Iron Man 2 (2010)

Directed by Jon Favreau
Written by Justin Theroux

So here’s the thing. This movie is the sequel to a pretty successful, pretty popular movie called Iron Man. I liked Iron Man. It was fun, it was new, it had Robert Downey Jr. in it. It wasn’t the best movie I’d ever seen. It wasn’t even the best “superhero” movie I’d ever seen, but it was good. So what about the second installment? Well well my fellow moviegoers, lets add a few more players to the show. Instead of Terrence Howard we get Don Cheadle, I’ll call that an even trade off I guess. But then add to the show Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson. Now Rockwell is one of the best actors working today and add him to RDJ, another one of the best and you just might have magic. As for Mickey Rourke, after his stellar performance in The Wrestler his talent is obvious, but it also landed him a number of roles that may not be best suited for him. And as for ScarJo, I’ll admit she’s not the best actresses, but for me at least she is infinitely watchable, and no, not always just because she is one of my top Hollywood crushes, though that doesn’t hurt her case. Also add Sam Jackson for good measure. And might I mention that we still have the beloved and beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow, or Goup, back as Pepper Potts. So there is your cast of characters and your ready to play.

Well the plot for this second installment has everything to do with revenge, as any good sequel will ever be about. Ivan Vanko (Rourke) is seeking revenge on the Stark family for injustices paid his father by Howard Stark, father of Tony (Downey Jr.). I guess my question is, when did the Cold War start up again, right? No, but seriously, it has a decent plot given its sequel status. That being said, it is all just a front. The film takes directions, courtesy director Jon Favreau that seem to go away from making this a stand alone film. There are copious opportunities to make this a great film with the characters presented. What is the in depth back story of Vanko? What kinds of moments could have been achieved by lingering only moments longer with a dejected, fragile Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr. gives a great performance here, but I felt like he wasn’t allowed to breath. The plot must be driven, there must be explosions. Great, I love explosions, but I also love seeing the humanity of a character like Stark, and the acting chops of someone like RDJ. I can’t imagine anyone else playing that part, he is a perfect Tony Stark.

As for the rest of the film, Sam Rockwell is delicious as rival weapons CEO Justin Hammer. His character is so easy to hate that I might have loved him. Rockwell is the man. The whole back story for The Avengers was kind of thrown in there as a big setup though and Sam Jackson and ScarJo didn’t do a whole lot to make this film great as they were there to set up the next series of films. Rourke’s character was somewhat strange and somewhat alluring. Like I said, I wish I knew more, but for what was given the character, Rourke did okay. Also, there were some sequences of action that kind of gave me a headache: the opening jump into the Stark Expo for instance just seemed bloated and misguided with the camera, I was ready to have vertigo I think.

For the most part I blame Favreau for the way the film was structured and thought out, but maybe I should bring in screenwriter Justin Theroux into the conversation too. There were sequences that either were quite corny and obvious, or even seamed to bend the continuity line. The science was all over my head too, who knows what that mumbo jumbo meant. Anyway you brew it, it was a fun movie, worthy of its popcorn blockbuster summer release and revenue. For the common movie goer it is quite passable, but for a snob like me, all I can say is that I had fun, I love the people involved, so I was almost bound to at least like it, but at the same time I can see a film that could have been so much better. Well, it was totally worth it just for Goup and ScarJo, and seeing RDJ do his thing, that’s for sure.

**1/2 – Average

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