cathyr19355: Stock photo of myself (Default)
posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 05:26pm on 09/05/2010 under ,
Last night, [ profile] esrblog and I went to see "Iron Man 2".

Downey once again turns in a great performance as Tony Stark, and Scarlett Johansson demonstrates her expertise at playing hot babes with character. (Her character is also a genius with impressive martial arts chops, so it's no surprise that she raises Pepper's hackles, at least at first.) Let me also state for the record that I disagree with the critics who say that the script is too busy or that the movie isn't as good as the original "Iron Man". I think it was as good as the original, though it was more of a "drama with action" instead of being a mindless-mayhem-with-banter flick, as the original film was. Perhaps this disruption of the audience's expectations has something to do with why many critics were uncomfortable with the film.

I can't really say more than this without getting into serious spoiler country, so I won't, though I'll be happy to discuss my opinions about the film offline if anyone is interested.
Mood:: 'satisfied' satisfied
cathyr19355: Stock photo of myself (Default)
posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 11:19pm on 03/05/2008 under ,
The subject line on this post is taken from one of the t-shirts Randall Munroe sells on the xkcd web site, because I couldn't think of a better way to sum up "Iron Man", which I just saw with [ profile] esrblog, [ profile] pmat, and [ profile] shakati, tonight.

Once again, I can rave about the movie without needing lj-cuts or giving spoilers. That's because there are only three reasons to go see "Iron Man":

1. Robert Downey, Jr.
2. Science tech that looks incredibly neat;
3. Explosions. Lots of big explosions.

Downey plays the protagonist of the movie, incredibly wealthy weapons manufacturer Tony Stark. Unlike most characters of his kind, Stark is an engineering genius (we're told that he built his first invention at age 4, and graduated summa cum laude from MIT). But what grabs our attention about Stark first is his refusal to acknowledge any limitations on his behavior other than the laws of thermodynamics--and, as an engineer, he's continually engaged in figuring out how to work around those. Unsurprisingly, Stark projects a reality distortion field that makes Steve Jobs's fabled reality distortion field look like cheap tissue paper. Along with the aura of super competence and the refusal to accept limits, Downey gives Stark an impressive stream of genuinely funny banter and repartee. (Downey has great comedic timing--who knew?)

Surprisingly for the genre, the science tech fights with Downey to dominate the movie. Stark spends a lot of time in the basement of his palatial digs atop the cliffs of Malibu (and in one other locale as well, but saying where would count as a spoiler) working on an invention. The equipment he uses, as well as the effort he puts in with CAD, screwdrivers, and other tools, is surprisingly convincing. (For that matter, the CAD system he has deserves a feature in itself; it generates a 3-D hologram of his designs, which he can reach in and manipulate with his hands--a really cool feature).

Although the repartee in the script is clever, the actual plot--the events that transpire to give Stark the chance to do the things he does--is pretty lame and has the usual amount of "summer movie" kind of plausibility holes. [ profile] esrblog calls it "x kinds of stupid," where the value of "x" increases each time he talks about the movie. But Downey gives Tony Stark sufficient presence that it's possible to take the movie just seriously enough to have a lot of fun despite the plot holes.

And what about Gwyneth Paltrow? She gives a very game performance as Stark's girl Friday, "Pepper" Potts, despite the fact that the role puts her in a tough position. On the one hand, Stark's super competence requires competence from Ms. Potts to match. On the other hand, to stay within the Marvel canon Pepper has to be satisfied to continue as Stark's girl Friday even though she's obviously in love with him. Paltrow handles these contradictions by playing Potts as a very low-key individual with a propensity for quiet irony and a taste for close-fitting, dark, tasteful costumes that play up her long legs and trim figure. The combination works well enough, though even she can't manage to outshine Downey.

To me, the "Science--it works, bitches" line from the xkcd t-shirt describes the movie because it describes the style of Tony Stark as Downey gives him to us. Man can do the apparently impossible, in Stark's universe, so long as he has the science (and, of course, the money for the equipment and the inevitable household repairs) to back up his vision.

In short, go and see "Iron Man". It's perfect, silly, summer fun.
Mood:: 'amused' amused
Music:: none
location: home


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