Why Chris Tookey is wrong about Iron Man 2

This post gives away major spoilers about Iron Man 2. If you want to see the film, you know the drill. There's no swearing in this one though.

I've just come back from seeing Iron Man 2. That I would leave the cinema thinking the thing was awesome should come as no surprise. AC/DC soundtrack, the character whose comic-book I first seriously collected (back in '86, when the silver centurion armour with massive shouder pads was new and Stark Wars was still to come) and the inclusion of War Machine and Black Widow in tight spandex - it's as if the film was made with me as a one person focus group.

When I got in, I checked out Chris Tookey's review for a laugh. Would he mention War Machine's big black weapon? Woud he mention Black Widow being sexy? (He does - noticing 'the shots of Ms Johannson's physical atractions' when shots of Hit-Girl's body parts were curiously absent from Kick-Ass despite him thinking we're meant to find her sexy).

Actually, he didn't notice Don Cheadle's big, phallic knob gun. He's still wrong though.

Now, I'm not going to defend Iron Man 2 as great art, because it's not. It's popcorn fluff that happens to rock, and rock hard. It's just that Tookey makes a few claims about the film that makes me wonder if he actually watched it without having the thing on fast forward.

Here they are:
Rourke makes a splendidly snarly villain, and it's not his fault that Justin Theroux's script makes his objectives unclear, his motivation inadequate and his tactics idiotic.
1. His objectives are very clear, since he explains them. Sure, he's got a Russian accent, but he's still speaking English. His objectives are to expose to the world that someone can cause trouble for Iron Man, using the same technology he has publicly said will not be availabe for between 5 and 15 years.

2. His motivation is explained more than once. He has been raised by a father who was exiled to Siberia for 20 years because of Stark's father dobbing him in and having him deported, and taking all the credit for the invention of the arc reactor that he had in fact helped design. The arc reactor is what powers the Iron Man armour and keeps Stark alive.

3. His tactics are what they are. He's built a bit of a lame weaponised harness with powered whips (which is all he could manage in Siberia) and all he needs to do is attack Iron Man in a suitably public venue for everyone to see. He can't beat him, so he just needs to make a spectacle.

Another weakness is that the most original action sequence comes within 20 minutes of the start, at the Monaco Grand Prix, and depicts the first weirdly under-motivated attack by Danko, who chooses to sabotage the race long before he can possibly know that the hated Stark is going to be one of the drivers.
He doesn't have to know that Stark was going to be one of the drivers. He didn't even have to know he would be there - although he sems to have read enough about him to know he would. Iron Man could make it to Monaco in minutes, so that's completely moot.
This is one of several preposterous holes in the narrative, which include an escape from prison by Danko that goes miraculously unreported by the world's media.
The world's media doesn't know he's escaped. They think he's dead, thanks to his being replaced in his cell by another man in a prison uniform with the same number. Something that gets it's own scene, which Tookey has curiously missed.

While there might not be shots of newspaper headlines or newscasters mentioning the death, we know the news has got out because Stark mentions it when Vanko later phones him.

The rest of the review just is his own opinion, which is lame but fine (although I agree it sags a bit in the middle). Curiously, he manages to say
...the studio's reluctance to endanger a family-friendly film certificate by showing bloodshed removes any remaining credibility from a hyper-violent climax that is out of all proportion to Danko's feud with Stark.
Bizarre for someone who called Kick-Ass 'evil' to then complain about the lack of bloodshed in a family film. Still, he must have missed the scene where Vanko beats up the guy with the same prisoner number, bashes his head off a sink to knock him out and then blows up the cell with him in it. And in the allegedly 'hyper-violent climax', nobody appears to die aside from the two guards Vanko hangs to get away. Maybe he missed the bit that explains the people Iron Man and War Machine fight and blow up in the big climax are robot drones and not people at all. You'd do that of you watched the thing on fast forward.

There. It fees ridiculous to be defending a popcorn comic-book flick. A bit like how I feel when I remember crying as a kid because my brother sang 'Jingle Bells, Batman smells..' because Batman doesn't smell! He does not!

I could make a point about these film reviews being important to the Mail despite being wrong because they usually reflect the Mail's poitical stance, which is why a lot of the 'factual' output is real too - but I feel stupid enough having spent so many words defending superhero hokum in public, so I won't.

Iron Man does not smell! He does not!


PH said...

Oh my. I've never read any of Tookey's reviews before. What a tosser.

Just read his review of No One Knows About Persian Cats. The only points he can make are that it looks a bit amateur, and he doesn't like the music very much.

Er, it's Iranian. They didn't have much of a budget. And it was about amateur rock bands who get arrested every time they practise, not about the lastest hottest new thing. And despite this they *still* make pretty good music.

He missed the entire point of the film.

What an utter cock.

Ernie Goggins said...

But Batman DOES smell. He did a fart behind a cart, with disastrous consequences

Five Chinese Crackers said...


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Chris Tookey gets it very wrong a lot doesn't he?

Unknown said...

You could try reading my slightly fuller review of Iron Man 2, on my website at www.christookey.com. This elaborates on why I think the Danko plot doesn't make sense. I note everything you say about his motivation and tactics, but I knew all that when I wrote my piece.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Woah. Been away for a while and missed the reply.

I've read the full review on your site now, and you don't really say much extra about the Danko plot other than that you don't like the escape plot and repeat that the world's media doesn't cover it.

As I said above:

While there might not be shots of newspaper headlines or newscasters mentioning the death, we know the news has got out because Stark mentions it when Vanko later phones him.

It's curious that you'd assume the world's media do not cover the 'death' because none is shown onscreen, and yet assume that lots of people have died in Vanko's original attack despite the lack of shots of news coverage of these multiple murders.

We're talking about a comic book movie here. If there's one thing you can assume does not happen in comic books if you don't actually see evidence of it on the page (on screen), it's death.

That you knew all that stuff makes your original review seem even more...odd.

Fancy commenting on the Kick-Ass post?