The Iron Man franchise

is completely on the inherent charisma of its actors. RDJ is always magic, Mickey Rourke was appropriately grizzled, and Don Cheadle and Gwyneth Paltrow were reliably spot on in their character's reactions to Tony Stark. Even Sam Rockwell made the not-quite-as-awesome-as-Tony-Stark Justin Hammer so interesting, I almost liked him, even at his whiniest.

Also, fabulous 3-piece suits.

My one complaint: Scarlett Johansson. She lacks an on-screen present needed to meet the enormity of her castmates' presence and the film's genre. Frankly, she does better in small films that focus on reigned in performances, and that's fine. Really, her casting is another example of Hollywood giving undeserving young actresses roles that they can't live up to. I like to think of it as Winona Ryder Syndrome. She was great in quirky and spunky roles with modern sensibilities (I even include Little Women here), but faded into the background in the big-name directed and big-presence acted Dracula and The Age of Innocence.

Really, where are all the fun actresses with lots of personality and presence? Why does Hollywood always rely on young talent that doesn't necessarily bring the goods, acting-wise?


  1. I literally just got back from seeing this, so its interesting to read your review.

    I liked Scarlett Johansson's character but I see what you mean... she definitely could have played it up more.

  2. I also think they've generally done a very good job of casting--RDJ is perfect, Rourke was great, etc. I agree about Scarlett Johansson and would add that there didn't seem to be a huge need for the character.

    The next step for the series has to be to actually figure what to do with the characters--and perhaps put the good ones in scenes together--how many did Rourke and RDJ have together? 3 I think--and two were basically the same and the third was meaningless in terms of drama. They have great actors but just can't seem to figure out a compelling story or opposition. However, I enjoyed this one, though it felt a bit more blah than the first.

    PS - the scene where a defeated Whiplash starts laughing. Weirdly exact copy of Predator, better done by Community last week.