Sequels are notoriously difficult to pull off. While the first Iron Man was great, this one just comes off as well, a sequel. The plot is basically an excuse to give Iron Man another villain. Unfortunately, this is where things fall apart. Rather than have an interesting plot the builds over time, the film just pits Iron Man against a Russian super genius Vanko who wants revenge against the stark family. I suspect that part of the problem is that Iron Man was simply too powerful in the first movie, so the producers never found a suitable challenge for the hero. Indeed, as far as the plot goes, you could substitute almost any comic book hero and not tell the difference.
However, unlike most comic book movies nowadays, Robert Downey Jr.'s (Stark/Iron Man) performance makes up for some of the weaknesses in the plot. His carefree attitude and sassiness are a joy to watch. He personifies the secret desire many of us have to just give the world the finger (in fact, he nearly does do that during testimony before the Senate). The film has some strong moments when Stark realizes he might die soon and struggles with how to live the rest of his life. But these parts are too few and too far in between to save the plot. Overall, I'd give the film 3.5 stars.
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Dominic J Nardi (FreeDom4)
I am a recent law school grad with an interest in Southeast Asia legal issues. Unfortunately for my checkbook, ever since high school I have been addicted to good books. I have eclectic tastes, although … more
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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 characters will join forces, a requirement that slows down whatever through-line the movie can generate (although fanboys will have a good time digging the clues laid out here). Actually, the main plot is no great shakes: another Iron Man suit is deployed (Don Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard from the first film, gets to climb inside), Stark continues to bicker with assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and a weaselly business rival (Sam Rockwell) tries to out-do the Iron Man suit with an army of Vanko-designed drones. Mickey Rourke is a letdown, burdened by a wobbly Russian accent and looking skeptical about the genre foolishness around him, and Scarlett Johansson has to wait until the final couple of reels to unleash some butt-kickin' skills as the future...