Think of a physicist. What image do you have in your head? By any chance is it a spindly, hunched man, possibly suffering from a serious lack of vitamin C and sunlight? Does he wear a long white coat and perhaps a red bow tie? Hair either over slicked and greased or growing wild like a lion’s mane? Let me also guess, is this scientist lacking in proper social decorum? Do they make inappropriate jokes and comments due to their self imposed segregation from the rest of the human world?
Obviously these are sweeping generalisations, but I always believe that stereotypes are there for a reason. True physicists do not generally conjure an image that provokes a strong reaction or emotion. They are not often perceived as sexy and/or terrifying. And they certainly look nothing like Robert Downey Jr or Mickey Rourke!
Last night Steve and I celebrated another Orange Wednesday by going to see Iron Man 2. And it did not disappoint. It was not the absolute pure genius of the first instalment, but I never expected it to be. The first Iron Man was pure indulgence and gratuitous comic book wonderment – and an opportunity for R.D. Jnr to play a dream ‘macho’ role in Tony Stark. This film attempted to have a little more ‘grit’ to it. Tony Stark is going off the end, driven to even more reckless deeds due to his impending demise – the very thing that is keeping him alive is killing him, quickly. There are also hinted parallels to reality with the over riding story line discussing the international arms race and how ‘secret’ or ‘privatised’ weaponry is threatening potential world peace.
It was during these story lines that the viewer is reminded of the ‘science’ behind the sexy glitz. Ivan Vanko (Rourke) is hell bent on seeking his revenge on Stark Industries and Tony Stark himself, and despite being a poor, exiled Russian living in Siberia, amazingly creates his own Iron Man versions from the plans his father had originally worked on.
The story line is cheesy and predictable, but that’s just part of the sheer joy of such a film. Both the male leads are exceptional! I do wonder just where R.D. Jnr ends and Tony Stark begins, as I get the impression on watching Iron Man that he was having way too much fun! I feel like I am actually watching him, ok so maybe an exaggerated version, but you feel connected to the real person which makes the film so much more believable.
And as for Mikey Rourke? Well after watching The Wrestler I will never have a bad word said against him. He was menacing, terrifying, and flawless with his Russian accent. Now this might seem bizarre considering the genre of film, but Rourke’s performance was understated and subtle. He was a true and perfect villain! But the best scenes and I have to say some of the best acting came from Ms Paltrow.
The relationship between Stark and Pepper Pots is brilliantly funny. Their chemistry and dialogue is witty and entertaining and she plays the part wonderfully. As with the first film, it is these scenes that make the Iron Man films more appealing to me than a lot of other comic book style films. It is not all about the action and special effects (which were superb). Both films spend a quality amount of time building characters and their backgrounds – without being dull. You get a rounded story which is not just about the big budget fireworks. You learn to love the characters and care about what happens to them. Its like reading a good book, you get the best of both worlds without one aspect being outshone by the other.
A great Wednesday night. A decent film but not as spectacular as the first.