Iron Man 2 review

Short Review: A thoroughly satisfying and entertaining comic book super-hero movie.

Medium Review: "Iron Man 2" bucks the trend of super-hero sequels bettering their original installments, but remains a fun, satisfying experience. Director Jon Favreau manages to work in multiple heroes and villains without making the movie feel crowded or silly, and brings back most of the elements that made the first movie such a treat. Still, it doesn't quite hit the emotional or adrenaline highs previously seen, and in spots felt like it meandered a bit. Overall, though, an excellent super hero comic book movie that's well worth a full price admission.

Long Review: Since I consider "Iron Man" possibly the best super-hero movie ever made, it's not surprising that I wouldn't think the sequel is better -- that would be a tall order indeed. But it is very good, giving us what we want: Lots and lots of things blowing up, accompanied by Robert Downey Junior's excellent Tony Stark attitude. I'd rank it with movies like the original "Batman", the most recent "Hulk", and the original "X-Men", as a movie that does a great job translating the spirit and fun of the source material into a new medium.

The special effects are all excellent again, as you'd expect.

I enjoyed all the acting performances, although Downey Jr. doesn't quite hit the highs he did in the first film. I said at the time that he was the catalyst transforming that movie from just very good to exceptional, and this time around he felt at times like he was going through the motions a bit. Gwyneth Paltrow remains the best female lead in any super hero movie series, although again she wasn't quite as "on" this time around.

I tend to run hot and cold with Scarlett Johansson, and the same was true with this performance. Sometimes she seemed to be zombie-walking through her scenes, and at others you got flashes of that hot, saucy vibrancy that forces you to watch. I think her "walk of pain" down the long white corridor in the last act was probably the highlight of the movie, for instance. On the other hand, those classic Black Widow wrist thingies were horrible, I couldn't take my eyes off them either, but not in a good way. They looked clunky and awkward, like some kind of Cold War relic next to all the shiny, spiffy gadgets from Stark Industries.

Sam Rockwell made the movie from an acting perspective, at least for me. I expected to really hate the performance for some reason, but he really nailed it, bringing an odd and engaging sense of character to what could have been a very stereotypical and flat role.

Mickey Rourke was appropriately menacing and thuggish, although I frankly have to wonder sometimes if his face isn't entirely computer generated, because he honestly doesn't look human sometimes.

What I liked most about the movie (beyond the aforementioned explosions) was how Favreau managed to fit in two villains and two new heroes while making it all seem very natural. Whenever one of these super-hero comic book movies comes out with multiple characters, I always wonder if we're in for another episode of "Schumagasm", as when Joel Schumacher tried to jam the entire contents of "Who's Who In the DC B-List Villain World" into his latest Bat-nipple-festooned travesty. But Favreau managed it exceptionally well, I can't imagine Whiplash without Hammer, or War Machine without being piloted by Stark's friend Rhodey.

I do feel, though, that it all felt a bit like "What, this again?" at times, particularly in the big fight at the end, specifically when Whiplash lands in yet another suit of armor (speaking of which, where the hell did that come from!?), and pops the mask open yet again to leer and posture. I halfway expected Jeff Bridges to be in there. Next time around I think we need some non-armoured people running around just to relieve the sameness of it all.

Having said that, I still enjoyed it very much, and can highly recommend it. It doesn't reach the heights of the original, or even the best of the classic super-hero comic book sequel movies like "Dark Knight" or "X-Men 2" or "Spider-Man 2", but it's still a thoroughly engaging and entertaining experience that's well worth your time.

16 Responses to Iron Man 2 review

  1. Tristan says:

    I agree with your reveiw i love this movie cant wait for number 3 also can’t wait for Thor , Cap and Avengers movies!!!

  2. dementedtheclown says:

    Who Waited Till After The Credits?

  3. Jeff Hebert says:

    Hey, good point DTC! We did, and I have to say I was a little disappointed. I mean, I already knew such a film was in the works, and the item itself … I dunno, is it just me or did it seem kinda plastic?

  4. Worf says:

    Hey Jeff, since we’re talking Comic-book Hero Movies, what is your take on the supposed spidey reboot?

  5. Loki says:

    nah not just you Jeff, me. but at the time I was hyped up on a big bag of M&Ms, so I didn’t notice it right away.

  6. Loki says:

    Me TO! TO! damnit Loki add the to!

  7. Jeff Hebert says:

    I’ll be honest Worf, I am woefully uninformed on a Spidey reboot. It seems kind of quick, though, wasn’t it just a few years ago that they did the original Spider-Man?

    Frankly if anyone is going to re-reboot anything, I’d wish they did Superman. That last one blew.

  8. Tim says:

    A bunch of friends and I went the midnight premiere.

    Totally worth it!!!!

    I stayed after the credits too 🙂

  9. Worf says:

    Oh I agree a million percent there with you Jeff. I wish they would have canceled Smallville a couple of seasons ago and just went with Tom Welling as Superman. Brandon Routh just didn’t do it for me. And trying to tie it into a movie that a lot of people hadn’t seen in ages (Superman II) AND with such a weak plot did even less. And to top it all off the lack of a villain fight at the end… The only enjoyable part was that there was a Superman movie at all, after all that time…

  10. Jeff Hebert says:

    Part of what was so disappointing about it for me, Worf, was how AWESOME the opening was with him saving the jet. Only Superman could do that! I just wanted the whole movie to be like that, Superman-level challenges and awesomeness instead of a slow-moving psycho-drama that might as well have starred Spider-Man or Matter Eater Lad. It just wasn’t SUPER.

  11. dementedtheclown says:

    Crises On Infinite Earths Would Be The most Epic Movie Ever, Why Do They Always Have To Start With Origin Stories?

  12. dementedtheclown says:

    P.S. Just Noticed The Iron Man, And War Machine’s On The Poster Never Appear Together In The Movie. He Had His Triangle Suit By Then.

  13. Worf says:

    Hey Jeff, that just shows that sticking to the source material is a good thing. Something they clearly didn’t do. That scene (with a few changes obviously) was taken right out of Byrne’s reboot in the comics. Except it’s his first appearance to the world. There IS stuff in the last 25 years of Superman stories to make at LEAST 3 or 4 GOOD movies out of it.

    @dementedtheclown: Box Office Bucks… If they didn’t do origin stories most non-insiders wouldn’t go. You have to get people invested in it specially if your plan is to make a franchise, not a single movie. I know, it sucks, but that’s economics for ya….

    And Jeff, thanks for making me wake the neighbors with my laughter…Matter Eater Lad… HAHAHA.. you’re funny! 😀 😉

  14. Worf says:

    Oh and the Crisis On Infinite Earths idea… THAT would have to be a series of 3 hour movies like LOTR or something (I can envision 5 movies, but I don’t thing the general movie-going public would sit through that)… WAY too much to stick in just 1 movie.

  15. The Imp says:

    I’m gonna have to buck the trend and say I thought Iron Man 2 was a huge disappointment.

    –Mickey Rourke was a joke, as was his whole hackneyed “You killed my father, prepare to die” schtick.

    –The introduction of SHIELD and the Black Widow was clunky and awkward, as was Fury’s hints about finding his father’s legacy/a cure for Stark’s condition.

    –The Justin Hammer character was portrayed well by Rockwell, but why did we need a rehash of large segments of the first movie? Yet another brilliant inventor, overshadowed by Stark, seeks his revenge, blah blah blah.

    –The whole plot felt like disjointed filler, something to pump people up and keep their interest for Captain America and the Avengers movies.

    –And finally, this was supposed to be an action movie, right? Now, I like a bit of dialogue as much as the next guy, but come on… action scenes in this were few and far between, too short and/or goofy. What was with the Wonder Twins power thing at the end with Stark and Rhodes?

    I gave it a 4 out of 10.

  16. remy says:

    k, spoilers for after the credits. You’ve been warned.

    @Jeff: I kinda liked the way the “item” looked. In the comics, it’s always looked like it was made of stone to me, but everyone knows that it’s made out of a mystical metal called Uru. So, I liked how they made it look mare metallic.