Cowboys & Aliens – The review

I was anticipating seeing Cowboys & Aliens since I saw a preview for it.  I figured it could go one of two ways: it could be fabulous or it could be terrible.  I think it was the former.

The western has truly evolved, in a sense, when someone comes up with the idea to incorporate aliens.  I think it was a brilliant, albeit bizarre, idea, and quite a risk and possibly one the director, Jon Favreau was able to take because he gained fame with his popular Ironman movies.  What is interesting about Cowboys & Aliens in contrast with Ironman is that the villains are the ones with the best technology.

It’s not hard to imagine Harrison Ford as a cowboy, but Daniel Craig might be a bit more of a stretch.  But he pulls it off.  Ford plays Dolarhyde, a rancher used to his own way.  He plays the gruff character so well, I found myself disliking him at moments.  But that’s the sign of good acting.  Craig is Lonergan, a man who wakes up not even able to remember his own name, and gets drawn into the troubles of the town he comes into.  Also of note are Sam Rockwell as Doc and Adam Beach as Nat.  Both played their roles convincingly and with charm.

The plot is somewhat typical for a western, even if the who the villains are is innovative.  It’s still an enjoyable movie, especially for anyone who likes westerns.  After all, it even has the right ending for a western.

Since Iron Man was such a hit, Iron Man 2 is bound to be initially popular because it brings back the same main characters.

Many sequels don’t have much to sell, so they jam them full of action and ignore plot holes.  Iron Man 2, however, takes an interesting, contemplative turn.  Of course there’s action!  It wouldn’t be a story about Iron Man without it.  The action and special effects are superbly done.  And of course, Tony Stark still hides his true feelings under his ironically charming glib, narcissistic facade.  Robert Downey, Jr. is again able to bring such a paradox to life.

Also returning in Iron Man 2 is Gwyneth Paltrow as the long-suffering Pepper Potts and, the director Jon Favreau as Hogan, and the voice of Paul Bettany as the voice of Jarvis.  I wish I could say that Terrence Howard returned as Lt. Col. Rhodes, but he was replaced with Don Cheadle.  By the end of the movie, I was reconciled (mostly) to Cheadle as Rhodey, but at first it was rather dissonant.

And then were the new characters, particularly Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko, Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman, and Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer.  For me, the only one that seemed out of place was Rourke.  Are we really supposed to believe that he’s Russian?  I didn’t buy it.  Rockwell was much more believable as a second-class entrepreneur desperate to prove himself.  But I digress.

Anyone and everyone who enjoyed Iron Man should enjoy Iron Man 2.  It has the same type of witty dialog, excellent action scenes, and interesting (if muddled) relationships.  I certainly enjoyed it!  And yes, they did leave it sufficiently open for another movie…