MOVIE REVIEW – ‘Iron Man 2’

Written by J.T. Johnson

4-stars

DIRECTOR: Jon Favreau
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Matthew Libatique
WRITER: Justin Theroux
MUSIC: John Debney

In 2008, Marvel Studios began a project in order to have more creative control with their properties and to create a unified world for their characters to live in. The first film in that series was an outstanding film called “Iron Man”. Now, director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr. return with another adventure.

Six months after revealing to the world that he was Iron Man, Tony Stark’s life has come under inspection by the United States Senate. Also, a new enemy known as Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) has entered the scene to get revenge against the Stark family. A business rival known as Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) is also making things a little more difficult for Tony.

All of that aside, the hero has another problem altogether. The arc reactor that keeps Tony alive is also poisoning him and there seems to be no chance for a cure. Knowing this, Tony begins a downward spiral that only his friends, namely Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle), can help him overcome.

The film starts off with surprisingly little action. The film takes its time to set up the characters and their newfound problems. This ends up working for the film as it builds to what is one of the most climactic battles of all time. Of course, the biggest thing that makes the film tick is still Downey as title character.

This time, the actor is even more comfortable in the role and it shows in every scene. One thing that is usually missing from superhero films is that the audience sometimes doesn’t get to learn who is behind the mask. With this movie and the previous adventure, the audience gets to know Tony Stark as much as they get to know Iron Man.

Also, Downey’s relationship with Paltrow is still there. They have the same chemistry that helped make the first film even better. When they are in a scene together, the audience knows it’s going to be good. Whether they are fighting or having an intimate moment, the scenes always seem to work.

Of course, as much as Downey makes the film good, it is the supporting characters that also help drive the movie. Cheadle replaces Terrance Howard as Rhodey and he does a good job with the same amount of good chemistry that Howard and Downey had in the first film. He is convincing as the friend who tries to convince Tony that he does not have to always go it alone.

Then there’s Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, known to comic book fans as Black Widow. When one sees her in action, they want to see a film about her alone. Johansson not only brings the looks to the role, she also brings the dedication to the physical demands, as well.

Rockwell and Rourke are also great to see as the main antagonist. Rockwell plays Hammer as a guy who sees Tony’s success and wants to be like him while also resenting that same success. Of the two villains, Hammer is also the comic relief while also setting up Tony’s downfall.

Rourke is definitely good as Whiplash, but the only problem present is that it feels that there should have been more with the character. While the film chooses to center more on Hammer’s plans to embarrass Tony, Whiplash is the one that has a more interesting history with the superhero that is not really focused on as much as it should have been. Still, when the Whiplash does appear, Rourke does his job at getting the audience’s attention.

Even though the film starts off with only a little action, when the major action scenes do occur, the filmmakers make it all count. Whether Iron Man is trying to dodge robot drones or fighting back-to-back with War Machine, it is all an adrenaline filled ride. It would be easy to describe the action featured in the film, but the audience really has to see it to believe it.

Any other issues with this film would only be nitpicking at this point. “Iron Man 2” proves to be a film that not only lives up to the first film, it even surpasses it to some degree. Just be sure to stick around after the credits because even though they’re rolling, the film isn’t quite finished until the audience sees what comes afterwards.

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