By: Bryan Montgomery (www.twitter.com/bcmontgomery)
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
When the first Iron Man movie hit cinemas in 2008, many named the movie as the resurgence of the Marvel Superhero film. Marvel has always been full of disappointments, and Iron Man was a breath of fresh air among the chaos. Iron Man 2 has been an eagerly awaited return to the screen for Tony Stark as soon as it was announced. Although not as good as the first movie, Iron Man 2 is still better than a majority of the superhero movies out there, and it is a fun ride.
The film takes place directly after Tony Stark reveals to the world that he is Iron Man. In Russia, a scientist named Ivan Vanko is working on a piece of equipment that has many similarities to Tony’s ARC reactor technologies. With the national military breathing down his throat looking for the Iron Man technology and the incoming threat of Vanko, Tony has to use his allies in order to emerge with his suit and his life still intact.
What worked in the first movie was the high amount of humor that was placed into the film to advance the plot. It worked out so well that a majority of the quick hitting humor placed into the script s present in the second movie. Downey Jr. returns at the top of his game, as does Gweneth Paltrow. Don Cheadle replaces Terrance Howard in what originally was a questionable move, but results in a few moments that work out very well. Samuel L. Jackson returns and is hilarious as Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and brings some of the best moments of the film out during his encounters with Stark.
In regards to the newest additions to the cast, Mickey Rourke is absolutely perfect as Ivan Vanko aka Whiplash. Rourke plays a villain very well, with the right mix of dangerous nature, cunning and deception needed to fuel a man who is hell bent on revenge. Sam Rockwell also excels as Justin Hammer, a narcissistic arms dealer who comes through as absolutely snide and becomes a character that you love to hate. Scarlet Johannsen is both gorgeous and deadly as Black Widow, and the action scenes that she is in will knock your socks off.
In terms of the actual progression of the movie, the beginning and end of the movie are exactly what you would hope to see in an Iron Man movie. The middle is where the issues begin to present themselves. The movie doesn’t necessarily slow down, exchanging the action for humor and a positive anti-war message, but it may make several fans unhappy with the representation of Stark during the time in between the action scenes. But when the action finally picks up, it is essentially an all-out war for upwards of 30 minutes until the end of the movie. It’s a long awaited payoff, but it may come too late for fans.
Iron Man 2 is a great sequel that isn’t necessarily a victim of bad sequels, but it isn’t the best sequel ever made either. The cast and the action blends together to create a great final product, but the truth is that high expectations kills what the movie could have been. Iron Man 2 is definitely worth watching, although major fans of the first one will be wanting more, it is still an awesome movie.