Iron and Intrigue
[Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell]
Even though I was under the weather a bit, I still made it out to the theater for the sophomore effort of Iron Man. I indulged in a bucket of pop corn and kicked back for the festivities.
SYNOPSIS: Tony Stark and his alter ego, Iron Man, are targeted by a genius looking for revenge against the Stark family and a weapons manufacturer looking to take over Stark's government contracts.
As with all sequels, the same question comes up. Can you guess? Of course you know what it is. The question is whether Iron Man 2 is better or as good as the original. Cameron's "Aliens" pleased Scott's "Alien" fans with more fear and fire power, "Spider-man 2" grew up after "Spider-man" origins, and "The Empire Strikes Back" was the peak of the series, whether it is considered part 2 or 5. But for every "Empire...", there is a "Poltergeist 2", "Predator 2" and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2". Where does "iron Man 2" fit in?
Reviewers have been critical about the film, and understandingly so. "Iron Man" was a great retelling of the Marvel character's origin. A great mix of humor and action, kinetic and fast-paced. "Iron Man 2" strives for the same humor and succeeds, but is tempered by less action and more intrigue. Where the original was straight forward, "Iron Man 2" delves a little deeper into the Stark psyche and his personal demons. While there are a pair of villains in each film, Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko and Sam Rockwell as the defense weaponeer Justin Hammer ramp up the vile and vengeance.
Robert Downey, Jr. returns as the billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, mere months after he announced to the world that he was the armored avenger, Iron Man. Failing to manage his company, his hero duties, and his deteriorating health, he turns the reign of Stark CEO over to Pepper Potts. Fearing his own mortality, Stark spirals out of control with drinking and recklessness, in and out of the suit.
Downey's supporting cast mesh in this second outing. Don Cheadle's Rhodey replaces Terrance Howard without skipping a beat. And he finally gets to don the suit under the guise of War Machine. Rourke brings a wonderful Russian accent and dense intensity to every frame as the hybrid marvel villain Ivan Vanko (Crimson Dynamo) using the tech of the villain Whiplash. Sam Rockwell weasels and worms his way through the movie as Stark's second string defense contractor rival Justin Hammer, pulling all possible strings to undermine Stark and his company in order to get government contracts. Scarlet Johansson joins S.H.I.E.L.D. as the double agent Black Widow, and Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg return as Nick Fury and Agent Coulson, providing easter eggs, hints and clues as to the expanding Marvel universe.
I know I haven't answered the question as to whether "Iron Man 2" is as good or better than the original. Whether it is or not doesn't seem to have had any effect on its box office numbers. And in the end, the legacy of the second "Iron Man" film will rest, not on the words of the critics, but in the hearts of the fans.
One final word, stay to the end of the end credits for a hint at things to come.
Worth: Matinee and BluRay