They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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An Iron Handed Review

This Sunday

We've suddenly been thrust into humid, hot, summery weather -- the high peaked around 88°F here -- and we've been sort of reveling in it. Rather than turn on the central air, we put on the small window AC in the bedroom, but opened the windows and let the house heat up during the day. Of course the humidity meant that I also turned on the dehumidifier in the basement as well.

While many people I know are watching the 2-hour Lost recap show followed by the the 2½ hour Lost Series Finale, we watched cats & dogs & people on PBS' Nature, followed by a Miss Marple on Masterpiece: Mystery!. (grin)

Two Sundays Ago

We sort of abbreviated our normal Sunday routines so that we could run out to a 4:45pm movie. And though it was only the 9th of May, and regular schoolchildren are still in school, we had to mark the official beginning of the Summer 2010 Blockbuster Season. Alas, I've just been behind in putting in LJ updates and so this review is late. But it's not like people are depending on me for the film to be a success or not. (grin)

Iron Man 2 [PG-13] in IMAX
Celebration North IMAX, 4:45pm

One of the problem of getting behind in doing reviews is that (a) I have time to figure out what I say and (b) sometimes, having written it in my mind, I thought I've actually posted it. So... I can't link to a 2008 Iron Man review because apparently I never wrote it. (grin) Nevermind. We liked it. Thought Robert Downey, Jr. did a superb job of being both a drunk and an engineer -- delighted to see someone develop and field test gear, whether in a cave or an elaborate high tech basement lab. Not pleased with the terrorist sub-plot, which was, shall I say it?, a bit cartoonish, but in 2008, whatcha gonna do?

On to 2010 and it is SO nice to have a sequel which holds its own weight. I've talked to more than one person who cannot decide (or comes down on either side of the divide) which of the two Iron Man movies they liked better. That is such a relief. Indeed, just to have a decent story for a blockbuster sequel is extraordinary.

Watching Downey and Gwyneth Paltrow is so much fun. And they don't take the cheap way out, but keep have them missing the big romantic moment. Could not believe that they actually got whatshisname, Bill O'Reilly, from FOX News Network to show what an ass he is by claiming that Pepper Potts is just a secretary and not capable of running Stark Enterprises. When in fact she always has. And think about it -- Carly Fiorina rose from "secretary" to CEO. So don't give me that crap. (evil grin) Besides, the doofus running Hammer Industries shouldn't be allowed to run the register at a McDonald's Drive Up window, he's such a stupid businessman.

Don Cheadle always delivers a strong performance -- and his Major is a far better friend to Tony Stark than Stark deserves. But once again he is also mistreated by his superiors. Scarlett Johanson's Black Widow has been the subject of many comments claiming how awful she is and that her Russian accent is non-existent or weird. Frankly, I don't know the comic book canon for this franchise, so she was fun, looked great in her fighting gear and had some great and competent moves. More than that, I cannot address. Gary Shandling's Senator gets to each delicious crow at the end, which makes his previous unctuous performance all the better. And while Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury doesn't get much screen time, he also does his usual great job of "explaining" the unexplainable to people. We can watch him all day.

Of course the real great performance beyond Robert Downey, Jr.'s belongs to Mickey Rourke. Wow. Of course, I would quibble with the government's complaints that Whiplash had a harness and not a suit, but as Mrs. Dr. Phil pointed out, comic book politicians don't ever make sense. And it isn't Rourke's fault that the screenwriters don't know how computers, security or firewalls work. But my can he chew up the scenery, to say nothing of expensive race cars. (grin)

And while I'm ragging on poor screenwriting, we now have a THIRD movie in the last year which has a third elemental disfunction. Yes, Star Trek's red matter and Avatar's unobtanium, I'm looking right at you. Element 118? Really? Uh, no. Go Google "wikipedia element 118" and see some truth. Or look at my newly revised Periodic Table from my Spring 2010 PHYS-2070 class. And while it was a fun scene, making a particle accelerator in your basement -- and screwing up which way the laser is pointing? -- Does Not Work Like That.

Frankly, I missed seeing the "You Complete Me" scene from the TV trailer -- where Pepper Potts kisses the Iron Man helmet and then tosses it out the back of the airplane -- it isn't in the movie.

But don't think I'm complaining too hard, because the movie is fun. Tony Stark has his share of fun, too. The "Ironette" Dancers, with their glowing chest and hand lights, Iron Man performing in public -- it does nag at the back of the mind that this is awfully arrogant and deserving of a fall at some point. And getting drunk in the Iron Man suit? Irresponsible. And yet we get scenes like the array of Iron Man suits in various levels of repair. THIS is why this makes a good superhero flick. Iron Man is a suit made by an engineering genius with a lot of resources. But there are costs to such superherodom and we get to see them.


And ethics. In part Tony is being visited upon by the sins of his father, a sort of Walt Disney-esque character, if Walt was into military hardware instead of children's entertainment. And a Stark Industries fair which is a cross between a Worlds Fair and Land of Tomorrow, but with crowds happy to come to a military hardware party.

Then there's Tony's glowing chest power supply. In Iron Man it was explained there was a metal fragment which endangered his heart, but was at first being held back by an electromagnet powered by a car battery. The new reactor is designed to keep that powered. But really, if there is still a human heart, why can't he just use another magnet and keep the power supply shielded and away from his body OR use another battery. There seems no good reason for the close biological contact which gives the "palladium poisoning".

Though I will admit the constant diabetic-type testing is a cute device throughout the movie, especially as he doesn't tell anyone about it.

Flaws? Sure. It's a summer blockbuster movie. You can either worry about the flaws or go with the flow and enjoy.

Mrs. Dr. Phil and I? We had a helluva time. Oh, the IMAX? Really impressive and the main focus eyepoints were well maintained. I've heard that the producers didn't want to backfix this with 3D, but that we can expect Iron Man 3 to be in IMAX 3D because it was shot that way. We'll bring the popcorn.

Highly Recommended

Dr. Phil
Tags: movies, reviews, science literacy
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