Iron Man 2 (2010)
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Premise: A sequel to 2008’s Iron Man. Taking place six months after the previous film, Tony
Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is confronted by Whiplash (Mickey Rourke), a Russian
villain who has allied with Stark’s rival weapons manufacturer who wants the
secrets of Iron Man’s technology.
What Works: Iron
Man 2 continues the fun of the first film. Robert Downey Jr. is back as Tony
Stark and like the first film he carries much of the sequel on his charisma.
Gwyneth Paltrow also returns as Stark’s assistant Pepper Potts and she has one
of the best written roles of the film. Iron
Man 2 avoids a common trap of comic book films, in which female characters
are often reduced to damsels in distress or sex kittens, by giving Potts a
dilemma as she struggles between her attraction to Tony Stark and the demands of
her newfound job responsibilities. The action scenes of Iron
Man 2 hold up with anything in the original and for those who like kick-ass,
shoot-em-up finales this film delivers.
What Doesn’t: Although it is bigger and louder
than the previous film, Iron Man 2 comes up short in its storytelling. Where the previous film credibly
transitioned Tony Stark from an ignorant egomaniac to a self aware egomaniac,
the character’s growth in this film lacks the same kind of dynamism and sense
of purpose. Instead, the middle of the story wanders because it lacks a focus.
There is no specific goal or desire for Stark to quest for in this film and he
does not come into enough direct conflict with Whiplash to give the second act
of the film a narrative shape. As Whiplash, Mickey Rourke does not get nearly
enough screen time to present himself as a credible threat and he spends most of
his time in a workshop hunched over computers terminals.
Bottom Line: Iron Man 2 is a worthy successor to the first film as it continues the fun of the original. But with the excellence of the first film and all of the talent in front and behind the camera on the sequel, the film doesn’t quite meet expectations.
Episode: #288 (May 16, 2010)