“Iron Man 2” Movie Review

"Iron Man 2" Movie Poster“Iron Man 2” is everything that “Iron Man” was, and a whole lot more. I’ll be honest, I was a bit timid about how this was going to turn out, from the look of the movie trailer it was starting to look like the wit was going to be a bit more campy than the original. Seriously, that was my big fear, the humor. To me, that was the glue that held the entire film together so the thought of it being this technical marvel but having jokes that fall flat worried me a bit.

Why you’ll like this:
Builds perfectly on the first Iron Man; awesome action; witty

“Iron Man 2” picks up right where the first one left off, with Tony revealing his identity to the world except we see it through the eyes of Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) as he’s coping with his own set of Russian issues. The film takes a lot of crafty turns and is solidly based in story, never letting the action become explosions just for the sake of it, for the vast majority of the film it’s about the story and characters, so that everything that takes place actually means something to not only this film but to future films set in this universe (hint hint: Avengers).

So yeah, the humor. Perfect! There’s tons of witty one-liners and scenarios, and Robert Downey Jr. once again owns the screen. Honestly, even though the rest of the characters that are developed are perfectly cast and executed (if you don’t appreciate or know about Sam Rockwell yet: first, shame on you, but second, hopefully you’ll begin to appreciate this master actor), but I have to say that any time away from Tony Stark made me wish for him to return to the screen. It’s just great acting and storytelling going on here.

The action was serious heavy metal. War Machine lives up to the hype, it’s a shame that Terence Howard wasn’t apart of this film, but Don Cheadle came in and completely owned it. It’s hard to pick two better actors for Rhodes, and they both deserve their due. The other action stars deliver some great scenes and they all mean business, that includes not only Rourke, but Johansson as well. She nailed her action sequences admirably, even though in a Q&A Favreau confided that she doesn’t purport herself to be a very athletic person, but clearly she has a work ethic and desire for perfection. So much so that apparently she dyed her hair black before her first meet-and-greet to even discuss the part. Now that’s desire! So Bravo Miss Johansson, and she’s still easy on the eyes too, so there’s all kinds of awesome being delivered there.

The cast itself deserves a note. Anytime you have such a strong cast to work with, one that includes heavyweights like Robert Downey Jr., Rourke, Cheadle, Rockwell, Garry Shandling, Samuel L. Jackson and still some other A-Listers, well, it can’t be easy to work them all in easily and fluidly, but Favreau is really intriguing me more and more as a director. We’ve always known that his acting was aces, but seeing him direct has become something I get really excited about since he’s only just begun directing feature films and looking at everything he’s done I can’t find a feature I didn’t enjoy. I hope he’ll continue to challenge himself and put story & characters first over effects and payouts, and judging by the way he speaks about film I get the feeling I have nothing to worry about. Very excited to see “Cowboys & Aliens”, but also his own spec scripts come to the screen.

Why you won’t like this:
Not too dramatic; a tad silly at a couple points

My only real gripe about “Iron Man 2” is that it left me wanting far more. Particularly the action scenes, they felt like they were cut about four or five minutes short, especially the grand finale. It just felt a bit like, “Wait, we were just getting warmed up! That’s it?”, but what does happen onscreen is still a fantastic spectacle worth the wait. I’m in eager anticipation of the next Iron Man, hopefully it’ll be Iron Man-er than its predecessor since that’s what Favreau has accomplished here, and that is no flimsy feat.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau
Director: Jon Favreau
Genre: Action
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hr. 4 min.
Release Date: May 7, 2010