Review: Iron Man 2

Bigger, louder, more heroes, more villains, same old Tony Stark/Robert Downey Jr. The sequel to Iron Man may not be as good as the original but it’s a helluva lot of fun and a great kick-start to summer eyeball candy.

Jon Favreau returns to the director’s chair for the next installment of Iron Man and further sets up the cinematic tapestry that is The Avengers (Iron Man + Incredible Hulk  + Iron Man 2 + Captain America + Thor = The Avengers).  It may not bring a lot of new to the franchise but if it ain’t broke….


Tony Stark has come out of the superhero closet, publicly revealing he’s Iron Man. Well his ego certainly hasn’t suffered for it. His higher profile has attracted a rival arms dealer Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) and son of a business collaborator that Stark’s father screwed over (Mickey Rourke having fun). If that wasn’t enough, the government (smarmily represented by Gary Shandling) wants his armour, his best friend James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) wants him to give it up and his assistant/love interest (Gwenyth Paltrow) is not handling it all so well. Did I mention a secret clandestine organization wants him too and he’s dealing with some health problems by wearing the suit? No? Well there’s a lot to keep track of.

AND THERE’S A LOT TO KEEP TRACK OF. The rule is always bigger and louder for sequels, especially superhero movies. Apparently that includes stuffing as many people in the 120 minutes as possible, characterization be damned.  Iron Man 2 is no different. The two actors that suffer the most from this is Gwenyth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson. Paltrow had great moments in the original but here just basically has an annoying nervous breakdown the entire time. Johannssen is a pretty cardboard cutout that kicks ass. Not much emoting.

Another issue is the story. How is this not exactly the same movie as the first? Bad guy feels he’s mistreated by the Stark family/legacy (i.e. daddy) and don’t like where the company is going so they want to take it out on the son. Yep, same premise…but wait…

I don’t care.

It’s Iron Man.

Robert Downey Jr. turns it up to eleven (yes even more than the first) while Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell swallow, chew and spit out every scene they’re in. Fun to watch. Don Cheadle is a great addition as Rhodey even if he suffers a bit from one-dimensionalism (it’s a word). But we didn’t come for the acting.

Great action, big explosions, more Stark. Done, done and done. It may be a slow start but once the repulsor rays and whiplashes get going, you are firmly in Summer Blockbuster mode.

IRON MAN 2 Rating:
3 stars – good movie, take a friend. A good extension of the Iron Man franchise. More than just dumb fun and really only lacks as it tries to give you too much of a good thing. (too many actors, story is almost a retread of the first).

Coming Attractions:
The Adjustment Bureau (release date: September 17, 2010) –Matt Damon is on a hell of a run lately and Emily Blunt has been great even if the movies she’s been in sucked (cough WOLFMAN cough). This movie feels a bit Matrixy…but more the first one than the last two.


Random Recommendations
What Lies Beneath (2000) – Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson in Iron Man 1&2) wrote this Robert Zemeckis directed story about a woman, Michelle Pfeiffer, who sees ghosts and her husband, Harrison Ford, who doesn’t believe her. Better and creepier than my description.


Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995) – Pulp Fiction inspired a lot of crappy ensemble movies. This isn’t one of them. A group of criminals have been marked for death by the mob and this is how they spend their last few days. Good times. Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Steve Buscemi, Treat Williams, Christopher Walken, Christopher Lloyd star.


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