Thursday, January 20, 2011

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 was the third-highest domestic-grossing film of 2010, with over $312 million in domestic revenue, and $620 million worldwide. My review of the first Iron Man can be found here.

blug1.png blug2.png blug3.png Iron Man 2 starts out in Moscow, where an old man, Anton Vanko, is watching the newscast where Tony Stark declared to the world that he was Iron Man. Anton's son, Ivan, walks into the room and says he shouldn't be watching that. Anton says, "I'm sorry, all I can give you is my knowledge," and immediately dies. This satisfies the Reverse Bechdel test: two men talking about something other than a woman.

pink1.png The first woman with any real lines is the U.S. Marshall who delivers a Congressional subpoena to Stark at the Expo. The second woman is Potts, who first appears at the Congressional hearing, but doesn't have any real lines until about twenty minutes into the movie.

Stark makes Potts the CEO of Stark Industries, and the first woman-to-woman line is from the notary, Natalie Rushman, to Potts. Since Potts doesn't audibly respond, I don't think this counts for OB-2. Stark is boxing when Rushman comes into the room, and invites her into the boxing ring. Potts protests, and Rushman says, "It's no problem." Potts replies, "I'm sorry, he's very eccentric." Since she's talking about Stark, the short exchange doesn't qualify for OB-3, and given that Stark and his male boxing partner are also present, and at least marginally involved in the conversation, it's not clear that this counts for OB-2 either. Similarly, when Christine Everheart, along with Justin Hammer, meets Stark and Potts at the bar, Everheart and Potts exchange one or two lines directly, but only as part of the larger conversation between all four characters.

pink2.png pink3.png The birthday party has the first real, unambiguous conversation between two women: Rushman and Potts, and even that only lasts a few lines. Potts begins to confront Natalie ("Oh don't you 'Ms. Potts' me, I know about you. Ever since you came here..."), only to have the conversation interrupted when Stark and Rhodes fall through the ceiling. It's short, but both women have at least one line, and it's not (yet) about a man, although Potts might have been about to mention Stark before they were interrupted.

In case anyone thinks the birthday conversation doesn't pass OB-3, there's another conversation between the two women in Potts' new CEO office. Rushman comes into the office and tells Potts her plane will be leaving soon, and Potts thanks her. While Stark is present, he is clearly not a part of the conversation. Indeed, Rushman makes it a point to not speak a word to him, not even in response to his direct questioning. Rushman only speaks to Stark when Potts tells her to, and even then, only after Potts has left the room.

Just like the first installment, Iron Man 2 is definitely male-dominated. On the other hand, women play a much larger role, and are generally portrayed more favorably than the men of the movie. While Stark is irresponsible to his core, Potts is the able business-woman, who only struggles to keep the company going because Stark's constant antics keep putting it in jeopardy. When Ivan takes over the drones, Justin Hammer struggles vainly to control the situation; when Rushman and Potts take control, the two women quickly figure out what needs to be done, and go about doing it. When the female Rushman and the male Hogan fight Hammer's agents, Rushman quickly and easily takes out a dozen or more while Hogan struggles to fend off just one.

I also couldn't help but notice this non-gender-related issue: When Hammer introduces his drones, he has versions for the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Marines... but none for the Coast Guard. Maybe Ivan just didn't know about them?

No comments:

Post a Comment