IRON MAN 2 movie review

by Erin Thursby
A trifle flashier than its parent, Iron Man 2 still gets the job done. It picks up with Tony Stark’s revelation that he is Iron Man. Stark naturally uses it to propel him to rock star status. But it’s not without its downside— the government wants to take his suit or at least use it for defense, he’s got villains gunning for him and on top of his usual personal problems he’s added a few more.
Iron Man 2 is as much about ego as it is saving the world. Though entertaining, Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) arrogance literally and figuratively takes center stage. From the first moment of the film it is as though he is daring someone in the world to take him down. A Russian named Vanko (Mickey Rourke), with both reasons for vengeance and the brains for it takes him up on that dare.
Vanko shares villain space with Justin “Doc” Hammer (Sam Rockwell). In the comics, the Justin Hammer character is a rival defense contractor and industrialist. That’s still true in the movie and he fulfills the same role— that is giving someone else the means to stick it to Iron Man. There are some significant changes from the comic though. He’s younger and he’s not English. I was reminded a little of Jim Carrey’s Edward Nygma in Batman Forever, in that scene where he’s mimicking everything Bruce Wayne does because Bruce Wayne is just so cool. Rockwell’s Hammer is like the knock-off copy of Tony Stark. What’s worse is that he knows that he is. That’s what makes him evil. Well, that and a deep desire to wield power, and and even deeper desire to foil our hero.
Gwyneth Paltrow is back, looking adorable as Pepper Potts. She takes on even more responsibility as the CEO of Stark Industries while STILL trying to manage Tony. She holds up remarkably well despite the herculean task before her. As in the last movie, there are sparks between Pepper and Tony, tempered by his outrageous, irresponsible behavior and Pepper’s understandable frustration with him.
Jon Favreau, who directed this flick, also had a cameo role as Happy Hogan. Happy briefly appeared in the first film, and in Iron Man 2 his role is somewhat expanded. He fills the same role as he does in the comic, as Tony Stark’s driver and body guard.
Rhodey’s character (Don Cheadle), best friend and military liaison to Tony Stark, finally gets to don one of the older Iron Man models as War Machine.
But on to the important bits. There are explosions. There are hot girls. The hottest and most lethal of which is Natalie/Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) aka Black Widow. She’s pretending to work for Stark while actually working undercover for S.H.I.E.L.D. I think she may have the highest body count in the movie. This is both sad and exciting, because unlike Stark she doesn’t come equipped with rocket launchers.
If you are a comic book fan, do stay after the credits. You’ll get a glimpse of something that will figure into The Avengers movie. Not a great scene certainly; it’s just for the fanbois.
Origin stories always have that thrill of discovery that sequels just can’t match. That might be why movie makers try to make up for it by stuffing as much in as they can. This flick had a lot going on, maybe just a little too much. Its relatively spare predecessor was more elegant, true, but the hectic pacing and busyness worked in the film’s favor. Tony’s life is barely under his control, so it’s only fitting that this movie feel the same. I found it to be nearly equal to the first Iron Man movie.

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