‘Iron Man 2’ is very fun, but the story in this sequel isn’t as interesting as the first origin story. It also felt longer than the original. Why? Dialogue was heavy and the action sequences weren’t as prevalent. Overall, an entertaining experience, but my main criticism of the first one was that it needed MORE action at the beginning and in the middle. This new film has a brief stint of action a quarter of the way in, but then becomes laughable halfway through.
With the world now aware of his dual life as the armored superhero Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from the government, the press, and the public to share his technology with the military. Unwilling to let go of his invention, Stark, along with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) at his side, must forge new alliances — and confront powerful enemies (Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell).
Robert Downey Jr., is once again excellent as Tony Stark. He truly nails the caustic, pithy eloquence of Stark from the comic books. Don Cheadle was equivalently as good as Terrence Howard was in the original playing Rhodes. There was no real difference. Mickey Rourke was fantastic as the main villain Vanko, and brought the gravitas that Jeff Bridges did in the first part. Scarlett Johansson on the other hand created a spark on screen, she was a highlight. She plays Black Widow (she was the sixteenth member of The Avengers), a sexy Russian femme fatale spy who works for S.H.I.E.L.D and whose job is to make sure Iron Man doesn’t stray for the worse. Sam Rockwell (Moon) was perhaps my favorite after Downey. He single handedly stole some scenes from Rourke and Downey himself. He’s really good and it is just a matter of time before he’s recognized for some gold hardware at the Oscars. Gwyneth Paltrow was slightly irrelevant. Funny enough, director Jon Favreau decided to put himself in the film for a few scenes. He’s funny and it seemed everyone else had a pleasant time shooting the film.
Some issues I had with this sequel had to do with the prolonged periods of comedy, or clowning around, that obstructed the flow of the story. The first Transformers movie did the same in the scenes where Optimus Prime is trying to hide in Sam’s backyard and I didn’t think it necessarily worked. When a film is taking itself serious and subtly injects humor into its storyline, it is fine, but when those moments of humor are prolonged and it becomes a centerpiece scene, then it can harm or ruin whatever solemn and credible moments the film was building from its inception.
The action sequences this time around, also coming in the final scenes as the first one, were more extended and much more action packed. The final half hour hit a climax well worth the ticket price. I saw this film on an mid-level IMAX screen and the resolution and sound were fantastic. If you can afford it, pay for it. Just in case you’re wondering, there is no 3D version of the film. I know, I was surprised too.
The Avengers storyline is in full swing here with Sam Jackson making a full appearance as Nick Fury, Captain America’s shield in another scene and…you must stay for the very, very end of the credits, where there will be a hidden scene about Thor’s Hammer. “Sir, we found it”.
Iron Man 2 is an exciting, funny, action summer film that everyone will like, even if it isn’t a classic.