Iron Man 2

The excitement and anticipation surrounding IRON MAN 2 is extreme enough to smother most summer movies.  Before it was even released, it was being compared to THE DARK KNIGHT and dubbed the greatest comic book movie ever made.  Well, it shouldn’t be compared to any Batman film and this is not the greatest comic book movie ever made.  But this is a good, fun film that’s worthy of its predecessor and a blast to watch.  It won’t wow you with any deeper insight on society and there aren’t any performances of a lifetime, but that shouldn’t take away from the great ride that Jon Favreau has given us.

Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2

Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark, who revealed himself as Iron Man in the original film.  We catch up with our hero as he’s dealing with several issues, including a debilitating reaction to his arc reactor, a senator after his suit, a conniving competitor and the pressure that comes with being the sole man responsible for world peace.  Not everyone is thrilled with his exploits, however and the disgruntled son of a former colleague of Howard Stark (Tony’s father) is out for revenge.

Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2

As I was watching the film, I felt that Favs did a great job of avoiding the action-sequel curse of having too many characters and specifically, too many villains.  But I realize as I try to write out a synopsis that there was a lot going on.  I guess credit should be given to Favreau for keeping it in check and crafting the story so that every character had a place.  What makes Tony Stark a little different from other comic book heroes is that the audience wants to constantly be involved with him and when he’s not on screen, the film suffers.  I would even go as far as saying I like Tony Stark more than I like Iron Man.  That’s due in large part to the greatness of Robert Downey Jr., but also because Stark is just a great character.  The downside to this is that the villains of Iron Man tend to get overshadowed pretty easily and they turn into secondary characters.

Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man 2

Such is the case with Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash.  Rourke did a fine job, but his character was boring and wasn’t given the screen time necessary to really develop.  That was okay, because if I had to choose between watching more of Whiplash or watching more of Tony Stark, I’d choose Stark every time.  Johansson showed up as the Black Widow in what proved to be an uneventful character and performance.  I can only assume that her presence had more to do to setup the Avengers movie and less to do with furthering IRON MAN 2.

Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle in Iron Man 2

I did appreciate Favreau making the film about more than just Iron Man going around and blowing stuff up.  The subplot with Tony’s reaction to the arc reactor was a nice story and gave some drama to the film.  I didn’t like the scene at the birthday party and felt that was more of an excuse to allow Rhodey to steal one of the suits.  But overall, IRON MAN 2 was a good time and thanks to another great turn from Robert Downey Jr., it proved to be worthy of the hype.


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