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Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Some bad news for Iron Man 2
First review in... it ain't pretty....
Iron Man 2: World’s first review - ‘mind-numbingly dull, chaotic and unwatchable’
EXCLUSIVE By David Edwards
One of the biggest surprises of 2008 was Iron Man, an honest-to-goodness crowd-pleaser that boasted not just a great story and stirring special effects but which cemented the comeback of Robert Downey Jr.
Casting the former hellraiser as the latest superhero was a masterstroke; his devil-may-care attitude and that wicked glint in his eye proving a refreshingly alternative to the clean-cut rivals such as Tobey ‘Spider-man’ Maguire and Brandon ‘Superman’ Routh.
Now we have the much-anticipated sequel whose world premiere was rerouted from London to LA following the volcano eruption in Iceland.
Packed into a cinema in the distinctly unstarry Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, there were no celebs and no red carpet but, thanks to GMT, at least we got to see the film first.
What none of realised was that another disaster was about to unfold in front of our eyes, for Iron Man 2 is a travesty – a mind-numbingly dull, chaotic and often unwatchable muddle. It might even be the ultimate masterclass in how not to make a movie.
Given the strength of part one, the sequel is not just a terrific failure but a terrific disappointment.
Things kick off in a squalid Moscow flat as the heavily-tattooed Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) sets to work with a hammer and welding torch on a mysterious metalwork project following the death of his father.
Meanwhile back in the States, our first glimpse of Iron Man comes as he leaps from a plane to land at the Stark Industries Expo, his metal suit peeling away to reveal Tony Stark (Downey Jr) who tells the whooping crowd how his metal creation has brought about world peace. With the ability to fly at supersonic speeds and fire lightning from the palms of his hands, it seems the world’s aggressors have laid down their arms.
But problems loom. The US Senate is pressing Stark to give up the secrets of this startling technology to the military, egged on by slimy businessman Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell). There’s also the small matter of our hero’s health, with the energy pack fitted in his chest driving up his blood-toxicity levels.
That’s only the first 20 minutes or so but I’m going to stop for a second and ask if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, namely that Iron Man 2 is making the same mistake that was levelled at Spider-man 3 of throwing too much into the mix. Do we really need Stark vs. the US Government, a rival tycoon and the mysterious Vanko? Aside from muddling proceedings, that’s three bad guys we’re expected to hate.
Anyways, it turns out Vanko has been knocking together his own energy pack and launches an attack on his bitter rival as he’s taking part in a Formula 1 event in Monte Carlo. Why is Stark taking part in a car race? Dunno. Why is Vanko so angry with Stark? No idea.
With the raging Russian contained and sent to jail, he receives an unlikely offer from Hammer to team up and build an army of their own iron men. Meanwhile (yes, there’s more) Stark’s old pal Lt Col Rhodes (Don Cheadle) may be about to betray him.
Confused yet? Me too – but wait, there’s still more as, for reasons none too apparent, Stark hands control of his business to his long-suffering sidekick Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and then starts to fancy one of his employees (Scarlett Johansson).
And that’s not all. It seems Iron Man has attracted the attention of the mysterious Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) who drops by to... well, talk a bit then bugger off.
How do all these elements come together? More often than not, they don’t. This is a patchwork quilt without the stitching, a muddle of too many ideas and too many characters that connect loosely at best.
If that wasn’t bad enough, our iron-clad hero is off screen for 90 per cent of the time. As Potts tells Stark at one point: “People expect you to be Iron man -- and he’s disappeared.” No kidding.
In fact Iron Man appears just four times and only two of these are battle scenes.
They’re not badly done but what’s meant to be the big, show-stopping face-off at the end is overshadowed by a perplexing, out-of-nowhere romantic pay-off.
I don’t know what went on behind the scenes while the film was being made but rumours of reshoots and recuts have been swirling around the internet. Was this the film director Jon Favreau wanted to make? I doubt it. After Elf, the underrated Zathura and the first instalment, he’s proved himself a capable pair of hands. Perhaps the blame lies higher up the studio food chain.
Whoever’s at fault, if Favreau still wishes to make the series a trilogy, this is a franchise in serious need of rewiring.
Iron Man 2 (Cert 12A) is released this Friday.
Looks like the only thing saving this is the soundtrack.......