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Overall Rating
3.04

Awesome: 5.13%
Worth A Look: 26.92%
Just Average35.9%
Pretty Crappy: 30.77%
Sucks: 1.28%

8 reviews, 30 user ratings



Iron Man 2
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by Jay Seaver

"More of what made the first great, but loses the element of surprise."
4 stars

It's amazing what Marvel managed with the first Iron Man movie a couple years ago. It may be hard to remember, but back in 2007, Tony Stark was almost completely unknown outside of comic book shops, and Robert Downey Jr. was seen as a risk even by the folks who thought he was perfect for the role. Marvel opted to produce the film themselves, entering a distribution deal with Paramount rather than selling the rights. And then, in the closing credits, they revealed that they were planning something a little bigger than a superhero franchise.

It's easy to see Iron Man 2 as a little disappointing when compared to its predecessor, not because it's notably lower in quality (it isn't, really), but because it lacks the feeling that we're seeing something new and surprising. Instead, director Jon Favreau and screenwriter Justin Theroux have done what sequels have traditionally done - made a list of what people liked in the first one and delivered more of that, without making the repetition too obvious. That they do all right is commendable; that's harder than it looks when all you're talking about is surface elements, and almost impossible when one of the items on the list is "discovering something new".

Iron Man 2 starts six months after Tony Stark (Downey) ignored the recommendations of SHIELD and announced to the world that he was Iron Man, and in that time a lot of people have been busy. Stark has been intervening in trouble spots around the world; rival defense contractor Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) has been trying to duplicate Iron Man technology (as have rival nations); and a Russian physicist Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) with a grudge against Tony's late father has actually managed to duplicate the suit's power source. And while Tony Stark outwardly seems like the same arrogant man-child he started out as, what he hasn't told anybody - not newly-promoted CEO Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), best friend Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle), or new assistant Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) - is that the toxic palladium that both powers the Iron Man armor and keeps his heart beating has been seeping into his bloodstream, and is rapidly poisoning him.

The best part of the first Iron Man film was Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, and the filmmakers are smart enough to keep him front and center. Initially, it may seem like Stark has regressed since the end of Iron Man so that the audience can get a second serving of the entertaining-but-shallow Tony of the first film rather than the more mature man he grew into - and that's probably why Stark acts like he does - but it's actually a fairly clever bit of characterization: Iron Man was about Stark learning to take responsibility for his actions, but that cuts both ways - a cocky genius taking responsibility for great things is going to become even more insufferable; a dying one looking to cement his legacy desperately so. Downey grabs onto this and does a great job of making Tony walk the line between devil-may-care rogue and complete jerk; it's a boisterous performance, but one that almost always rings true. It's a neat trick, making Stark larger than life and a guy we can connect with.

Everyone else is playing second fiddle, defined by how they interact with Tony Stark. Mickey Rourke's "Whiplash" isn't a villain that will go down in superhero movie history, but he's what this movie needs, a thuggish genius who holds grudges, the opposite of Downey's in-the-moment Stark. Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper is constantly frustrated by him but affectionate. Rockwell's Hammer wants to be him but is always just short, especially in charisma.

And, the action is pretty good. There's not as much of it as there was in the first film, but the two main set pieces - Whiplash revealing himself at the Monaco Grand Prix and the final battle in New York - are well-done. I suspect that Favreau is using more digital effects than before, but things do feel solid. They're also staged in a very enjoyable way, in that they do a good job of focusing on Iron Man and Whiplash, but giving all the other characters - Pepper, Rhodey, Natasha, and even Favreau's Happy Hogan - the chance to be involved and effective. The bits between are fairly entertaining too - overdone in spots (Tony's birthday party, for instance), but great fun in others (tearing up his home for an engineering project).

It's well-done, just not surprising. In 2008, the movies hadn't really seen a superhero whose civilian identity was as much fun as his alter ego, or the promise of a larger comic-book universe. "Iron Man 2" gives us more of that (right down to another post-credits sequence); it just can't give it to us for the first time again.

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originally posted: 05/06/10 23:25:06
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User Comments

2/20/17 morris campbell dull dissapointing sequel 1 stars
3/28/16 Aj wales Underated but not a gem though. Ok. 3 stars
10/01/14 Horror Lover An oversaturated mess. 2 stars
9/02/14 Jeff Worst Marvel movie 2 stars
4/06/13 Charles Tatum Vastly entertaining, don't understand the hate! 4 stars
11/18/12 Sean Harrison Probably the weakest of the Marvel cinematic universe. 3 stars
10/18/11 Magic A movie that tries to bite off more than it can chew. RDJ saves this movie, barely. 3 stars
5/25/11 Glenn Laurence Hardy Junior i thought it was worth a look....... friend me on facebook! (my pic. is sonic) 4 stars
1/22/11 Jeff Wilder Fun overall. But overstuffed. 4 stars
12/21/10 Sean M Favreau and theroux bit off way more than they can chew. RDJ and Mick should've been epic. 3 stars
12/11/10 terri The movie should have focused more on the villains and not the Avenger crap. 2 stars
11/30/10 Simon Verhoeven This critic has no clue whatsoever about the process of writing and filmmaking. Great movie 5 stars
10/04/10 action movie fan tony stark is great but this movie seem like a viedo game-the action particularly 3 stars
8/06/10 naewar Not the first one, but still a great movie. 4 stars
6/21/10 Ken Kastenhuber AIS decent sequel, not enogh substance, but decent popcorn fare. 4 stars
6/08/10 Eric Olsen First was substantially better, more action, more exploration. 3 stars
6/07/10 Jack Frost David Cornelius -- paralysis by analysis. Watch it before it leaves the big screen. 5 stars
5/28/10 Koitus Very disappointed; loved IM1. Only 1 decent-length action scene?!? Wait for the DVD... 3 stars
5/20/10 Man Out 6 Bucks Downey just riding the crest of a wave. Most non-Angelinos don't get it. 4 stars
5/16/10 mr.mike Feels more like Iron Man 5 , stale and lacking action. 2 stars
5/12/10 damalc nothing special; not nearly enough action for a superhero movie 3 stars
5/11/10 KingNeutron Some of the CGI was sloppy, but overall a quite enjoyable summer action movie. 4 stars
5/10/10 g. maybe not quite as good as the first, but still a good time. 4 stars
5/09/10 Abs it's a meh movie...lacked the consistent humor that made IM1 great 3 stars
5/09/10 Flounder An ENORMOUS disappointment. Dull, vacuous and pointless. I'm shocked. 2 stars
5/08/10 Dan Great for what it was meant to be-an installment in an overarching Avengers storyline 5 stars
5/08/10 JC Pierce I liked it 3 stars
5/08/10 PAUL SHORTT FUN ACTION-PACKED SEQUEL WITH GOOD PERFORMANCES 4 stars
5/08/10 "Big Brother" visually stunning (as expected) but ultimately flat & empty; Cheadle lacked T.H.'s charisma 2 stars
5/07/10 Darkstar Awesome! Much better than the first one. Stay till after the credits for a surprise! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-May-2010 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Sep-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  07-May-2010
  DVD: 28-Sep-2010



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