Remember David Niven as James Bond in the spoof, Casino Royale (which came out much before Daniel Craig made it there with Eva Green)? That was a deliberate spoof and an atrocious film, unfunny, and immediately consigned to the dustbin of cinematic memory.
Well, here is Iron Man 2, an unfortunate - and undeliberate- spoof, in its very second outing.
A Russian is plotting against Iron Man with his own personal agenda. A rival American businessman is trying to make the Iron of the Man a national property. And Iron Man is dying, and he wants to spend the last days of his life boozing and partying and generally letting himself go.
Robert Downey can take the tragedy of a soul and make you feel the pain - that's his calibre. Here he plays out the insecurity and the sarcasm of his alter ego as a continuing joke. And he is joined in this unenterprising endeavour by almost every actor. Until it becomes one big unfunny comedy.
The story had some potential - with the chance to bring out the angst of an arrogant Super Hero suddenly finding himself to be mortal, and the delicious Scarlett Johansson being set up for potential romance.
But the tethered story-writing and the untethered (and under-directed) Downey (showing more of his arrogance as an actor than that of his character), make the film sink.
Tragically, the best action set-piece belongs not to him but to Scarlett Johansson, who delivers some superb blows as she gets into the villian's lair. The final confrontation is tame and yawn-inducing.
With Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel Jackson, Mickey Rourke, and Scarlett Johansson, if this is what they make of their franchise, Iron Man is already rusted.
~ Sunil Bhandari
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May 8th, 2010
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