Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures

Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures

by Noah Grumman ’12

Iron Man 2 (4 out of 5 stars)

When watching Iron Man 2, it is often difficult to decide whether the unbelievable plotline and technology is cheesy or badass. In this movie, the latter wins out.

The sequel centers around Ivan Vanko, the son of a Russian physicist, who has come for revenge against Tony Stark, the billionaire who invented the Iron Man suit, played by Robert Downey Jr.

There is a new villain and an entirely new plotline, but the sequel does not change the original movie’s formula. As with the first Iron Man, there is no lack of explosions or action (What would Iron Man be without explosions?)

Similar to the previous movie, there is little attempt to make the technology believable. Unlike James Bond or Dan Brown, the gadgets, like the miniature power generator in Tony Stark’s chest that saves his heart, are often not even supported by pseudo-science—and that is where the cheesiness comes into play. Put simply, the plotline is not especially realistic, and the technology is not believable.

But taking into account that Iron Man II is a superhero movie and not everything has to be perfectly logical, these flaws can be forgotten. Whether or not you are skeptical, it is difficult not to root for Tony Stark, the likeable bad-boy who can always find a way to outsmart his enemies and devise even more complex weapons. And not only is he a genius, his hilarious one-liners are never-ending. Stark may not always be believable, but the movie certainly is thrilling and entertaining.

One thing that may or may not frustrate is a character change: Iron Man’s sidekick, War Machine. Previously played by Terrence Howard, the character is now played by Don Cheadle, which may not seem important, but War Machine plays a much larger role in the sequel.

Unrealistic or not, the movie is a worthy sequel to the first Iron Man. Since the franchise is still going strong, there is little question that sooner or later there will be another sequel. An Avengers movie, combining Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and other superheroes may also be in the works.

Photo courtesy Universal Pictures

Photo courtesy Universal Pictures

Robin Hood (3.5 out of 5 stars)

He returns from a crusade in Palestine, raids some towns, takes on a false identity and fights off a French invasion. But during the entire span of two and a half hours of the movie, Robin Hood, played by Russell Crowe, does not find much time for his fairytale task of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

The movie begins in a jumble of characters and events, similar to director Ridley Scott’s previous movie, Kingdom of Heaven. For the viewers who have the patience to endure the nearly indecipherable first hour, the plot does straighten out.

Put simply, Robin Longstride (who becomes known as Robin of the Hood) is returning from the English King’s crusade to Palestine and raiding towns. When he returns to England, he sees the unfair taxes placed on the common English people. He starts fighting for the rights of the people, but a secret French plot to invade England inopportunely interrupts his plans. So, Robin Hood puts his goal on hold in order to attempt to save England. Then, it’s over. One is left wondering where the Robin Hood that stole from the rich and gave to the poor went.

In the movie’s defense, however, it is not marketed as the story of Robin Hood, but merely the story of how Robin Hood came to be. So, be forewarned: the plot of the movie is probably not what you expected.

That isn’t to say that the movie isn’t thrilling. The most advanced weapon may be the bow and arrow, but there are some intense battle scenes, especially a Normandy-style invasion of the coast of England.

Without ruining the ending, I can say that the movie leaves options open for a sequel. If a sequel were half as long and half as confusing, it could be a very successful movie.