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May 10, 2010 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Iron Man 2

In 2008, Jon Favreau shocked audiences by taking a lesser-known Marvel Comics superhero and turning him into a hugely successful film. Iron Man owed its success primarily to Robert Downey Jr’s performance. Iron Man’s alter ego, Tony Stark, was the role Downey was born to play and his light-hearted, fun, charismatic take on the playboy billionaire arms dealer was one of the strong points of the film, as was the immense chemistry he enjoyed with co-star Gwyneth Paltrow. The sequel was understandably highly anticipated, and everybody will be wondering, “Will it be as good as the first one?”

The answer, I regret to admit, is “No”, although it comes close. I had many problems with the film. It continues Stark’s experience as a secret identity-less superhero while facing opposition from the US Senate, supervillain Whiplash (Mickey Rourke), professional rival Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) and a mysterious disease. Not to mention impending recruitment into a superhero team by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and tensions with personal secretary Pepper Potts (Paltrow), military best friend James Rhodes (Don Cheadle taking over from Terrence Howard) and a mysterious new assistant (Scarlet Johansson). Favreau decided to throw a lot at the wall, and while the result is not an unholy mess like Spiderman 3, it is still nonetheless much messier than its straightforward predecessor.

There are several other small qualms I had with the film, including the way Favreau turned Stark from a loveable asshole into just a plain asshole. Downey does a fine job but his character has simply become too much of a dick. The supporting cast do the best they can with their parts, and their performances range from acceptable (Jackson, Johansson) to brilliant (Paltrow, Rockwell), but the film has too many plots and too many characters.

But (and this is a big but), at the end of the day this is an action film, and as an action film it succeeds masterfully. While the first film was much more tightly plotted, its action scenes were fleeting and the final showdown was anticlimactic. Iron Man 2 contains some of the best CGI action sequences ever seen in a superhero film and it contains plenty of them.

If only for this reason, Iron Man 2 is absolutely worth seeing. It may be a very messy film but it is by no means a bad one, and it is infinitely exciting.

Iron Man 2
Directed by: Jon Favreau

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