So how do you follow up Iron Man, the hugely successful opener for Marvel in their Cinematic Universe? By making a second one of course, so here it is folks, a review on what I think of Iron Man 2, if you haven’t seen this by now, that’s a shame as this review will contain spoilers.
So they say that the sequel to a movie is always poor, this statement alone I would disagree with personally, but with Ironman 2 I think it wins this battle. Iron Man 2 manages to successfully squeeze multiple storylines and characters into what is a thrilling two hour adventure, while still keeping the spotlight firmly on Tony Stark (played once again outstandingly by Robert Downey JR). Now Iron Man 2 doesnt always keep balance of all the moving parts, yet it’s still a highly entertaining accomplishment on the part of director Jon Favreau and Marvel Studios.
In many ways, Iron Man 2 is an argument for a superhero and whether they should be maintaining his/her identity. Tony is definitely paying for his declaration at the end of the first movie that he is Iron Man. Now we are six months after this and the U.S. government wants all of Stark’s tech, as does his rival Justin Hammer, who has succeeded Stark as the U.S. militarys top weapons manufacturer. Called to a military hearing, Tony shows up both Hammer and a U.S. Senator during the hearing as the government doesnt seem too keen on a private citizen possessing such destructive technology, which Tony dismisses saying such advances are at least 10-20years away. What he doesnt know is that an old enemy of his family is hard at work in Russia on his own version of Stark’s Arc Reactor.
That enemy is Ivan Vanko, the son of a Russian scientist who was once a colleague of Tony’s dad. Now Ivan, who is never mentioned by the name Whiplash during the film, blames Stark for all the suffering that his family went through during the Cold War and wants Tony to pay for it. Ivan is also a scientist who has spent nearly two decades in a gulag and is now badass enough that he is able to kill professionally trained men with his bare hands. He has also developed his own makeshift Iron Man Tech. Vanko’s schemes eventually fold into those of Justin Hammer and he is soon brought stateside to aid Hammer.
Now im sure you know that there is alot going on in Iron Man 2, perhaps maybe too much some times but if you dont have a sustained Nerdgasam for the two hours while watching this movie, you’re probably in the wrong place. With each passing reference to or obvious setup for the Avengers with the inclusion of Black Widow and Nick Fury, I could feel the butterflies stirring, thinking Oh My God, its really happening, we are really going to see Iron Man, Captain America and Thor all sharing the screen.
There is one particular scene which is Tonys birthday party, where either you will be onboard with how director Favreau and his cast handle it, or you will find it too long and contrived. Although it is a turning point for two main characters, damn does it drag on.
Overall though, the filmmakers get more right than not, and as fan I was certainly left feeling that I had gotten more than I ever thought I would. Despite having so many plot points to serve, Favreau manages to keep the spotlight on Tony. This for me is definately his story and everyone else is reacting to something he or his company did. This sequel also gives Tony life-or-death stakes, this is a man in mortal peril, whether it’s at the hands of his enemies, the government or his own personal demons.
One area where Iron Man 2 is a clear improvement over its predecessor, is the action department. Now, unlike the first film, it feels like this builds up and pays off with one hell of an action packed, eye candy-filled conclusion. I also found it very refreshing that we don’t have any doomsday device or some “save the world” plan for Tony to prevent. The Monaco race sequence, which we seen mostly in the promos and trailers for this film, is a highpoint very early on, but it’s then followed with a long stretch of screen time where the plot mechanics heavily outweigh the action. As a fan I felt this was the time I was checking my watch more so than usual, but then when War Machine finally arrives, the action begins to pick up again, culminating with the super cool showdown where Tony and Rhodey make a stand against an array of Hammer Drones.
DIAGNOSIS – INPATIENT CARE
Despite the movies shortcomings, Iron Man 2 is an absolute blast, it may not have the most polished delivery in terms of a story but for the most part it attains its narrative goal. It’s filled with fun action set-pieces, a pair of compelling villians and an intriguing dilemma for our main hero. The original movie had a novelty to it that simply cant be replicated, but as far as Comic Book movie sequels go, Iron Man 2 is a cut well above the rest and sets us up nicely for the Avengers.