Iron Man 2 (2010)

Pedal to the metal

Iron Man 2 was always going to be one of 2010’s biggest films, but the fact that comeback king Mickey Rourke is playing uber-nemesis Whiplash has made it a must see. And director Jon Favreau clearly knows he’s got a casting coup on his hands, as the film opens straight into a sequence which introduces Whiplash’s alter-ego, Russian physicist Ivan Vanko. All sweaty bulk with greasy hair, gold teeth and thick accent, first impressions of the character are, admittedly, more pantomime villain that criminal mastermind. And, as Rourke delightedly chews the scenery during that first scene, hopes are in danger of being dashed. But, as the story progresses, and Ivan morphs into Whiplash, Rourke’s physicality and laid back humour attune him to the role until he becomes hugely entertaining and highly watchable. Indeed, the same could be said for the film itself; although it starts off rather slow, it picks up speed from mid-point and runs full tilt into a high-adrenaline finale that provides a satisfying, if predictable, conclusion and sets up future films – and franchises.

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The Spirit (DVD)

Spirited away…

After his successful collaboration with Robert Rodriguez on 2005’s Sin City, Frank Miller clearly caught the film-making bug. His adaptation of Will Eisner’s seminal comic book The Spirit marks the graphic novel artist’s solo directorial debut and, while visually reminiscent of Sin City, it unfortunately lacks any of that film’s narrative heart and soul.

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