Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Movie Review: IRON MAN 2 (Paramount Pictures/Marvel Studios, 2010)

Iron Man (2008) was such an unexpectedly good film (as opposed to a "mere" rock-'em-sock-'em superhero movie) that I was just certain that the inevitable sequel wouldn't measure up... and it doesn't, though it sure as heck tries. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) reverts to narcissistic type at the start of IM2, practically daring the government (personified by a smarmy senator played by Garry Shandling) to commandeer his Iron Man suit. Others, however, are busily at work trying to come up with tech to match Tony's. Evidently they were smart enough to avoid the perils inherent in trying to master Tony's suit themselves. The would-be iron-mongers include a Russian physicist (Mickey Rourke) with a big grudge against Tony's father and an only marginally competent rival arms dealer (Sam Rockwell). There are great punch-up scenes at the Monaco Grand Prix and on the site of the Stark Technological Expo at the old World's Fair site in Flushing, but the "Heart" of the original movie is conspicuous by its absence, and the back end of the plot is too obviously set up as a dangling "hook" for an upcoming Avengers film. The movie wound up falling into the trap that a number of the modern Marvel movies have avoided, namely, assuming that "everyone" will know who the newly-introduced characters are supposed to be.

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