Review: Iron Man 2


So, there’s this little indie that’s playing in a very limited 3500 screens called Iron Man 2.  It stars the unknown Robert Downey Jr. and newcomer Mickey Rourke in his feature film debut.  You might have heard of it during a Dr. Pepper, Burger King, Oracle, LG, and/or a Reese’s ad since I believe they played a few times here and there.  Make sure to let your pretentious, arthouse buddies know about it.  You’ll be the talk of the coffeehouse guaranteed.

The mega-hit Iron Man was somewhat of a sleeper hit.  It was based on a second-tier superhero and the market was already flooded with comic book-based films, but somehow this film appealed to a large audience and it was one of the most successful films from 2008.  Personally, I thought it was a serviceable superhero flick.  The script was pretty run-of-the-mill type stuff that we’ve seen  many, many times, but Downey’s performance and Favereu’s whimsical direction elevated the movie keeping it from being another mediocre comic adaption.

Everyone wants the Iron Man suit and it’s technology.  Weapons developer Justin Hammer, played by the always great Sam Rockwell, wants it to become rich and famous and the US government also want it so they can blow up more brown people with it I assume.  Meanwhile, Russian Ivan Vanko wants to whip Tony Stark and his legacy’s ass (pun intended) for what Stark’s father did to Vanko’s father when they created the arc reactor.  Not only that, but Stark has to deal with the fact that the arc reactor, the only thing that’s keeping him alive, is also poisoning him.

One of the biggest problems I had with the original is that Tony Stark…  is kind of a dick.  Did the events in the original humble him at all?  Not really.  But the good news is that there’s more Iron Man action since we don’t have the go through the origin story BS again, but it’s not distracting enough to keep Stark from being a d-bag.

Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell are pretty awesome as the film’s villains and I could have stood to see them more in the movie.  Villains usually represent a side of the hero: Vanko is the private side of Stark as he’s very driven and is a ingenious engineer and Hammer wants to be the smooth, public image of who Stark is.  It becomes quite entertaining when they finally team up.

For some unknown reason, Don Cheadle takes over the role of Rhodey from Terrence Howard.  They don’t sound, look, or act anything like each other.  I like both actors, but just keep the actor you had in the first.  With that said, Cheadle does a decent enough job as Rhode and War Machine.

The movie is pretty damn enjoyable like the first.  The first and last half are pretty tight with characters and action, but the movie drags a bit in the middle with Stark dealing with his declining health.  It’s an interesting premise and there’s some development to Stark’s character, but it’s a bit bore for a summer flick like this.

Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansen’s Nick Fury and Black Widow serve as a sort of introduction to the upcoming Avengers movie which will hopefully be directed by Joss Whedon.  They lay it on pretty thick and it takes up quite a bit of time especially since the movie is called Iron Man.  Sure, it’s fun for the comic fans, but it doesn’t add a whole lot to THIS movie. 

I wish they spent more time developing Rourke’s Whiplash.  He shares only a few short scenes with Stark and it didn’t seem like Stark gave him a whole lot of thought.  From the story I got from the movie on Whiplash, he’s actually a sympathetic character, but it’s all kind of pushed to the side and it doesn’t challenge Stark as a character much.  He’s a great aspect of the movie, but he’s disappointingly under-developed.

Overall Grade: B

Iron Man 2 didn’t disappoint me nor did it exceed my expectations.  It’s no Spider-man 2, X2: X-Men United, or The Dark Knight, but I can say it’s just as good, if not slightly better, than Iron Man.   There are some great memorable moments and characters, but it drags a bit in the middle and it doesn’t exploit the best elements (such as the villains) as much as it should have.  But the movie is a fun ride and is a great way to open 2010’s summer movie season.

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