Goldstein wasn't more than a cameo in the film but the famed DJ AM is the same Adam Goldstein who walked away from a deadly plane crash in 2008 with Travis Barker (Blink-182). Goldstein died of what was called an "accidental drug overdose" on August 28, 2009 in his NYC apartment shortly after shooting his scenes for Iron Man 2.
Our hats go off to you, DJ AM, wherever you are.
And to Jon Favreau, who reprised his role in Iron Man 2 as not only Happy Hogan, Tony's chauffeur, but also as the film's director. Not bad for a stand up comedian from Flushing!
The gorgeous Gwyneth Paltrow plays Pepper Potts in sedated fashion. Valium must have been part of the food cart selection on the movie set. Apparently Stark and Potts were supposed to be "involved" in the film. When you see it, you'll know what I mean.
Scarlett Johansson plays Agent Romanov aka Natalie Rushman aka Black Widow. Scar-Jo kicks butt and looks good doing it. Must have been fun for her to throw down the film's director in a boxing scene--great for the many frustrations that played out on the normally-blonde-bombshell's face. She's not formally introduced as Black Widow in the film, only as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Samuel L. Jackson's version of Nick Fury (as opposed to David Hasselhoff's 1998 stint); Fury is also a member of the Avengers (the film version of which will be released in 2012, directed by Joss Whedon). Scar-Jo will reprise her role as Agent Romanov aka Black Widow in the 2012 Avengers flick, along with Samuel L.'s Fury. And Jon Favreau will be one of the producers...ah, the gang's all here.
And Iron Man 2 had that kind of feeling, like watching one of the Ocean flicks--the actors were perhaps too familiar...everyone except for Rhodey, I mean, the original Rhodey originally played by Terence Howard. Cough, cough. Don Cheadle took over as Rhodey for Iron Man 2. Cheadle passed the part over when first approached to do the role for the 2008 Iron Man, but when Iron Man hit the silver screen like gangbusters, Cheadle reconsidered, leaving Howard out in the cold...which just sucks. Plain and simple. For what it's worth, we missed you Terence! And I don't think I was alone....
Tony Stark and Rhodey didn't have the same chemistry on screen. In fact, the trained cinematic eye could see a veritable soap opera playing out, thinly veiled by lackluster fight scenes. HOWEVER, no one can deny the pure cinematic POWER of MICKEY ROURKE, playing villain, Ivan Vanko.
Rourke is so terrifying, he's practically animated. From his ridged, clawed nails, to his huge stature, to the true grit and toughness that Rourke exudes from what the audience KNOWS is experiential, Rourke's Vanko stole the show! Brilliant, tattooed and totally focused on revenge, Rourke plays the best kind of villain possible, a sympathetic one. He has a soft spot for his dad and for animals. The audience can relate to this man, who has been physically and emotionally twisted by the abuse of money and power Stark's father used to curse the Vanko family.
You know I love me my Robert Downey, Jr. He's a phoenix, and so am I. He had a lot of fun with his role as Tony Stark. I LOVED Downey in Sherlock Holmes and am happy to report another is currently in pre-production (with talks of Brad Pitt as Moriarty...). But being a true comic fan, Downey's Stark is not quite as stark as the paper hero himself. Tony Stark's character was based on a combo of Howard Hughes and Errol Flynn; though Robert Downey, Jr. can certainly relate to Stark's drug abuse and therefore humanity, Downey is a truly happy guy these days and that was apparent in his portrayal of Stark, which is, I'm sorry to say, out of character.
As one of the only female comic book scholars in the country, you know my love for comic books runs deep. And it really does. Heck, I'll see any superhero movie anytime--even if the plot is about saving the world from evil face-cream--and though Iron Man is in my top three favorites for Marvel comic storylines, I felt the film itself fell into the inevitable cliche-trap that awaits all of our favorite superheroes at some point in time. Hollyhood will just keep abusing our superheroes until they're all used up...a bunch of crumpled paper-clowns who couldn't save a fly, let alone the world.
On the Housel-scale, this movie rates a strong 7.5 out of 10 (because I adore Downey and was blown away by Rourke). You will enjoy the film and if you're an Iron Man fan, see it on the big screen. I saw it in Digital format (as opposed to traditional film reels). The picture was clear. The sound was good. And I really did enjoy the soundtrack: Superheroic tunes that will appeal to a broad audience.
Next on the Housel-hit list, Robin Hood!
PS: If you LOVE Iron Man, you MUST buy a copy of Iron Man & Philosophy: Facing the Stark Reality by Mark White. I coauthored a chapter in the book about the women in Iron Man's life, including Black Widow. And if you want to prep for the upcoming flicks featuring Iron Man and Black Widow, you've GOT to read it! Really.