Review: Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle

Director: Jon Favreau

I loved the first Iron Man movie. Robert Downey Jr. was an inspired choice to play egocentric genius Tony Stark, the metal-clad supertoy, and director Jon Favreau perfectly mixed the comic book’s more serious themes with a great sense of fun. And surprisingly, fun is something that has gone missing with many comic book adaptations lately, with darkness becoming de rigueur for superheroes, and that is Iron Man 2′s main problem. Where’s the fun gone?

Don’t get me wrong, I totally enjoyed Iron Man 2. It’s not a bad movie at all. Downey Jr. is as entertaining as ever. Mickey Rourke is the perfect mumbling bad guy, as Russian-physicist-with-a-grudge Ivan Vanko. Sam Rockwell is the perfect shouting bad guy, as weapons-developer-with-a-grudge, Justin Hammer. The plot touches on many of the original comic’s storylines, if only very briefly in the case of Stark’s descent into alcoholism. Yet somehow, it just isn’t as much fun as Iron Man’s original outing. Iron Man 2 also suffers from that common second instalment issue – trying to cram too much into one story. Where Iron Man was a streamlined, efficient piece of storytelling, Iron Man 2 gets bogged down in the attempt to tell several stories at once, while also squishing in some prep for the forthcoming Avengers movie. There’s just a little too much going on.

Robert Downey Jr. practises safe sex.

One more thing. Sooner or later Iron Man’s enemies are going to have to start evolving beyond other iron men. That will tire very quickly. Iron Man 2 is not the worst sequel ever made, not by a long shot, but it does fall short of its predecessor.

Rating - 3 Stars

15 people thought reading “Review: Iron Man 2” would be a good idea. Stranger still, they left messages...

  1. Peter Eramo Jr.

    Just wanted to give a heads up. Tagged you in a recent Meme on Fav 15 directors. Thought you might like to share your own list. You can see the link/tag on the Lantern.

    And for the record, I agree with you on this, but I think I was more frustrated than you watching this sequel. True it does try to tell too many stories at once, but where was the chemistry with Pepper in this one? When did Queens, NY ever look like that? I thought Tony was too arrogant here too and less charming, as he was in the 1st…just me though.

  2. rorydean

    Hey Richard…another solid write up though I think you were probably harder on IM2 than I was. I get your points and think they are well made, I suppose I’ve been wanting to include a lot more appreciation in my thoughts, observations, and reviews as of late. I mean the stunt work in the franchise alone is amazing, and Robert Downey Jr. has no equal in the role of Tony Stark – the nuances of the character might as well have been taken right out of Downey’s own autobiography.

    I love your line “with darkness becoming de rigueur for superheroes” – and it is so true! I think dark is the new action as violence is the new sex. What do you think? I mean think about the last Bond movie – little to no sex, all violence, all action. I mean don’t get me wrong, I like my sh!t blowing up but I’d also like to see some character development and yes, some intimate scenes between the main characters in the story.

    In perfect Rourke fashion, he actually studied Russian to be able to speak the parts in the movie. I have to say, I love and miss the old Mickey. Back in his hay day, he was untouchable. I’m going to write an article just about him, he so deserves it — and hey, if he’s going to get a fat check for getting in that good of shape and playing the bad guy heavy, right on. I hope he spent the money well.

    Also, Sam Rockwell. Wow. I Love the guy. Did you see him in Moon? How about Confessions of a Dangerous Mind? I actually got the chance to audition his father for a short film I was shooting in San Francisco – how crazy is that? His old man doesn’t have his chops, but it was interesting.

    Always good R.cheers->r

    1. Richard

      Cheers, Rory. I might have been more harsh than intended. These were first impressions and I need to give the movie a second chance. I had high expectations.

      I loved Moon, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, both. I also thought Rockwell was great in Matchstick Men. That’s so cool that you auditioned his dad! Great story. What was he like?

      Thanks for stopping by. :-)

      1. rorydean

        Of course! I always enjoy reading your blog. If it isn’t on my blogroll it should be (I’ll have to make sure!) – UPDATE – it is  of course!

        I agree, expectations are clever little buggers that oft belay our moving-going experience just shy of pleasurable/memorable. I’ve written about my first impression of Children of Men (hated it vehemently when I walked out of the theatre, loved it at home). I’ve been working on an editorial about expectations – stay tuned for that.

        Yes, Moon and CDM were exceptional. I need to revisit matchstick men, it’s not returning to me. Yeah, his dad was a hoot, never said a word about his son or played any of the cards you might expect. He was quiet and professional, seemed like he was transitioning from some prior career though I can’t recall what. I actually didn’t end up casting him but I saw him in a couple of shorts – makes me want to find out what he’s doing.


      2. Richard

        Fascinating story, Rory. Thanks for passing it on. It’s good to know he didn’t try to use his son as leverage.

        I’ll keep an eye out for the new blog. :-)

  3. rtm

    Hi Richard, I agree with you the 2nd installment isn’t as entertaining as the 1st, too much metal clanging for a minute there I thought I was watching Transformers! But overall it’s not too bad. Rourke did make me laugh with the ‘I vant my bird’ quips and I also enjoyed Sam Rockwell, but I much prefer Terrence Howard as Rhodes.

    1. Richard

      I agree about Terrance Howard, Ruth. Not sure why he didn’t do this one.

      Good point about the Transformers thing, lol. I want to see him fighting something plastic. Or jelly. Or something. :-)

      1. rorydean

        Just chiming in. Howard was the first actor they considered but it amounted to money, though you won’t find him admitting it in interviews. Apparently his agent named a price and stuck by it, assuming his recent successes and first-to-be-hired bit was going to hold out.

        Obviously, it didn’t.

        Cheadle was acceptable though admittedly he seemed out of his element as though nuance and fully emotionally realized characters are what he needs to be at his best.

  4. Castor

    I was quite disappointed with this movie. I mean it is totally entertaining but yet, it didn’t felt this movie advanced the Iron Man universe at all. It felt more like a trailer for The Avengers.

  5. rorydean

    On the note of comic-book, video-game adaptations..I just started Jonah Hex last night, interesting. Anyone seen it? Maybe that should be another thread. Looks promising, I like the weaving of comic-book styling with live action, thus far.

  6. Marc

    I agree with you on this movie trying to cram too much into it. It wasn’t Spider Man 3 crammed but it was jam packed full of things that would have been better left for the third. The draw back to a stuffed movie is that it would either move too slow or two fast and I believe it suffered the latter. The finale was what less than 8 minutes:P

    As far as fun goes, I think it had too much fun therefore becoming a film more likely to entertain younger viewers. Further I think the sophistication they had established from the first was nearly lost…especially with Hammer (or as I like to call him the Tony Stark dopplegnager). Still of all the people that actually brought something to this it was really only Rockwell and Downey pulling their weight.

    Nice review Richard and 3 stars is a fair assessment (love the Death Star ranking system btw!)

    1. Richard

      Thanks, Marc. I agree that Downey Jr. and Rockwell outshone everyone else. Not too surprising, really. They are the perfect foil for each other.

      Thanks for commenting. Love the Rocketeer gravatar. :-)


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