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IRON MAN 2 (2010)

>> Friday, May 7, 2010

Robert Downey Jr. and a VERY welcome Don Cheadle pump some iron and entertainment into the very anticipated Iron Man 2.

After revealing his identity to the world at the end of the last film, Tony Stark is being hounded government officials to give up the suit. Stark is also being stalked by a Russian played by Mickey Rourke who’s father was dissed by Stark’s father and is out for blood. Gewnyth Paltrow is back to play the new CEO of Stark Enetrpirses, leaving an opening for sexy and suave assistant Scarlet Johanson to take her place. Sam Rockwell also pops up here as weapons dealer Justin Hammer. And of course we get a semi-pointless appearance or two by Sam Jackson as Avenegers director Nick Fury.

Eventually, Tony’s arc reactor design (which powers the Iron Man suit) is leaked, and the government obviously takes things to the wrong level by trying to make it a weapon, as opposed to a method of keeping the peace like Stark built it for. It is at this point that everything goes to hell and Iron Man must come to the rescue and save the day.

Iron Man 2 is not better or worse than the first. A lot of the joy from the first one came in seeing a character arc with Tony as he goes from potential bad guy to overzealous good guy. He also plays with building the suit, trying it out and getting some nice revenge. The film is capped off with Nick Fury briefly entering the picture and inviting Tony to join the Avengers Initiative. Iron Man was a fun, amazing action film. The reason I bring this up is because with the second movie (although we want more of the same) we don’t get much development.
Here’s what we get for plot development. For the record I don’t consider any of this a spoiler, as it's all available in the trailer:

Stark’s friend Rhodey becomes War Machine, something that was hinted at in the first film. Why Tony had arc reactors in all his previous suits ready to go, I don’t know. Don Cheadle by the way, is a welcome replacement for the prudley Terrance Howard who apparently had problems really emoting. Pepper Pots and Tony Stark’s relationship grows more romantic, starting with him making her CEO of his company. Sam Rockwell is introduced as Justin Hammer, a potential return villain for sequels to come.

The stuff that is here for filler and goes nowhere is the following:
Tony’s health is decreasing due to the arc reactor in his chest, and he needs to fix it. I won’t say if he does or not, but in the end you’re kind of like, so what? Nick Fury asks Tony again to become part of the Avengers, as he declined in between the last film and this one. By the end, Tony still seems unsure, but there is promise. And no, I don’t believe it’s a spoiler, because there is no development there, at least not really.

Iron Man 2 (as a movie where maybe nothing is promised) is a fun movie, and certainly worth seeing. You really want geeked out developments here, and besides the stuff I mentioned, we get a few hints here and there for the upcoming Avengers movie, which is wonderfully entertaining. Stay until after the credits by the way, there’s a nice little teaser there. Downey, Rourke and Rockwell all have outstanding performances here, and are incredibly entertaining. Rourke especially, is more entertaining than you may expect. Some of the best moments of the film come from Downey doing his thing, especially when he’s slightly depressed just prior to the climax.

Iron Man 2 seems less of a sequel that is better than the first, and more of a filler and necessity that is building up to both Iron Man 3 and the Avengers, both due out in 2012. It does not however, disappoint as far as entertainment is concerned. It moves at a nice pace, the effects are flawless and there is more than just a few laughs, even if some of them are a little cliché and expected.

Iron Man 2 gets an open door, and is a welcome start to the summer blockbuster season.
*Stills courtesy of Paramount Pictures


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