David’s Solo Review of Iron Man 2

18 May

Iron Man 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to 2008’s Iron Man.  The original was incredibly successful and left this followup with some extra large shoes to fill.  Personally, I was very excited about this film.  I loved Iron Man and I fully expected to love Iron Man 2.  Robert Downey Jr. is still playing Tony Stark.  Jon Favreau is still directing.  Gwyneth Paltrow is still Pepper Potts.  And we’ve got Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard (pros and cons to this, but I’m saying it’s a plus).  What more could you ask for?

Well, as it turns out, you could ask for a little bit more story.  Now, I want to immediately follow that by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.  I don’t want you to start this out thinking I’m saying it’s a bad movie.  Because I’m not.  I think it was a good movie.  But I was expecting it to be better.

Let me explain.  Robert Downey Jr. was born to play Tony Stark.  Or at least he molded himself into the perfect man to play Tony Stark over the years.  Either way, it’s a joy to watch him in this role.  He handles all the subtleties of the character perfectly.  We get to see him shift from arrogant to shy, from hilarious to deadly serious, and it all seems perfectly natural.  If anything, I would say that Downey Jr. has become even more comfortable in this role.

As for the other actors, they’re great too.  Any problems I had with Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts are gone.  She was great this time.  I’m not going to say that Don Cheadle is a better actor than Terrence Howard, but his James Rhodes definitely is.  As for the villains, we’ve got Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell.  Rourke is just playing himself, as usual, but when you give him a Russian accent, that actually comes off as a pretty decent villain.  Rockwell steals the show in every scene he’s in.  No surprises there, but definitely no complaints either.  And finally, we have Scarlett Johansson.  I was very nervous about the decision to cast her, but she actually did a pretty good job.  I was impressed.

Mickey Rourke as a Russian Mickey Rourke

So, great acting all the way around.  What about the action?  This sequel had a lot to live up to in the action department.  But it totally pulls it off.  Mickey Rourke’s attack at the race track totally dwarfs any of the military scenes from the original.  I will pick electric-whip wielding psychos over terrorists any day of the week.  And I was much more impressed by the robot fights in this one than I was with the one giant robot at the end of the first one.  Throw in some crazy kung-fu from an unlikely source, and you’ve got the makings of a Grade-A action film.

Which gives us great acting, great action…what is missing?  A great story.  And that is the one draw back.  Now, again, don’t get me wrong.  There are some great moments in this story.  I would even say there are some perfect moments.  But as a whole, I was disappointed.

What made the story so good in the first film?  It was the personal journey of Tony Stark.  We watched him completely change who he was.  We saw him evolve over the course of the film.  There’s no journey in this movie.  There is what you might call a quest, but its not one that requires any sort of personal change or growth from our hero.  And while you can still have a very exciting and fun action film without having the main character grow, it doesn’t feel right when you’ve already set precedence with the first film.  Its not every day that a super-hero movie comes along and it actually has some heart.  So to give us that, and then go back to the template most of the other action movies use, it just feels like a tease.  A fun tease, but a tease none the less.

So, in conclusion, should you go see Iron Man 2?  Yes.  It will prove to be one of the best action movies of the year.  Should you expect it to be as good as Iron Man 1?  No.


3 Responses to “David’s Solo Review of Iron Man 2”

  1. theinfj May 18, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    I’m not sure about you, but I liked the villain in this one a lot more than the villain in the first. It made much more sense to me why Russian Rourke was so mad at the Stark family.

    • iamhrothgar May 18, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

      Oh I agree, I was very happy with the villains in this one. I just wanted a little more from the hero.

  2. jermz May 18, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    I wish they went a lot farther into Rourke’s story – they explained why he was mad, but I was hoping for more… flashbacks maybe, something more to his story, instead of another im-building-a-suit! – montage.

    His character was so awesome but I guess they didn’t have a of story to tell of him, since he’s technically two villains combined (according to my comic book aficionado roommate). Anyway, good review, movie was very enjoyable

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