candy anymore.

I don’t really find Paltrow that attractive anyway, and some of things that she’s apparently said seem to come from the same “isn’t everyone rich like me?” cloth as Mitt Romney, but I can’t say she does a bad job as Pepper Potts. I think the oddest appearance in this film, however, is Bill O’Reilly.

He’s just playing himself and not interacting with the characters, but I’m still surprised he did it. Then again, Iron Man probably is the most conservative of the Marvel heroes, and there’s a part where Natasha successfully gets information by torturing Hammer. I guess I didn’t say all that much about the movie as a whole, but there’s so much going on that I don’t know that I really could. I did enjoy it more than the first Iron Man film.

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