PaulRom Reviews: Iron Man 2
My first CBM review takes on last year's sequel to the highly successful Iron Man adaptation. Does it stand as strongly as its predecessor? Hit the jump for my take...
In 2008, we were treated with the big screen debut of Iron Man, a playboy billionare-turned-super hero who fought evil inside of a metal suit. The film was a huge success, hitting big at the box office and even better with the critics (many still call the film one of the greatest comic book movies of all time). Of course, a sequel was instantly placed into development, and last year, we received the second chapter of the proposed Iron Man trilogy. The question is...is this film as good as the first?
Iron Man 2 picks up six months after the first film's events. Now that the world knows that Tony Stark is Iron Man, the government, and many in the public, are harassing him because they failed to see Iron Man's being able to protect everyone. Meanwhile, new villain Ivan Vanko takes on the identity of Whiplash, a villain who's bent on destroying Iron Man for his family's fate 40 years before. Also happening is Tony's strained relationship with recently assigned Stark CEO Pepper Potts, his friendship with James Rhodes/War Machine being strained, and Tony himself dying from the very chestpiece that was keeping him alive.
The casting in Iron Man 2 is very solid. Robert Downey Jr. embodies Iron Man/Tony Stark brilliantly, and it's impossible to see anyone else in the role. Mickey Rourke is great as Whiplash, showing the evil persona needed in an excellent way, while Gwyneth Paltrow is even better this time around as Pepper Potts. Don Cheadle replaces Terrence Howard as James Rhodes, who later becomes War Machine. While I usually don't endorse replacing cast members (usually for the sake of continuity), Cheadle does a stronger job as Rhodes than Howard did in the first film. Samuel Jackson, whose performance as Nick Fury was previously reduced to an after credits scene in the first movie, is much more heavily present, while Scarlett Johansson and Clark Gregg are both excellent in their respective performances as SHIELD agents Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Agent Coulson.
The main problem with Iron Man 2 is probably one of its strengths. Many have complained that the movie seemed like an advertisement for future Marvel films, and it's not hard to see why. From subtle references to Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and even The Avengers and The Incredible Hulk to a degree (as well as the announced Black Panther flick), to SHIELD being involved quite heavily, it might seem like too much for a 'stand-alone' Iron Man film series. But then again, the easter eggs are nice treats, and help whet my taste for when The Avengers comes out next year.
So, to answer the question brought up earlier, I don't believe that Iron Man 2 surpasses its predecessor (although it's kind of hard to tell, since both films are very good). The first Iron Man deserves its title as one of the strongest CBMs of all time, and has very, very few flaws. Unfortunately, Iron Man 2 doesn't seem to be quite as enjoyable as the first film. Still, it's an excellent action flick, and I recommend it to anyone looking for an awesome super hero film fix. It also seems to be more enjoyable with each watch, and is still a worthy sequel to what came before it. Bring on Iron Man 3!
I rate Iron Man 2 4 out of 5 stars.
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