Sunday, May 2, 2010

An exercise in overstimulation: Ironman 2

It was glorious.  It was spellbinding.  It was really, really long.

Or, at least, it seemed to be.  Just when things felt like they were about to segue into "And next week, on the mighty Ironman..!" they kept going.  I felt like I'd been treated to one of those weekends where you're able to just sit down and really watch that TV series you've been dying to see.  Of course, I rarely sit still for more than a half-hour at a time, but Ironman 2 was the exception.  I couldn't wait to see what happened next.

I should clarify, for the record, I thought the first movie was above-average.  A lot of it was made the sweeter by the inclusion of Robert Downey Jr.  I don't know anyone else who could have pulled off the role so effectively.  But I am by no means a huge fan of Ironman as a character.

Ironman 2 is probably the best movie I've seen since Sherlock Holmes.  I must admit we're seeing a pattern here.

However, not being a huge fan of the action genre, either, I was pleasantly surprised to find I was clutching at the arms of my seat, hoping against hope that Ironman would somehow make it out alive.  Of course he will - he's Tony Stark.  The movie is called 'Ironman 2', for goodness sakes, not 'The Death of Ironman'.  But still, I found myself waiting, wondering, and gasping at his devil-may-care derring-do.  And at my careless use of alliteration.

There were so many improbable things happening throughout the course of the movie that it somehow became more believable, rather than less. The writer did a great job of raising the stakes, continuously, in an almost unnoticeable and yet relevant way.  At no point was I left thinking, 'Ironman would never do that.' or 'Oh, here's the Approach to the Innermost Cave' - although I must admit that the Supreme Ordeal came upon me with a mighty knock to the noggin.  But even then, it was such a childish delight, to be terrified for their wellbeing, enough to be able to shunt the analytical part of my mind to the background.

There were slow moments.  It was definitely more about the people and less about the weapons or the tech, which might be why I enjoyed it more.  But even the friends who I sometimes dare to go with, the kind who comment on everything and laugh at inappropriate moments, were silent.  That alone speaks wonders.

Would I go and see it again in the cinema?  No, probably not.  It was, as stated, a sensory overload - like indulging in fine chocolate, you're a little sick of it afterward.  Will I buy it on DVD?  Definitely.  It may even be one of the few Blu-Rays I purchase, just for that gorgeous high-def, so I can see the explosions in full detail.

Sarcasm in the written medium, gotcha.  But the effects were gorgeous, explosions or no, and I did thoroughly enjoy it, more than I was prepared to.  I hope the Blu-Ray has some neat features.

Sequels, unfortunately, tend to make me expect less, so I'm not as disappointed when they don't live up to my expectations.  Even that doesn't always work.  But I'm happy to say 2010 so far is the year of the mould-breaker, of franchises that, in their iterations, have proven themselves even better than their pioneering forebears - Bioshock 2, and now Ironman 2.  Soon to hopefully include StarCraft 2 and Dead Space 2.  It's the year of the sequel.

Now I just have to hold out for Heavy Rain 2.

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