Iron Man 2 Review

Every pop culture aficionado knows that comic book adaptations rarely make good sequels. Both Spider-Man 2 and Superman II dealt with heroes examining their costumed roles and giving up crime fighting and the genre seems filled with blander efforts when a “2” is stamped on the title. Really, sequels should be far superior; with the origin out of the way there’s more possibilities for greater action and drama. The Empire Strikes Back and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Now, that’s how you make a sequel.

Okay then, so where does Iron Man 2 go wrong? Needless to say, SPOILERS AHOY!

Firstly, the film starts with Tony Stark’s voice-over from the last few minutes of 2008’s predecessor and then immediately stumbles with a lengthy scene in which Tony is being questioned by  a parliamentary committee who see his Iron Man armour as a weapon dangerous to national security. This is fine, and Downey Jr. as always is charm in a sharp suit, but to begin the year’s most anticipated film like an episode of any dull courtroom TV show is  a huge mistake. It goes on far too long, there’s no introduction of the character and his world for those who missed the first film and it’s followed by an even more boring scene. Yep, Mickey Rourke in tattoos and shadows building his own dirty suit. We saw Tony do the very same thing in a cave in the first film, but the low-tech vs hi-tech approach is never realised. One could assume that this seen-it-before intro of the villain would be expanded on later, but I’m afraid not. It could’ve been an awesome chance to show the differences between golden boy Stark and his privileged upbringing with Rourke, playing Ivan Vanko (a combo of comics’ baddies Whiplash and Crimson Dynamo) but again such heights are not only never reached, but also avoided. All we know is that Vanko’s Dad helped Stark’s Dad decades ago and never got the credit, so now Vanko goes on a Stark-centred rampage. Again, Rourke play him well and looks like a combination of an Oz character who fell into the wardrobe from Pirates of the Caribbean, but as is the problem with superhero films sometimes – another villain gets in the way. Justin Hammer is a jealous Stark rival and equips Vanko with what he needs (including a parrot) to pull Stark down a peg or two. Sam Rockwell layers Hammer with the same bravado that Stark has, but with less self-confidence and greedier motivations.

Any scene between Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts is sparkling and director Jon Favreau fulfills his beefier role as driver happy Hogan with gusto. There aren’t constant references to next year’s Captain America film, and 2012’s The Avengers, but fanboys and girls know them when they see them. There’s a handy list of easter eggs in the film here. I knew references to events in New Mexico were related to Thor’s hammer landing there (wait for that scene after the end credits, like the Nick Fury cameo in film one). I know many would’ve been like me and expecting Cap’s shield to be in the box Tony receives from S.H.I.E.L.D director Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and we do see a possible prototype of it.

It’s great to see War Machine and Black Widow, but strangely those characters aren’t even referred to by those names. The action is fine, the SFX are great but what’s really annoying is the missed opportunities. If they dropped Hammer and focused on Vanko and Stark’s relationships with their respective fathers, and did more with Tony’s drunkeness and poisoning from the arc reactor in his chest the drama would’ve been more intriguing. Tony’s slow death, until a rescue by Fury, should’ve been at the heart of the film, but it was bypassed to show more drone designs.

It’s not a bad film, but sadly not as good as 2008’s surprise hit. Half the people in my cinema stayed until after the closing credits and there were many excited whispers as to Mjolnir’s owner, so that’s a good thing. Creating the first movie universe will at least hint at what’s going on in today’s comics. On that note, if you want a good Iron Man fix this week, grab Invincible Iron Man #25 by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca. It’s a double sized issue and features movie-friendly concepts such as Pepper Potts as C.E.O of Stark’s company, Hammer’s relatives, military drama and a hulking suit variant known as Detroit Steel.

New Iron Man 2 Pics

In just over 2 weeks Iron Man 2 hits cinema screens. Oh yeah! Marvel have released some new pics, and you can see the entire gallery right here. Below are a few of the new pics, including Nick Fury, Justin Hammer and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and of course Robert Downey Jr. doing his thing.

Smell Like Stark, Look Like Osborn

Fragrance manufacturer Diesel has put out  a new men’s cologne, with their Only The Brave bottle now covered in red and gold. Fittingly so, as the fragrance is tying into May’s Iron Man 2. Fair enough, as all manner of products are getting in on the marketing ploy. The scent consists of, “top notes of lemon blossom, mandarin and coriander leaves,” and a bunch of other stuff. It’s been noted that an Iron Man fragrance consisting of mandarin is rather ironic, as Mandarin is one of his earliest foes. What’s more interesting, and rather surprising (and frustrating) is that the box’s artwork shows Iron Patriot, NOT Iron Man. What?! Usually Marvel licensing don’t drop the ball on stuff like this, but considering Tony Stark’s armoured alter ego is Marvel’s current golden boy and cinematic cash cow, this opportunity for further brand recognition is quite the missed opportunity.

For those not in the know, Iron Patriot is classic Spider-Man foe Norman Osborn (Green Goblin) who stole one of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suits, and had it rebranded with a Captain America colour scheme, when he formed his own Dark Avengers. In fact the interior pages on the box don’t even look like they’re from an Iron Man comic at all. Do the Diesel people not even know what he looks like?

The Losers and Iron Man 2 Posters

Based on the Andy Diggle and Jock Vertigo series, The Losers opens April 23. Iron Man 2 opens May 7. Below are new posters for both films, and it appears as though Black Widow has a S.H.I.E.L.D logo on her arm, indicating a beefier presence for the shadowy organisation in the sequel. Good news.

AC/DC Iron Man 2 Soundtrack Competition

I actually heard AC/DC during their sound check at my office a few weeks ago. It was…loud. Anyway, the Aussie rockers are hooking up with Ol’ Shellhead’s cinematic adventures once more for May 7’s sequel, Iron Man 2. If you’re a fan of the band or Tony Stark check out the official soundtrack Twitter page or become a friend on Facebook. There’s also a great competition running in which you can get your mits on some sweet goodies. Go here to fill out a quick form and register for the comp, and you may just win some of the goodies shown below!

The first prize in the competition is the full AC/DC back catalogue, a working Backtracks amplifier box set and the Iron Man 2 collector’s edition as well as tickets to an Iron Man 2 screening.

AC/DC Backtracks – The Ultimate AC/DC Box Set
Contents: Five discs of rare AC/DC in one brand new, never-before-released collection:
1CD of Studio rarities
2 CDs of Live rarities
2DVDs: Family Jewels Disc 3 + bonus videos & Live at Circus Krone in Munich,
180g LP of Studio rarities
164 page 12”x12” hard-back scrapbook-style book
Loads of collector’s items
and all contained in a working guitar amp !

AC/DC Iron Man 2: Collector’s Edition

Contents: CD/DVD inc 15 classic AC/DC songs plus over an hour of videos including the brand new video for ‘Shoot to Thrill’. Also includes an exclusive, limited edition Iron Man comic book reprint with a custom, variant cover by Adi Granov, AC/DC stickers, poster and 32 page booklet.

Second Iron Man 2 Trailer

Opening on May 7 is this hotly anticipated superhero sequel. The cast and crew have loaded up the film with even more fanboy treats than the original by the looks of things. Apart from War Machine, Whiplash, et al, there’s also what looks like a bunch of Crimson Dynamos and the classic armour-in-a-suitcase from the comics years ago. Awesomeness is only weeks away.

AC/DC and Iron Man 2 Team Up

I’ve never been a huge fan of AC/DC, but director Jon Favreau’s decision to use their Back in Black song on the first film 2 years ago set helped establish the bold playful mood, and distinguish it from other more serious superhero movies. The team from the film and the Aussie rockers are reuniting for May’s sequel and below is the brand new music video, which shows clips of Iron Man 2, but nothing too exciting except a bunch of dancing girls from the film’s Stark Expo. Well I guess that’s mildly exciting. Press release and track listing for the IM2 soundtrack under the clip.

MARVEL STUDIOS AND COLUMBIA RECORDS POWER UP AC/DC MUSIC PROMOTION FOR “IRON MAN 2” MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK

AC/DC’s Music to be featured in “IRON MAN 2”; Band to Release AC/DC: Iron Man 2 Album on Monday April 19, 2010

Through a unique collaboration between Marvel Studios and Columbia Records, AC/DC’s music will be featured in Marvel Studios’ “IRON MAN 2,” the sequel to the 2008 blockbuster film. In addition, Columbia Records will release the album AC/DC: Iron Man 2 on Monday, April 19, 2010. AC/DC: Iron Man 2, features 15 classic AC/DC songs selected from ten of the band’s studio albums, ranging from 1976 to 2008. The complete track listing can be found below.

The film opens internationally beginning on April 28, 2010 and in the U.S. the film is scheduled for release on May 7, 2010.

The debut video from AC/DC: Iron Man 2 is the AC/DC’s classic album cut Shoot To Thrill,” which was filmed live last month in Buenos Aires during the band’s highly acclaimed Black Ice World Tour, the second highest grossing world tour of 2009 according to concert industry trade publication Pollstar.  The video also incorporates exclusive footage from “IRON MAN 2” and debuts today worldwide. Check www.acdc.com and www.marvel.com for more information. “Shoot To Thrill” was originally recorded for the band’s 50-million selling album Back In Black, one of the best selling albums of all time.

“Jon Favreau’s vision and passion for AC/DC’s music blend seamlessly into this incredible film” said Steve Barnett, co-chairman of Columbia Records. “The music really underscores the high energy and excitement of the film.”

“Music is an integral part of the Tony Stark and Iron Man experience, and we are pleased that Columbia and AC/DC are taking part in the franchise’s phenomenon. Through this relationship, the band is delivering fans supercharged Iron Man branded music through all our combined consumer touch points, from the movie to retail outlets and even virally with the debut of the new video,” said Tim Connors, Chief Operating Officer, Marvel Studios.

Jon Favreau returns to direct “IRON MAN 2,” with Robert Downey Jr. reprising his starring role as the larger-than-life leading character, along with Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke and Samuel L. Jackson.

Based on Marvel’s iconic Super Hero, “IRON MAN 2” continues the story of 2008’s box office smash hit “IRON MAN,” which grossed nearly $600 million worldwide, and was the first feature film produced independently by Marvel Studios. IRON MAN 2” is being produced by Marvel Studios’ President, Kevin Feige.

AC/DC:  Iron Man 2 Track Listing:

1. Shoot to Thrill

2. Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation

3. Guns for Hire

4. Cold Hearted Man

5. Back in Black

6. Thunderstruck

7. If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)

8. Evil Walks

9. T.N.T.

10. Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be

11. Have a Drink on Me

12. The Razor’s Edge

13. Let There Be Rock

14. War Machine

15. Highway to Hell

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