Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why I’m Worried About Iron Man 2

The summer movie season officially starts on Friday, which means I will spend a number of evenings sitting in the dark scarfing popcorn in my craw and basking in the warm glowing warming glow of the silver screen.

Iron Man 2 is first out of the gate this year. Hard to believe that around this time two years ago it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that the flick would even be a hit. But it was, which means we get to watch another one. And while I’m excited to see it, it makes me nervous.

The first movie was an underdog in every sense. It had a second tier super hero not well known to most people who have never attended a comic convention. Its director, Jon Favreau had never helmed a movie of this size and scope. Marvel, who bankrolled the flick, was doing it on their own for the first time.

It was fun to root for the underdog. But like the Boston Red Sox after they finally won the world series, Iron Man 2 is the farthest thing from an underdog. (Yes, I did just make a sports reference.) Last time out, Favreau was one bad flick away from movie jail. If he had failed, it could have sent his directing career into a downward spiral from which it might never recover. He doesn’t have to worry quite that much this time around.  He's on solid ground after directing one of the most successful comic book movies of all time.

What it seems we the audience have to worry about is super hero sequel double vision. It’s an unfortunate condition that seems to have sprung up over the past few decades where filmmakers take everything that worked in the first movie…and double it.

My concern popped up at the same time as my excitement, when the trailer for Iron Man 2 first popped up.  The trailer teaches us that in Iron Man 2 there are two bad guys (Whiplash and Justin Hammer), two babes (Pepper Pots and Black Widow) and two good guys (Iron Man and War Machine). Not to mention a whole lot of other armored suits as well as Nick Fury himself.  To me that feels like the movie equivalent of that chubby lady I saw wearing spandex at the mall, a whole lot squeezed into a small space.

If Batman Forever, Spider Man 3, X Men 3, Transformers 2, and countless others have taught us anything its that sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.

I hope that Iron Man 2 doesn’t fall into that oh so tempting cinematic trap.  I don’t believe that bigger is better. I don’t need my sequels to be overflowing with characters and story threads. I just want them to be competent and compelling.

So here's hoping that Marvel pulls it out again.  And here's hoping, as I always do at the start of one of my favorite times of the year, that everyone has an entertaining summer movie season. 

15 comments:

SciFi Dad said...

Wasn't Iron Man being produced by Marvel itself the result of Ang Lee and Shrek-Hulk?

Call me an optimist, but I'd like to think that lesson has been learned by Marvel; I don't see them redoing the same movie over again. If anything, I'm worried that it'll be a 2hr trailer for the Avengers movie.

Vancetastic said...

Darn it, how am I going to write something more succinct and clever than this when I write my own Iron Man 2 post on Friday?

Oh well. Watch out, Babies, I'm coming for you instead.

WannabeVirginia W. said...

I just want to start off that I am excited with Iron man 2, not only because he had a symbolic meaning growing up, but c'mon, Robert Downey is hot. Just sayin.

Your escalator operator said...

Your sports reference brought a tear to my eye.
Your fat lady in spandex reference made me a little queasy.
And the post made me cross my fingers that IM2 lives up to the hype. I'll find out on opening night!

Eric said...

I think since having kids and going to the movie theater infrequently for the past 5 years. I've lost all anticipation. I think the last time I was excited about a movie was Transformers.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

SciFi...Ang Lee's Hulk was part of it. Marvel decided to take back as much of the control over their properties as they could. Iron Man was the first one they did on their own. And I like the way Marvel is building a universe of movies, but it does seem from first blush that they've drunk the "bigger is better" sequel Kool Aid. We'll see.

Vance...I told you this was coming, didn't I?

Wannabe...I'm excited too. I just am hoping not to be disappointed. It's one thing to go into the first one with tempered expectations. But the first one raised the bar.

YEO...I knew the sports reference would get ya.

Eric...Yeah, I was excited about T-Formers too...until I saw it.

Vancetastic said...

You did, and I'm just kidding -- I will still write about IM2. But I'm serious about the fact that it's difficult not to be influenced by a piece that takes essentially the same viewpoint you're taking. You just got to it before I did. :-)

It's why I try not to read other reviews of films I know I'll be reviewing.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I knew Transformers would weasel its way into that post somehow.

I never watched Iron Man 2 all the way through without having to stop it and come back later or falling asleep. True Story.

Don't Hate me.

Vancetastic said...

How did you get a copy of Iron Man 2 already, Shelle?

Sorry -- anyone who knows me knows that I am the semantic police. Sometimes I can't help myself.

ZenMom said...

I'm looking forward to this one. I suspect it will be heavy on the action and light on plot, but, I can live with that.

But then, we have established that I am more forgiving that you are about movies, in general. ;)

ZenMom said...

Forgot to "follow"

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Oh Vance.

Zen...It may be hard to earn my love, but dammit once I love I love completely.

Ben said...

I can't wait to watch Iron Man 2. If I had the ability, materials and time, I'd make my own Iron Man suit, and just stride up and down the High Street.

Anonymous said...

Bapa and Nammie saw IM2 yesterday and really liked it. Aren't you surprised!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

UPDATE:
So I saw the flick last night and I have to say it was pretty good. A lot of fun in spots and it didn't feel to jam packed, as I feared.

I wouldn't spent a lot of time thinking about the story, however, it hangs together enough as your watching it but I find that the more I think of it, the more holes I find. But hey...that's just me.