FILM REVIEW – Iron Man 2

By Duncan Voice


I’m a bit of a superhero nerd, and thankfully Hollywood has had a pretty decent run of super-movies as of late (ignoring The Spirit of course). Iron Man 2 is no exception and is a fairly enjoyable addition to the genre, albeit with more of the same product placement and director Jon Favreau trying, and failing, to be funny.

Robert Downey Jr. plays Robert Downey Jr. again. Not a mistype, there isn’t anyone more suited for the role. His Tony Stark is still the same formulaic billionaire-cum-technology genius with a womanising confident exterior and an inability to open up to those close to him.

So far, so generic. After the introduction of Micky ‘my face has been stung by a thousand wasps’ Rourke as Ivan Vanko, who at the time looks like a 79 year old who has just watched his Dad die, Downey Jr. explodes onto the stage setting Stark Expo to the raucous sounds of AC/DC. Which is one of only two times their music appears during the film, contrary to the recently released album.

After a brief period of drivel in front a crowd of thousands which roughly equates to, "I’m awesome! Yeah! Woo!" we are whisked off to Monaco and the film’s only great action sequence. Mickey Rourke cuts a genuinely terrifying figure as new recruit to the Marvel roster, Whiplash. Lightning cracks, cars go flying, Jon Favreau tries to be funny. Sam Rockwell is also introduced as Justin Hammer, a defence contractor and subsequently not Tony Stark’s biggest fan.

The problems of the first film arise again. The awkward bickering between Stark and Pepper Potts begins to grate after about the third time they talk over each other, and the main portion of the film descends into an awkward period of soul-searching. Now, I appreciate a decent story don’t get me wrong, but you don’t watch Spiderman to see Peter Parker yearn for MJ do you? The eagle eyed will notice the shield of a certain Mr USA, no doubt to raise the profile of his upcoming Avengers tie-in.

Ah yes, the Avengers. Nick Fury is back from his thirty second cameo at the end of the credits in the original to whip up excitement for the pending flick, and brings along Scarlett Johansson to introduce Black Widow into the mix. Which is basically an excuse to see her in a black cat suit. Hit-Girl from Kick Ass would totally kick her, er, arse though. "Are you googling her?", asks Pepper Potts not long after Johansson’s introduction. "I thought I was ogling her", remarks Stark, to a chorus of groans from the cinema audience.

Don Cheadle replaces Terrence Howard as Dusty Rhodes, and soon after a suited-up scrap with Iron Man takes up the mantle of War Machine. It’s during his ‘coming-of-age’ scene as it were, we are treated to the most cringe worthy soundtrack selection of recent memory. Two men, in robot suits, fighting to Daft Punk’s Robot Rock. Sigh. Alas, War Machine is a great addition and sets up an eye popping final fight.

It’s enjoyable, but lacks a villain who we want to see taken down. Justin Hammer is genuinely funny and manages to steal every scene he appears in, and Ivan Vanko is nothing but likeable as a gruff old physicist who just wants his parrot. Aww, bless. It lacks a foe of the same calibre as outright sod Obidiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), who brought plenty to the first film.

Comic book fans may revel in the references, but unfortunately it suffers from the same problems as the first. Awkward attempts at comedy soon begin to grate, Downey Jr.’s facial hair is still impossibly irritating and there is simply just not enough action. The best moments come from when Iron Man is caught up in a scuffle, but the film forgets that people want to see him fling around repulsor beams and launch rockets at explosive objects. Fingers crossed then for future Marvel incarnations, but please, keep the director behind the camera from now on.

7 OUT OF 10

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Filed under Film

9 responses to “FILM REVIEW – Iron Man 2

  1. Toby

    I completely agree with most of this review especially the bit about a worthy advisary for Iron Man! It would be brilliant to see him up against Doc Doom in the saga where they are sent back in time but alas this will probably never happen. 😦 One thing I would like to point out is where you said “but you don’t watch Spiderman to see Peter Parker yearn for MJ do you?” I’d have to disagee! In the comics I agree he doesn’t (as now in the comics he has nothing to do with her) but in the films good god its all he seems to do, while acting like a moody teenager about it when it doesnt go how he plans! But all together a good review of Iron Man 2! 🙂

    PS: Why oh why is Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury?!?!?!?

  2. Thanks Toby, much appreciated 🙂 I did enjoy it, and did have a bit of a nerdgasm when Captain America’s shield turned up, but it just lacked that special something. I think I could have come up with a better example about Spiderman, what I was getting as was that I load up Spiderman 2 to see the many awesome action scenes rather than the fluffy stuff. Just feel like Jon Favreau has missed the point of Iron Man again. Don’t quote me on it as I’m more of a DC chap, but I’m sure I read somewhere that Nick Fury was based on Samuel L. Jackson. Thanks again!

    • Marty Mulrooney

      The original Nick Fury was actually a greying white colonel first appearing in comics around 1963.

      Samuel L. Jackson’s Fury is known as Ultimate Nick Fury, a reinterpretation of the character based on the actor’s likeness, with his permission, after his cameo at the end of the original Iron Man.

  3. So if the first Iron Man was about the hero realizing the company he owns is contributing to people suffering, and that he can have a greater purpose in life than hedonism, what is this one about?

    No trailer I’ve seen did manage to give me a hint of even a semi-decent plot theme in this.

    • Good point Igor…just been going over it in my head, there doesn’t really seem to be any plot. Feels more of a prequel to The Avengers more than anything.

      • It wasn’t really making a point as I haven’t seen the movie yet… I was hoping you will tell me the trailers were a lousy representation of the film and that there is more than meets the eye about this sequel.

  4. No, not really. I was more enthused about the trailers than I was come the end of the film, put it that way.

  5. Marty Mulrooney

    I watched a great episode of The Sopranos from Season 2 last night, called D-Girl (Episode 7).

    It stars Jon Favreau as himself trying to make a mafia film with the help of Tony Soprano’s nephew Christopher, who is an aspiring screenwriter.

    Favreau is hillarious in it, totally out of his depth with both the subject matter and the world of the mafia. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to see him when he was actually capable of being naturally funny, rather than just making us cringe with forced slapstick in the Iron Man flicks.

  6. ironanno

    “the film forgets that people want to see him fling around repulsor beams and launch rockets at explosive objects.” Maybe Michael Bay should direct the next Iron Man film?

    @Igor I felt the movie would’ve had a chance to deal with some serious themes, but turned up very light-hearted. Tony Stark is faced with his own mortality when the generator (?) keeping him alive begins to slowly poison him, but he just seems happy just to put his wild lifestyle into higher gear.

    I also would’ve liked to see some serious thoughts after Stark says he has privatised world peace. Something on the lines of: “Do we really want someone like Tony Stark to be in charge of world peace?” Remember the famous quote: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Quess Stark doesn’t read comics.

    Anyways, I wouldn’t expect too much from a Hollywood blockbuster.

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