Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ironman 2 (Rhoades)

“Iron Man 2” Flying High
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

In the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Iron Man’s armor is described as having a repulsor plasma generator, three-axis steering magnet array, and a thermo-electric energy converter. In addition, this 15-volume reference that I kept within reach on my bookshelf when I was publisher of Marvel Comics features technical drawings of Iron Man’s armor, Spider-Man’s web-shooters, and other characters’ equipment.

Important to know. After all, Iron Man’s superhero abilities come from this high-tech metal suit that allows him to fly, lift 100 tons, shoot down missiles, and repulse bomb blasts.

Acclaimed as the world’s greatest human fighting machine, Iron Man is actually the alter ego of industrialist Anthony Edward “Tony” Stark. A complex comic book character, he’s “the playboy, the genius inventor, the philanthropist, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., the futurist, the hero.”

The Marvel website depicts Tony Stark as a “cool exec with a heart of steel.” lists him as #10 on its compilation of the fifteen wealthiest fictional characters, citing a net worth of US $6 billion.

Yes, “Iron Man” signifies big bucks, Especially for Marvel.

The 2008 “Iron Man” movie did more than half-a-billion in its worldwide gross. And “Iron Man 2” – now playing at the Tropic Cinema – will easily top that.

No wonder Disney recently paid $4 billion to acquire Marvel Entertainment, the company that publishes all those Iron Man comic books and produces these blockbuster superhero movies.

In “Iron Man 2” Tony Stark’s identify as Iron Man is known and the US government tries to force him to turn over his armored suit. But he refuses, declaring, “The suit and I are one.”
“Our priority here is to have you turn over the Iron Man weapon to the American people,” demands a senator.

“Well, you can forget it,” snaps Stark. “We’re safe. America is secure. You want my property – you can't have it!”

So the government enlists Tony’s main rival, a company called Hammer Industries, to build a competing suit. Hammer joins forces with a baddie known as Whiplash. And a battle between Iron Man and Whiplash is inevitable.

Robert Downey Jr. returns as Iron Man/Tony Stark. And Gwyneth Paltrow is again on hand as his sexy assistant Pepper. Don Cheadle takes over the role of his pal James Rhodes. Sam Rockwell pops up as his rival, a creep named Justin Hammer. Bigger than life is muscle-bound Mickey Rourke as Whiplash. And a redheaded Scarlett Johansson is the latest femme fatale in this second installment in the “Iron Man” movie franchise.

Conceived by Stan Lee in 1963, Iron Man was intended to be an exploration of Cold War themes – technology’s role in fighting Communism. Today, the focus has shifted to corporate crime and terrorism.

Stan’s model for Iron Man was Howard Hughes. Not only was he a symbol of American individualism, he was a defense contractor who built weapons. “Howard Hughes was one of the most colorful men of our time. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a multi-billionaire, a ladies’ man and finally a nutcase,” says my ol’ colleague Stan.

Like many of Marvel’s characters, Iron Man was flawed. Outside, he was impervious, but Tony Stark has a bad ticker that forced him to rely on the metal suit.

And he was an alcoholic, a substance abuser. So what better casting than Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man role? His own brushes with the law for substance abuse are legendary. Part of the plot for “Iron Man 2” comes from a comic book storyline called “Demon in a Bottle.”

This tale of a modern-day knight in high-tech armor is directed by Jon Favreau (he helmed the first “Iron Man” film). He also does a cameo as Happy Hogan.

And Stan Lee does his traditional cameo too, this time a parody of Larry King. In typical bombastic form, Stan says, “Everybody’s gonna wanna know, what’s that ridiculous thing Stan’s doing in that movie? I’ve gotta see it!”

Nuff said. I’ll be sitting in the front row.
[from SolaresHill]

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