Iron Man & War Machine

So I finally got a chance to see Iron Man II, a sequel that I have been eagerly awaiting ever since I (nerdgasmically…new word…copyright!) walked out of the theater following the first movie. I am not going to try to be clever (it comes naturally anyway) by stringing you along before I finally get to my review and opinion of the film.

Long Story Short: Meh.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a number of scenes in which I began to feel the hints of a Nerd Boner rising, however the majority of the film seemed to be a vehicle to set up something entirely different that never manifested itself on screen.

For instance, a lot of time was given to setting up the (obviously) impending “Avengers” movie. There is nothing wrong with this, but not when it sacrifices the movie I am currently watching. It dragged on for a bit, had a few cool scenes here and there, but the rest was an homage to setting up what the studio really hopes for…and that is a blockbuster, “Avengers” premiere (and likely trilogy).

For those who don’t know (aka: people who actually had sex in high school, while the rest were reading comic books), there have been a series of movies helping to set this up: Iron Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Spiderman and the soon-to-be-released, Captain America and Thor movies. Without completely nerding out and going into the intricate and oft-debated roster of, “The Avengers” (i.e. New, Mighty and Dark Avengers), let’s just say that all of these movies are being being released as separate franchises (aka: $$$) and will then all funnel and culminate into one BIG franchise (Avengers). For people like me – and by saying that I mean, “People who sit and wait for the credits to end, hoping to see some hint of things to come” – you have seen these little homage’s at the end of Hulk, Iron Man I & II, Wolverine etc.

Iron Man II decided to skip the, “wait till the credits roll” approach and just addressed it within the movie itself. There were hints to Captain America (think, “the thing used to level off the accelerator Tony Stark used to create his new power source”), Black Widow (think, “Scarlett Johansson”…now think of her again…and again…oh yes, again…), Nick Fury, Thor (A hammer? Boooooooring), War Machine (more obvious since he was a character in the movie) etc etc.

What used to be a symbol of ‘nerd cred’ (picking up on subtle references to other comic book characters) was on full display in Iron Man II.

Near the end, there was even a hint that Robert Downey Jr. would not be returning in the role, or perhaps only for Iron Man III, but not for ‘The Avengers’ movies. Hell, I don’t even know if Edward Norton plans to reprise his role as, ‘Hulk’. There have even been rumors of a new Spiderman series (sans Toby Maguire), to reintroduce the character (and the new actor that will play him) to the eventual ‘Avengers’ trilogy.

All in all I enjoyed Iron Man II…I did. But I did not walk out of the sequel with the same giddiness that I did after seeing Part 1. It seemed that Part II was just to set up another movie later on down the road and did not follow the usual formula for a trilogy. This would be establishing the character in Part 1, then allowing Part 2 to be more action-packed (sometimes with the ‘bad guys’ gaining the upper hand), only to have everything come together in a grand finale of resolution and kick-ass action to close out the series. As I said, it starts off great, only to lag in the middle —> 3/4 of the way through, to finally come together in a final battle that (I hate to say) was lacking, anticlimactic and more than a little disappointing. It did a better job of building anticipation for “The Avengers”, which may have been the point in the first place, since studios know that once they have established a popular character, they can ‘phone it in’ for the rest of the series (pls see: “Transformers 2″…fuck you Michael Bay).

Would I recommend seeing, Iron Man II? Sure. If you like the character and liked the first movie…well, you were going to see it anyway (present company included)…which kind of illustrates my previous point about ‘phoning it in’. Die-hard fans will be disappointed, but will still be at peace with parting with their movie-going-money. People who don’t care (aka: our girlfriends and wives), won’t know the difference.

Will I buy the movie on Blu-Ray when it comes out? Probably (*rolling eyes*), because I have part 1 and far be it for me to break up a set (another way the studio gets you).

Could I have waited to see it when it came out on DVD and decided to forgo the “theater experience”? Yup.

I give it a C+, maaaaaaybe a B-. But, I am a fan of the character and of Robert Downey Jr, so you might as well sign me up for Part 3 (fuck you studios).

Let’s just hope that I don’t make the same mistake that I did with Batman…sitting through MULTIPLE craptastic iterations (can anyone say, “Mr. Freeze” and “Bat Girl”?), before I finally gave up on the series and character…just before they finally got it right with Batman Returns and The Dark Knight.

Iron Man II: My nerd boner was not a raging specimen of Iron manhood, but occasionally it perked up in my pants…

Dana