IRON MAN 2 - Directed by Jon Favreau, starring Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow - (5/7/10)
I remember when I first saw the trailers for IRON MAN a couple years back and I was completely surprised. I've never really followed the character, but what little I did know was only somewhat interesting. I knew that Robert Downey Jr. had been cast as Tony Stark and I was very happy that he was able to land such a big part considering his checkered past. I had figured I would probably see the film, but I wasn't all that jazzed about it as I was expending most of my excitement on the upcoming DARK KNIGHT film. However, the first trailer really caught my attention. It didn't give away too much, but it looked pretty badass and used the obvious but perfect "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath. My enthusiasm for the film continued through the coming months and past the end credits. It was a fantastic superhero film. I don't feel compelled to visit IRON MAN's source material as I'm content to let the films teach me about the character because they appear to be doing it right.
My education in Tony Stark's role in the Marvel Universe will continue on May 7th when I, barring major disaster, will make my way out for opening day (I don't do midnight showings anymore because they stress me out). I was excited to hear that they were speeding this film's production along since there isn't a lot of nerdy stuff coming out this summer. However, I was once again caught by surprise when I saw the film's trailer. My interest in the first movie had since waned and I just wasn't thinking a whole lot about the sequel, but the preview renewed my enthusiasm tenfold.
Downey Jr. appears to be back in all his glory and he's brought along a few new adversaries and allies. Mickey Rourke is my favorite thing about this preview. When I heard that he was going to be a villain in this film, I thought "that might be okay", but I just anticipated him being his typical, tough guy, Mickey Rourke self. I don't know why I underestimated the guy, he appears to have taken the role of Ivan Vanko quite seriously. He looks pretty frightening covered in Russian prison tattoos with whips in hand, even the accent sounds like it's pretty much there. Apparently he visited a Russian prison to prepare for the role and asked for more of his lines to be done in Russian. Stacking the odds even further against Stark is corporate rival Justin Hammer, seen briefly in the trailer, portrayed by Sam Rockwell. This might be Rockwell's biggest film to date and I really hope it helps him nab some more big profile roles as he is probably one of the greatest actors currently working (see MOON). Scarlett Johansson also stars as sometimes villainess Black Widow. The role originally went to Emily Blunt, but I think Johansson is a much better choice and more likely to steal the show. Samuel L. Jackson returns this time, but rumor has it that he has a much bigger part, which means SHIELD has a bigger part, which means that they're gearing up for the AVENGERS movie, which makes IRON MAN 2 even more interesting. Of all the films coming out in 2010, this might be the one I'm most excited for.