Iron Man 2 (belated review) and Franchises

I’ve put this off about a week mostly because I’m pathologically lazy but also in some small part due to the my almost certain knowledge that nobody reads this blog save myself.

Nobody wants a sequel anymore a sequel means that your original film (not based on an existing property) preformed moderately well at the box office. Most likely it recouped what you spent on it and the home video market will be all windfall. That’s a sequel. What studios want today is a franchise. Franchises usually come from an existing property like a comic, video game or yes board game (see Ridley Scott’s Monopoly). Franchises leave room for not only a sequel but several sequels as well as opening up tons of opportunities for product licensing like video games, computer games, novelizations, t-shirts, lunch boxes, underwear, cell phone covers, iPod covers, playing cards, board games, and tons of other cheep stuff easily made by small children. That’s exactly what Iron Man is. I’m not saying Franchises are bad, I’m just saying there made with profit in mind rather then the art of cinema. However occasionally a franchise gets a director who is both artistically and commercially viable an example would be Christopher Nolan helming the new Batman franchise.

I’m not saying Jon Favreau is a great artist. However, he comes from a comedy background (lets not forget this is the guy who wrote and starred in ‘Swingers’ as well as directed ‘Elf’), so he knows how to get a laugh, he also has a good idea of what people find cool (I speak from a stereotypical male perspective when I say cool). I think it’s that sense of comedic directing coupled with a large budget to make things explode that make both ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Iron Man 2’ so much fun to watch. The action for the sake of the action would be pretty mediocre but Favreau and the cast add a comedic flair that reassures you that their not taking it too seriously (after all this is a film about a man who flies around at the speed of sound in a suit he built in his basement launching missiles, hacking top secret databases, and mixing drinks). It’s over the top, unapologetically over the top and awesome but their completely aware of this.

‘Iron Man 2’ doesn’t offer much more in the way of story then ‘Iron Man’ did but it has Mickey Rourke as one of the ugliest most tattooed villains I have ever seen. As well as strong performances from the all star cast, Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jon Favreau.