Friday, May 21, 2010
Iron Man 2: Demon in a Bottle
I gotta say, I loved Iron Man 2.
I'm glad Marvel kept Favreau as the director. Unlike Michael Bay, who tries to emulate the "actors talking over each others' lines because that is how people talk in real life" style of acting, Favreau does it right and it doesn't seem too fake. It only seems fake in that nobody is that witty that much of the time. It's not as bad as a Kevin Smith movie, I mean.
The sequel avoids the pitfalls of some super-hero genre, wherein there are simply too many villains. In fact, I think there's a perfect proportion of villains... the Whiplash Drones and Whiplash himself. I guess Justin Hammer can also be considered a villain, buthe's not suited up, so he doesn't really count.
They did, however, go kind of overboard with the heroes. Iron Man, War Machine, Black Widow, Sgt. Fury... the thing they did well to balance this is avoid having to really explain the characters. Even if you didn't see the first Iron Man, Nick Fury's character explains himself through his actions. Black Widow does as well... in fact, I don't think they ever really use her code name, do they? You don't need to know her comic book history to know she's a fucking badass chick who will eff your ess up if you're in her way.
But what I loved most about IM2 was, in fact, it's portrayal of Tony Stark's alcoholism. It was so hysterical.
I should perhaps at this point say that Stark didn't seem like an alcoholic so much as a drunk, to me. And there is a big difference. I should know, because I wanted to get treated for alcoholism at one time, convinced I was one, until they started questioning me. it was pretty funny. I was in the hospital to have my gall bladder taken out, when I was asked if I had any other problems they should know about. I said immediately, alcoholism and depression.
Well, first they started asking me about my depression. How often do I hear voices talking to me? Telling me to do things I know are wrong? Uh, none. What? And then things like, do you ever harm yourself on purpose, like cutting yourself with a razor? --Really? No. I don't do that. I pick at scabs but that's as bad as I try to hurt myself, and I'm really not trying to hurt myself there, they just fucking itch. Anyway, all the depression questions went along this line, making me realize that people with depression are fucking crazy, God bless them and all and I hope they get the help they need. I wasn't one of them.
Then came the alcoholic portion of my treatment. They told the nurses to be prepared for when I get "the shakes." The what? Shakes. You start to shake uncontrollably from withdrawing from alcohol. I do? Yes, when did you last drink? Uh, a week ago, before this gall bladder shit started up. You've not drank in a week and you're not having withdrawal? I guess not. Do you want a drink now? Not especially.
So I came to realize that I wasn't an alcoholic, and that I was just stupid and didn't know when I'd had enough to drink. That's a drunk. And I feel now that you really should pity alcoholics. True alcoholics really can't go without a drink... believe me, if the way they described the symptoms, I'd keep a bottle on hand for emergencies too. They're not getting a real choice to drink. Drunks, however, always choose to drink. They know they might have a hangover, or puke, or something the next day. They choose to do that.
Anyway, this is all backstory to talk about how I love how they displayed Tony Stark's drinking problem. I say this because I think drunks are a more widespread problem than alcoholism. I only know like one real alcoholic. He literally can't function without drinking, or at least, he used to not be able to. Now drunks? I know drunks. I grew up in Kentucky, after all.
Tony Stark had a battle with the bottle, and they laid the groundwork for that in this film with the scene with DJ/AM. In the above shot, you can see a clearly disheveled Tony Stark with the DT's, sweating like he's in Hotlanta during sweat season, unshaven, and worried about something. Is this an alcoholic, as they're trying to portray with the whiskey bottle next to his left hand? No, it is not. If he was alcoholic, that bottle wouldn't be nearly as full. And he wouldn't be worried about whether his multinational is going to collapse from his drunken neglect (after all, he does still have Pepper Potts to run the thing). No, he's a drunk, realizing that he's really fucking his life up getting so drunk all the time. Big difference.
Anyway, I've always wanted to see the scene that regular people see with the drunks in their lives, regarding Iron Man, which they showed as Stark doing all sorts of repulsor stuff while intoxicated. That was awesome... that's exactly how it would be. An alcoholic? God, Stark would kill himself after one week in the armor. But a drunk? Yeah he'll be repulsoring expensive champagne thrown into the air by chesty babes, trying to dance to DJ/AM's phat beats, etc. This is what he was... Stark was a drunk, NOT an alcoholic. An alcoholic would only look that way if the whiskey bottle was nearly empty and the stores were all closed.
But it could get a lot more realistic than that... like, he shows up to a fight with Kang The Conqueror, the time travel terrorist, he's LATE and besides that flying erratic with only one boot jet working because he's still too drunk from the night before to lace the other one up properly. And everybody on the Avengers team just GROANS knowing that he's three sheets.
"Oh, Gods," Thor would say, praying to the one-father Odin for an intervention. Captain America would simply shake his head in disapproval, being the epitome of a Boy Scout. The Wasp would make some quip, "Really, Tony, again?" And Kang would be all tough and shit. "Drunken sow! You complete my ultimate plan! Now I will use you for my foil to undo the" blah blah blah, whatever Kang, you always lose.
Or... Stark showing up in the Iron Man armor on top of the Golden Gate Bridge's arches, repulsoring pigeons and peeing on the cars below.
Or Stark standing down The Mandarin and his ten rings, only to puke in his own helmet uncontrollably as Mandy gets away. "Just... glug... just give me a minute... oh gawd..."
Anyway, the movie was awesome, you should go see it.