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Iron Man 2 Movie Review

Mr Genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist is back and ready for a second round. This time, he is facing an enemy from his father’s past, while dealing with his own mortality.

Genre: Action / Fantasy / Sci-Fi

Director: Jon Favreau

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, Clark Gregg, Samuel L. Jackson, John Slattery and Paul Bettany

Run Time: 124 min.

US Release: 07 May 2010

UK Release: 30 April 2010

German Release: 06 May 2010


Hello and let's keep going with my reviews of the Marvel Phase 1 movies. If you read my previous posts you will know that in anticipation of the Ant-Man film, which will be released on July 23rd in Germany, I am currently reviewing all superhero flicks from the first phase. I already reviewed Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk and today I am reviewing the sequel to Tony Stark’s solo super-hero flick: Iron Man 2.

Let me start off by saying that this has been one of the most disappointing sequels and therefore the weakest film of Phase 1. Personally, I couldn’t wait to go see it in cinemas when I heard it was in production but as it was released in theatres I left the screening more than upset! Don’t get me wrong; Iron Man 2 did still entertain me, yet it dropped so much in quality compared to the first movie, that it did leave me unsatisfied.

Like the first Iron Man, this sequel was directed by Jon Favreau and saw the return of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Clark Gregg as Agents Coulson and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Also starring in it are Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell and Don Cheadle, who took over for Terrence Howard as Rhodey.

Following the events of Iron Man and the world now aware that Tony Stark is the man in the suit, Tony needs to protect his invention from the greedy hands of the government, who want to turn it into a weapon. At the same time Ivan Vankov (Rourke), a man with ties to Stark’s past, comes out from hiding and plots his revenge against the billionaire genius. Now Tony needs to protect himself on both fronts while battling his declining health.

This film has several issues, the narrative being one of the biggest. For one, Tony’s alcoholic subplot is rushed and comes across as comedic, rather than dramatic. It would also have served as a better subplot for Iron Man 3. In the comics, Stark’s alcoholic problem starts due to his growing problems as Iron Man and the pressure he is receiving from S.H.I.E.L.D. who want to obtain control of Stark Industries. It was a 1997 nine-issue story arc, titled “Demon in a Bottle”.

In the picture, Tony’s alcoholism rises due to his decreasing health through palladium poisoning, obtained from the Arc Reactor in his chest that is keeping him alive. This is a plausible reason to start drinking but the problem is that the film does not manage to build up that emotional weight properly. It, therefore, falls flat, with the audience unable to perceive that the abusive drinking is becoming a threat to Tony’s health, his reputation as Iron Man and his father's company.

Further issues are the Government and Justin Hammer subplots. After Tony reveals that he is Iron Man, the US Senate is trying to pressure the industrialist to give up the schematics of his suit. Since he is uncooperative, his rival Justin Hammer is contracted to study the armour, after the US Air Force obtains one of Stark’s prototypes.

Sam Rockwell is one of the most talented actors in this generation and I do normally enjoy watching him on the big screen, however, he is truly terrible as Justin Hammer. The man is supposed to be Tony’s competitor in the weapons industry and yet we get to see a goofy and clumsy idiot, who is probably unable to build a simple LEGO tower. It is completely unbelievable that this guy’s company is able to obtain any contracts at all!

The demise of the main villain Vankov, by the end of the movie, was completely unnecessary. It would have been nice to see a villain being imprisoned, instead of killing another one-off. If the baddie is not dead he can be used again in possible sequels.

The movie, though, also has some positive aspects. First, the introduction of the character of Natalia Romanoff is well handled by Favreau. Johansson does a fantastic job portraying her. I also love the chemistry between Downey Jr. and Cheadle, both of them give terrific performances. Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vankov was another great casting choice. The man has a real threatening presence that makes him feel truly dangerous.

Cinematography-wise, Favreau and his D.P. created a well-filmed action flick. The sequence in Monaco, with Tony fighting Vankov for the first time, contains one of the best battles of the movie. The special effects look great, especially the unveiling of War Machine. There are also several beautiful little nudges at other Marvel heroes.


Verdict: Iron Man 2 is not a terrible superhero blockbuster, but it is a big letdown when comparing it to the first movie and The Incredible Hulk. It contains too many comedy moments, not enough drama and the plot is a little overcrowded, which leads to rushing specific aspects of the movie. I will give Iron Man 2 a disappointing 6.5 out of 10.

Do you agree with my review? Next week Wednesday I’ll be reviewing Thor, so stay tuned if you want to know my opinion of the Norse god’s solo film.

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