Maybe you’ve heard: the second Iron Man movie opened last week to considerable fanfare, even as the critical response and word of mouth was lukewarm.
Bits we liked included the acting (most notably, Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as the titular character), the seamless CGI, and the teaser clip for the forthcoming Thor film (don’t tell me you left before the credits finished…).
Conversely, there were also elements we found lacking (in some cases, sorely): the cookie-cutter plot progression (too convenient, too predictable… too easy), the transfer of corporate governance (extraneous and boring) and Mickey O’Rourke’s role as Ivan Vanko, a.k.a. Whiplash, Iron Man’s primary foil. O’Rourke imbues his character with a degree of dread and malevolence (a much needed counterpoint to the film’s steady diet of cool eye-candy) but his Soviet pedigree was unconvincing as was the suggestion that he could reproduce the advanced bio-metric weapons technology on demand in his poorly-lit basement.
All in all, while enjoyable as a mindless popcorn flick, Iron Man 2 struggled to keep pace with the refreshing inventiveness of its predecessor, which, admittedly, had the benefit of fewer and much lower expectations (such is the way of these things).
In any case, as you might imagine, the marketplace is currently flooded with topical swag. I’m not particularly
enamored enarmored (pun intended — groan…) with the merch produced specifically to promote the new sequel, but there are a number of excellent all-purpose Iron Man designs available on the web. Below we’ve compiled a list — by no means complete or exhaustive — of what we think are the Top 10 16. Let me add that they are arranged randomly and in no particular order… Lastly, click on the pics to link through.
10. No list of superhero-themed tees would be complete without the requisite costume print. Here we have the officially-licensed version, which is closer in appearance to the comic than the film:
Featuring the arc reactor, this cruder variant is more in line with the suit seen on screen:
9. Clever wordplay, both funny and true.
8. More punning wordplay…
6. Fictional businesses are a popular and recurring t-shirt trope. This first one is available at a number of sites:
However, I prefer yellow, which is seemingly truer to the source material:
5. A throwback print, purloined (presumably) from original comic book art, that communicates Iron Man’s kinetic, physical quality. Don’t front, yo.
4. Plays well with others…
A. Arriving in 2012, Avengers promises to be THE comic book movie event of the decade!
C. Real heroes come to the front and center.
3. Pixelated IM
2. Screened in a distressed fashion to lend it a vintage property, this tee depicts one of Iron Man’s alternative looks, the so-called Silver Centurion suit, which is lovingly detailed in nerdy depth right here.
1. I don’t like how they fit (too baggy), but I’m a fan of Junk Food tees, and it seems only fitting (excuse the pun) that we’d close with an old school relief:
Likewise, a homemade iron-on (no joke, yo) that made an appearance in what I believe was an actual issue of the comic book and then crossed over into real life:
Once more, with feeling: