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Massawyrm suits up for IRON MAN 2!

Hola all. Massawyrm here. If there’s one thing that can be said about Jon Favreau’s handling of the IRON MAN franchise, is that at the end of the day, he has made the superhero franchise that is the most fun. Nolan’s BATMAN films are the grittiest and possibly the most soul searching; Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN films are perhaps the most emotional of the bunch. But there isn’t a hero out there that comes close to having as good a time on screen as Tony Stark when Robert Downey Jr. suits up. And if you had told me this would be the case ten years ago, I never would have believed it. IRON MAN was always one of my favorites growing up. He was the anti-heroes anti-hero. While most of the anti-heroes of the 80’s were relatively chaste knights on a grim mission for justice outside of the law ™, Tony Stark was a public and proud superhero who drank heavily, partied incessantly and banged a different chick every other day of the week. He was the kind of guy who just didn’t give a fuck until the chips were down – at which point everything inside Tony Stark that really was Iron Man came out and gave it his heroic all. But above all, Stark was a Cold War hero. He was our intelligent missile, living at the top of the heap in the capitalist world while thumbing his nose at Mother Russia and the CCCPs bland lifestyle. Whenever the writers would hit a lull in the storyline, they would simply have some soviet bloc scientist make a new version of a supersuit that they believed was superior – but needed to be proven; so they would attack Iron Man to prove it. And Iron Man would whoop their commie ass. It was a great comic for the era. But how do you translate that to the screen? How do you take a comic steeped in cold war ideology, fixated upon a Vietnam war vet who becomes a philandering tycoon that rubs elbows with gods, monsters and superheroes and translate that into a viable franchise for a post-9/11 world? Favreau’s answer was to focus on the character, surrounding him with a terrific supporting cast whose primary objective is to wrangle Tony, while peppering the landscape with robots, power suits and plenty of explosive mayhem. He is played as the very antithesis of Batman: while Batman is the brooding hero pretending to be a rich socialite, Stark is the rich socialite moonlighting as a brooding hero. And Stark has better toys. Everything that Favreau built with the first film, he continues to build upon here, going so far as to once again tap into the most primal of Stark’s character traits – his wrestling with his own mortality. Once more, Stark finds himself dealing with the notion of everything coming to an end, sending him both into an emotional spiral, as well as inspiring him to leave something truly substantial behind. In other words, everything you loved about Tony Stark the first time around only gets better here. Downey Jr. returns in top form and refuses to phone in a single scene in. Opposite him is Mickey Rourke, who as part of his recent career resurrection has set out to insure each performance from this part of his life is better than the one before it. This is a Mickey you thought died in the 80’s. It is fearless, transformative acting in which the Rourke you are familiar with disappears behind Russian with the occasional stilted English. And despite his character being given a more passive role as a villain, he manages to own every single second he is on screen. Which brings me to the films one small problem. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the shit out of this movie. It is an explosive, incredibly fun character piece that lets us love our heroes the way we’re supposed to, only occasionally interrupted by loud, flashy and wonderfully orchestrated action set pieces. But this film does highlight Favreau’s one small flaw as a filmmaker: he likes his villains too much. There is a term in screenwriting called Saving the Cat - something Favreau does with Tony Stark repeatedly in both films. To put it simply, saving the cat is a little selfless moment that illustrates the goodness and moral center inside our hero. Despite the fact that Tony is a drunken letch who freely insults, demeans and sexually harasses those around him, we like him because at his core he is a really good guy with a heart of gold. And he shows that heart again and again. But good villains need the antithesis of that; they need a moment in which we see just how despicable they can be, so we, as an audience, enjoy watching them get the snot kicked out of them by the protagonist – in this case, Iron Man. But Favreau never really gives us those scenes. He loves his villains – casts incredible actors in their role and lets them have lots of fun chewing up the scenery. But because they never cross the line into true villainy – their beef is usually with Stark himself – we can only kind of enjoy their vanquishing. What I’m talking about doesn’t have to be as big as Grand Moff Tarkin’s ordering the destruction of Alderaan – it can be as beautifully succinct as The Joker’s pencil disappearing trick in THE DARK KNIGHT or Hans Gruber’s shooting Ellis to prove a point to John McClane in DIE HARD; it just has to be emotionally powerful enough for us to realize why this guy has to go down in the best way possible. And neither of the two antagonists in this film ever provide that moment, leaving a small void in the satisfaction at their eventual defeat. The first IRON MAN suffered from this as well. I get and love the notion of a nuanced villain that isn’t just black and white, but these films aren’t morally ambiguous stories; they’re good guy/bad guy. Tony Stark is a selfish man trying to be the good guy, and he deserves a despicable opponent equal in measure. That said, he gets points once again for casting two of the best actors in the business as his baddies, letting them be fleshed out, three dimensional antagonists; I just needed to hate them a smidge more in order to get the most out of the third act. And this fact sticks out because every other character moment in the film is perfect, up to and including the film’s centerpiece, a coffee shop scene between a hung over Iron Man and a pissed off Nick Fury. Pure. Fucking. Cinema. Gold. IRON MAN 2 is pretty much everything you’re looking for if you enjoyed the original. If you were hoping for DEMON IN A BOTTLE or a post-DARK KNIGHT take on Tony Stark, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Favreau zigged instead of zagged and turned in something that is the polar opposite of the new flavor of darkly-heroic filmmaking. It is instead fun, fluffy and delivers on a great time at the movies, without shortchanging the audience with stock or weak characters. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Until next time friends, Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • April 29, 2010, 9:25 a.m. CST


    by RogueScribner

  • April 29, 2010, 9:26 a.m. CST

    hit the button too soon

    by RogueScribner

    meant to say, cool, I can't wait to see it. Though I think I'll skip the first weekend because it's sure to be hella busy. ;)

  • April 29, 2010, 9:27 a.m. CST

    I Am Iron Man!


    No, actually I'm not.<br><br>Sigh.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:31 a.m. CST

    verry nice massa

    by mr. smith

    i am so going to enjoy this

  • April 29, 2010, 9:32 a.m. CST

    So, Did Massawyrm Like It


    Or did he want to have more cats killed? Because I can't tell.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:32 a.m. CST

    But Ellis deserved that bullet to the brain

    by LoopyDAVE76

    Seriously, that cokehead was a self-serving douchebag.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:33 a.m. CST

    I don't need mustache twirling villains

    by RogueScribner

    I like antagonists with believable motivations, even if they are a little extreme

  • April 29, 2010, 9:34 a.m. CST

    I hope this movie is as good as everyone says it is

    by Mr Incredible

    I need cheering up; I just read that Fox is going to remake COMMANDO. Yes, that COMMANDO.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:36 a.m. CST

    BTW, Nuanced Bad Guys


    Are fine. I don't enjoy it any more if they've done some great act of evil to let us know how bad they are. They don't have to be that bad. They just need to be defeated in the context of the story, and it can be quite enjoyable to have that happen. You root for your team to win in baseball, even if the opposite team isn't a bunch of babykillers.<br><br> I kind of like it. It's like a "whoops, too bad, I would been all on your side if you hadn't gone after Iron Man. Your mistake" kinda thing. Because how many brilliant guys who can make their own miniaturized arc arc reactors are gonna be pure evil?<br><br> In fact, I was a little disappointed in Iron Monger, because Jeff Bridges was so good at being a bad guy who kept his bad-guyness concealed. <br><br> Although, frankly, I thought the first Iron Man should have ended with Bridges getting Tony's arc reactor to the suit, only to find out the plugs were different and he couldn't use it.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:38 a.m. CST

    seeing it tonight

    by mr

  • April 29, 2010, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Rogue Scribner: Exactly


    I like the villains to be substantive, rather than uniformly evil. I love bad guys who initially seem super-evil, but then get a sympathetic treatment, and you realized how they got there. <br><br>And it just makes sense the bad guys have a beef with Tony, both logically and in terms of telling a story. Personal vendettas make for better, more character-driven stories.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Going to see it in 2.5 hours

    by V'Shael

    Really looking forward to it now.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:41 a.m. CST

    with the "post 9/11 world" you mean ...

    by ludmir88

    post 9/11 USA right? the world already was that convoluted Massa.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:43 a.m. CST

    Score any good?

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Cinematography? Editing?

  • April 29, 2010, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Joker's pencil moment in TDK...

    by umbral_shadow_

    I actually remember the audience whooping and cheering at that scene. Everyone loved Heath's Joker more than Bale's Batman.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Excellent review.

    by dr sauch


  • April 29, 2010, 9:56 a.m. CST

    Not released in US yet????

    by scumbag

    Jeez why do you guys even bother reviewing movies when you don't get them when we do? Your country is so behind. Stop wasting our time with your old news...blah, blah, quote, quote etc, etc...

  • April 29, 2010, 9:56 a.m. CST

    Spiderman = Emotional???

    by Drsambeckett1984

    Are you having a laugh??? <P> I may have been emotionally scarred after watching them (apart from 2), because they were terrible! Raimi butchered the character and forced a franchise to be rebooted.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:56 a.m. CST

    I get where Massawyrm is coming from


    I mean, how satisfying was it in Rambow IV when all those Burmese soldiers got annihilated? That said, I can't wait for this and Jeff Bridges still made for a fun and engaging villian in the first one.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:59 a.m. CST

    That should be 'Rambo IV'


    Not Rambow IV, unless there was a scene in Son of Rambow when the little kid kills a bunch of Burmese soldiers that I missed.

  • April 29, 2010, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Give me Iron Man over TDK anyday

    by Drsambeckett1984

    Its nice to have some fun every now and again at the cinema

  • April 29, 2010, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Hey Massawyrm

    by heyscot

    Great review. If you're still smoking cigarettes, please stop.

  • April 29, 2010, 10:10 a.m. CST

    The pencil trick made Ledger's Joker.

    by Chewtoy

    I honestly believe that if they had cut that tiny bit before release there would have been a significantly lower percentage of people praising the movie endlessly. Without that shocking moment as a baseline for everything else he does, the character would have been something of a prancing bore.

  • April 29, 2010, 10:14 a.m. CST

    How exactly was Obadiah Stane anything but a villain?

    by Snake Foreskin

    He manipulated Stark Industries into the ultimate war-mongering corporation, steeping Tony in the blood of countless victims throughout the years. Stane became rich and powerful without contributing anything beyond the desire to fill his own pockets with blood money made from the military industrial complex. He sold weapons to the American military and to America's enemies. Weapons which were used against America's own fighting men and women. And he is a cold-blooded betrayer, as evidenced by his willingness to have Tony bumped off in order to complete his takeover of Stark Industries. Not to mention the nonchalant way he went about killing his comrades-in-arms, and his ruthless pursuit of Iron Man through the streets of Los Angeles that showed a complete lack of interest in the well-being of innocent bystanders. Yet you call him nuanced? Why, because he brought Tony back a pizza? Silly man. I'm glad you recommend Iron Man 2, though. I really am looking forward to it!

  • April 29, 2010, 10:16 a.m. CST

    He was still a prancing bore. Most overrated performance...

    by Snake Foreskin

    in a long, long time. The new Batman movies frankly suck.

  • April 29, 2010, 10:18 a.m. CST

    No moment to hate the villain?

    by Russkov

    How about when he destroys all those cars during the Monaco race, causing chaos and more than likely killing several drivers?

  • April 29, 2010, 10:25 a.m. CST

    No such thing as total "Good" and "Evil".

    by grampageezer

    Massawyrm, Sorry, but I have to disagree. To see the antagonist depicted humanly for a change instead of the same ol' same ol' played out, totally despicable bad guy every movie feels the need to be the main plotline nowadays, is refreshing. In the real world no one is totally good or totally evil. As evil as Hitler was, he was considered a good guy to his friends, family and his country, whom believed he was doing right and that the ends justified his means. We believe our Presidents are good guys, but they are usually despised by the rest of the world and considered evil. On the same token, the purest hearted soul may seem evil to the guy he just accidentally cut off on the freeway. Or the bank may seem evil foreclosing on someone’s home, but is a hero to the person that just got the loan he or she wanted to purchase their first home. Evil and Good, like Beauty and Ugly, is in the eye of the beholder. Many of the so-called "villains" in the comic books started out as the baddie, but later became friends and allies with the hero, and some were even awarded their own series. Would we have accepted Silver Surfer or the Submariner if they were the textbook definition of evil? Even as misguided as Venom is, he believes he is the good guy. What I’m trying to say is, how can someone be considered totally evil, if they truly believe in their heart they are doing right? So what if Mickey Rourke’s character is likable, and has a little humanity, I’m all for it.

  • April 29, 2010, 10:25 a.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Like, from scratch. In soft lit slo-mo.

  • April 29, 2010, 10:29 a.m. CST

    joker puts the pencil in his butt

    by ominus

    thats the trick

  • April 29, 2010, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Character piece = no plot


    I am so sick of hearing about this movie.

  • April 29, 2010, 10:30 a.m. CST


    by Drsambeckett1984

    The only cinematic character I can think of that is truly evil, is Emperor Palpatine.

  • April 29, 2010, 10:40 a.m. CST

    To Ditko

    by brutal

    Ignore Ace of Wands wankerish comment... The joker asked the baddies if they wanted to see a magic trick (making the pencil disappear), so he took a pencil, jammed the end into a table and as a bad guy approached, he grabbed the back of the bad guys head, slammed it into the table, embedding the pencil into (didn't show it) eye socket, and says, "Ta Da!". And the baddies limp body falls to the floor... Brilliant moment.

  • April 29, 2010, 10:46 a.m. CST


    by grampageezer

    The Emperor wasn't 100% evil. Granted, he wanted to eliminate the Jedi, but to him, THEY were evil and misguided. Palpatine still wanted a peaceful Federation and like Julius Caeser or Napoleon, he believed the only way to achieve that was to have a single leader who could make immediate decisions instead of waiting around for politicians to argue about it.

  • April 29, 2010, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Palpatine had a heart of gold

    by umbral_shadow_

    Oh he was so cuddly and loveable and soooo misunderstood. Grampgeezer time for the medication buddy.

  • April 29, 2010, 11:01 a.m. CST


    by grampageezer

    Hey, even Jesus was considered evil to the money lenders in the temple. Palpatine may not have been a goody two-shoes, but in his mind and to his followers, he was doing what he considered right. As I said, just a matter of perspective.

  • April 29, 2010, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Gene_Eric? Shut Up.

    by Read and Shut Up

    ...TDK is a fine movie, but not a cinematic masterpiece. And if you're going to call the haters "moron" I'd suggest using the plural (unless you're describing hive mind or something - and you're too dumb for that). <p> <p>And if Ditko didn't remember the "magic trick," he didn't see the movie. That simple.

  • April 29, 2010, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Hey Gene_Eric...

    by quicksilver80

    Aren't you the guy pimping the Nike shoes by wholesale site? I don't know why I get that feeling after reading your post...

  • April 29, 2010, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Did anybody see the first pic from THOR?

    by Ripleys_nipples

    It's the Destroyer Armor. Just click the pic:

  • April 29, 2010, 11:10 a.m. CST


    by HoboCode

    That is all.

  • April 29, 2010, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Just seen it in the UK...

    by huskerdu2

    ...and it's pretty poor. If ever a film deserved the 'too many cooks...' description, Iron Man 2 is it. You could also say IM2 is a good avert for why actors shouldn't improv...but that's a discussion for another time. The main problem is that there's very little focus to the story and - by definition - the point of the film. Is it a set-up for the wider Marvel U on film? Is it Favreau and Downey continuing to explore the 'celebrity superhero' angle? Is it about Fathers and Sons? Well, it sort of flirts will all of them, but ends up being...well, about none of them. For my money, the biggest crime the film commits is to utterly waste both Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell. It's obvious that they were one character in earlier drafts of the script, but by splitting them in two you just get...well, neither one thing or another. And that's the film in a nutshell - it's neither fish nor fowl. It's not Spider-Man 3 bad, but it has moments that go pretty close (Disco dancing Iron Man? I mean, really?!?). Still there are some funny moments and lines in the movie (most relating to Gary Shandling's Seantor Stern), but really when the best thing about the film is a thrown away 'prick' joke you really know something went seriously wrong.

  • April 29, 2010, 11:14 a.m. CST

    grampageezer, Massa is saying...

    by Talkbacker with no name

    That bad guys need to do something in the movie to justify their deaths to him...well I think that's what he meant. Not once did he say he wanted them one to be one dimensional.

  • April 29, 2010, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Every writer on this site apologizes when they criticize a movie

    by EddieMurphysLaugh

    "..But I have one teeny tiny problem..DONT GET ME WRONG BIG STUDIO, I LOVE THE SHIT OUT OF YOUR MOVIE, buuuuuut I had one problem, sorry, don't revoke my set passes"

  • April 29, 2010, 11:16 a.m. CST

    Once again great review Massa.

    by willy_25

    I just hope they improved the score for this one. That was my only beef with the first one.

  • April 29, 2010, 11:32 a.m. CST

    Massa, Iron Man has always been his own villain

    by terry1978

    That's what the whole basis of his character has been...he's fought bad guys and shit, but over the last few decades in the books we've seen how he's had to struggle with all the fucked up choices he's made, and others have had to suffer for it, even when he tries to put it right.

  • April 29, 2010, 11:35 a.m. CST

    IRON MAN 2

    by Darth Scourge

    Just got back from seeing this movie. Great sequel. And a great after credits "stinger", too!

  • April 29, 2010, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Massa continues to be the best reviewer on AICN

    by ATARI

    and after seeing the "must see" recommendations of his, I agree with his reviews 9/10 times.

  • April 29, 2010, 11:47 a.m. CST

    massa, your reviews are the only ones I trust on this site

    by Cyan09

    but I'm going to have to disagree about the villains. I prefer my villains to be real people, not Saturday morning cartoons. The world isn't really divided into pure good and pure evil, and I like to see that reflected in films. I've yet to see this, so I could change my mind, but I have a feeling I'm going to like what they have done with the villains.

  • April 29, 2010, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Ace of Wands

    by brutal

    I do share your disbelief that someone who was watching 'The Dark Knight' could forget about the pencil scene... Perhaps missed during potty break/chip run?

  • April 29, 2010, 11:49 a.m. CST

    It was just as good as the first one!

    by Professor_Bedlam

  • April 29, 2010, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Massa lays it down.

    by UltimaRex

    Whiplash needed a little more evil and should not have gone down so easily. Still, good movie.

  • April 29, 2010, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Ace of Wands: Try and understand...

    by Chewtoy

    "it was written for exactly the fucking purpose you suggest"... Yes. That's why I suggested it... *It's my fucking point*. The pencil trick is the one genius moment that the entire character rests on, and without it the villain wouldn't be particularly interesting. It isn't at all "Romeo meeting Juliet", which is plot, it's far more subtle than that. It's pure, 100% distilled character moment, frighteningly random, horrifying, and admittedly pretty damn funny all at once... exactly what the Joker needs to be. It elevates the character, and adds exponentially to all of the rather routine villainy that follows. It's the kind of moment that Massawyrm is talking about, that he is complaining is missing from Iron Man's villains.<br><br> It's great that you apparently love the Dark Knight to the extent that you must if you're going to be that reactionary to discussion of it, but you're coming off as kind of retarded while doing it.

  • April 29, 2010, 12:07 p.m. CST

    What Joker pencil scene?

    by HapaPapa72

    Just kidding. Yeah, whooping and hollering at that scene. Hell, when Heath's make-up(excuse me)- warpaint covered face was revealed the first time in the bank, the person next to me threw both hands up with the rocker/web-shooting hand gesture and a satisfied, "yessss!!!" And the fanaticism was born. As for the bad guys who turn out to be sympathetic, Hans Gruber didn't, did he? But we loved him just because his character was so perfectly fleshed out with subtleties, quirks, humor, everything. And the Joker- how hard is it to have an anarchic character who's ker-AYYYZEE and have tweens and forty-somethings alike root for him instead of a growling Bale? With the Iron Man movies, I kinda like the fact that I don't wanna be Obadiah. I don't wanna be Whiplash or Rockwell. You watch Iron Man, hell, never mind Iron Man, who wouldn't wanna be Tony Stark for a day? Gaping hole with the arc reactor plugged in it aside.

  • April 29, 2010, 12:16 p.m. CST

    massa does the movie

    by phoenixmagida5th

    Still include the moment in the novel where fury bitch slaps tony stark? If so how could you possibly call that cinema gold? Its cinema cringe. Also I agree with u I like my villians evil not sympathetic but apprantley lots do so how can you talkbacksers say you hate how the prequels made darth vader a sympathetic villian?????

  • April 29, 2010, 12:20 p.m. CST

    phoenixmagida5th: The problem with Anakin/Vader

    by Chewtoy

    A good sympathetic villain still has to be cool... he can't just be a whiny annoying bitch.

  • April 29, 2010, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Dark and brooding, schmark and brooding.

    by HapaPapa72

    "I KNOW why they call him the Joker." "Ohhh, criminals in this town used ta believe in things."- didn't he just get one in the leg? Why all contorted, delivering his big line to the floor of Gotham national Bank or whatever? "You don't wanna die, but you don't know how to take a life... take my hand, boss...(okay, not that one.)" Anything uttered by Eric Roberts. I thought he was gonna have a Tommy Gun in a violin case at one point. "What gives you the right. What's the difference between you and me?" And the winner is: "Things are worse than EV-AR!!!!" And Chewtoy, right on the money. When he was just young calculating anarchist with daddy issues and a little grease-paint, not so scary. The scene where I thought it was 100% Joker was near the end when he's absolutely wailing on Batman with a crowbar. THAT'S the Joker from the comics. That's the one that killed Robin, thankfully. Bring it on, zealots.

  • April 29, 2010, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Way better than Spiderpants

    by football

    Just got back from seeing Iron Man 2. It does sag a tad in the middle but as soon as Tony Stark figures out a way to make himself better, we're given a full adrenaline rush of action to the final climax. I also loved Scarlett Johansson doing a bit of Hit Girl killing (without the swearing and gore)as she tracks down Ivan Vanko. Worth watching on the big screen just to experience the sheer spectacle of the flying scenes... and er, Scarlett's gorgeous figure. There's also good chemistry between Paltrow and Downey Jr, with Sam Rockwell playing a slimeball rival to Stark. <p> Stay after the long end credits and see a sneak peak of Thor's excavated hammer!

  • April 29, 2010, 12:35 p.m. CST

    I don't know

    by Rob0729

    I always thought Ed Harris' General Hummel character from "The Rock" was a great villian and he never crossed the line into true villianry. It pained him when he killed the Seals in the shower. He couldn't go through with actually launching a missle into the heart of San Francisco.<br><br> Actually what made him such a great villian was that he did evil because of his incredibly strong sense of honor and loyalty. His greatest characteristics were so strong that he was willing to do things that disgusted him to right a wrong in the government. And he struggled with those decisions while doing it.

  • April 29, 2010, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Massa - I've always hated you

    by Fish Tank

    for the glowing reviews you gave those piece of sh!t Hostel movies (pointless, disgusting, morally devoid and again pointless - if you want REAL emotionally impactful gore watch Requiem For A Dream).<br> <br> Hypocritically I've stated I'd never read another review BUT here I am saying you've grown into quite the reviewer. I don't know if it's age or introspective or whatever, but I've been digging your stuff lately. Level-headed, thoughtful, insightful with no gushing hyperbole. <br> <br> Your arguments either against, or for, are for the most part defensible and it seems like you're not the same person - more art school film master than geeky fan boy (that's a good thing).<br> <br> You've grown son, and I enjoy reading your posts (as I did Drew's). I'll still bash you for liking Hostel and its gore-porn "horror", but felt I should at least give credit where it's deserved. <br> <br> Hope you read this.

  • April 29, 2010, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Also, did the Joker need a moment to prove he was evil?

    by Rob0729

    I loved the pencil scene, but the Joker never really showed another side other than evil. From the opening sequence to the end, he showed a reckless disregard for human life and property.<br><br>Hans Gruber needed moments like that because he was very gentlemanly and courteous to Holly throughout the movie. He needed a momement here and there that showed that deep down inside he was pure evil. The Joker, on the other hand, showed that all movie.

  • April 29, 2010, 12:46 p.m. CST

    The thing about the pencil trick...

    by j_ky2002

    is not only did it occur from out of no where, but it made the next issue,Joker having the grenades in his coat and his thumb in the rings, into a true "Oh crap" moment, as the guy was just crazy enough to pull the pins...

  • April 29, 2010, 12:50 p.m. CST

    drsambeckett: uh, no. fail.

    by mrgray

    Sony had every intention of rebooting after their 4th outing with Raimi. It had nothing to do with Raimi's ability as a director nor the direction he took the character. It had everything to do with Sony wanting to appeal to the high school set with a younger protagonist.

  • April 29, 2010, 12:55 p.m. CST

    fail aside, sam, I agree re: iron man vs tdk

    by mrgray

  • April 29, 2010, 1:04 p.m. CST

    I don't think the Joker needed to prove he was evil...

    by Chewtoy

    But as j_ky2002 alludes to, it is the moment that makes him scary. It's that warning to the audience to not let their guard down, much like how the one Agent Starling receives prior to meeting Hannibal Lector loaded all of his scenes with tension. People have a very visceral reaction to eye stabbings, and it took a mainstream audience out of their comfort zone instantly. So even though he was totally evil throughout, no question, the audience's desire to remove the threat he represented is well established by that moment, letting them be relieved when he's finally caught.

  • April 29, 2010, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Massa, no word on ScarJo's ass?

    by HoboCode

    What's the deal?

  • April 29, 2010, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Obadiah Stane *DID* have that moment

    by Animation

    Massa says that there wasn't that special moment for Iron Monger that made you really want to take him down. I totally disagree. When you realize he had sold out everyone and Stark was kidnapped and all those soldiers were killed on his orders, that was pretty powerful for me. For Stane it was just a business decision. If throwing away lives for money and power doesn't motivate you to hate him, and on a personal level, what will?

  • April 29, 2010, 1:22 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Massa...

    by nerdator

    for the excellent review. I put more stock in your reviews than anyone else on the site. I see where you're coming from about the villains, but I also feel that moments like that (where a villain offs a throwaway character for no other reason than to establish the extent of their badassery) are kind of cliched at this point. Granted, in TDK, Ledger's Joker needed that "magic" moment to establish his gravitas (partly because nobody believed Ledger was going to play the Joker as well as he did, and partly because his Joker would've been far less spectacular without it). Mickey Rourke, on the other hand doesn't have to do much of anything to establish his badassery but show up and glower. He's just that good. And Rockwell's Justin Hammer isn't as much a villain as a petty rivalry, so a moment like that would have been unnecessary for him as well IMHO. Anyway- keep up the good work!

  • April 29, 2010, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Johnny Ringo from Tombstone.

    by tj donkey show

    He seemed to of had no motivation other than just being Evil. You could feel the hatred and malice simmering just under the surface. I thought he was really scary.

  • April 29, 2010, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Villians and motives...Stark and his villians.

    by Sithtastic

    Someone here already hit the nail on the head: Tony Stark has always to some extent been his own worst enemy. He's a man who works for an industry dogged by all sorts of underhanded and ethically questionable dealings, on a personal level he semons ranging from his both his addictions and his monsterous ego. By all rights, Tony Stark has all the makings of a comic book villian (particularly lately as comics seem to delight in casting industrialists as manipulating master villians bent only on profit). By contrast, the villians in this sequel, Whiplash and Justin Hammer are only interested in revenge--some of it but not all of it self serving. Basically, what makes Stark a hero is his sheer capacity not only for almost stealth self-examination, but the ability to overcome the obstacles his own hubris has errected over the decades.

  • April 29, 2010, 1:26 p.m. CST

    The Joker-Pencil wasn't a "Shoot the Dog" moment

    by RandySavage

    It was a great scene and it made the audience realize the violence the Joker was capable of, but it didn't make the audience hate the Joker and want to seem him go down because he was offing another gangster. <P> A real Shoot-the-Dog moment involves cruelty & malice that we the audience are shocked by, like when Jason Isaacs shoots the 13-year-old son of Mel Gibson in the Patriot, or Longshanks orders "Primae Nocte."

  • April 29, 2010, 1:30 p.m. CST


    by huskerdu2

    The Dark Knight is by no means without its flaws, but at least it's a movie that has a point to it (aside from it's primary reason for existing - to sell a shed-load of tickets!). In TDK all the narrative strands dovetail and pivot around that. In contrast, IM 2 lacks any sort of focus. Arguably, IM2 is actually much stronger when Sam Jackson's Nick Fury appears on the scene starts to weave the whole SHIELD/Avengers web. It's in those scenes opposite Jackson that RDJ tones down his act - mainly 'cos he's opposite an actor of equal charisma, charm and smarts - and the film is all the better for it. I also can't help but feel that 'outing' Stark as Iron Man at the end of IM1 was a mistake as having him be celebrity superhero removes any tension from proceedings.

  • April 29, 2010, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Truly evil is Emperor Palpatine.

    by cookylamoo

    Yeah, but Palpy was right. The old republic was fucked.

  • April 29, 2010, 1:53 p.m. CST

    My favorite "shoot the dog" moment.

    by cookylamoo

    King Kong reaches in the wrong window, grabs the wrong girl, and then just flings her into space.

  • April 29, 2010, 2:09 p.m. CST

    O-Dog from Menace II Society

    by tj donkey show

    He was plain Evil. All the terrible things the character committed were to facilitate more evil actions.

  • April 29, 2010, 2:21 p.m. CST

    hahahah Massa nailed the problem with Fatrow

    by Series7

    Dude can't make a good villian he's too nice.

  • April 29, 2010, 3:17 p.m. CST

    To correct myself it's "Kick the Dog" not Shoot

    by RandySavage

    Any time you feel yourself cheering when a villain goes down, think about what made you dislike him in the first place... that is typically their kick-the-dog moment. <P> For example, at the end of 'Batman Begins' when Rutger Hauer is replaced by Morgan Freeman as CEO, we go back to his kick-the-dog moment: when he says to Freeman in his smarmy way, "I'm merging your division with archives and I'm firing you. Didn't you get the memo?" <P> Another of my favorites was Gary Oldman in The Professional. As cool as he was, when he gets blown up, you feel good. <P> Think of the all great movie antagonists that you really hated (rather than ended up liking more than the protagonist, i.e. Darth Vader) and what they did to make you despise them.

  • April 29, 2010, 3:24 p.m. CST

    More More More

    by Sparksy

    Is what it looks like, but I just can't help it. I am into it.

  • April 29, 2010, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Just got back from seeing it.

    by V'Shael

    It's not so much a sequel, as a continuation of the same movie. I'd rate it a shade less than the original, but honestly, in my heart of hearts, they're the same movie in 2 parts.

  • April 29, 2010, 3:28 p.m. CST

    "Shoot the Dog" is better.

    by cookylamoo

  • April 29, 2010, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Stane in the first movie shows his true colors

    by JT Kirk

    when he kills his allies to cover up his complicity in the kidnapping of Tony Stark. And even before he kills his Ten Rings contractors, Stane unveils to Tony that he was the one who had manipulated Stark Industries to go against Tony's wishes. Stane is also shown to be selling weapons to terrorists. How can you miss stuff like that? It's mainly shown to the audience just so we know what those teeth behind his smiles are really about.

  • April 29, 2010, 3:50 p.m. CST

    Hmm how to subtley spoil the after-credits scene

    by Lone Fox

    If you take the surname of one of the bad guys... which is a hero's weapon... Eh? See what I did there? You also see another Avengers weapon in the middle of the film. So yeah, just got back from a preview in London, lots of fun, Massa's review is pretty spot-on.

  • April 29, 2010, 3:52 p.m. CST

    @Lenny8 : Spoiler for the Epilog.

    by V'Shael

    It's the New Mexico desert. Car comes along. Focus on license plate. Agent gets out of car. Calls cell phone. We see what he's looking at. It's a giant crater, that looks dug out, not an impact crater. We hear the agent say "Sir? We've found him." <p> Then the camera shows Thors hammer on the ground. Cut to black then the Marvel logo.

  • April 29, 2010, 3:58 p.m. CST

    EXXU-SPEN-DIBURROW is the next...

    by NADO

    Favreau is having a beer and cheating on his wife.. Or something like that...

  • April 29, 2010, 4:26 p.m. CST

    O-dog was Violently crazy

    by Phategod2

    but he lived for his friend.

  • April 29, 2010, 4:35 p.m. CST

    It's like when Captain Queeg starts his strawberry investigation

    by cookylamoo

    And you go "uh oh"!

  • April 29, 2010, 4:51 p.m. CST

    I saw MJØLNIR!!!!!!!! OH MY GODS HAMMER!!!!

    by theDannerDaliel

  • April 29, 2010, 5:30 p.m. CST

    AICN reviewers

    by Star Hump

    There are 4 that are pretty good. You have Massawyrm, Capone, Quint and Mr. Beaks. They all write well and we often get interviews out of them too. I just take in what these 4 guys publish and disregard the other writers.

  • April 29, 2010, 5:48 p.m. CST

    Still not jazzed up for IM2

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    Basically, what I keep hearing is "just like the first one, only (better/not as good)" and "like a continuation of the first movie." Isn't that pretty much what everybody said about "Quantum of Solace?" And look how that turned out. Please, somebody enlighten me if I'm wrong, but it just sounds like an unnecessary victory lap/promotion for the Avengers movie.

  • April 29, 2010, 5:49 p.m. CST

    And BTW, I loved the first IM movie,

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    I just don't want sloppy seconds. I want to be surprised.

  • April 29, 2010, 6:13 p.m. CST

    If you loved the first Iron Man...

    by huskerdu2

    ...I'm guessing you'll PROBABLY really enjoy this one. Personally, I found the first movie very 'take it or leave it'. And I wouldn't say the Bond analogy fits, apart from the fact Iron Man 2 resembles a mid-70's Roger Moore Bond flick ...just with Mickey Rourke playing Jaws.

  • April 29, 2010, 6:45 p.m. CST

    I guess you missed Whiplash killing..

    by Nocturama

    ..a couple of people at Monaco. They *could* be alive, but no.. dead to me. Burned.

  • April 29, 2010, 7:01 p.m. CST


    by Caerdwyn

    I'll argue that Stane had his "killing the cat" moment. When he paralyzed Tony, took his chestpiece and left him to die, that was enough for me. Granted it was a little too 'camp villain' ... he could have just killed Tony rather than give him even a small chance to survive... but it worked.

  • April 29, 2010, 8:15 p.m. CST

    Palpatine is absolutely 100% Evil

    by JRcanReid

    All that business about wanting an orderly society is just his public face so people will go along with his shenanigans. His only motivation is amassing unlimited power for himself. And he'll kill billions to do it. Pure Evil. Doesn't have a single empathetic cell in his body. (and yes, he was right about the Republic)

  • April 29, 2010, 8:32 p.m. CST

    Nice review with no SPOILERS

    by Droogie Alex

    unlike Harry. He insists on giving thing away with no warning.

  • April 29, 2010, 8:39 p.m. CST


    by Crosshair386

    I'm glade the summer movies will start out with a bang. Unlike last year's Wolverine.

  • April 29, 2010, 8:52 p.m. CST

    Great Review

    by Phategod2

    I think this is one of your best and I must admit its way better then the spoilerific Kick-Ass review as well as Harry's Spoiler-gushing review.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:09 p.m. CST

    Heartened by the love for nuanced villains

    by eman1111

    Makes me feel good to see so many of you enjoy a villain who isn't over the top crazy or evil. Bridges did a great job of slowly unveiling his dark side and in my book that makes him a much more belivable and interesting villain. And although I really liked M's review I disagree that Bridges didn't have a really evil moment becuase when he paralyzes Tony and coldly steals the arc reactor from Tony's chest that is pretty horrible and would give Tony plenty of motivation to whoop his ass, also as a viewer I wanted Tony to take Stane down for all the terrible things he did.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:18 p.m. CST

    I'm sick of TDK fans pulling the focus from IM

    by eman1111

    What is with you over the top idiots who feel the need to talk TDK on every IM talkback. Are you too stupid to realize this is an IM talkback or is it the fact that you have only obtained a 3rd grade reading level because the majority of your limited education has come from watching animated Batman DVD's so you don't understand the words Iron Man. If you don't want to talk IM then don't post on IM talkbacks you frigging morons. Pull your collective heads out of your ignorant asses and go somewhere else.

  • April 30, 2010, 12:53 a.m. CST

    massawyrm you SUCK

    by afterhourss

    cut out the high-flying film scholar bullshit tone you acquire 'cause you don't know your ass from your elbow. you're fucking trash and you write trash. fucking republican scum. stark wasn't a 'vietnam VET' you fucking moron. and iron man ain't a 'brooding' superhero either. you can't write. so don't try to be a writer, be what you are: some asshole who likes to rap about movies. do it like quint who's aware of his limitations. dont aspire to be moriarty or beaks fuckhead.

  • April 30, 2010, 2:58 a.m. CST

    @the dolphins are in the jacuzzi - There's no way you can

    by V'Shael

    compare Iron Man 2 to Quantum of Solace. No fucking way.<br /><br />The Quantum of Solace may have been like an extra 60 minutes of Casino Royale, but it probably shouldn't have been. That movie was like someone had taken all the action scenes out of a longer better movie, and strung them all together haphazardly.<br /><br />Iron Man 2 is a good sequel, because it takes the right elements we enjoyed from the first movie, and extends them logically yet in some ways unexpectedly in the second movie. That's how it feels like a continuation of the first movie. There's a logical progression to the story arcs and to the character arcs.<br /><br />At the risk of some minor spoilers, I'll tell you the only flaws I found in it (after one viewing). <br /><br />1) The Captain America shield cameo is dumb. Very very dumb. There's no way that shield is adamantium.<br /><br />2) There's a scene (it's in the trailers) where Rhodey and Tony (in suits) are surrounded by other suits. They kind of drop into the frame singly, and surround them. Well, you can't tell from the trailer, but those are not manned suits. They are drones. And 30 seconds before that, they were all flying through the air, at speed, firing missiles and bullets and what not, trying to kill our heroes. There is NO logical reason why Drones would stop attacking the targets, and drop into a surround-formation, and wait for the heroes to strike a heroic pose etc... Human beings, I could understand. In that weird asian martial arts thing, where they only attack the hero one at a time or something. But drones? No. It's dumb and takes you out of the story with it's dumbness.<br /><br />3) Some of the "physics" in the movie is basically computer game physics, which is distracting if you notice that sort of thing.<br /><br />4) Some of the green screen work at the Monaco scene was pretty poor.<br /><br />5) In the very final battle, they have a mapping technique used to put heads on CGI bodies. It doesn't work half as well as they seem to think. Reminds me of the Clash of the Titans 3D where elements which should have been in the same plane, wind up looking very far apart.<br /><br />The positives - Black Widow is in the movie and is very good in it. Nick Fury is in the movie briefly, but is good in it. Pepper Potts is in it, and, well, she's not as annoying as she could have been. "Happy" provides one or two of the funniest moments in the movie for me. RDJ is great, Gary Shandling is great, hell even Bill O'Reilly is great. There's a nice Stan Lee cameo, and Larry Ellison of Oracle makes a brief appearance. Rhodey is better in this movie too. And the epilog was very nice.

  • April 30, 2010, 6 a.m. CST

    Hans shooting Ellis?

    by JackPumpkinhead

    Did you mean Takagi? Shooting Ellis is one of many reasons why a viewer of "Die Hard" should applaud Hans.

  • April 30, 2010, 9:05 a.m. CST

    'Iron Man 2' Has 'About Half An Hour' Of Deleted Scenes

    by theDannerDaliel

    Jon Favreau Says..... also first pic of Thor Villain The Destroyer : And THOR HIMSELF!!! :

  • April 30, 2010, 9:18 a.m. CST

    There is a pic of Thor in costume

    by SpawnofAchilles

    over at Joblo.

  • April 30, 2010, 10:44 a.m. CST

    As usual Massawyrm..

    by RedGobbbo

    doesnt know what the fuck he's talking about. "anti-heroes anti-hero" What comic were you reading?

  • April 30, 2010, 10:56 a.m. CST

    You want great villainy?

    by DrewMcWeenyOwnsYouAll

    Gary Oldman in Air Force One. Absolutely fantastic bad guy.

  • April 30, 2010, 11:54 a.m. CST

    Just got out of this in Taiwan (IMAX). This movie takes the firs

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    and jacks up everything to 11. <p> Unfortunately that includes a somewhat anti-climactic ending. </p> <p> And while I thought the first big Rhodes and Tony scene was cool, I didn't think they gave Don Cheadle enough interesting lines. His part just seemed kind of rote to me. </p> <p> On the other hand, Mickey and Scarlett's parts were really really well set up. Scarlett's definitely went places I wasn't sure it was going to go. </p> <p> So overall, it was awesome and totally worth seeing. Worth seeing again and again. I just wish the ending was a little grander. I don't want to get into specifics, since it's so early, so all I'll say is grander for specific characters, not necessarily visually. </p>

  • April 30, 2010, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Nice review, thanks

    by drfinkelstein

    Conveys the feel without giving away the details. And excellent observations on how to paint a hero or villain in the limited time a movie offers. I'm looking forward to this one! I loved the first Iron Man. I like the darker superhero stuff too, but Iron Man was pure comic book brought to us with more polish and better actors than the genre usually gets to work with. Downey Jr. and Paltrow in particular.

  • May 5, 2010, 1:29 p.m. CST

    I disagree about the Joker's pencil trick...

    by kedrell

    ...being a kill the cat moment, but you're right about Gruber killing Takagi in Die Hard being one(a great example in fact). In TDK, the kill the cat moment rather was when the Joker killed the Batman wannabe in the video. That's where he went from cool & interesting to scary.