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Opinion

Artistic License: What Makes A Good Superhero Movie?

‘Iron Man 2’ is strong, but has room for improvement


What makes a good superhero comic book? It’s more than just action and good guys fighting bad guys. Generally speaking, you have to have a likable hero, one that inspires others, and one that does have some slight flaws.

For the villain, you need one that is not just your average criminal, but one with a complex history. And that while they are hated, you have to know why that is, and what caused them to become a super villain.

You also need to have real character growth over time, of all the characters. The main characters and their supporting cast, and the villains as well.

The outstanding superhero comics over the decades have had all of this and more. With the comic book format, you have plenty of opportunity to develop the characters fully, with extensive origins and histories.

But, what about good superhero movies? The kind that are based on beloved comic book characters. Can a superhero movie do justice to a comic book character? Yes, it is possible. Over the years, there have been hits and misses with this kind of movie, but sometimes the filmmakers get it right.

The Iron Man films so far have definitely been examples of great superhero movies. Tony Stark is definitely flawed, but the character has been written in such a way that he also has aspects of himself that inspire those around him. In Iron Man 2, we get an even better look at the positive and negative sides of Tony.

Whiplash is a good villain, and this movie shows his background and also gives us the reason behind his choice to go up against Tony. We also see his humanity, which is also important in a major bad guy. Evil as they may be, it is fundamental that we see some redeeming quality, perhaps see the spark of hope that they can be changed.

If there is a weak point in Iron Man 2, it would be that we are not seeing as much growth as we should in Tony’s supporting cast. Pepper Potts needs a bit more development, and hopefully with the events toward the end of the movie (I will not spoil it for those who have not seen it yet), we will see more growth in the next installment.

Rhodey is a good character, and his development into War Machine was nice to see. However, I think we need to see a bit more of his background. Again, perhaps that will come in the future.

Unfortunately, this is common with movies, as there is simply a limited amount of time. Supporting cast often are not as developed as they are in the comics, but as a film series continues, the growth can happen if the characters are well written.

Comic book fans always need to remember that the stories and origins are usually at least slightly different from what they are in print. Some fans are critical of the differences, but overall, if the movies are well written, with quality acting and directing, most fans will accept those differences and sit back and enjoy the new stories with their heroes.

Overall, I think Iron Man 2 was a great movie. With the exception of the lack of supporting character development, it has the elements needed to be a quality superhero story. It did not have quite the punch of the first film, because origin stories are so powerful. However, the examination into Tony’s history and family was a nice touch.

I highly recommend this movie to both Iron Man fans and movie fans alike. Great story, quality acting, and an overall fun experience.

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