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'Iron Man 2' clip: Take that, gritty realism!

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I tend to forget how much I enjoyed the first Iron Man movie when I saw it in theaters. That’s mostly because my memory is clouded with visions of that other big 2008 comic book movie, The Dark Knight: the superhero film with the moral ambiguity, the hushed whispers, the anti-CGI aesthetic, and the 20 million plot twists. By comparison (in my fractured memory, at least) Iron Man was the superhero movie with the funny robo-butler and the stripper pole on the airplane. Great fun, of course, but not, you know, deep.

But PopWatchers, after viewing the delicious new clip of Iron Man 2, memories of the first film are flooding back to me. I’m starting to wonder if we lavished all our attention on the wrong superhero. Take a look:

Action films nowadays tend to aim for Bourne-style gritty realism, and this clip reminds me just how fresh and exuberantly un-gritty the first Iron Man felt. You can feel zippy thrills in every candy-colored moment: the camera zooming around Iron Man as he flies between fireworks, the Dancing Starkettes wearing fake heart-reactors, the neon American flag waving in the background, and AC/DC’s bad-but-awesome “Shoot to Thrill” pumping out of the speakers.

I think it was Virginia Woolf who pointed out that throwing a good party is just as difficult, and as rewarding, as making a great work of art. By the looks of it, Iron Man 2 is going to be one hell of a party. What do you think of the clip, PopWatchers? Do you prefer your superheroes with moral ambiguity or with dancing girls? And do you think that Tony Stark can give a better keynote than Steve Jobs?

Also: New ‘Iron Man 2’ trailer: Scarlett Johansson gets the silent treatment