GENRE: Superhero demolition derby
THE PITCH: After outing himself as Iron Man, zillionaire Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) contends with vengeful, whip-cracking Ivan Vanko (tattooed, Russian-accented Mickey Rourke), a smarmy arms merchant (Sam Rockwell), romantic tension with his assistant (Gwyneth Paltrow) and a blood toxicity problem?
MONEY SHOTS: Ivan keeps a toothpick in his mouth when he strides onto the Grand Prix track and shears racecars to ribbons with whips of lightning. Tonys pal James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) dons an earlier version of the armor for a brawl that seems to reference Rock Em Sock Em Robots. Scarlett Johansson maintains perfect hair while kicking all kinds of ass. Iron Man and Rhodes War Machine have final showdowns in an amusement park cherry orchard that prove explosively exciting without dragging on forever.
BEST LINE: I have successfully privatized world peace. What more do you want? Tony asks, displaying the kind of hubris that anticipates a major fall.
WORST LINE: Are you that guy? Because if you are, you can solve the riddle of your heart, spymaster Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, basically playing himself) tells Tony while keeping a straight face.
(Photo courtesy Industrial Light and Magic/Marvel)
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