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Mask? Don't ask

Superhero flicks want the milk, but won't buy the cowl

Photo: Shan Stumpf, License: N/A

Shan Stumpf

Iron Man 2 (2010): Favreau strikes again! By having Downey's Tony Stark reveal his identity to the world at the end of the first Iron Man, he freed up his star to spend most of the sequel waddling around maskless like a piss-drunk Transformer. Coming up in Iron Man 3: The pants go, too!

Spider-Man 2(2004): This one's the granddaddy of all superheroic ego trips, boasting not one but two gratuitous unmasked sequences. The climax is a no-brainer, with Tobey Maguire's Spidey making denuded goo-goo eyes at Kirsten Dunst. But the matinee-idol narcissism attains truly breathtaking proportions in the big "runaway train" set piece. Hey, that hot cinder just made my mask suddenly unwearable! Better toss it to the four winds so this subway car full of snot-nosed kids andSopranos alumni can really grok my Christ-like suffering! What's particularly bizarre is that Maguire had been such a pain-in-the-ass prima donna off the set - Maguire was this close to being replaced by lookalike Jake Gyllenhaal - that he had to beg and scrape to be brought back after 2002's Spider-Man. He's lucky Sam Raimi didn't make him play the entire sequel from behind a Jason Voorhees mask.

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