If Iron Man 2 is lacking one thing compared to its predecessor it’s the element of surprise. Two years ago nobody thought a rather unknown superhero (compared to Spider-man and Batman) would be able to star in such a fun and thrilling movie. Expectation were a bit low to say the least but that changed when the trailer came out and created a true internet buzz. Luckily the movie was up to par with the trailer and here we are now reviewing one of the most anticipated movies of 2010; Iron Man 2.
Iron Man 2 starts where we pretty much left off in part 1. The world knows that Tony Stark is Iron Man and as such he is living life even more fuller than he already did. Apparently as Iron Man Tony Stark has created world peace. The US government wants Stark to turn over his suit as they see it as a means to enforce their army. But that’s just the least of Tony’s problems. He’s slowly dying because that glowthingy on his chest that saved his life in the first movie and is keeping him alive since then is now slowly killing him, and a Russian named Ivan Vanko wants to speed up the process of Tony dying with a couple of electric whiplashes. And there’s a competitive weapons manufacturer named Justin Hammer who will do anything to replicate a suit like that of Iron Man… and there’s this new personal assistant that is uncanningly good a martial arts… and there’s Samuel L. Jackson an…
As you can see there is a lot going on here. Luckily some of the story lines evolve naturally from the first movie like those of Pepper and Rhodey but the new characters are all left a bit undeveloped. Justin Hammer is a stereotype sleazy businessman, though he is more of a weasel than most of the ruthless CEO’s we see on TV, though eventually he does show that there is a Gordon Gekko in all of them. Ivan Vanko has a couple of impressive scenes, mostly in the beginning and the end but disappears for the majority of the movie aside from some semi-humorous bickering with Hammer in a thick Russian accent. We learn even less about Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) who is mainly here to serve as eye-candy and to kick ass.
Iron Man 2 balances the story lines carefully and comes out on top. It’s light entertainment even though they try to show some of the darker aspects of Tony Starks’s life his alcoholism. In this case him throwing a party and being drunk in while wearing his Iron Man suit in which he urinates himself. There are some things for which it is hard to get away with, and this is one of them, but leave it to Robert Downey Jr. to get away with something like this.
He is assisted a by a strong ensemble cast consisting of some Oscar winners. Don Cheadle takes of for Terence Howard who isn’t really missed and most of the cast turn in a good performance though nothing ground breaking. Mickey Rourke gets to use his thickest Russian accent but his whips are more impressive than his performance. It seemed to me like he had more fun in The Expendables. Scarlett Johansen’s Black Widow needs a movie for her own to display some depth and Samuel L. Jackson runs on the same auto pilot he has been running on since Pulp Fiction. He is capable of an Oscar worthy performance, yet he almost never chooses the roles that will gather you critical acclaim.
But despite the underdeveloped characters Iron Man 2 is a lot of fun and is a worthy successor to the first movie. It might lack the element of surprise, it doesn’t lack in the entertainment department.