Monday, May 10, 2010

Review: Iron Man 2

In my mind, I equate Iron Man as Marvel's variation on DC's Batman. He's the regular guy. The insanely wealthy, quick witted, possibly a super genius, regular guy whose wealth allows him to become a superpower through technology. The difference is, of course, that where Bruce Wayne is a vigilante fueled by dark secrets and a desire for revenge, Tony Stark is Iron Man largely just because he can be. He's all superego, driven by a daddy-issue need to be loved, a short attention span, and the constant search for an easy thrill or a round of applause. Iron Man is a selfish showman. The first of Jon Favreau's Iron Man films showed us Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) at a turning point. He went from Randian, nihilistic weapons monger to a self-aware playboy in need of penance. Consequently, and in large part because of Downey Jr.'s undeniable charisma, the audience fell in love Stark and all his flaws. With Iron Man 2, Favreau allows Stark to both progress and regress, balancing the character's dangerous traits and keeping him human. Though he wears the suit and keeps the peace, Iron Man is a risk. Stark is caught up in a war between his indulgent, egomaniac, selfish nature and that which the public, and the people in his life, needs (and demands) him to be. The groundwork layed with Stark's character keeps Iron Man 2 above the pitfalls of so many action flicks with bigger and better sequels, without skimping on the explosions...

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