Friday, 30 April 2010

Iron Man 2

Less sparks reveal the metal...

Six months after Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) unveiled to the world that he was Iron Man, Stark has created an era of peace between the super powers of the world but he is faced with increasing pressure from the government to allow the military use of the Iron Man suit for military application. This does not come at a good time for Stark as competition from a rival, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), is continued by the strange appearance of Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke). Vanko poses a threat to Stark as he shares the same knowledge on how to build the arc rector on which the Iron Man suit works.

Iron Man 2's story shares a little too much similarity to that of the original. Like the first, Iron Man 2 is not aggressive as it bathes itself in some quick humour and a rather silly middle-arc. This keeps the comic book feel of the source material unlike The Dark Knight, for instance, which attempted to rework Batman into a more real world setting. That said, Iron Man 2 does a great job of seeming real with some potentially viable politics occurring: the US government wanting the Iron Man suit for military application makes sense. In addition to this, Iron Man 2 does a decent job of setting in motion the upcoming Avengers film. Nevertheless, the film's narrative falters in two distinct ways: familiarity and lack of focus. The problem this time around is that the villains, and their motivations, are too familiar to that of the villain in the first film. Both Hammer and Danko appear as two parts of Obadiah Stane from the first film, and like Stane before they want the technology behind the Iron Man suit. Granted, Danko is able to make the arc reactor himself due to an interesting sub-plot, which plays less into the story than expected, but the villains ultimately come down to just wanting what Tony Stark has. Consequently, the arrival of two villains also brings along a few more heroes including Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and the arrival of War Machine. While it is great to see the Avengers plot moving ahead, it results in less glory time for Iron Man himself. By the film's closure, it feels as if Iron Man had not done enough with so many different characters getting perhaps a little more screen-time then they ought to. There was talk of re-shoots having to take place for the film and it shows at times: with so many characters and villains, the films pacing can feel offish on the odd occasion because there is just a little too much for what the story is trying to convey. Perhaps if structured a little more like The Dark Knight, in terms of villains and heroes, Iron Man 2 would have been a bit more coherent, but I suppose it just was not 'part of the plan'. Nevertheless, it is a workable story that keeps things going but it could be a lot tighter.

On the acting front there is a lot more to be desired, but there are still some slight issues. Downey Jr. and Paltrow slide back into their respective Iron Man characters with relative ease. It is also great to see how both build upon their characters as the character development allows them to: Downey Jr. is able to emphasise the despair and narcissist feeling he has about his own individual mortality, whereas Paltrow's gives Pepper Potts the more assertive nature she needs to keep Tony Stark in check. While their romantic relationship is not as strong as it could be, it is noticeable from their scenes together. Don Cheadle replaces Terence Howard from the first film and does a respectable enough job. The rest of the cast are adequate to a point with Rockwell overacting his role with decent results, Johansson being a little dull with hers, and Rourke not having nearly enough screen time to be a menacing villain.

The computer graphics are nice to look at but are never overly convincing. While they work there are odd occasions where the texturing on the Iron Man suits appears too cartoon-like. That said they look great in action scenes, of which there should have been more, while the special effects only prove to enhance the overall graphics.

Much like the first film, there is little in terms of swearing and no nudity beyond revealing outfits. Sex is merely referred to in passing while the violence, with some mild blood in the odd scene, is pretty similar to the first film with explosions, gunfire and hand-to-hand combat taking place.

Iron man 2 is a fun film but it is just not as good as its predecessor. While the basic plot resembles that of the original, Iron Man 2 is far too ambitious for its own good. The new heroes do not develop strongly enough and take away vital screen time from Iron Man. Likewise, the new villains feel underused and ultimately never pose any real threat, especially when they are easily outnumbered and outmatched by the heroes. The narrative is not focused enough and the action sequences are never as spectacular as they should be. Nevertheless, the narrative introduces some interesting developments and gets the basic ideas across to the audience, while the actors do a good job. Like Quantum of Solace, Iron Man 2 feels like a weak middle ground for a possible satisfying conclusion: the potential is there.


Screen date: 1 May 2010
Release date: 1 May 2010

Wednesday, 28 April 2010 not Resistance 3?

A recent article over at System Link made an interesting theory that the viral site gknova6 may in fact be related to an upcoming Resistance title instead of the heavily believed Call of Duty 7: this may not be the case.

It is a nice guess until further digging into the registrar information reveals that the original assumption of Call of Duty 7 may indeed be the correct one.

The registrar information for gknova6 reveals the registrar to be It comes as no surprise that the exact same registrar belongs to Treyarch's official home page.

The registrar for Insomniac's official home page is, which happens to be the same registrar for all four viral websites related to Resistance 2.

While we will only officially know until the viral website reveals the game ultimately being marketed, it is a strong assumption that Resistance 3 is by no means related to gknova6: but I suppose you never know.