Thursday, May 06, 2010

A movie & dinner: Iron Man 2

I don't do many of these previews; since I work in Waltham and most of these take place at Boston Common; it takes me an hour and four bucks to get there on the T, and you're not guaranteed a seat. Tuesday was potentially a case in point; I met my brother Matt and his fiancée Morgan there at about 6pm (for a 7pm show), and they were the only ones in the line; the ushers had already let the bulk of the group up. So we settle in to wait for them to see how many of the seats reserved for the press will be unused and given to us.

Fortunately, being at the front of the line, we not only had a pretty good chance to get in, but we had a front row seat to a near-constant stream of people with the same passes we had (the type that don't guarantee seating) walking past the line, trying to get in, and seeming shocked that they had to go to the end of the clearly labeled line. Lots of "but I've got a pass", and a truly improbable amount of "my friend is already upstairs".

It's a weird progression. At first, you're ticked off and angry; who do these jerks think they are? But soon, the futility just becomes sort of hilarious; they're coming in one after another, some really should have seen the last person get shot down and just gone to the end of the line, because time spent trying to get past an impassive usher is time when other people are getting in line before them, and potentially being the ones who get in while they go home.

Being at the front of the line, we got in when they were done counting press, in decent seats even. For a radio-station screening, it was pretty well-behaved, although the guy next to me brought out his iPhone a few times. Naturally, he bailed as soon as the credits started, and missed the post-credits tease of ---- (a character I'm never had a huge amount of interest in, and Matt doesn't read comics much at all, but somehow we both wound up excited at the last shot).

Afterward, we bounced from place to place, looking for somewhere still open that I had a coupon for. We eventually wound up at Kitty O'Shea's. The food was pretty decent - good potato skins followed by a very nice Black Pastrami sandwich.

And now, back to writing up IFFBoston reviews...

Iron Man 2

* * * (out of four)
Seen 4 May 2010 at AMC Boston Common #14 (preview screening)

It's amazing what Marvel managed with the first Iron Man movie a couple years ago. It may be hard to remember, but back in 2007, Tony Stark was almost completely unknown outside of comic book shops, and Robert Downey Jr. was seen as a risk even by the folks who thought he was perfect for the role. Marvel opted to produce the film themselves, entering a distribution deal with Paramount rather than selling the rights. And then, in the closing credits, they revealed that they were planning something a little bigger than a superhero franchise.

It's easy to see Iron Man 2 as a little disappointing when compared to its predecessor, not because it's notably lower in quality (it isn't, really), but because it lacks the feeling that we're seeing something new and surprising. Instead, director Jon Favreau and screenwriter Justin Theroux have done what sequels have traditionally done - made a list of what people liked in the first one and delivered more of that, without making the repetition too obvious. That they do all right is commendable; that's harder than it looks when all you're talking about is surface elements, and almost impossible when one of the items on the list is "discovering something new".

Iron Man 2 starts six months after Tony Stark (Downey) ignored the advice recommendations of SHIELD and announced to the world that he was Iron Man, and in that time a lot of people have been busy. Stark has been intervening in trouble spots around the world; rival defense contractor Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) has been trying to duplicate Iron Man technology (as have rival nations); and a Russian physicist Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) with a grudge against Tony's late father has actually managed to duplicate the suit's power source. And while Tony Stark outwardly seems like the same arrogant man-child he started out as, what he hasn't told anybody - not newly-promoted CEO Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), best friend Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle), or new assistant Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) - is that the toxic palladium that both powers the Iron Man armor and keeps his heart beating has been seeping into his bloodstream, and is rapidly poisoning him.

Full review at EFC.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Nice description... waiting to check it out this weekend!