Iron Man 2
kicks off the 2010 summer blockbuster season in style!
Typical of most superhero franchises, the first Iron Man
movie introduced the central hero by spending half the film on the character’s origin story. The rest is spent leading up to the big hero vs. villain action packed battle. Iron Man 2
jumps right in by introducing us to a new villain – Ivan Vanko a.k.a. Whiplash a.k.a. Backlash (Mickey Rourke). Rourke is a scary looking man and a scary good actor. Speaking of good actors, Robert Downey Jr. returns to play Tony Stark and does not disappoint. Not reprising his role is Terrence Howard. Instead Don Cheadle takes over as Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes who gets to suit up and play the sidekick War Machine.
The rest of the cast is also pretty solid. Gwyneth Paltrow, who is back as Stark’s chief exec. and confidant, Pepper Potts. Also back are Samuel L. Jackson (SHIELD leader Nick Fury) and Jon Favreau (Tony’s driver and bodyguard - Happy Hogan), both with bigger roles. Some other newcomers include Sam Rockwell as the greedy Justin Hammer, CEO of Stark Corporation’s biggest rival and Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow.
I expected a healthy dose of CGI and killer action – and that’s exactly what I got. From Vanko’s electrical whips to Hammer’s robot army, Iron Man 2
delivers on the promise of being that big-budget-summer-blockbuster. But my favorite scene is the final battle that pairs Iron Man and War Machine against Hammer’s army and Ivan. Now that’s good stuff.
Finally here are a few thoughts on director Jon Favreau and his writer Justin Theroux. Theroux perfectly captures Tony Stark’s personality as well as his personal struggle with his impending death. Stark is clearly conflicted between being driven by fame and hero worship and wanting to do the right thing – even when he talks about patriotism and peace for mankind, he delivers the message like a carnival pitchman. Theroux makes this complexity of the character believable.
Then there is director/actor Favreau. As the director, he continues to “blow-up” the Iron Man
franchise. The action sequences are perfectly executed and the use of humor makes this superhero one of the best. As the actor, he is the comic relief as Tony’s sidekick Happy Hogan. During one scene Hogan spends about five minutes fighting one bad guy, while the more nimble Black Widow takes down a dozen.
Iron Man 2
is just as entertaining as the first one, and with the new characters and more villains it easily earns a Worth Buying.
NOTE: Stick around after the credits. There is a short teaser regarding the next installment in the Avengers story...Remember the Mighty Son of Odin??
SHOULD KIDS SEE IT?
The PG-13 rating is for sequences of sci-fi action and violence and while it is not graphic, there are a few scenes that might scare younger viewers. There are also several scenes where we see Tony drinking and one scene where he’s completely intoxicated (on a positive note all of his friends are disgusted by his behavior). There are several sexual references but with less skin than the first one.
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
Q: What are the messages (or the message) of this movie?
A: The overriding message of Iron Man 2
is that people with power must handle it responsibly. In this sequel, the real battle for Tony Stark is how to manage himself as The Iron Man. Clearly, he will be a force for good, but remains a lone wolf, who sometimes uses his dual identity for personal gain. Unfortunately, along with the incredible power given to him by his arc reactor powered heart comes palladium poisoning that will eventually kill him. Instead of facing that reality appropriately, he shucks responsibility, gives in to alcohol, and takes unnecessary risks.
Q: What should Christians take away from this movie?
A: There is no doubt that we as Christians must learn the same lesson that Tony had to learn. Unlike Stark’s power which comes from an arc reactor, our power is given to us by the Spirit of God. We must use the gifts God has given us to help others, not ourselves. God’s power in our lives is not just for our benefit, but for all.
That was Peter’s message in 1 Peter 4:10: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.”
Thus, we can’t become greedy, sinful, or passive people. We must use the power God has given us through His Spirit to help everyone we can.
Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?
A: There are people all around us who need help. And since we follow Jesus, we have His truth, grace, love, and mercy to show to others…which are quite powerful! We just need to decide to use God’s power in lives the way He wants us to use it. For instance:
- Instead of using the Bible’s truth to make ourselves look smart, let’s humbly teach someone about Jesus’ love.
- Instead of using the gifts of the Spirit to give ourselves a “big shot” reputation or to build ourselves up, we should use the gifts to build others up.
- Instead of using the Holy Spirit’s power to point to ourselves, let’s use God’s gifts to point to Jesus.
These kinds of attitudes and actions will help us do what God wants us to do: serve others.