Iron Man Needs a New Friend, and the Other Avengers

“Iron Man 2” has three action scenes, including one incredible act of douchebaggery. I can think of no more blatantly dickish move than what Don Cheadle does to Tony Stark, who for some reason considers the guy his “best friend.” Don Cheadle is such a jerk.

Stark is dying. A piece of metal is slowly moving toward his heart (or something). He knows he doesn’t have long left, but he doesn’t want to tell anyone, because even though Tony Stark may act like a super-stud big shot, his playboy-billionaire flamboyance masks deep insecurity from his inability to open up emotionally. He’s really sad.

drunkSo what’s he do? Stark throws a huge party at his mansion, and invites a bunch of hot models. He puts on the Iron Man suit and gets drunk and spins “California Love” for his guests. Not just drunk, but wasted. He’s stumbling. And this is Robert Downey Jr., who can draw from personal history and capture the essence of getting hammered.

Don Cheadle shows up at the party representing the U.S. government, and jumps to judging. Shaking his head disapprovingly, Don Cheadle decides not to ask his friend if something might be wrong … but to break into Stark’s garage downstairs, steal a silver Iron Man suit, and put it on. Then he kicks everyone out of the party and fights Stark.

Again: Tony Stark is stumbling drunk; Don Cheadle’s stone sober. Who fights his friend in that situation?

Of course, these Iron Man suits are incredibly powerful, so in the ensuing brawl Stark’s house gets trashed. Don Cheadle ends the fight by ripping out a fixed table and smashing it across the back of Stark’s head, knocking him into a fire place. Then Don Cheadle flies away. He’s stolen the suit to give to Stark’s top business rival in exchange for high-powered weaponry.

This scene of Stark getting screwed over by his corrupt narc buddy is by far the longest action scene in the movie, and that’s a shame because even though Don Cheadle is clearly an asshole, he’s not the villain in the flick. Supervillain connoisseurs like myself were overjoyed when we heard Mickey Rourke was to play Ivan Vanko. Rourke was just off that astounding emotional and physical performance in “The Wrestler” and was a perfect choice.

Rourke’s first scene in “Iron Man 2” sees his father dying in his arms, apparently because of something Stark did. Vanko screams, vows vengeance, goes to work building his own robot suit with laser whips.

Then he attacks, and becomes pathetic. Vanko’s main move is to wrap his whip around Iron Man and then stand there holding it. In each of the two times they fight, he loses in roughly one minute. Rather than being a classic villain, he’s lame and forgettable.

The coolest effects scene is brief, and features robot drones putting up about the same kind of fight we saw from robot drones in the new “Star Wars” movies:

I get accused by friends of liking every movie I see, but that’s not true. I like the stuff where cool things keep happening. The bad movies and TV shows are the ones that waste time. “Iron Man 2” wasted a lot of time. And it wasted Mickey Rourke. For shame.

“Iron Man 3” makes me nervous, because the trailer shows Iron Man not fighting a villain but escaping his house as it gets blown up by missiles. The reason “Independence Day” hasn’t endured but kids will be watching “The Avengers” forever is that building destruction is boring and fight scenes are not. This is also why “Transformers” is so much better than “Transformers 3.”

“Iron Man 3” might be great, but this is a franchise that’s totally willing to waste our time. With a game Mickey Rourke in their pocket, they decided instead the big fight scene in Part 2 should be this senseless drunken scrap with Don Cheadle. That was weird, and stupid. The best Iron Man we’ve seen in a movie has been in “The Avengers.” That’s probably not going to change with “Iron Man 3.”


One thought on “Iron Man Needs a New Friend, and the Other Avengers

  1. I have to say that I thought Iron Man 2 fell down from the get go because the bad dudes were a weapons manufacturing capitalist and a dude in a powered suit.

    The only difference with the first film is that in the first film the weapons manufacturing capitalist and the dude in a powered suit were the same guy – the dude from Big Lebowski.

    At least they’ve avoided a 3rd film with a chap in a powered suit by apparently adapting part of the extremis (?) storyline so he’ll end up fighting lots of empty powered suits. And therein, I think you’ll agree, lies the difference.

    That and a villain who’s notable for having a touch of the old racial caricaturing in Mandarin.

    I like your take on Don Cheadle’s character – I had similar misgivings. But then again I thought hey at least he took the suit to Sam Rockwell who was frickin’ awesome in Moon, so that’s got to count for something.

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