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Jon Favreau knew exactly what he was doing with this movie. This is a
sleek, no-holds barred superhero movie, with great performances from
Robert Downey Jr. and Mickey Rourke. Let's face it, it was almost
impossible to top the first one; nevertheless this a good sequel to one
of the best superhero movies ever made.
Scarlett Johansson fulfilled her role as the the sexy and cunning agent Natasha Romanoff, and Gwyneth Paltrow is fine as Pepper Potts. Sam Rockwell plays Tony Stark's competitor, and does a pretty good job at it.
The only problem I have with this movie is that too many things have been fitted into 124 minutes. I understand that the movie was meant to be a roller-coaster ride, intended to thrill, but a little more character development would certainly have helped the movie. For example Samuel L. Jackson ans Johansson's characters are underused. Also, the ending was a little disoriented and predictable; something just didn't feel right about it.
All in all, Jon Favreau has made a movie that would please the fanboys and satisfy the critics. This is a movie that entertains, while still complementing the first movie, and setting up a third movie. If you liked the first movie, just go ahead and watch this movie - you won't see a masterpiece, but you'll have a fun day at the movies.
P.S.- Watch out for the after credits scene
Robert Downey Jr was the best reason to watch the first Iron Man film
since he seemed to slide into the role of Tony Stark so flawlessly and
effortlessly. RDJ is just as amusing and fun to watch in Iron Man 2. If
there were any doubts left over from RDJ's portrayal of Tony Stark from
the first film, they're inevitably washed away with his convincing
performance in the sequel. Newcomers Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, and
Scarlett Johansson are just as impressive. Rourke has been on an
incredible streak since The Wrestler and puts in another solid
performance here. His Russian accent is pretty spot on and he shows a
wider range of emotion than you may not be expecting. Rockwell has been
on my "actors to keep an eye on" radar since Confessions of a Dangerous
Mind. I thoroughly enjoyed his smarmy performance as Hammer, who has
all of the tools at his disposal to make as big of an impact on the
world as Tony Stark has only to wind up falling short in the long run.
The flirting between Tony and Johansson's Natalie Rushman is pretty
captivating, but her crowning achievement is her fight scene in the
latter half of the film that practically steals the show. Don Cheadle
does have a few humorous one-liners and is great as War Machine, but
doesn't really add anything that Terrence Howard already established
with the role in the first film. It's slightly disappointing since
Cheadle is known for his strong acting roles, but may be a result of
the way the Capt. James Rhodes character was written for both films.
While the film is a worthy sequel, it does contain a few small flaws. What is it with Hollywood films lately having the climactic battle during the finale last five minutes or less? Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Clash of the Titans, and Iron Man 2 all share this trait. It doesn't take away from the fact that the conclusion to Iron Man 2 is still pretty satisfying, but my mindset seems dead set on thinking it's more satisfying when the antagonist has the advantage. He or she gains the upper hand and there's that moment where you think they may bring their evil plan to fruition before the protagonist outsmarts the antagonist for the win. When that last battle seems short, it makes it seem like the villain was all talk. Speaking of the action sequences though, they're spectacular and twice as big as the action in the original film. The problem is that the action seemed to get blurry during several of the more hefty action scenes. I'm not sure if it's because it's the way it was shot or what, but it made it seem like there was too much going on in the film to fully process in post-production or something.
Iron Man 2 is an extremely satisfying sequel on all accounts. While the original film is probably slightly better, the sequel does everything right and doubles up on everything in comparison; action, strong characters, teases for upcoming Marvel films, etc. Despite some of its early negative criticism, Iron Man 2 delivers a worthwhile sequel with a fantastic cast and spectacular action.
For some reason this movie had not been getting the greatest critic
reviews. I do not understand that at all. I thought the movie was very
enjoyable and a successful sequel in the series.
For anyone who has seen the first Iron Man you can expect much of the same in this movie. Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark like he is meant for the part. He has the same sarcastic wit and self-confidence that is evident in his other movie roles. Gwyeneth Paltrow, as Pepper Potts, has a comes more to the forefront in the sequel. I also personally love that Jon Favreau is the driver for Stark/Potts, and that he gets into the action a little bit. You have to respect the director for that, even though Jon has done plenty of acting himself.
Normally in when they replace someone in a sequel with a different actor/actress I am very upset. However, Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2 as War Machine/Lt. Rhodes made me happy. This is similar to what happened with Maggie Gylenhal in the Dark Night.
Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury has a bigger role, and it leads all the viewers into wanting The Avengers movie to come out immediately. Scarlett Johansson also showed up with some impressive stunt work, along with her always gorgeous looks.
All in all it was a well done sequel. The plot is not too convoluted to follow. The new villain, played by Mickey Rourke, is very impressive and fun to watch. The action scenes are all entertaining but they do not completely drive the movie. The only thing that I wished for leaving the theater was a longer final fight scene.
Also, make sure to watch after the credits!! It is short, but worth it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The sequel to Marvel studio's surprise hit of 2008 is here, bigger than
ever. But is it better? After the surprise success of Iron Man,
expectations for the sequel, from both movie viewers and long time
comic books fans, were no doubt high.
Picking off where the first film ended, billionaire genius Tony Stark has just revealed to the world his identity as the armor clad superhero, Iron Man. Now he reaps the whirlwind consequences of his actions as both the military and unscrupulous competitor Justin Hammer vie to obtain the secrets of Stark's Iron Man technology for their own gain. Too add to the flames, Stark soon discovers that the very technology that is keeping his heart alive is also poisoning him. As he tries to salvage a life that is slowly falling to pieces and his growing feelings for his long time assistant Pepper Potts(Gwyneth Paltrow), Starks has to contend to with a foreign weapons genius named Ivan Vanko who seems to bear a deep seated grudge against the ailing billionaire; a grudge that stemmed from the legacy of Tony's father, Howard Stark.
Whatever was good in the first movie is carried on in true sequel fashion. The acting and chemistry among the cast is definitely the highlight of the whole film. Robert Downey Jr IS Tony Stark, though less of a playboy following his "change of heart"(figuratively and literally) in the first movie, but still the same wisecracking, smirky eccentric. Everyone is just so natural in their roles including the villains, especially The character of Justin Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell. Hammer had all the makings of a silly one dimensional villainous caricature, but manages to be a well rounded scumbag of a corporate competitor, providing some excellent comic relief while still presenting a credible threat to the hero.
That being said, the script is just littered with witty banter, intelligent jokes and a good number of "Easter eggs" for the long time comic book fans. Writer Justin Theroux had a good number of interesting themes going for this movie, most notable of which is the theme of "legacy", of what people leave behind when they are gone; their impressions on their successors and how the effects of their past actions would echo down the years long after one has passed. Stark himself, faced with his inevitable demise, does not want to leave a legacy of death as a weapons designer. Aside from that, we see how the legacies of both Stark's and Ivan Vanko's fathers have affected their present lives.
Now, Vanko's (played by Sin City's Mickey Rourke) is a truly tragic tale. It is easy to pass him off as a "darth maul" type character with no other purpose than to provide the hero with a powerful opponent for the mandatory climax. But to the more attentive viewers, one can see how Vanko is basically the dark opposite reflection of Tony Stark. Both are geniuses, both are where they are because of their respective fathers yet different circumstances in life brought them down entirely different paths. The parallels between his origin story of creating the "whiplash" powered armor from scrap, getting captured(in a similarly explosive manner) in order to develop weapons for one man to bring down his competitor all the way to his cunning escape plan and his mistaken impression about his dearly departed father are all uncannily similar to Tony Stark's experiences in the first movie that led up to his debut as the hero Iron Man and his mistaken impression about his own father.
The one thing viewers might not appreciate is that this sequel seems to lack that sense of "fun" that the first film had, taking on a more serious tone at times to dish out the more complex themes and even a romantic sub-plot. It really is too bad that the more complex themes are there but not really expanded upon. This leaves a lot of "could have been more" moments hanging by the time the show ends. At least the action is satisfying high octane eye candy as Jon Favreau's steady directing hand brings out the intensity of every battle scene. Special effects are top notch as usual except for a couple of cartoony looking moments that do require some suspension of disbelief, for example the briefcase that transforms into an iron man armor with armor parts seemingly appearing from out of nowhere.
By the time the all too familiar final battle is over and the credits start rolling, one gets the impression that Iron Man 2 could have been a lot more than the sum of its parts. A little longer running time would have fixed most of the story kinks but perhaps Marvel is merely using this movie as a money generator and spring board to something greater.(Blatant teasers are thrown into the narrative itself almost like a running catalog of future Marvel film projects).
Topping the first film is no easy feat and of course Iron Man 2 would disappoint a few here and there. But it is nonetheless one of the most entertaining comic book movies that mixes action, wit, drama and cast chemistry so well. If widespread appeal is its purpose, then Iron Man 2 has fulfilled that function magnificently in that even a newcomer to the franchise can kick back and enjoy the show. Marvel studios has started a new legacy beyond great comics. Here is a legacy of comic book movies, true to the spirit of its source material yet tailored nicely to the tastes of the modern movie audience.
Reading Iron Man 2's plot summary, things sound bleak for our
characters. But not at all. This is a breezy, light-hearted,
inoffensive affair that saunters at a magnetic pace, with emotional
discomfiting a far thought. Which is pretty refreshing, to say the
least. In fact, Iron Man 2 is the complete of antithesis of recent
comic book movies. For one, it certainly isn't darker than its
predecessor, absent its slow-burning first half and latched-on social
commentary. It also gives itself the poetic license to stretch
credulity. This is a movie about a man who flies around in metal suit,
blasting away multicolored-haired Russians with electric whips. Realism
simply doesn't apply, and thankfully director Jon Favreau and writer
Justin Theroux take affectionate liberty with the bonds of belief. Yes,
Ivan Vanko can secretly build super technology unbeknownst to his
suppliers. And yes, the only way to incapacitate a drunken Tony is to
beat the crap out of him in a Iron Man suit. No complaints here!
Iron Man 2 is also very much Iron Man's superior, although partly by default. The first movie was stuck with a pedantic origin story. However, the sequel had no shortage of possible paths to take. Which did it choose? The way you should always go; the road of characterization. Rather than tediously expand upon its universe, Iron Man 2 simply reprises its dramatis personae and sticks them into situations graver than before, upping the ante but reiterating the overall heart and spirit of its predecessor. The characters are well-etched, each snappy exchange rendered with a mature pathos that contrasts with the spurious scenarios that they feature in between of. Iron Man 2 could easily be called a comedy, but the naturalism of the comedy is seamless; you get the sense that it would be impossible to write this movie without having these vibrant characters joke and jeer.
To bring the clever screenplay to life is the phenomenal cast. Robert Downey, Jr., as always, is effortlessly captivating. Charisma defined and an scandalously unsung master of versatility (he's not just playing himself, people!), it's no breaking news that he's still one of the most watchable actors ever. He is the perfect Tony Stark, and a more-than-worthy representative of the thinking man's action star. His chemistry with Gwyneth Paltrow as the pragmatic Pepper Pots is electric, and she too turns in a fine performance. Wistful, but by no means a damsel in distress, she is probably the realest character.
The baddies, just as essential as the hero, don't disappoint either. Another wrong from last time round successfully remedied is the lack of genuinely menacing villains. Jeff Bridges honored us with his always-welcome presence in Iron Man, but his warm affability was anything but menacing. This time, however, Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell (oddly, both novices to blockbuster attention) are on duty, offering more than enough bang for your villainy buck. Rourke as Anton Vanko/"Whiplash", supplements a composite of the unintentionally hokey showman, supercilious mastermind, and the seemingly unstoppable behemoth. This effectively fends off one-noteness, and Rourke perfectly embodies the duality of Vanko's deceptively boorish visage and surprisingly vast intellect, while still indulging in the welcome irreverence that comes with the comic book villain (his Russian drawl is humorous but gives him an otherworldly conviction).
Rockwell, on the other hand, is flat-out comic relief as Stark's weaselly rival though not necessarily a threatening one Justin Hammer. He is excellent in the part; an absolute delight to watch, whether irascibly mugging in a loss for words with his insubordinate partner Vanko or, in one of the movie's best moments, shamelessly accolading his own (faulty) inventions with juvenile zeal.
Unfortunately, with all these characters butting heads for screen time, co-stars Don Cheadle and Scarlett Johansson as Tony's pal Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes and eventual partner War Machine and alluring temptress of a new assistant Natalie Rushman, respectively, are given the short straw. Both are more than able of carrying a scene, but while the script lavishes Tony with many moments in which to brood his way into some fine character development, and to convey Pepper's many grievances, neither supporting character is as lucky. Cheadle's moments of potential are all obstructed by the War Machine suit, and everything otherwise requires him to lucidly voice reason as a foil to the devil may care Tony. Johansson is a non-event, her Natalie Rushman an amoral nothing role, and her Black Widow guise is not so much daring femme fatale as listless sex symbol. She acts as merely a vessel for fan service, be it in her skintight suit for the general audience or that she represents another stepping stone to an Avengers movie for esoteric comic book fans.
The movie is inter cut between the scenes of terse characterization and octane action. The latter is a dizzying combination of rapid vicissitudes and toe-to-toe skirmishes, high on CGI, low on genuine peril. In fact, Iron Man 2 could quite possibly have been a masterpiece of the genre had it lived up to its first forty minutes of exuberance and intrigue. But once the clumsy pugilism of Iron Man and Whiplash takes place, the movie falls flat. The power play is nonexistent, because it's hard to believe anyone could stand a chance against ol' Shellhead. And if no sense of alarm can be conveyed when Iron Man is caught in an unusually melee showdown, the flight sequences leave no impression. Yes, the special effects are astounding, but it's all for nothing if there's no dramatic undercurrent.
Otherwise, please, don't mistake my raving for fanboy hyperbole; Iron Man 2 is great. It's well-written, well-acted, and simultaneously a loving throwback to comic book norm and a break from recent tradition. It's a rare occurrence to be thankful for, because God knows if this follows the superhero trilogy formula, the third one will suck. Which would tragically make this movie's thrilling departure from cliché null and void.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark's ego swells to enormous levels. Written as
some kind of Steve Jobs meets Richard Branson amalgam in a superhero
costume, Robert Downey's wise-ass treatment of the character (still at
tangents to what he represents in the original comics) seems self
absorbed and cheeky. How could anyone find him likable as a hero? But
beyond all of this is a simple fact, this sequel fails to do what every
sequel must i.e. expand on the original and take the premise into
Stripped down in this second outing to its bare essentials - one liners and scant cartoonish action - the films defects (glaringly obvious even in the first) conspicuously swell and rise to the surface. The story puts Stark in mortal danger; the miniature arc reactor that keeps him alive is now poisoning his body, discharging lethal toxins that weaken him and leave limited time to find a cure. Amidst this he finds himself embroiled in a wrangle with the US government over the ownership of the Iron Man armour and what it represents (weapon or instrument of peace). If all of this weren't enough, he is threatened by the random appearance of Mickey Rourke's Ivan Vanko, who as Whiplash thumps Start and his Iron Man armour in the movies best scene, set in an over-crowded Monaco racetrack.
Once the initial dust has settled though, the film turns into a self absorbed, faux character study. This superhero Bucket List setup, where our hero may be dying and therefore disregards all concerns about his image and worldly perception, does not make for good entertainment. Even with all its flaws, the original film never sank to a level where it didn't amuse us, whether it was in exploring (but also exploiting) the socio-political landscape of the war on terror or Stark's guilt-stricken conscience, bruised by the extent of his organizations exploits. Because director Jon Favreau is no Sam Raimi, even his attempts at parodying the character (ala Spiderman 3) in self deprecation mode with Tony Start dancing around in full armour on his birthday - feels embarrassingly unfunny. For action junkies, the cluttered night time scenes with Stark and Jim Rhodes (underwhelming Don Cheadle in armour as War Machine) lack the aerial panache of Iron Man fighting it out with Jet Fighters from the original.
The film makes one fact glaringly obvious; comic book movies are not comic books themselves, they are movies and are expected to function in ways that films do. That Iron Man 2 doesn't is a failure that stems out of its short-sightedness to connect itself to something bigger and greater. Intended as a tie in to the upcoming, proposed (and so far non- existent) Avengers movie, it instead becomes filler for it. The movies tone implies it is a setup for the teams ultimate formation, and the blink and miss appearance of Captain America's shield and Thor's hammer, intended to provide drug like highs in audiences viewing pleasure, only confirms this observation. This is not a film but bait for a much bigger commercial franchise on the horizon and depending on how you see it, you will either enjoy it or feel duped by it.
At its high points - the first act and the climax - Iron Man 2 is
actually better than the first film. Everything up to and including the
action scene in Monaco is just great fun to watch: the action, the
character interactions, and of course Robert Downey Jr's wonderful
portrayal of Tony Stark. And the action scene at the end is pretty
The problem is, the film just stops being so much fun in-between. In a large proportion of this time, it's either going too slowly with little happening that's exciting or even particularly interesting, or it's providing some silly moments like Iron Man lounging on a giant display donut. To be fair, there's no problem with the many subplots this movie has: they all blend together quite smoothly.
The acting in this film deserves credit: almost everybody does a great job. Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow are just as entertaining as they were in the first film, Jon Favreau gets more to do as Stark's chauffeur, Don Cheadle is actually a little better than Terrence Howard as Rhodie (again, maybe because he has a bigger role), Mickey Rourke portrays a decent but overall ordinary villain, and once Scarlett Johansson is allowed to do something substantial with her own action sequence, she's well worth watching. The only weak link is Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, who gets quite annoying after a while.
Overall, Iron Man 2's slow middle section prevents it from being better than the first film as a whole, which is a shame considering how brilliant the beginning and end segments are.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
the only thing i liked about this movie was that Mickey Rourke did a
great job as the bad guy--
i didn't like sitting though the first half of this movie at all- it was mostly bla bla bla you know nothing but Robert Downey jr. blabbing on and on the stupid script of these Stark-isms of the main character.
the first movie was great because it was unpredictable but this one is a bore and everything is predictable. also how stupid could the writers be to write in that Stark's Ironman suit get stolen, it made the lead character seem like an idiot. i just found this movie hard to watch.
Also another act of stupidity is writing in the fact that the main character is so stupid to the point of giving up Stark industries.
very poorly thought out-the writers butchered this character, so i think this will wind up like Grease 2--forgotten.
I liked it a lot better than the mixed reviews I was reading would have led me to believe. It's not as fresh as the original, but the charisma and humor were there, and so were some great surprises. RDJ was amazing as always - it's hilarious that Iron Man is a funnier superhero than Spiderman, but the improv makes it work. Thumbs up! I think that anyone who enjoyed the first movie will like this as well, and enjoy a great thrill ride! And don't forget to stay after the credits for yet another Marvel movie tie-in that leads towards the inevitable Avengers movie in 2012! Don Cheadle did a good job - ScarJo was good, but not what I imagined the Black Widow to be like, but she *was* hot... And Gwyneth did her usual impeccable job. Mickey Rourke added weight to what could have been a cardboard cutout stereotype, and Sam Rockwell's character, though annoying, was well played.
A delightful banter heavy super-hero film in which the emphasis of the
film is clearly put on the character of the film and less so on the
super-heroic exploits and trials that comic-based films generally focus
upon. The diminished focus on action pieces might threaten to bog the
picture down but the character interactions and their barbed-filled
vocal exchanges keep the film moving along at a clean pace until the
inevitable CG heavy battle scenes.
Not that there is a lack of money spent in terms of CG wizardry on the screen. But instead of merely focusing their efforts on the suit battles, the film is littered with highly detailed sets and the constant use of extremely high-tech holographic touch sensitive technology is all pervasive. Not to diminish the skirmishes involving the Iron Man suit though as they are fun to watch, very smoothly executed and very aesthetically pleasing especially Micky Rourke's frankensteined creation clashing with Tony Stark's ultra-slick technology.
The plot itself treads no particular new ground although it does attempt to through in a great many sub-plots and personal dilemmas for the ample cast of characters to deal with. The problem with most of these dilemmas is that they generate very little serious drama as they are mainly dealt with in either a succinct manner or are treated in a rather glib fashion and things just sort of seem to work themselves out almost accidentally due to the increased amount of events and characters involved basically just diluting the situation to the point that it almost seems an afterthought when it is reconciled. This casual dismissive tone carries over to the antagonists as the film spreads itself out a little too thin to the point that what should have been powerful character conflicts involving the major characters just seem like minor scuffles.
There is also the odd sort of underlying theme of a stereo-typical conservative American approach to the way in which the film idolizes weaponry and pushes the agenda that America possessing the most powerful weapon in the world would undoubtedly result in an increase in world peace. Then there's also the extra step the film takes that Americans apparently feel more comfortable in having a shallow, fun-loving, but seemingly trust worthy private individual in possession of the most powerful weapon in the world but not their own government.
Is the writer trying to make a statement about the current mental state of American with the increase in paranoia and private militias or is it just more poorly thought out Hollywood worship of the Dirty Harry one man army character doing things we are afraid to take responsibility for? The film makes an attempt to explore the folly of this approach by the sudden attack of Ivan Vanko utilizing similar technology that supposedly was beyond the reach of the rest of the world as promised by Stark. This is then further compounded by a frustrated military friend being able to utilize one of the suits which seems improbable considering the vast amount of hack proof machinery that Stark regularly employs. But like with most issues in Iron Man these are just brushed aside or ignored in the face of an impending threat and we are left wondering what became of all that anyways? But despite all these faults I found the film infectiously enjoyable. Despite the fact that many characters aren't utilized to their fullest, they are immediately compelling and a joy to watch when they are on the screen. Micky Roarke is incredibly fun to watch as he is both a brutal thug and a introverted technology wizard who is only truly friendly to his father and his bird. Tony's relationship with his ambiguously defined girlfriend Pepper Potts is very engaging and their constant over-lapping dialogue exchanges were genuinely funny and wholly natural. Of course most of this has to do with Robert Downey Jr.'s great acting abilities and he really elevates the quality of the movie with his level of skill.
Despite the intensely glib tone of the movie I found the whole thing very enjoyable. There's nothing new here to be sure, but the abilities of everyone involved elevate the movie as a whole into a very satisfying experience.
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