We’re smack dab in the middle of Phase 1 now, and there are lots of things about this period that are messy from a story telling perspective. It’s the problems that the MCU has in general, and they’re perfectly encapsualted in…
Iron Man 2
I’ve said to a lot of people that Iron Man 2 is the weakest link in the MCU and I stand by that. It’s saying something because it’s still a really fun, incredibly watchable movie.
But, to me it’s the only one that feels like pure filler, just set up. The storyline of Tony dying would be fine on it’s own, as would the conflict with Vanko/Whiplash and Hammer, but combined it feels like a too much is happening at once. The introduction of Black Widow is sort of perfect, but again feels a little bit off.
Every MCU movie has moving pieces that sometimes feel a little bit clunky, but Iron Man 2 has always, and still does, feels to me like nothing but moving pieces. They’re good pieces but they don’t do much.
That said the final battle is a thing of beauty even by Marvel standards. The drones, taking over the Stark Expo, Tony and Rhodey’s fight (against Rhodey’s will) and Nat’s infiltration of Hammer’s facility is really amazing.
Gwyneth Paltrow really is so so good as Pepper, and I feel like it’s one of the most underrated things in this movie specifically she’s fantastic. Replacing Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle remains one of the best decisions made in any sequel ever, he’s such a better fit for Rhodey and a much better match for RDJ, who is, of course flawless.
John Slattery popping up as Roger Sterling…I mean Howard Stark is also a great touch, and as I said back when Captain America: The First Avenger came out, any universe where Dominic Cooper grows up to be John Slattery and spawns Robert Downey Jr. is a universe I would like to live in. (So many hot men….)
MCU bits that fall into place:
- SHIELD, and Howard Stark’s founding of it are linked for the first time here. Oh, right #SaveAgentCarter guys.
- Coulson, Coulson, Coulson. I miss funny dry sarcastic Coulson. We saw him a little bit this week on Agents of SHIELD, but still. Also, he’s off to New Mexico…you know to see Thor. Or whatever. Seriously, it’s my second favorite post credit, with Coulson finding the hammer. (My favorite is Iron Man 3) Also when Tony uses that Cap shield thing.
- How they didn’t immediately green light a Black Widow movie after this is still beyond me. She’s amazing. Scarlet’s immediate command of the character is also amazing.
- Also Senator Gary Shandling, who I hissed “HYDRA!” at when he started questioning Tony.
Sometimes things happen that change the entire course of your life, without you even realizing it. Sometimes, you’re a few weeks from graduating from college, and you go on a bar crawl, and then a guy picks you up in a van, saying that he’s going to take you for pizza and you wind up at a midnight showing of a superhero movie instead.
That story sounds sketchier than it should.
The guy is Glenn, he drove a mini van while we were in college. Chrissy and I were on a bar crawl and I think he knew it was time for us to not be drinking anymore. So he promised us pizza because that was pretty much the only way to get us out of a bar back then. (Not going to lie, still not a bad strategy.) Then he mentioned that he was going to see Thor.
This extremely hilarious and enjoyable experience of the movie for the first time has always colored my feelings about the movie. I really like it. I like a lot. And everytime I watch it, my affection only grows, whether it’s through nostalgia or because it’s great, I don’t know but I love it a lot. And I loved it this time.
I loved Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, so much focus gets shifted onto Loki with Avengers that it’s easy to forget that there was an incredible ground laid for him here. He does remarkable work, and it doesn’t hurt the movie that Kenneth Branagh can really spin just about anything into Gold. I mentioned the final fight here last week, and I forgot how moving it is to see Thor refusing to fight his brother. It’s very cool. MCU pieces that fell into place.
- Funny! There’s a lot of comedy in this one, more than I remembered. But it’s a very funny movie.A
- SHIELD as a larger organization.They go after Thor’s hammer, which I assume is a 084.
- Hawk-guy! Renner’s cameo is a lot more than I remembered and he’s actually pretty, pretty darn great here.
- Jane Foster, particularly Natalie Portman’s performance, has grown on my, but still #TeamSif
- Hey, before they recast him with Zachary Levi, Fandral was played by Charming from Once Upon a Time. FUNSIES!
22 Days Until Ultron!