05/10/2010 (6:56 am)
Shelly’s boys took her to see Iron Man II for Mother’s Day (a sound choice, she majorly dug the first Iron Man film) and I tagged along. I think this is the first time I’ve seen a film during its opening week since The Empire Strikes Back. So, you get to hear my random thoughts about the film, which are scattered enough that I won’t dignify them by calling this a review.
First off, I heard that reviewers were panning the film. I’m guessing they were all progressives panning the anti-government theme; they were wrong. The film works. The crises with the super-antagonist were perhaps a little brief and not quite dire enough, but it really doesn’t matter; comic books are morality plays addressing archetypal themes, and the archetypes were clear enough.
It was deeply satisfying to hear Tony Stark tell some bloated Senator that the government could not have his invention. I don’t know if this was deliberate or if it was merely Freudian on my part, but Gary Shandling as Senator Stern from PA looked a helluva lot like Arlen Specter. Drive it right through his heart, Tony. It reminded me of an even more satisfying movie moment, this one based on a real event, when Leo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes completely embarrassed a Senate committee attempting to scold him for wasting government money in The Aviator. Bravo.
Mickey Roarke played a delicious antagonist who actually evoked some sympathy; it was masterful. Scarlett Johansson smolders as a super-heroine, as you might expect, but the costume mistress goofed on her secretary outfit and made her butt look monstrous; I’m just sayin’. I thought Terrence Howard was excellent in the first film as Lt. Col. Rhodes, and I was a little sorry they used Don Cheadle in the role for this film. For a military guy who dons an Iron Man suit, he’s too much of a pencil-necked geek; but it was ok, the suit covered for him. Samuel L. Jackson is Nick Fury; but then again, Samuel L. Jackson is whoever he plays in any film, he’s usually that good. Sam Rockwell… well…
Ok, lecture time, so all you lefty writers, listen up: I know this is comic book characters, and they’re icons rather than people, but nobody makes it to the top of a major corporation who is that stupid, vain, and ineffective. It just doesn’t happen. Vanity or stupidity occur sometimes, but the guys who rise to the top are effective at their core, and whatever personal weaknesses they possess never completely obliterate the effectiveness, they just season it badly. Likewise, no major corporation ever becomes major by consistently producing stuff that doesn’t work, Microsoft jokes notwithstanding. It just doesn’t happen. They get big by producing things that do work, and maybe they have some models that are problematic. Sam Rockwell, as Justin Hammer, founder and CEO of Hammer Tech, was so vain, stupid, and ineffective that merely to listen to him talk caused me pain. The character does not work. It’s an archetype that represents nothing in reality, and that makes it a waste of time and film. Quit doing that. Oratorio finis.
Dr. Zero, a Green Room poster at Hot Air, correctly identified the comic hero movies as Libertarian Fantasy in a post that’s worth at least skimming, although he really should call them Morality Plays instead. Whatever. Iron Man II is an entertaining descent into fantastic, high-tech, bang-bang shoot-em-up adventure, for which you can switch off your brain safely without having to switch it back on to filter out pernicious leftist crap. Go see it, and enjoy.