Iron Man 2 | John Favreau, 2010
The first Iron Man was a big surprise for me. I knew nothing about the character and I just wanted to see stuff blow up. While it did meet my expectations in that department, it had some depth to it, and of course, Robert Downey Jr. was fantastic. Two years later the inevitable sequel came out, and I was excited. But the reviews were rather bad, and so I decided to skip it until it was at a second-run theater. Finally saw it, and it wasn’t as bad as critics made it out to be, but it was not up to par with the original.
In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is dealing with the aftermath of his reveal that he is Iron Man. He is now saving the world, but the government being the government, they want the technology so they can weaponize it. Star convinces them that they should not worry because they have at least 10 years before another country could develop something similar. But somewhere in Russia, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) is mad at Stark for something relating to each others fathers, and he wants revenge. And so after revealing himself to the work in a Grand Prix, he catches the eye of Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), who wants to destroy Tony because he is jealous. Besides this, Stark has a new assistant named Natasha Rushman (Scarlett Johansson), who is a femme fatale, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and the fact that his life source is poisoning him.
The reason why this movie is not quite as good as the original is the script. There is so much going on, yet nothing is developed completely. The thing with Tony dying is forgotten from time to time. Mickey Rourke has about 15 minutes of screen time. Why is Justin Hammer jealous? What’s going on with Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Tony? Who is Natasha? How does Rhodey (Don Cheadle) know how to use the suit even though he’s never used it? They are trying to resolve this in a two hour movie, and it’s just not going to happen. Also, there are some awful scenes, particularly the birthday party. Why they chose to develop these scenes instead of something important is beyond me. And there is too much filler dialogue when we should have gotten action, which is what we want out of a movie called Iron Man 2. As for John Favreau, he is only as good as his scripts, which is why his work suffers.
Now, on to the stuff that makes the movie intersting: the performances. RDJ is as awesome as he was in the first one. Sure, his character is not as cool, but he still is. Mickey Rourke is good despite the fact that all he had to do was type on a keyboard, hit some stuff with a hammer and talk to a bird. Johanssen looks hot and that’s all she had to do. Don Cheadle is actually a better fit for the character than Terence Howard. And Sam Rockwell is as great as always.
Iron Man 2 is a good movie, but forgettable. The performances are fine and the action is cool, but besides that there is little to hang on to. What I did get out of this is the desire to see RDJ and Sam Rockwell together in a different kind of movie.