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Your Friendly Neighborhood (Oops!) "Shellhead" Gets A "Whipping" And A "Lashing"...

  • May 7, 2010

…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. This time around director Jon Favreau is hard-set in outdoing the original by how else? By trying to focus more on things that go “BOOM” and relying on what the franchise had established in the first film. Not a bad approach exactly, since it does make it work. But it does become one of your typical super-hero movies and it does appear as a minor set up for “Avengers”.
The world is aware that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is Iron Man and he has become an international superstar; much to the chagrin of the U.S. government who is demanding that his technology be turned over to authorities for study. Stark denies the request as he fears that his technology may fall into the wrong hands. His friends Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and James Rhodes (Jon Cheadle) are put on the spot as Tony continues to wear the armor. But there is something Tony isn’t saying…

           Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in "Iron Man 2."

                Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man in "Iron Man 2."
Also, forces from his the Stark family’s past threaten to haunt Tony as a man called Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) attacks Tony with an energy source very similar to Tony’s own invention and a competing weapons manufacturer headed up by Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell, Moon) aims to capitalize on this as the world begins to lose confidence in Stark…and who is the mysterious woman called Natalie (Scarlett Johansson)?
As everyone of you do know, as much as I appreciated the script in the original film, it didn’t offer much in the area of surprises and I was real bothered with the fact that Tony Stark was portrayed like a ‘showman’. While this movie does follow the same blueprint, I liked the idea that it did take a look at his “alcoholism”. There is a cause to all this, as we see Tony drunkenly piloting his armor in party, treating it like a toy. It was a good ploy while it lasted but the script just merely bumped into the idea without developing it further. Yes, the film still plays it safe like the original film.
As for the story, it takes inspiration from the “Armor Wars” and the “Techno-Organic Virus” storylines in the early 90’s. It takes a stab at real world events where things are being seen as something profitable and whatever is “something” needs to be owned by the government. I found it curious that the name “Whiplash” was never mentioned and I found out exactly why it never was. I liked the way the script linked Vanko character to Tony’s past and this time around he is a Russian who has a strong grudge against Stark. The “armor wars” was good as it gave birth to the appearance of the “Crimson Dynamo” (or “Dynamos”) with the “Whiplash” enhancements. Yes, my friends, the villain is a Hollywood-created villain simply ripped from the pages of the comic book.
        Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff in "Iron Man 2."

               Mickey Rourke as Whiplash in "Iron Man 2."
As for Natasha Romanoff (played by Scarlett Johansson) she was there simply as pure eye candy and to give Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) a reason to show up and to make a cheap plug of the eventual “Ultimate Avengers” film that is set to be released soon. There are some funny moments as the script is rich with the usual comedic one-liners that is basic Hollywood but I really didn’t mind the hint of an actual star-spangled “shield”. The story is pretty basic, and even followed a stereotypical romantic angle with Pepper Potts. I thought the chemistry between Paltrow felt a little forced but Downey was charming enough to convince me of their supposed ‘heat’. Mickey Rourke was good as the bad guy; he made a good impression as an imbalanced genius. I have to say, the performances were real good; even Sam Rockwell had his own moment of glory (though the script portrated him was a departure from the source material) that they may be enough to save the movie from mediocrity. I was disappointed that the James Rhodes (Jon Cheadle) character was underdeveloped and underused.

        A scene from "Iron Man 2."

                  Robert Downey Jr. as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark aka Iron Man in "Iron Man 2."

Now the special effects is a little uneven as it was obvious that some scenes looked better than others and the dark scenes were a little too blurry to make the effects as impressive as in the first movie. Don’t get me wrong, the effects are still superior to most CGI-rendered ones but it was a little of a step down from the original. The film does however try to compensate by making the film fast, loud, fun and a tad outrageous in the action scenes. It was real nice to see “War Machine” and “Black Widow” go into action. There was a huge plot hole in the script that required a big suspension of disbelief but I cannot discuss this without spoilers. I did really enjoy the ‘Pulse-laser Bolt” that was used by Iron man and the missile known as the “ex-wife” makes an appearance.
Well, so is “Iron Man 2” better than the original? Of course not. While the original was definitely flawed and played it too safe, it had a better storyline. “Iron Man 2” isn’t the best super-hero movie but it wasn’t the abysmal “Spider-man 3” that I feared it would be. Yes, the film is a mere launch pad for next year’s “Thor”, “Captain America”, and the eventual formation of the “Avengers”. It is a film that is very predictable and yet very fun. Just don’t expect too much and you may be able to forgive its flaws. It is a fun time in the movies but it is a step backward from the original film. 
Recommended! [3 ½ out of 5 Stars]
HYPE LEVEL: Extremely Hyped up to the point of being almost impossibly, embarrassingly, extremely “Hyped Up”  (we see people actually rating it a 5 without even seeing the movie yet?! what is that all about?!). Nothing can fulfill the amount of “Hype” this movie had received--well, actually it could have, but it failed in many ways. 






3 ½ + Stars: Shellhead Gets a

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July 19, 2010
I got a review out of this as soon as I could as soon as I saw it opening day. Never was a movie by me so anticipated and thankfully I DIDN'T walk out dissapointed like I have other super hyped movies. It could have used more action and I really hate people who see this who talk about too much going on. There isn't really if people think about it and whats there is carefully handled. The first movie had a stronger arc but there is a little bit of fanboy in me and I love Iron Man so all the new suits, tech and toys made me like this but I could still see the movie had it's flaws. (If the Iron Man 5 suit is meant for emergencies, WHY is the only time Tony has it is when he uses it the ONLY time he needs it to fight Whiplash on the racetrack!?)
July 19, 2010
Thanks for the read, John. I did like this one but I have to say I was expecting a lot more. I do hope that in one of the future sequels we'll get to see the different types of the armor suit: the stealth armor, the modular armor, the undersea and space armors and especially the HULKBUSTER armor. Actually they can show me the other armors but I hope they don't add the Silver Centurion armor LOL! (remember that one?)
July 20, 2010
The Silver Centurion is actually my favorite. It was a whole new Iron Man armor for a rehabilitated Tony Stark in the comic and a change was needed. YES the shoulder pads are very 80's but it's still cool.
July 20, 2010
The silver centurion armor was quite powerful, I have to say. I just don't like it when Al Milgrom (in WCA) renders the armor and the helmet looks like the tip of the bullet. LOL! I forgot what they called that armor that followed the sentient armor--remember? the one with "skin' and taken over by Ultron...
July 20, 2010
I think it was simply called "Oversize Armor" cause it had more exagerated features to the amor like having more molded muscles and veins. Modular was not too much later. That has to be the most popular since it's the one Capcom used in the fighting games and was the one in the cartoon from 94.
May 11, 2010
Nice review, woo. I really appreciate that you contrasted this movie with the first one. I don't have any comics background so, for me, it's just about enjoying the movie-going experience. I loved the first movie and am expecting to see the 2nd this week.
May 11, 2010
Thanks for the read and I always love getting feedback. I think you'll have fun watching this movie--it was inferior to the original, but I thought it was still fun. I hope you can let me know how you liked it.

Perhaps you'd be interested in joining our little movie community "To Believe or Not to Believe the Hype". It is all about people's tastes and about interaction. Even if you don't do much movie reviewing we'll be happy to have you.
May 12, 2010
I went to see it today. I fell asleep...TWICE. It just wasn't grabbing me...until the entrance of the Hammeroids (har har) and that spectacular battle sequence. Based on what I saw, I wouldn't recommend it very highly.
May 12, 2010
ha ha! Well, for me Scarlet Johansson kept me awake LOL! Yep, it is just your typical movie sequel made for fun. I agree about not recommending it highly, which is why I only made a "recommended" rating. By the way, thanks for joining the "Movie Hype" community!
May 12, 2010
Thanks for the invite. I didn't realize from the name that it was a movie community. Is it for all kinds of movies or just the hugely hyped summer blockbuster type?
May 12, 2010
actually no, it doesn't exclusively deal with just mainstream movies...I made the community for movie fans! true, that most blockbusters and Oscar winners will probably fall under the community, but we love to hear about that obscure cinematic gem or the next soon-to-become-blockbusters, cult classics (heck, I even encourage director profiles!). I guess the community is more about Movie fans and what they want to share. I can send you last Sunday's Updates. I am coming out with stuff to encourage movie fans to share and discuss what they like.
May 12, 2010
That's awesome, cuz I am definitely a movie fan from WAY back. Used to have my own movie-review website about 10-15 years ago.
May 16, 2010
really? what happened?
May 16, 2010
My lifestyle changed and my focus shifted, so I was no longer going to the movies as much and I just sort of drifted away from it.
May 10, 2010
Much like the end of the second Hulk film I guess, setting up The Avengers [Man I hope they get that one right].
May 11, 2010
I liked the 2nd Hulk film despite its simple plot. You will like the Thor teaser here...
May 09, 2010
Cool review. Im in the theatres right now waiting for it to start so i thought id read a review about it while i wait. Ill let u know how i feel about it when im done. Ill take ur advice and not expect much.
May 09, 2010
thanks, fobo. So how was the movie? That is so cool, you read my review while you waited. Thanks again, man!
June 07, 2010
I actually found it pretty entertaining. I felt Mickey Rourke played his role very well. For some reason, I didn't like that one scene where Scarlet Johanson was beating down all the bad guys. Felt like they tried too hard to make her look cool during that fight. but overall, I thought it was pretty good.
May 07, 2010
I suspected from the start that this wouldn't hold up well when compared to the original. Like I said, I'm going to see it for Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. That's worth the ticket price right there. : )
May 08, 2010
Yeh, this was flawed and became mere popcorn entertainment with the unambitious script. I had fun and at least I wasn't bored; but it offered very little by way of an intricate plot and characterization.

Chris, nothing comes close to the 'badness' that is Spidey 3...but it was the best/least of the worst...Batman and Robin and Barb Wire are still two of the worst comic book adaptations ever LOL!
May 08, 2010
Hey, I don't expect I'll like it, in fact I think the trailers made it look like crap... but Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow is a good thing and at this point in my life, my neglected libido overrides my critical impulses, so alas, I will watch crappy films if they deliver sexy, smart, empowered women in tight costumes. : )
May 10, 2010
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 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
review by . September 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   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 …
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About this movie


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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