|He wants his bird.|
Rating: 6 out of 5 Russian super scientists wielding electro-whips
Plot Synopsis: Tony Stark copes with dying by acting stupid, fighting his past and creating a War Machine.
-We pick up right where Iron Man left off but from a different perspective. It opens in Moscow during the final press conference of the last movie but being watched by Anton and Ivan Vanko in a broken down hovel. We already knew everything we need to know about Tony so the immediate focus on the villain is a good choice, plus it’s a good way to establish time passing from the end of the last movie to the post intro of this movie.
-Right off the bat Mickey Rourke delivers as Ivan Vanko, barely saying anything we know about the character. We see his pain over losing his father, we see where he learned science and manufacturing, we see that he has a talent and a genius and we see he has an obsession with the Stark family. We also see that he loves his parrot.
-The whole concept of the Stark Expo, it’s a good plot device to explain what’s going on in the world while bringing all these characters together and something interesting running in the background of the plot.
-Tony's hair game is really on point with this one.
-I like that Happy Hogan gets more of an active role, he was barely a presence in the first movie, a very quiet background character. Here he steps up and we see some personality and energy from the character.
-Hey, it’s Stan Lee! I like that in this movie and the previous one Tony mistakes him for other people (previously Hugh Hefner and here as Larry King)
-I like that they introduce his phobia of being handed things. I don’t remember it being that much of a “thing” in the first one but here they really make it a strong personality trait.
-Gary Shandling as Senator Stern is great.
-Sam Rockwell is awesome as Justin Hammer, he’s great in the role. Calling Tony “Anthony” he’s just so bumbling as he tries so hard to be Tony but fails at every opportunity. He’s just such a loser but he seems totally oblivious to that fact.
-Don Cheadle’s first words “It’s me, deal with it, move on.” A good way to introduce the new actor in the role. It’s a much different Rhodey, they seem like they have an actual friendship, there’s still some level of antagonism but there’s also way more friendly banter as now they give each other shit and Rhodey is less of a straight man and more of a person.
-Tony takes over the TV monitors with his phone and shows them what’s actually going on with the competing armors.
-“Most countries 5, 10 year away, Hammer Industries 20.”
-As far as I’m concerned Scarlet Johansen IS Black Widow, she’s great in the role.
-Tony suddenly decides to take his car racing and that the car is blue/white and not Iron Man red/gold.
-Ivan’s slow walk onto the track and his casual reveal before tearing up Tony’s car.
-Ivan Vanko is just a boss and they establish him as force to be reckoned with pretty early on.
-The first battle between Stark and Ivan is really fun. Stark going suitless against Vanko and avoiding his whips and then getting his suit and the battle that follows. It shows that Stark can really be more than his suit.
-“You lose Stark. You lose.”
-Ivan is all scarred up and tatted out, he looks incredibly impressive.
-The interaction between Stark and Ivan is great. “You come from a family of thieves and butchers...”
-That’s right Ivan get that dirt off your shoulder.
-When Hammer meets Ivan, Hammer is just this terrible orange color, like he’s been spray tanned. Sam Rockwell keeps showing off his palms, which are brown and white, to make it clear he’s a putz with a fake tan. Brilliant acting and characterization.
-“Do you speak English… have you been understanding what I’ve been saying?”
-Starks birthday is awesome, celebrating in the suit.
-Rhodey’s debut in the suit.
-The knockdown drag out fight between Stark and Rhodey, it’s everything the fight with Iron Monger should have been. It is a brutal battle that can only be done by two people in power suits.
-“You want to be the War Machine? Take your shot.” These movies are pretty good about not explicitly labeling characters “code names”, they just slip them into conversation.
-Tony in the donut.
-This doesn’t really fit in anywhere but: Who’s the AI in Rhodey’s suit? If Jarvis is in Tony’s suit who’s in Rhodes? I like to think it’s called Drill Sargent and sounds like R. Lee Ermey.
-Hammer and Ivan are great together, all their scenes are golden. Every. Single. Scene. Together is awesome. Individually they steal all their scenes so when you put them together they make the movie.
-Hammer’s presentation for arming the Mark 2 is probably the best scene in the whole movie.
-“I can tell that this isn’t disco enough for you.”
-“Our boys call it Uncle Gazpacho and Puff the Magic Dragon.”
-“Give me something here, you’re like a Sphinx, I can’t read you.”
-The computer is even better here than in the last one.
-The Captain America shield prototype that gets used as a level.
-“Take his shoes, yeah, take his shoes.”
-Hammer dances out to Average White Band and the look on Pepper’s face is priceless. He tries so hard to make his speech and presentation interesting and it falls totally flat. He is such a joke and it’s awesome.
-The battle with the drone army all the way up until the end. I only wish there was more Vanko that would have made it better.
-Hogan tries to sneak a peek at a changing Widow.
-Widow tears through a bunch of guards like a boss in the time it takes Hogan to take out one guy.
-Iron Man and War Machine are two totally different suits, War Machines added munition totally changes the way he fights. It’s almost the difference between a clean, environmentally safe, electronic car (Stark) and a big, diesel powered, smoke belching semi-truck.
-The video conversation between Pepper and Stark.
-“Yeah, it’s called being a badass.”
-The use of grease and oil as blood.
-Mutha fucking wrist lasers.
-Hammer’s big, bad, “Ex-Wife” missile turns out to be a dud and dies with a farting noise.
-Whiplash Mark 2 is super badass and goes out too quick.
-“You guys look like two seals going after a grape.”
-Why does Stark get hit by his own fireworks?
-Potts tells Widow that she’s on to her but that’s never really touched on again, the next time we see the two of them together Widow is Potts assistant.
-How does Rhodey know how to use the suit so well?
-I don’t know how you make a new element but I don’t think it’s with lasers.
-How did that guy get hung to the ceiling?
-Not enough Vanko in the final fight. Not enough Vanko period. There really should have been more Mickey Rourke.
-There ain't much ugly about this film.
Final Thoughts: Like Tony says at the beginning: “This is about legacies.” and this story is about Tony and his father Howard and Ivan and his father Anton. These two sets of fathers and sons, how they relate to their respective fathers and their respective father’s legacies. Ivan and Tony are truly different sides of the same coin. It makes for a much more emotional and deep story as well as making both of their stories more compelling. It’s interesting to see just what Tony would be like if he turned out evil and while you don’t get that same mirror when you look and Vanko’s character when compared to Tony it’s interesting to wonder how he would have been different if he didn't have his legacy stripped from him. All this makes it better than the simple origin story of the previous movie.
There isn’t much to say about this movie, it’s great. Thor is the best balanced of the Phase One movies but this is my favorite. It’s not only my favorite Phase One movie but up there as one of my favorite movies ever. There’s a lot of things it lacks when compared to the other Phase One movies but this movie just has that “something”, that something unexplainable. It’s like Dark Knight in that respect. I don’t know why I like it so much but I do. I can point to the well-paced story, the character interactions, the villain, the hero, the supporting cast but ultimately there are movies that have done all those things better and to greater affect but I’ll take this one over any of them. Unless you were to make me choose between this and Dark Knight, that is a decision I don’t think I could make, in my mind they are both pretty equal. This is a must see for any comic fan, you have to see this, you don’t have to love it but you at least have to see it.