Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rewatch: Iron Man 1 & 2

2008/2010 Jon Favreau (Chef) -- download

And then, some posts are going to be all about the movie. And my idle observations.

Yes, in preparation for seeing Age of Ultron after the fervour dies down, we are rewatching the Marvel (cinematic universe) movies.  I want to watch them in release order, but we watched these two together. The Incredible Hulk is on Netflix, so that will be next.

I stand by my immense enjoyment of the origin bit for Iron Man. I know very little of how Iron Man actually came to be, and I believe that was part of the decision to release his movie first, so we could enjoy a stand alone movie without the fetters of comic book continuity -- he was never an A-Lister comic book character. The whole microcosm of this cocky but incredibly smart character building the iron suit in the cave still works for me. It sets the tone for the difference of the Marvel movies, in that they can tell a dramatic action story, but still be light enough to chuckle at. Remember, at this time, we were still considering Batman Begins as the height of superhero movies at the time, and were all eagerly awaiting The Dark Knight in all its grimdark glory. Iron Man came along and gave us a well made, but lighter toned origin story.

P.S. During that opening sequence, If Tony denies having Rhodey ride along with him and relegates him to the hum-drum vee, shouldn't Rhodes have been in the last vehicle, and been able to rescue Tony long before he was ever taken? Also, the idea that Tony didn't have a sub-dermal tracking chip was surprising considering the tech he was involved with. And speaking of tech, again with the phones, oh the cell phones. Its 2008, only 7 years ago, but boy does that Motorola phone with the flippy-swivel screen look antiquated. At least, later on in Iron Man 2, he has your familiar clear-glass touch screen device.

So, as I was saying, the movie begins with Tony openly drinking in a hum vee, along with a bit about the Jericho missile & the martini cooler --- "we toss one of these in for every 10 million." This whole drinking & lecherous cad schtick that RDJ carries off perfectly, his own character much more than any comic book character, is always worth a chuckle. The amount of drinking people do in (these?) movies always astound me. Tony you can accept; he alway seems half-drunk. But later on, we see Obadiah Stane pour himself a glass of whiskey in Tony's office. Its about half a glass. Even a small finger or two has my head spinning, but here we have characters weaving manipulation, lies and deception all the while downing whiskey like its water. Is Hollywood saying something? That alcohol fueled interaction is the better way to go? Or am I just a light weight? I admit it, the only reason I gained a taste for whiskey was two seasons on Deadwood.

Yes, RDJ carries off the character perfectly, his own rendition of the billionaire playboy genius. But did you see that hair? OMG, that hair! Sure, seven years ago we did things differently but its just so big. Boy band big. Product piled high big. But shove his big head inside a metal helmet and nothing affects it. More Stark technology? I remember his look being perfect, but it feels so dated to me now. Did you see the suit he wears in the opening Starkettes sequence? The textured double-breasted tux? It is just plain ugly: heavy, unshapely and probably warmer than a parka.

Speaking of suits, I never remembered how new S.H.I.E.L.D. was at the time of Iron Man. Obviously, they have some pull with the American government, but Coulson's suits really need some tailoring. If he can only afford over-sized, schlumphy suits at the time, Fury's agency must be pushing the budgets. And yet, later on it is stated Tony's dad helped found the agency with the name they are still working on. So, that means been around for a while, in some capacity.

A lot of people don't like Iron Man 2, but I rather do, especially in repeated viewings. It set the tone for the Marvel cinematic universe, as an expanded whole. Tony has privatized peace, made a celebrity status out of non-governmental interventions. He has solved the East-West dilemma and probably taken down half a dozen terrorist agencies. Even if he told SHIELD (enough with the dots) to take a flying leap, he is making the world more amenable to their existence.

The movie also brings up, and questions, the right for a single man to control so much power outside any regulation. Despite his mockery of his competitors and their failures, we discover there are capable people making capable machines and they won't use them for Good. This is already setting the tone for Civil War, when the government will come along and force all these vigilantes to be registered. We never hear of the death toll in Iron Man 2 but I gather its quite high, even with Pepper Potts apt control of the evacuation.

And in Iron Man 2, Coulson finally gets a tailored suit.

And SHIELD has some major intervention, not including the infiltration of Black Widow. I still think her look in this movie is my favourite, whether I consider he sexified elements or not. She just seems so capable in this movie, that she seems lacking in all follow-ups. And I like long hair.  Now considering mega-feminists made Joss Whedon quit Twitter (hyperbole intended) because of her reduced role in Age of Ultron, I am eager to see if I agree or not. I suspect I will.