Normally, I would avoid writing a review about a blockbuster such as “Iron Man 2,” but I need a placeholder to introduce a question.
The first “Iron Man” exceeded my expectations well. I prepared myself for being less satisfied with “Iron Man 2,” and less satisfied, I was. The second iteration crams too much techno hoopla and too many plot elements for too long.
Though most of the plot elements taken separately were well-realized, the filmmakers sewed together a clutter of undisciplined creativity.
That said, Robert Downey Jr. excels in a reprise of a roll for which he is perfectly cast. He radiates wise guy intelligence and braced vulnerability. Surprisingly (no doubt even to himself) he seems not to be world weary.
Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell are fun as an odd couple of bad guys. Rourke plays a vengeful genius, a driven, yet laid back and greasy nemesis. Rockwell plays a powerful businessman, who would be an incompetent screw-up if it weren't for his manipulative facilitations. Scarlett Johansson pumps sophisticated sexiness into the film's macho overkill. Samuel Jackson, dependable as ever, exudes something cooler than real life into a crisply contrived personality.
OK, enough reviewing; “Iron Man 2” is a good enough sequel to the much better original.
Here's the question that needed to be introduced in the context of yet another blockbuster, superhero movie: Is there a screenwriter who can sidestep manifest warrior destiny and comic book inspirations long enough to create a glowing new brand of superhero?
Instead of cycling mutations of supercharged fisticuffs and fire power, can a story be written for, say, The Shame-ifier, who confronts evil doers by staring them into repentant reanimations and releases them to foment humble goodness from that moment forward? Couldn't a brilliant story weaver create a superhero called, I don't know, Huggy Man, who lures mass victimizers into a web of cuddly warmth and contagious love?
A superhero action picture like that probably can't be made. I'm just askin'.