When summer began we were treated with many great movies. One of them being IRON MAN 2, the sequel to 2008 surprise hit. For me however it was no surprise it would please me, since I am a Downey fan. Only this time I would be seeing him in a returning role for the very first time. Could he live up to the hype and can a comic based movie sequel be any good?
When writing this review I came to the conclusion that only THE DARK KNIGHT and perhaps SPIDER-MAN were proper superhero sequels. If I am wrong, feel free to correct me, but not many great superheroes flicks out there right? Sure I enjoyed other movies like the FANTASTIC FOUR, but this was mainly due to Jessica Alba being almost naked and who does not want to see that!
With IRON MAN 2 we continue where we left off in part one. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) proclaimed he in fact is Iron Man and this has made his company, Stark Industries, flourish quite well after it almost went bankrupt. However being a superhero comes with a price. They either want to use you or want the powers you use, with Iron Man it is the latter. The government is trying their best to get its hands on the technology and with this a new enemy arises in the form of Ivan Vanko, played by none other then Mickey Rourke. He is the son of a scientist, who worked at Stark Industries; more specifically on the Arc Reactor.
Now we got ourselves a new villain to battle! This is the core of every superhero movie: Superhero faces (new) Supervillain. But this is where the movie actually goes wrong. Instead of focusing on just this main plot, with a few extra side plots like a love relationship or perhaps the interference of the government, we get thrown into an array of other story arcs which make it either too confusing, too complex or simply just too much.
To explain what I mean, here are some of the story arcs present in IRON MAN 2:
– New Supervillain rises, which has to be defeated by the Superhero
– New Supervillain has connections with Stark Industries somehow
– Government wants to have the Iron Man technology
– Government hires the wrong guy (aka evildoer)
– Evildoer collaborates with new Supervillain
– Tony Stark’s health is going downhill (as is his social life)
– Love Relationship is put to the test
– War Machine enters the fray
– Best friend relationship is put to the test
– SHIELD enters the fray
– Flickers of SHIELD become more apparent for future movies
Now the movie itself only is 124 minutes, so if you just divide these (at least) 11 story arcs by 124 minutes you get a little over 11 minutes for each plot. That is not enough time to explain certain details or even have proper action sequences.
Which brings us to the second point, the action sequences. There are only a two proper action sequences in the entire movie; the first battle with Ivan and the final battle. All others are just for the show or to add some more fluff to the story. This actually is not a bad thing if the action sequences are properly done, but when it comes to the final big fighting scene, the ending of the fight is short, has no flair and feels like an abrupt end.
So lets talk acting then. A new big role in this movie is that of War Machine, which was supposed to be played by Terrence Howard, he apparently wanted too much money so Don Cheadle gladly stepped in to play Lt. Col. James Rhodes. This actually does not upset me as much, since I prefer him as an actor. But due to the many story lines, the actors and actresses have to outperform themselves to present a believable character in the time frame each of them have. This of course is no problem with characters we already know from the previous part, but with all the new characters and the growth of certain existing characters, this can become a problem.
All these slight “problems” could have been overcome if they scrapped a few plots and extended the length of the movie a little bit. Now the movie feels a bit sloppy and unfinished. I however enjoyed the movie, but as stated in other reviews, I’m a biased Downey fan. IRON MAN 2 is certainly worth the watch, but it is not as good as the previous part. The complete series (THE INCREDIBLE HULK, IRON MAN and IRON MAN 2) have set a nice solid foundation for the upcoming AVENGERS movie, but without Edward Norton playing the Hulk I can only guess on how this will turn out. First however we can get ready for THOR, which was teased after the credits.