By Neil Schneider
Leading up to FMX 2010, there was a huge concern about the volcanic ash situation. Just weeks earlier, Andrew Oliver from Blitz Games Studios had to miss the 3D Gaming Summit because his flight was cancelled. Would the ash be cleared by the time FMX 2010 rolled around? Would we lose our plane ticket money?
Ach! Let me tell you what we were really scared of. Would we miss the German Iron Man 2 premiere?!?
In an act of desperation, we were already in the throws of designing our own volcanic ash immune Iron Man and Iron Woman suits. We even reached out to NVIDIA to help sponsor the effort. Surely Fermi backed CUDA processing would have made all the difference! Sadly, our pleas for assistance went unanswered. Surely our suits would be pocket change to their $137.1 million first quarter profits! I think they are backing some guy who calls himself “Hammer”. Never heard of him.
Anyways, just as we were solving our suits’ de-icing problem, Air Canada confirmed that our flight was A-OK, we would get to see Iron Man 2, and Pam’s not-so-secret crush on Robert Downey Jr. would get more ammunition. Yeah, the suits would have been cool, but hey…free drinks, free dinner, free movies – I’m sticking with Air Canada!
Iron Man 2 was a lot of fun. The premise of the movie is that Tony Stark (Iron Man) has been very successful at keeping world peace, but at a very high cost. Turns out that his chest implanted palladium power generator, which he needs to stay alive, is also killing him! Using his trusty blood toxicity meter, it’s clear that Tony is running out of time.
Meanwhile, Tony has a a new enemy brewing…a few enemies actually. In his hero life, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) is hell bent on wiping the earth with Tony’s Iron Butt, and ultimately hacking him to pieces. Armed with a crude suit of his own, Ivan’s weapon of choice is a pair of S&M whips that are powered by a somewhat inferior palladium power source. Where did he get this doohickey? Turns out his father co-invented the arc generator and got deported to Russia by Tony’s dad. From here, he was destined to live a seedy pauper’s life while he watched the Stark family get rich on his work. So he says.
Business could be better for Tony too. The US army is pressuring him to hand over the suit, and Justin Hammer (is this the guy NVIDIA is backing?!?) is hot on Tony’s heels to get the juicy military contracts and make the Iron Man suit a technological relic. Could you imagine what would happen if Ivan Vanko and Justin Hammer could find a way to work together? Just think of what could be accomplished! Nuff said.
There are also some secondary plot lines like the sexually strained relationship Tony has with his assistant/CEO Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), a secret organization called S.H.I.E.L.D., and several extra curves by double agent Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson). He isn’t sexually strained with S.H.I.E.L.D…that didn’t come out right.
So how was the movie? I liked it. I would have liked to see a lot more Mickey Rourke because there was some real character potential there. Even when you didn’t understand a word he was saying, he was funny. Rourke has had a great resurgence in his career, and I think Iron Man 2 compliments that resurgence. He really should have had more screen time because I thought he was one of the more interesting characters in the film.
Unfortunately, the movie lost most of its points by working too hard to create a linkage to the upcoming Avengers movie. I love Samuel L Jackson’s work, but he was a heavyweight that really didn’t add anything to the movie other than time. Also, where the original Iron Man was simple and easy to follow, I have to agree that it wasn’t quite as sharp and witty as the first, and the sheer number of characters diluted the story’s punch factor.
That said, it’s a sequel, and with Iron Man, less is more…and we do want to see more. In the meantime, I’m heading off to Radio Shack to get some budget suit parts to prepare for the next movie premiere. Maybe we should approach AMD to help sponsor our suits? Do you think ATI Stream would work just as well as NVIDIA’s CUDA? I wonder, should the suits be open source? Do we need a suit standard? Let me put some thought into this…
Iron Man 2: 7/10