Trailer Tuesday: Iron Man 2
The three golden rules for producing a good sequel: 1) Make sure to keep, and enhance, the elements that the audience loved the first time around. 2) Dump what didn't quite work. And 3) Up the stakes for the hero.
Judging by the trailer for Iron Man 2, the filmmakers are sticking very closely to this winning formula. Set six months after the events of the first film, here we have Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) more of a cocky showman than ever before. And this is despite the fact that he's one of the few superheroes to "out" himself, and no longer hide behind a secret identity.
Of course the problem with going public is that you put yourself and your loved ones in danger, and in Iron Man 2 Stark is faced with a number of new threats: not only does the US government want to seize his groundbreaking Iron Man suit, but there's also rival millionaire industrialist Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), sexy spy Natasha Romanovna/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and vengeful Russian Ivan Vanko/Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) to contend with.
Thank goodness then for the help of Stark's two greatest allies, assistant-turned-business-partner Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and military liaison Lt. Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard). And as the Iron Man 2 trailer and this poster reveals, this time around Rhodes gets to don his own suit of armour as comic book fan-favourite War Machine. Not that this was a big secret though, given that director Jon Favreau has been talking about it for months, and even in the first film Rhodes made the teasing comment "Next time, baby!" while looking at an Iron Man suit.
Anyway, I must say that Iron Man 2 is looking great. I wasn't particularly impressed when the first image of Rourke appeared online, but seeing Whiplash in action now, he's my most highly anticipated component of the film. I love how in the trailer he strikes fear into Stark, who very quickly realises he is utterly powerless without his suit.
I'm also impressed by the handling of the Stark-Potts relationship. Clearly the couple are never intended to morph into whiny, goo-goo eyed duplicates of Spider-Man's Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Stark and Potts are still very flirty and non-committal about their bond, which should make for lots of laughs in the film... as the delightful "You complete me" moment in the trailer suggests.
I think it's pretty clear from the trailer for Iron Man 2 that we can expect this film, like the first one, to be a lot of breezy fun. My only concern is that the film has perhaps overstuffed itself with villains (a common mistake with superhero movies), but we'll have to wait for the finished product to really judge how well they are all accommodated.
Iron Man 2 is released in North America on 7 May. Although a local release date has yet to be confirmed, I think it's likely South Africans will be able to enjoy the film from the same date, give or take a few weeks.