Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Iron Man 2 Mostly Lives Up to the Hype

Iron Man 2

Starring: Robert Downey Jr; Gwyneth Paltrow; Mickey Rourke; Don Cheadle; Scarlett Johansson; Sam Rockwell; Samuel L. Jackson

Director: Jon Favreau

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is back and once again proves that bad ass boys have bad ass toys. Picking up where Iron Man left off, Tony Stark has confirmed publicly that he is Iron Man. This does not sit well with Senator Stern (Garry Shandling) who demands that Stark turn over the suit to the US Government. Stark refuses and the Senator turns to Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) to duplicate the suit as a weapon.

Meanwhile, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) is in Russia plotting his revenge against Tony Stark for wrongs Ivan perceives were committed against his father by the senior Stark years before.

Unfortunately, Tony Stark is dying. Ironically, the palladium in his arc reactor that was designed to save his life is poisoning him and his continued use of the Iron Man suit is only making the problem worse. Determined to make the most of his remaining days, he becomes reckless and begins taking chances both in business and his personal life. During the Monaco Grand Prix, Stark is attacked by Vanko. Though Stark survives the attack and Vanko is captured, Vanko has attracted the attention of Hammer, who realizes that he needs serious help to recreate any of the Stark technology.

The remainder of the movie is filled with spectacular special effects, an amazing fight scene between Tony Stark and his friend, Lt. Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury who is once again trying to recruit Stark for S.H.I.E.L.D. Paltrow is excellent as Pepper Potts, playing straight man for Downey Jr’s Stark. They have an excellent chemistry and it’s actually a shame that they don’t get more time together on screen.

Rourke’s portrayal of Vanko aka Whiplash is authentic and played with the same intensity he throws into any role. Cheadle’s Rhodes is much looser played than Terrence Howard’s version in the first Iron Man but the role was not a stand out role as was Rourke’s. While I understand that Justin Hammer is supposed to be an obnoxious, egocentric ass, Rockwell took his portrayal over the top and down into a pit. He was the single most obnoxious character on the screen. I did find the character familiar before realizing that Rockwell must have watched Tropic Thunder prior to the start of filming and was channeling Tom Cruise’s Les Grossman.

Overall, Iron Man 2 delivers as a great action flick and super live action depiction of the Marvel Comic. Nothing really new under the sun but it is worth it to watch on the big screen to fully appreciate the effects and sound. This is one movie that should be seen at least once on the big screen. Oh, and be sure to stick around for a preview after the credits. That little teaser was enough to make me jump for joy.

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