I now have a license to drive in Korea and an international license to drive in Canada, my home und native 땅. In short: I failed the course test twice, passed on the third try; I "failed**" the road test once, passed today. That's the simplified version. Seriously, I could write a book about my past four
Psychedelic Kimchi turns five years old near the end of May. As a vanity project and testament to -- for the most part -- good writing, as well as a lesson to expat blogs that it isn't what you write about where you live but how you write about where you are, I'm proud of what I and my cohorts have accomplished. What I'm starting to focus on now is what I can accomplish outside of the PK sandbox. Psychedelic Kimchi is a hobby that became an obsession that needs to become a hobby again, for the greater good of my success as a professional writer. It pains me as much as it pains you, Constant Gardener, but as the man said, get busy living or get busy blogging.
I saw Iron Man 2 today. It rocked my world. A few days ago, I re-watched the original film for what must have been the sixth time, and while I still feel it to be the superior film, Iron Man 2 expands Tony Stark's story -- and the Marvel Movie Universe© -- very deftly.
I love the original for its Rockyesque buildup. Tony Stark's character arc coupled with his creation of the Iron Man armor and his subsequent testing of it is what makes the movie for me; and while the climax is somewhat of a letdown, it's an origin story, which I'm partial to. I like Star Wars better than The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather more than Part II, Gang Hyejeong circa Oldboy, before she had surgery to look plain and sacrificed her unique beauty. You get the picture. And while time will tell whether Iron Man's sequel will hold up as well as the first installment, it has a lot going for it. For one, the action is ramped up in a very organic way. There have been complaints that the movie gets bogged down by character moments, but with all the newly introduced characters such moments are necessary and meaningful. If you're not invested in the greater Marvel Universe storyline plan, "your mileage may vary***," because while Tony Stark is the hero of the film, he kinda takes a backseat in the second act to allow SHIELD to make its mark. For me, Iron Man 2 was a blast. It's not as self-contained as its predecessor, but, keeping in mind what is to hopefully come, it's a perfect bridge. It also trumps the first film in several ways, namely (in no particular order):
1) ScarJo as Black Widow (I'm not usually flustered, but Mrs. Ryan Reynolds flustered me. I'm only human.) 2) the terrific dialogue 3) Happy "Hulk" Hogan 4) Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell**** 5) the Captain America shield/SHIELD gag 6) I could go on, but...fuck it 7) the opening music 8) the flirting with the Demon in a Bottle storyline 9) Justin Hammer's little-brother complex and his presentation of first his arsenal and then his military tech10) how War Machine becomes War Machine 11) Jon Favreau and RDJ's symbiotic knack for making back-and-forth dialog scenes and buying strawberries compelling 12) the second Stan Lee mistaken-identity cameo 13) Ivan Meets G.I. Joe 14) Fin Fang Foom.
I'm kidding about that last one, but the more I think about it the more I love Iron Man 2. It will stand the test of time. Most of the negative reviews blame the film for not being as much of an individual character piece as the first film, but that isn't its intention. An interesting movie probably could be made about the six months between the first and second installments in the Iron Man oeuvre, wherein Tony Stark privatizes peace, but it's unnecessary; we learn that Stark is Top Dog in a few economically written and well-placed sentences early on, then he gets his comeuppance, from foes then friends. Stark rejects being part of a team, and by movie's end, even though he has had an epiphany (one of many), he gets rejected. Iron Man 2 works as a stand-alone sequel, but in terms of the Avengers film, it works perfecterly. Stay after the end credits for additional Avengers goodness. I did, despite Legs's protestations that there was no end-credits scene and that the cleaning lady wanted us get-gone. It's there. And it's divine. And Legs owes me one million dollars for betting me it wasn't there.
You know what didn't work in Iron Man 2? Don Cheadle as Rhodey. Terrence Howard actually appeared to be Tony's friend; here, Cheadle delivers a cute nod to the casting change then proceeds to act like a cardboard box for most of the remainder of the film. He redeems himself in his last line, however, one of the film's many great dialog exchanges. Still, Terrence Howard would have made the Iron Man-War Machine tandem that much more resounding. Odin weeps. And I seem to be the only one Sam-Weirded out by DJ AM spinning at Tony's birthday. In case you didn't know, DJ AM has terrible taste in music.
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.
This is my final Psychedelic Kimchi post.
I love you all. And I'll see you later in another incarnation.
Unless you see me first.
* because I always make garbage posts!
** I failed that test like Al Gore lost the 2000 election.
*** an actual quote from the movie
**** Shame my father's last name wasn't "Rockwell." I'll admit, Forbes rolls off the tongue nicely, but it's nothing compared to Rockwell. I'm as jealous of Sam Rockwell's name as the character he plays in Iron Man 2 is jealous of Tony Stark's legacy.