Movies / Comics Movie Reviews

Iron Man 2

By Dan Horn
May 9, 2010 - 13:38

Amidst a flurry of accusations from the American press and the  
Department of Defense, technological virtuoso and self-proclaimed  
superhero and guardian of world peace Tony Stark, played by the equally  
eccentric theatrical genius Robert Downey Jr., attempts to protect his  
Iron Man suit from the prying hands of the inferiority-complex  
afflicted engineer Justin Hammer and the US military. Hammer, who is excellently portrayed by the brilliant Sam Rockwell, isn't the only evil tech guru with his sights trained on Stark. Ivan Vanko, the son of Howard (Tony's father)  
Stark's former research partner, also has a bone to pick with Iron  
Man. With the self-imposed weight of the world resting firmly on his  
ironclad shoulders, Tony does away with the periphery of corporate  
responsibility by handing over the reigns of his company to his loyal  
and lovely confidant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). But after an  
attempt on Stark's life by Ivan's Whiplash-like persona, Justin Hammer  
realizes Vanko may just be the man he needs to launch his next line of  
Iron Men. Meanwhile, Tony's use of the radioactive element paladium to keep his ticker ticking is literally killing him with irony, and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) may have the information that could save his life.

If you're going into this film hoping to see thirty-minute fight  
scenes and mindless action, you're going to be very disappointed.  
Iron Man 2 takes the very cerebral and modernly relevant alternative  
route to the superhero movie, not unlike The Dark Knight. There are a  
few really great throw-downs throughout the movie, but never anything  
too elaborate or protracted. One could argue that the final battle in  
Iron Man 2 is resolved a bit prematurely, and they'd most likely be  
correct. But, if there's one thing I've learned from Matrix: Reloaded,  
too much action is just as boring as no action at all. Overall, I think the sequences of exo-skeletal dogfights and armored fisticuffs were very tastefully implemented.

The casting in Iron Man 2 is flawless. Each actor gives a tour de  
force performance. Robert Downey Jr is, as always, the show stopper,  
though. This guy could steal the spotlight from just about anyone. His  
performance is so quirky, and often times hilariously so, he is able  
to hold your undivided attention for the entire duration of this film.  
His spot-on embodiment of this classic comic book hero is absolutely  
fascinating and enthralling. Sam Rockwell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, and Mickey Rourke all turn in some really great work, and a sexier  
Black Widow than Scarlett Johansson could not have played the part so  
well and kept viewers so captivated. The Oscar-nominated Don Cheadle is also a welcome replacement for Terrence Howard's Rhodey from the first Iron Man. If I had one qualm about the characters and their development in this movie, it would be that I would have gladly endured another 30 minutes of dialogue and plot to see Vanko's terrifying and menacing character be more elucidated.

The visual effects are actually rather inconsistent in Iron Man 2. I  
found myself blown away by some of the CGI, while other times I was  
thoroughly unimpressed and felt like I was watching screen shots from  
a video game. There was definitely a lot of polishing that could have  
been done.

The story itself was brilliant, save for a few oddities like the  
basement Hadron Collider to effectively fill a plot hole, but as a  
whole the film retained a paramount fluidity and great sense of its  
roots. It never feels hamfisted or forced; it effectively tells an  
exciting and introspective adventure that's at times much better than  
even some of Matt Fraction's acclaimed work on Invincible Iron Man. Iron Man 2 may not win any Golden Globes or Oscars next year, but it definitely shows  
that Marvel is staying the course when it comes to making solid  
franchise films.

Rating: 8 /10

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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