Iron Man 2

As a child, I loved Iron Man. From the look and mechanics of the armor to the good story-lines and action sequences to the sheer charm and wit of Tony Stark, Stan Lee’s creation wowed me. Once Marvel started throwing its hat in the movie game (after disastrous attempts such as Captain American and the 1989 Punisher), I was ecstatic at the thought of an Iron Man movie. I waited patiently, as the X-Men, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and even Blade got their own cinematical spin. Rumors started to grow about a possible Iron Man movie, but nothing was surfacing. Time went on, bringing forth more Marvel movies, such as Ghost Rider and the Punisher were made. Hell, even Man-Thing got his own movie (sure, it was direct-to-video, but he still got one). Still no signs of Iron Man. I had no disrespect for Daredevil, Ghost Rider or the Punisher. But, I felt that Iron Man was a bigger superhero than them, one who fit the blockbuster criteria perfectly. Sure, he wasn’t the only one getting shafted. Captain America, arguably bigger than Iron Man, has been delayed numerous times. However, he still got a movie back in 1990. It may have been terrible, but he at least got a shot.

Then the announcement was made. An Iron Man movie was finally in production, with Jon Favreau in the director’s chair and Robert Downey Jr. in the titular role (perfect casting, if I do say so myself). My inner-child was exploding with glee. One of my favorite superheros was finally getting the big-screen treatment. My dreams were coming true.

The big day came. May 2nd, 2008, the release of Iron Man. I reserved my ticket and headed out to the movie theater, ravished with anticipation. Unbeknownst to many, I had an inkling of fear as well. What if this doesn’t turn out to be good? The trailers and behind-the-scenes featurettes that I was eating up like they were candy made it look great. But what if it wasn’t? What if it was another Captain America? A great superhero treated with disrespect? These questions thankfully were left unanswered. Iron Man was a dazzling success. Mixing humor with action, good acting with special effects and, most important, capturing the feel of the comics, I left the theater with a gigantic smile on my face, one that didn’t leave for a few days.

A sequel was inevitable. With all the money and praise it soaked in, it would have been ludicrous for Marvel and Paramount to not make one. They seemed to agree. Work on a sequel started immediately, with director Jon Favreau once again in the driver’s seat (which is an ironic saying, considering he played Happy Hogan, Tony Stark’s assistant who spends most of his time literally in the driver’s seat). Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson were to return, with Terrence Howard being replaced by Don Cheadle (which I feel was for the better). Buzz for Iron Man 2 was off the hook. I was once again drowned in anticipation.

Yet another big day came. May 7th, 2010. The release of Iron Man 2. I once again reserved my ticket and headed out to the movie theater, enraptured with anticipation. Once again, an inkling of fear overtook me. What if this doesn’t turn out to be good? The trailers and behind-the-scenes featurettes that I was eating up as if my life depended on them made it look great. But what if it wasn’t? What if it was another Batman and Robin? A pale imitation to the original, possibly ruining the character(s)? Once again, these questions were thankfully left unanswered.

Jon Favreau once again captures the feel of the comics, though he does add a bit more Hollywood feel to this. Robert Downey Jr. is back as Tony Stark, this time dealing with a major problem. The armor chest that helped save his life is now slowly killing him. He needs to keep it a secret from not only the public, but the love of his life Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), which ends up driving them apart. The secret slowly eats away at him, delving into his alcoholism. This isn’t his only problem. In Russia, Ivan Vanko’s (Mickey Rourke) father, Anton (Yevgeni Lazarev) has passed away. His dying words were that Ivan should have the success that Tony Stark has. It turns out that Howard Stark (John Slattery) supposedly stole Anton’s plans from underneath him, keeping the success for himself. Ivan vows to get revenge, so he builds his own mechanical wonder, this one aided by electrical whips. He heads to America avenge his father’s death and stolen success, with murder in mind.

But wait, there’s more. Tony is in legal trouble over the custody of his armor and weapons, with Senator Stern (Garry Shandling in a great cameo) taking him to court over it. Along for the ride is Stark’s rival Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell, who ends up stealing the show). His mission is to get Senator Stern on his side, therefore giving him custody of Stark’s weaponry. Tony humiliates him and leaves the court on the winning end. This doesn’t set well with Justin, who hires Vanko to build replica armor suits to rival Tony’s Mark V. Ivan secretly builds druids to take Tony out.

But wait, there’s more (Tony can’t seem to catch a break). His best friend, James “Rhodey” Rhodes, is slowly drifting away from him. His job entails him to retrieve his friend’s armor and weaponry, which is hard for him to rightfully do. Tony isn’t helping matters by being an egotistical prick, basking in the glory of his fame (secretly, he’s using this to mask his health problems). This leads to him stealing the Mark II suit, but not before engaging in a fight with his friend, in one of the movie’s better action sequences.

But wait, there’s more (this is starting to get repetitive). Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, upping his cameo to a supporting role) and Natasha Romanoff (who disguises herself as Tony’s new assistant Natalie Rushman in order to keep an eye on him) are trying to enlist him into S.H.I.E.L.D. He still shows signs of weariness about the idea, even when they help him out (such as bringing him a temporary cure to his ailing illness).

This would normally be too much for a film to handle. Jon Favreau mixes it all together well, never losing any of the sub-plots for another one. A few of them gel together (such as Justin Hammer hiring Ivan Vanko, bring the two main villains together), making the abundance of plots easier to swallow. It does have its kinks. Ivan Vanko does get shafted a bit for Justin Hammer, who sneakily slithers his way into the main villain (though his public figure wouldn’t want you to believe that). In one aspect, this isn’t too bad. Though Rourke is good as Vanko, Rockwell steals the show as Hammer. He plays him with such jealousy and envy that makes his shaky nice-guy act work tremendously. It’s obvious that Justin hates Tony, even when he denies it. Rockwell plays it off as if he doesn’t see it as obvious, that everybody believes him. This works wonderfully for the anti-Stark. Nonetheless, Ivan Vanko has the better appeal for the main villain, and was being advertised as just that. Pushing him down the totem pole midway through doesn’t seem right.

With that fault, Iron Man 2 is still a highly enjoyable movie. The action is plenty, the laughs are sporadic and genuine, the acting is great and all of the plots flow nicely. Iron Man 2 is an adrenaline rushed thrill ride, and an excellent way to kick off the summer movie season!

4 thoughts on “Iron Man 2”

  1. I agree with the great performance by Rourke. One of the better villians in any movie I’ve seen. Yes, he should of gotten alot more face time, along Iron Man himself. Good and very thorough review. Almost as good as mine.

  2. Rourke didn’t have a good performance in this movie, mainly because I count his appearance as a cameo. Nothing else. A simple showing-up of Rourke in this film, which I gave 3 stars from its lack of sophisticated story and VERY little character/action appearance.

  3. Dissapointed in Rourke’s screen time as well. Not enough action for a marvel movie. The original, as in most cases, was much better.

  4. Just for the ending it was playing out more of Hammer being shown in another movie (maybe) there are alot of things in the comics that could be played out by Hammer because they cant put the Fantastic 4 in it. (Mr. Fantastic making a robot thor in civil war)
    Or making some sorta internal conflict with maybe a different character in the ongoing movies.

    Also i think that Rourke wasnt a big part of a movie because they are trying to set up for the further movies also (sense they have alot going on). but not putting so much into the “Main Villain” as people would think. It was a movie about Stark and him having problems with his technology with the government and Rourke was just the off-setter to help the plot alot in my opinion.

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