tobacco Knights presents
Installment 3: Iron Man 2
2010 Directed by Jon Favreau
Looking back now from 2015, it seems a bit rushed to have a second Iron Man film so close on the heels of the original before releasing a few other hero-featured films first, just to spread it out a bit. At its release, only The Incredible Hulk had reared its ugly green head, and regrettably so. But I know that only with the benefit of hind-sight can we wish for the ideal of well-planned aforethought. Who knew at the time how big the whole MCU thing would become, and capitalizing quickly on the first Iron Man’s surprise success was a no-brainer for Hollywood.
Having said that, this film did seem to anticipate the future of the MCU franchise better than the previous two installments, and explain the ties from past to present more clearly for those of us not as well versed in the printed comic lexicon. And while I didn’t like it quite as much as the first, it was a pretty enjoyable 2 hours all things considered. I actually liked Mickey Fucking Rourke as the bad guy, and I blame the director more than him for the unintelligible dialogue (much like I blamed Chris Nolan for Mumble-Bane, not Tom Hardy). The opening credit sequence in Moscow and the whole Expo thing with John Slattery as Tony’s father was a good kickoff, and the blood toxicity problem instilled immediate tension and sense of urgency, as did the government hearing trying to get Tony to hand over his suit to the military. Scarlett Johannsson was introduced really well, and I definitely liked Don Cheadle better than Terrance Howard as Tony’s buddy, Rhodey.
There were a few things I thought were forced, like the Monaco race where Tony is all of a sudden behind the wheel of one of the cars, and the ensuing fight scene with Rourke in his prototype suit. The fight at the party between drunk Tony and Don Cheadle was really dumb, and so was Mickey Rourke’s whole prison break scene. But I get it – these were all necessary means to an end for the plot. What wasn’t necessary though, and probably bothered me most, was the whole blueprint layout of the Expo village being the framework for the mystery (and by the way life-saving) element, discovered in Tony’s now trademark bit of finger-flicking nonchalantly through holographic computer images while explaining his brilliant revelations to Jarvis, his omniscient pseudo-HAL 9000/ Alfred the Butler sounding board. And Jon Favreau probably needs to stay behind the camera on this one, instead of behind the wheel racing upstream at the Monaco race to help Tony. I need him either swinging with Vince Vaughn, driving a food truck across America, or doing a better job directing.
The One Thing: The whole groundwork that’s being laid for the MCU future, along with some family history thrown in to give us bearing, was what I liked most, more so than the movie itself really. Knowing very little about the backgrounds, inter-relations, and tie-ins between the Marvel Universe characters (both major and minor), I was genuinely interested and entertained by the introduction of characters like Natasha Romanov, and by getting some historical background on Tony’s father Howard Stark, and how foundation is being paved for the eventual Avengers zenith. I know just barely enough for plot elements like these like these to be surprising and fun without being totally confusing or from completely out of nowhere, and my vast lack of knowledge keeps me from anticipating them or over-scrutinizing them when they happen. Scarlett’s Natalie is suddenly Natasha, and I’m like “Oh yeah! Cool…” And probably the best “foundation for the future” scenes, if you will, for me was Nick Fury and Agent Coulson’s involvement. Again, I know these are necessary seeds to plant for future studio profits, but I think they work well for the movie in and of itself too, and for the first time in the MCU series. It seems like a thought-out framework is actually being planned for the franchise’s future, not just a couple cameos thrown in at the end for “just in case”.
And the New Mexico epilogue with Coulson…. Thor’s Hammer!!!! I’m in!
Just Blowing Smoke: I want to try and spread the wealth in this section and not repeat the same brand of smoke so soon, but since I went with Illusione for the first Iron Man post and this is its “sequel”, I’ll use that as my rationale to talk about another one of theirs that has become one of my recent favorites. The Illusione Fume D’Amour. I stumbled across this at a local shop that only sells a few name brands, and mainly promotes their in-house brand they roll themselves. But their tobacconist highly recommended this, so I gave it a go, and it was great. A little heavier than I usually smoke, but it was well worth the punch to the equilibrium. A few days later I made an appearance at the shop I hang out and smoke at regularly, and when I mentioned this cigar several of the regulars came to attention, and inquired where I had found it. I immediately knew they were familiar with its greatness, and I possessed coveted information on its whereabouts. Knowing these guys don’t fool around when it comes to cigars they like that are hard to find, and usually buy by the box when they find them, I debated whether I should divulge their location.
As I smoke another and prepare to watch Thor, I’m still debating it….
To read The Nerdling’s review of Iron Man 2 click here