Friday, May 7, 2010

Review: Iron Man 2

Grade: A+

Iron Man 2 picks up exactly where the first movie left off. In Russia, we see a dying man watching Tony Starks “I am Iron Man” speech on TV, he tells his son, Ivan Vanko, that should have been him. We find out Ivan’s father helped build the arc reactor at Stark Industries, we then see the insane genius start to build a suit of sorts to rival the great Iron Man. Jump ahead six months and we find that the element that makes Tony’s chest piece work and keep him alive, is also killing him by slowly poisoning him. Tony hasn’t told anybody yet but decides to hand over his company to his love interest Pepper Potts. On top of this, the government wants to take the Iron Man suit from Tony as they deem it as dangerous. In Monaco, Tony is attacked by Ivan in his whiplash suit but Tony Manages to fight him off and Ivan is sent to jail where it is believed he is killed in an explosion. What really happened was that rival billionaire, Justin Hammer, helped Ivan escape so that he can help Hammer build suits that would defame Tony and Iron Man.

Iron Man 2 is an amazing movie and rivals the first Iron Man which blew audiences away two years ago. I have been hearing many early reviews that say that there’s too much crammed in it, but I completely disagree. I feel the movie flows extremely well and you never feel like there is too much going on. I also heard that many people feel there are too many villains. I again completely disagree, when you combine the two characters of Justin Hammer and Ivan Vanko you barely get one complete villain. Justin Hammer never wants to hurt Tony Stark/Iron Man, he just wants to be better than him and Ivan Vanko is justified in what he does to Tony because Ivan is seeking revenge for Howard Stark's betrayal of Ivan's father. In all actuality, the only true villain in the movie is Tony Stark himself. The character has many demons that consume him and all have his character flaws have been amplified because of the fame and success of Iron Man. I personally was afraid that this movie was going to go more for flash, unlike the first movie that went more for story. I was very pleased to see that this movie works much like the first where it focuses on the characters and story, then throws in some awesome action sequences.

Director Jon Favreau (Elf, Made) did an amazing job again with this character and movie. The movie looks absolutely beautiful and the action keeps you on the edge of your seat. He and writer Justin Theroux (Tropic Thunder) did a fantastic job with the story and script of the movie. The story hold together really well and the dialogue is filled with many of the hilarious little witty quips that we all enjoyed so much from the first movie. I really enjoyed the fact that for the most part, they saved the action for an intense and explosive third act in the movie.

Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes, Tropic Thunder) does an incredible job again as eccentric billionaire and now super hero, Tony Stark. His quick paced sardonic charm is back and better than ever for this movie. Downey Jr. is really the mortar that holds this movie together by being able to go from serious or afraid to witty and sarcastic at a moment’s notice. Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler, Sin City) shows up as the literal evil genius Ivan Vanko. Rourke does an incredible job with this role as his character is out for revenge for what he believes was a great injustice towards his father as perpetrated by Tony’s father, Howard. I really think Rourke was a perfect choice for the whiplash character. Gwyneth Paltrow (Running With Scissors, The Royal Tenenbaums) is back as Tony’s assistant and love interest, Pepper Potts. Paltrow is great once again in this role and counters Downey Jr. perfectly. Don Cheadle (Traitor, Ocean’s 11) plays Lt. James Rhodes this time around. I usually don’t like it when they change actors in movies and this is no exception. I do, however, really like Cheadle and he did a great job with the part and it was awesome seeing him sport the War Machine suit. Sam Rockwell (Moon, Matchstick Men) plays the role of rival billionaire, Justin Hammer. I am a huge fan of Rockwell’s and it was great seeing him in a much more mainstream movie and he did an amazing job with the role. Scarlett Johansson (The Spirit, Vicky Christina Barcelona) plays Natalie Rushman, a new secretary of Tony’s who has a secret of her own. Johansson did a surprisingly good job with the role and her action sequences are just so much fun to watch. Samuel L. Jackson (Soul Men, Snakes on a Plane) is back as the great Nick Fury, leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. Jackson is great as always and just a joy to watch in this role. The movie also features Clark Gregg, John Slattery, Jon Favreau and Gary Shandling.

Iron Man 2 is a great and fun follow up to the first movie. I will admit, it’s not quite as good as the first but it’s close in my opinion. If you enjoyed Iron Man, than this is an absolute must see movie, you just need to go in with an open mind, much like most people did with the first. Don’t forget to stick around after the credits for a geek-tacular scene.

Great quote: “Wow dad, been dead over 20 years, still taking me to school.”

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