May 4, 2010
Directed by: Jon Faverau
Starring: Robert Downy Jr. Don Cheadle, Gweneth Paltrow, Micky Rourke
It’s been six months (well about 2 years, our time) since Tony Stark threw down his cue cards and announced to the world that he was Iron Man. The world is a different place, it is at peace and the worlds first walking nuclear deterrent doesn’t only have to worry about enemies on the battlefield. The government wants his suit, his company is on the verge of ruin and the arc reactor chest piece that saved his life is now beginning to kill him. When things couldn’t get more challenging, enter Ivan Vanko, son of Howard Stark’s disgraced Russian employee, intent on destroying Tony; not just the man, but the symbol he has become.
I’ve been waiting for this since the credits rolled on the first movie back in 2008. Since then I’ve been drip fed nuggets of info that have just made me want to see it even more. War Machine, a new Iron Man suit Black Widow and more cool tech than you can shake a repulsor at. Couple that with rumors that the movie would see an even stronger resemblance to the source material (the comics) and you’ve got the makings of one exciting movie.
As has become the standard with Marvel comics adaptations since Marvel studios took full control of the productions; I was not disappointed. It seems the team at Marvel studios aren’t stupid, well they have been giving geeks what they want for over 60 years. They kept all the things that made the first movie so great and then added more!
The movie is certainly intense; especially the Monaco grand prix scene which, thankfully, the trailers didn’t ruin at all. War machine and The Black Widow are introduced in an unfamiliar but graceful way. Even the one character I had my reservations over, Micky Rourke’s Ivan Vanko, was skillfully and effectively portrayed and despite him not getting that much screen time still painted an appropriate amount of threat through the story.
One thing is clear in Iron Man 2; Marvel love tie-ins. Any fan of their comics has seen how good they are at crossover storylines with Civil War, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign and most recently Siege being very well received. No surprise then that in Iron Man 2 we see a shit load of subtle (and not so subtle) references to upcoming titles The Avengers, Captain America and (if you stay past the credits) Thor. These references work in varying degrees but even at their worst, see Cap’s shield, don’t do much to tarnish the movie.
So the performances were all good, the action and geek-o-meter all satisfied and it was as consistent, with regards to the first movie, as it could ever hoped to have been. However it wasn’t without its problems. As with the first movie, Iron Man 2 suffers a kind of cinematic premature ejaculation. It peaks early and once this happens the plot seems to wander a long while before returning for its second wind which isn’t as good as its previous, premature climax. For me the grand prix fight between Iron Man and Vanko is infinately more exciting than their final confrontation, albeit not as grand.
The movie also kind of teeters on the edge of a common comic book movie killer; character soup, y’know, that thing Spider-man 3 had. Though oddly I kind of wish some characters who didn’t appear did have little roles. For example I was well psyched for seeing Iron Man throw down with the Hulk, something that was rumored for some time during the movie’s production. But hey ho.
All in all this was a really entertaining movie and a more than competent sequel. Let’s hope that they hold it together for the next installment and, of course The Avengers.
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