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Review: Iron Man 2

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Thursday, May 6, 2010

One of the best things about the Iron Man movie universe is that its hero, the flamboyant billionaire tech genius Tony Stark, is out about being a superhero. When the majority of do-gooders that dress up to fight crime conceal their true identity behind a mask, Tony's out there cashing in on his identity as Iron Man to the benefit of his company's stock price, attendance to his newly relaunched Stark Expo and to the enthusiastic public who have turned him into something like a rock star. With that kind of hubris on display, it's easy to see why director Jon Favreau and actor-turned-screenwriter Justin Theroux decide to crash Tony's ego back down to earth in Iron Man 2.

Much of the same synergy from Favreau's first movie is in the sequel. Once again Robert Downey Jr. is bang on with his Tony Stark, managing to combine all of the best traits of arrogance and pop charisma that a gestalt of Steve Jobs, Hugh Hefner and Donald Trump might possess. Even when Stark's bravado soars too high Downey manages to include a bit of humanity in his portrayal the character. If there's one true thing that the Iron Man movies have done, it's made us believe that even rich, good-looking superheroes have their problems too.

Favreau adds on more action in Iron Man 2 than its predecessor. There's a spectacular superhero fight at a car race in Monaco that serves as the world's introduction to Whiplash, Mickey Rourke's villain. But while the first Iron Man tried to keep a tight lid on the plausibility on the technology and action, Iron Man 2 is more like the latter issues of the comic book: now that the origin of Stark's marvelous suit is out of the way, there's more stretching of believability in the action, the elements of danger and how advanced the movie's portrayal of technology is. Still, it's nothing that won't rip you out of the movie experience, even if you may find yourself wondering how Rourke's character can survive multiple head-on impacts with a car.

The cast is solid. Going in the one guy that I was most worried about was Don Cheadle, here taking over from Terrence Howard. Howard's Rhodey, Stark's best friend and military liason, was one of the best parts of the first Iron Man and I didn't want to see him go from the cast. But if someone's going to replace Howard as Rhodey, Cheadle's a solid replacement for when we finally get to see him suit up and smash stuff as War Machine. Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts feels a little shortchanged in the film even though she's given more to do this time. As for the newcomers, Sam Rockwell's Justin Hammer is a colorful addition to the Iron Man movie mythos and Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow (here not called by her comic book nom de plume) is good in her supporting role. And while Whiplash/Ivan Venko is two-dimensional, with Mickey filling the character's boots he becomes a worthy adversary for Tony to battle on the physical front. Favreau does know the strengths of his cast and allows them the right amount of screen time to keep Iron Man 2's engine purring along to its conclusion, right down to having just enough screen time with Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury as to keep the interest stoked for the Avengers movie. Strangely enough the film's second act does feel like it's lacking an action sequence even though there's one in there.

Fans of the first movie are going to be pleased with Iron Man 2: there's more battles to enjoy as eye candy, more hints at the future integrated Marvel movie universe (the Captain America nod is particularly brilliant) and the same manic RDJr. energy to enjoy. It's not on the same level as The Dark Knight but this next model of Iron Man is equally as entertaining as the first. Iron Man 2 is a good way to start off the movie summer of 2010.

Review Score: 76 / 100

Quasar
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Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

Bitchin!

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
Strider
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Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

Hot damn!

www.gamingoutsiders.com
Daltons chin dimple
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Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

I disagree, in that it's not as good as the first. Even though recent superhero franchises have shown that once the origin story is out of the way, the second instalment is better it is a shame that IM2 is slightly worse. But hey, opinions are like assholes!

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"