Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Slightly rusty Iron Man?

OK folks, don't get all up in arms JUST yet. I have not seen Iron Man 2, so I have no way of telling if early mixed reviews are justifiable or not.

Yet, such as the anticipation, such is the pent-up demand, over this movie, that a few brickbats, most of which are not all THAT harsh, have unleashed a fusillade of "Oh nos!" Indeed, the name of -GASP!- Spider-Man 3 has been invoked! Too many heroes! Too many villains! Too many too manys!

Let's all take a deep breath here, guys. For one thing, most of the pro critics have not yet weighed in. Over at Metacritic, which counts more established critics than Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a score of  52, which means mixed, but that's based on only four reviews at this time of posting.

I understand the mini-hysteria here. I know very well a lot of people loved Iron Man. I wasn't QUITE among them. I really, really liked the film - but I did not adore it, as I explained in my original review. The film very much entertained me, and like most everyone else, I thought Robert Downey Jr was fantastic. In fact, I would argue that performance was much more deserving of a Golden Globe than his winning work playing Sherlock Holmes, which struck me as ersatz Tony Stark.

However, I thought the third act of Iron Man flagged, particularly because as gifted and now Oscar-ed  as Jeff Bridges is, playing villainous types is not his strong suit. See the remake of The Vanishing. Or better yet, don't. The film rated n a solid B+, which means "occasionally excellent - but only occasionally." I thought The Dark Knight, which came out later that same year, topped  Iron Man in almost every respect.

There is a very real chance that Iron Man 2 will break The Dark Knight's opening weekend gross of $158.4 million. However, I'm not at all certain Iron Man 2 will be able to live up to its buzz.  In today's age of impatience and inflated anticipation, anything that's less than blindingly brilliant gets derided as terrible. See the Star Wars prequels, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,  and the aforementioned Spider-Man 3, which, contrary to popular belief, are NOT bad movies, but ones that merely committed the sin of having more clunky scenes than most of their predecessors.

So what's the moral of the story? Dial it down, folks. I know that's hard amid all the hype, but lofty expectations are dangerous. Not only does it hurt when they come crashing down, but once the crash occurs,  rash judgement tends to follow. If Iron Man 2 isn't utterly awesome, that doesn't mean it will be utterly abominable either.

Not that I'm immune. I led off my review of the first film by saying "I can't wait for Iron Man II. I bet it will be even better than the original." I'm not so sure about that now. I am  prepared to have a good time, but not to be blown away.

1 comment:

HollyGoKimsy said...

From what I know of "Iron Man"'s comic stories, I do know that they will eventually have to turn dark. Given the piece I just read in "EW", that's partly where they're going. I won't say any more than that. There's a reason why RDJ is the perfect person to play Tony Stark, and I believe that will be revealed in due time.

Although I love "TDK" and Chris Nolan, there's no way to tell how much of the box office was to watch Ledger's last mainstream performance, and how much was for the actual film.

I'm going in expecting to be wowed, but not dazzled. I don't think 2 villains is too many, actually even TDK had more than one. But I solidly feel that it'll be better than Spiderman 3, which was just tired and unnecessary - hence the reboot.

I'm looking forward to it and I'll enjoy it immensely, I'll wager. That's all that's important to be, since I'm delaying it for a week anyway.