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While It's Not the Original, Iron Man 2 Proves to Be A Heck of a Lot of Fun

  • Sep 25, 2010

Over the past decade we’ve seen some pretty phenomenal superhero stories. We’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s dramatic reinvention of the fledgling Batman series, Sam Raimi’s awakening of Spiderman, and Brett Ratner’s tale of the X-Men, among many many others. 2 years ago Jon Favreau entered that race with a little superhero film called Iron Man that was financed for $100 million dollars that won over both critics and audiences, and simply wasn’t afraid to have a lot of fun while still being smart and full of satirical comedy. Much in that same vein, Iron Man 2 has flown into theaters with huge expectations, and by no means does the film reinvent the wheel, but it blows the wheel into smitherines. 6 months after the public confession Tony Stark made, revealing he was Iron Man, things shortly come to haunt him and his decision. The film begins with the continuing yet hysterical realization that Tony Stark indeed is a pompous a-hole when we get to see millions of fans screaming his name and a group of “Iron Man” dancers frolicking behind him. Tony Stark milks every second of it and has fully taken his fame to his advantage, and while it seems he hasn’t learned anything from his adventure in the first film, you realize he really has though, yet it’s just within Stark’s character to be a complete jerk about it and continue on in his playboy lifestyle, other wise he just wouldn’t be Tony Stark. Iron Man 2 revolves around a central theme, and it’s the idea of the Iron Man suit’s massive appeal. On one side you’ve got Mickey Rourke who appears as Ivan Vanko, a past arms dealer who is hell-bent on a revenge mission to avenge his father’s death against Tony Stark. He plays the idea of “I could do this better” and builds his own version of the Iron Man suit, “Whiplash”. Sam Rockwell plays Justin Hammer pops in to play off Tony Stark as a weapons correspondent for the government who is given the task of mass producing the Iron Man suit for the United States government, and goes through many means in the film to get it. James Rhodes comes in later in the film for his own interests in his career to perfect the Iron Man suit himself, and ends up on the front lines in the weapon-equipped “War Machine”. All the while Tony Stark is trying to perfect his own technology for not only the Avengers initiative but his own well-being.

As it may sound, the plot does significantly suffer from an over-stuffed plot, the occasional “Spiderman 3″ syndrome rearing it’s ugly head. Once you look at it from the particular perspective earlier mentioned of “all about the suit” it’s easier to understand. However, the script and the story has some serious trouble getting the plot to its end product during the first 1/2 of the movie. After it gets past it’s disjointed storytelling and gets all the characters past their beginning arc and in the right position, things get back into their stride and comfortable again. While the first half at times felt like a different movie in terms of charm from Iron Man 1, in the second half the familiarity kicks right back in and that realistic snark the original movie had makes it great. Iron Man 2 has a great notion of fully satisfying its audience with some great visuals, humor, and action, but really it never does hit that full potential it could have with a little bit of a smoother plot. There’s a great story lying in there, what with Justin Hammer’s interesting knack and the Avengers story lying overlying presence through the story, but I, among others, am more than satisfied with the ambitious yet sometimes flawed story we ended up with. If there’s a great thing Favreau knows how to do with his films, it is crafting some awe-inspiring shots of action. So many directors focus on shaky cams, realism, or set pieces, and while all of those are great in Cameron’s, Abram’s, and Mann’s pictures, Favreau proves he’s a master of simple yet elegantly awesome action pieces thankfully with no regard for preserving orderliness. It’s like a ballet of fire and monster trucks. Every action piece isn’t afraid to be ridiculous, and each is an insane amount of fun. I continue to be a fan of the brilliant way Favreau keeps Iron Man and others in suits human by showing us their faces inside the helmet during battles. Scenes like the reveal of Black Widow’s amazing butt-kickery, the opening freefall set to “Shoot to Thrill”,  and the final robot-on-robot-on-robot soaring flight and land battle really stand out, and keep audiences like mine in that purest state of wonder only films like this can produce. The story doesn’t make huge improvements over the first, but one thing this sequel does well, as all sequels should, is expanding the scale to inspiring new levels. Iron Man 2 also surrounds itself with some outstanding leads. Mickey Rourke pitches an awesome set with what he has to channel an amazing Russian avenger that steps outside the expected, and Downey Jr. chimes in with another applause worthy perfect Tony Stark rendition. Paltrow and Johannsen are both serviceable in their parts, but Rockwell is the star of the show. His charisma, sarcasm, and the way he plays off Stark is brilliant, and makes the movie that much more enjoyable. He’s the perfect villain for the movie, there’s simply no better. Don Cheadle has a stint taking the place of Terence Howard as James Rhodes who later becomes War Machine. Cheadle does some great work in the movie, and although I was hesitant at first, by the end of the movie there was no better decision. It was also really nice to see Jon Favreau himself as an even bigger character in Happy Hogan’s spot in the movie, even getting to fight in a fewhilarious scenes. Everyone just channels their parts to near perfection. Also, all of the brief, peppered hints involving the upcoming Avengers film did exactly what they were supposed to do, and were a lot of fun to watch for comic nerds as Hulk, Captain America, and Thor references became increasingly fun to see as time went on. Iron Man 2 is an interesting creature. It perfects the scale needed for this sort of movie, ratcheting truly awesome action and near-perfect casting, but it’s necessary to admit it does have some flaws when it comes to telling the story in the best, clearest way possible. I love being able to say Iron Man 2 is everything we hoped it would be. As I said earlier, Iron Man 2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but while it’s demolishing that wheel it sure as heck is fun to watch, and it’s setting the bar even higher for action and superhero films to come.

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More Iron Man 2 reviews
review by . February 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****     The sequel to Jon Favreau's near-perfect "Iron Man" turns out to be pretty darn good, mostly thanks to the directorial talents of Mr. Favreau himself. Since it's nigh impossible to make a sequel to "Iron Man" and make it nearly as impressive and refreshing as the original film, Favreau decides to use what he's got. And he presents "Iron Man 2", in all its star-studded, CGI-happy glory, in the most passionate way possible. If you've heard that "Iron Man 2" …
review by . May 07, 2010
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3 ½ + Stars: Shellhead Gets a
   …well, not exactly, although “Iron Man 2” is definitely your Hollywood fare that relies on being loud, “spiffy”, brisk popcorn entertainment but it does do it well; its uninspired plot mechanics render this sequel a step backward. The first film (personally that was NOT the Tony Stark I remember) while not perfect had better plot development and didn’t rely on being “spiffy” too much but focused more on characterization. …
review by . May 09, 2010
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Superhero movies have a strange formula to them that, for the most part, has served it well for the past decade.  The first movie spends quite a bit of time on the origin of the hero and thus it's usually not quite as interesting as the first sequel.  Once we get to the first sequel we've passed the "how" someone became a hero and usually the "why," so the bigger focus is usually on a nemesis to the hero and perhaps digging a little deeper into the hero's own story, …
review by . May 07, 2010
Forgive the parlance, but I can't think of a better name for an irresponsible man who gets loaded, straps on a suit of destructive armor and starts using his laser beams to trick shoot fruit and vases in a crowded room full of people.  Tony may have seen the error of his ways in the first movie but with those troubles behind him theres plenty of room for his fast lifestyle and inner jerk to come out in this one.      Iron Man 2 is THE most anticipated Summer movie of …
review by . May 15, 2010
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Iron Man 2 takes off at a thounsand miles per hour and doesn't slow down.....
When "Iron Man" was released  in the early summer of 2008 it took the box-office and critics for a ride they would soon never forget, its huge critical and commercial success  and Robert Downey Jr.'s natural charm and appeal as the hero Tony Stark  landed this  larger than life comic book adaptation amongst the ranks  of greats such as Tim Burton's "Batman" and "Batman Returns", Christopher Nolan's "Batman reboot "Batman …
review by . May 12, 2010
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Sequels have a tendency to be on the mixed reaction of results. In the case of Marvel films (Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic 4, Hulk), it's a hit or miss. Regardless, we still love those comic book heroes in their adaptations. As with all comic book adaptations, they all loosely follow the comics per panel.      Iron Man 2 continues the origin story of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) as he continues to rise and protect the world from evil in his armor powered suit. Now that he has …
review by . March 31, 2011
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The United States government is now demanding of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) that he hand over his advanced armor technology to the military. Stark publically refuses in a fashion that gets him a lot of negative attention. Though one day Stark is attacked by a man named Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) who has technology of his own that might be on its way to being able to defeat Stark. Vanko now possibly has the technology to make a suit even stronger, and more advanced than Stark's. Meanwhile, …
review by . August 15, 2011
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Plenty of action. Plenty of drama, partying, flirting. But it lacked the heart of the first film (pardon the pun) and felt more choppy and predictable. There was one very satisfying relational moment, but other than that, I felt pretty indifferent and glad I didn’t hand over the moulah to see it in the theater. I’d suggest trying before buying.     
review by . May 07, 2010
If the turnout tonight is any indication of how popular Iron Man is this movie is in no danger of flopping. Iron Man was a comic book I picked up to try to get into something long ago as a kid. I wasn't completely familiar with the whole story, but that's what these movies are really designed to do. Initiate the public into the fantastic and interesting worlds of the comic books.      Most everyone already knows what this movie will entail from the previews. Mickey Rourke? Check. …
review by . May 13, 2010
Not as bad as you think.
      Your right its not as good as the first, but it aint that bad.          I think most people didnt like Ironman 2 beacause this movie although called Ironman focused mainly on Tony Stark. The stress from the US Government, the stress of being Ironman and running Stark Industries, and lets not forget The Arc reactor in his chest is killing him. But even through all this we still got a bunch of action and lots of laughs. Ironman 2 was a great …
About the reviewer
Jake Wilbanks ()
Ranked #54
   My name's Jake, I write film reviews and the occasional music/video game/comic/tech review. I've been involved in journalism over the past 3 years, and am currently majoring in Journalism … more
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Iron Man 2 is a 2010 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name from Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures. It is the sequel to 2008's Iron Man, and the second film in a planned trilogy.  Directed by Jon Favreau, the film stars Robert Downey Jr., reprising his role as Tony Stark.

Tony Stark has revealed his identity as Iron Man and is resisting calls by the United States Government to hand over the technology. Ivan Vanko has also duplicated the technology and built weapons of his own, creating new challenges for Stark.

The film held its red carpet premiere in Los Angeles, California, on April 26, 2010 and in France on April 28, 2010. It was released in the United States on May 7, 2010.

After the high-flying adventures of the firstIron Manpicture, the billionaire arms manufacturer and irrepressible bon vivant Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) finds himself nursing a hangover. But not like any hangover he's had before: this one is toxic, a potentially deadly condition resulting from heavy metals (or something) bleeding out of the hardware he's installed in the middle of his chest. This is the problem Stark needs to solve inIron Man 2, not to mention the threat from resentful Russian science whiz Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), whose father helped create the Iron Man technology. There's an even bigger problem for the film: the need to set up a future Marvel Comics movie universe in which a variety of veteran ...
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Director: Jon Favreau
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: May 7th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Studio: Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures
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