avatar, avengers, bland, blockbuster, daddy issues, don cheadle, dude, gwyneth paltrow, hero, hetero, iron man, iron man 2, justin theroux, mickey rourke, rdj, Robert Downey Jr, robert downey junior, sam rockwell, samuel l jackson, scarjo, sequel, spinoff, straight guy, summer, superhero, tony stark, tropic thunder
I went to see Iron Man 2 the other night and it was ok. Not bad but not great. Extremely middling, actually.
The plot was a bit of a jumbled mess trying to service too many characters – and too many spinoffs including, with ramming-it-down-our-throats subtlety, the forthcoming “Avengers” – but was quite enjoyable once it managed to get a bit of steam going.
Everyone keeps raving about the “performances” but I thought ScarJo was a bit of a non-entity as Black Widow and Gwyneth’s Pepper Potts came off a bit too Mummsy for my personal liking (and I’m guessing hers). Sam Rockwell was a bit underused – and certainly not at all stretched – in a slightly tweaked version of the role he has played off and on for the better part of a decade to various degrees of success. I got a bit bored with Mickey Rourke and I’ve never much cared for RDJ’s Iron Man; I find it a bit meh. To be fair, Don Cheadle was pretty good.
Being honest, I found the movie very bland. In the same way that Avatar was bland: like a studio exec is ticking all the boxes for a big summer blockbuster in which there is, apparently, no longer any room for creativity or imaginative excitement.
I say all this but then I did go and see it. And therein lies the rub. It did tick all the boxes to get me into the theatre – as well as hordes of others it would seem – it just isn’t very good. Maybe I just need to avoid movies like this going forward?
One important thing I did learn watching Iron Man is that the writers have moulded him into the ultimate dude’s dude, combining a plethora of significant straight guy narratives into one all-conquering hetero hero.
Sidenote: Speaking of writers, Iron Man 2 was written by Justin Theroux who wrote the atrocious but equally as dude-centric “Tropic Thunder” – and incidentally who I actually rather like as an actor – so I really should have known better than to expect greatness.
REASONS RDJ’S IRON MAN IS THE ULTIMATE STRAIGHT GUY HERO: (mild spoilers)
1. Daddy Issues
Wah wah wah, my Dad never showed me any affection or signs that he loved me, wah wah.
“Oh wow, his Dad never showed he loved him but secretly knew Junior was the most brilliant man in the world. Ever.” Yeah, that’s realistic, Stark Senior stating at a point when Iron Man is barely out of diapers that Junior will know exactly what to do because he is sure to be the greatest mind science has ever seen. Sure.
2. He’s good at everything
Every dude wants to be good at everything. Tony Stark is equally at home crushing his corporate foes as he his jumping in an F1 racer for a quick spin ’round the track, overtaking opponents with presumably years of experience to his apparent none. Very realistic, that.
3. He’s kind of a dick
Straight guys secretly like being dicks. They love to get a bit cocky but know that – quite rightly – society will not put up with that shit. But Iron Man? Iron Man’s cocky and a bit of a chauvinist but everyone let’s him get away with it because he’s “the guy.”
Every straight man wants to be “the guy.”
4. He’s handy
Iron Man is a scientist but not in a libraries and spectacles way. He welds and blows shit up, dude.
5. He’s friends with Samual L. Jackson
All straight guys want to be friends with Samuel L. Jackson. They imagine that he’d laugh at their jokes and lovingly call them a “cracker” while eating chicken and waffles with them on a Saturday morning.
6. He ends up with the Mom
As mentioned earlier up Gwyneth Paltrow is essentially playing a Mom who takes care of his life for him. While he could go for the sexy minx in the form of ScarJo, Iron Man chooses the woman who coddles him like a baby. Oh, and as a woman she obviously could never run his company without becoming frazzled and confounded – she’s only a woman! – and understands that she’s really better off as his assistant. Blech.