Two years ago, when the trailer of Iron Man first came out, I thought it was just ridiculous and juvenile that I had no interest in seeing it. Not sure why I ended up seeing it but let’s just say I absolutely loved it. It was such a fun and enjoyable flick from start to finish and Robert Downey Jr. in the title role carries the movie with his effortless charm. It’s irrefutable that the sequel became one of my highly anticipated flicks this year, and the buzz and trailers only enhanced my enthusiasm.
So? Does it live up to the original?
The short answer is: not quite. Yet, the movie is not completely without merit
This sequel picks up exactly where the first left off when billionaire inventor Tony Stark declared to the world that he is indeed the man inside that Iron Man suit. Borrowing from fellow Marvel superhero Spiderman: ‘with great power comes great responsibility,’ thus the mounting pressure from the government, the press and the public to share his weapon technology with the military. As if that weren’t enough, it’s also revealed early on that the chemical element used in his arc reactor – the one used to keep him alive after the shrapnel wound – is toxic to his blood and the seemingly-untouchable hero is dying. That is, if the vengeful Russian physicist Ivan Vanko doesn’t destroy him first. Seriously, is every single Russian bad guy has to be named Ivan?? As someone married to one bearing that name who doesn’t happen to be Russian, I resent that!
The film veers off Transformers territory at times with the noisy clink-clank sounds of metal clanging with each other, and the only thing that reminds me this wasn’t a Michael Bay flick is the presence of the RDJ and the strong supporting cast. He is able to elevate the hedonistic, egotistical Stark from being an utter and complete jerk because he is just that charismatic. But yet, there’s barely any emotional connection with any of the characters. Despite his health condition and daddy issues though, it’s tough to feel sympathy for the ultra-flamboyant Tony. At times I feel like the secretary-turned-CEO-plus-covert-love-interest Pepper Potts who’s constantly exasperated by his boss’ antics.
Potts is just one of the few familiar faces that are overrun by too many new characters with no real arc. Even the returning character of Capt. James Rhodes feels new because Don Cheadle takes over from Terrence Howard – who I thought was terrific in the role. Cheadle did fine here but I still much prefer Howard, but it doesn’t bother me as much as the completely wasted Samuel L. Jackson as the much-hyped Nick Fury (he appeared in the end credits of the first). His role just comes across pointless and forgettable, which is a shame because SLJ isn’t a ‘forgettable’ kind of a guy. I mean his abrupt death scene in the shark thriller Deep Blue Sea was far more memorable! Scarlett Johansson as the supposedly va-va-voom Russian spy doesn’t have much to do besides slinking around flaunting her curvaceous body on screen.
The poor narrative also makes the film feel disjointed, it doesn’t move from scene to scene in a cohesive fashion. Screenwriter Justin Theroux couldn’t decide whether he wanted to make an Avengers prequel or a follow up to Iron Man, so by trying to fit in the two, he falls short on both counts. I agree with Castor that “… this movie feels more like an Avenger prequel than an Iron Man sequel.” Last but not the least of the movie’s problems is the last battle scene, which lacks a sense of real danger for the protagonists, despite being surrounded by lethal droids created and controlled by Vanko. It’s also far too brief that it really undermines the buildup of what Mickey Rourke did with his villainous role.
Now, despite all the low points I mentioned, it’s still quite fun to watch this movie, and the one liners did make me laugh. For the fun of it, here are what I think are the five best things of the movie:
- RDJ – the only reason I’d even watch the original and he’s still the reason this one is so enjoyable despite its flaws.
Sam Rockwell as Stark’s rival Justin Hammer – it takes a formidable actor to outshine RDJ, but this massively talented actor did just that and stole every scene he was in. I LOVE the hilarious weapon demonstration scene, I’ve got to admit I really like his character almost as much as Tony!
- The briefcase armor – This scene alone is worth the price of admission … well ok, perhaps a matinee admission. Man, it was such a high watching the cool red and silver armor slowly envelopes Stark’s body just by kicking the case open. Freakin’ awesome!
- The Monaco action sequence. The location itself is breathtaking, but as soon as Rourke’s Whiplash shows up looking all menacing and uber bad-ass, I was ready for an exhilarating, full-throttle action and Favreau delivers! I think this is the best battle scene in the whole movie and every once in a while, it’s nice to see a hero – or god as Vanko calls it – bleed.
- Mickey Rourke makes for a menacing, sinister villain, but some of his scenes are funny as heck. I almost choke from restraining my laughter in the whole ‘I want my bird’ scene that left Rockwell mystified.
Ivan Vanko (thick Russian accent): I want my bird.
Justin Hammer: Yeah sure. We can get you a bird
Ivan Vanko: You don’t understand. I want *my* bird. *My* bird.
15 thoughts on “Iron Man 2 Review & Highlights from the Movie”
I think, at a glance the movie might be worth a look for that briefcase bit… that is cool. I enjoyed the first one too, it was pure popcorn fun and I was pleasantly surprised by RDJ’s charisma as a leading man. It’s a shame really that the sequel succombed to the hype and fell short of expectations, it could have been the beginning of something. I wonder if they’ll bother with anymore after the poor reaction from this one. Probably.
One thing RDJ has in amazing abundance is charisma, I’ve watched his earlier movies even when he played a complete waster & drug addict such as Less Than Zero and he’s always a force on screen. He totally deserves his comeback… and so is Mickey Rourke. As for the future of IM2, I think it probably makes enough money that IM3 is inevitable, though I think they might as well just move on to The Avengers.
The briefcase armor is awesome and the highlight of the highlight scene of the movie lol 😉 Like you said, entertaining but not quite as good as the first movie… I thought Rourke looked cool but he didn’t have anything to do, and come on, have him mumble incomprehensible lines? What a waste!
Yes, the highlight of the highlight, that’s why it deserves its own bullet point, Castor 🙂 I happen to like the fact that Rourke didn’t have many lines, as even when Vanko was just staring quietly at Hammer when he went berserk on him at one point, there’s still something alarming beneath that calm surface. I actually feared for Hammer that he was going to suddenly come at him and bite his head off!
True he felt threatening to me too 😉
Disappointed that people don’t enjoy this one more – I thought it was great. We watched IM the first the night before, and it really helped set up just the characters and the vibe … I don’t know if that made a difference in our enjoyment, or not. I agree that Rourke was under-utilized, but beyond that I definitely didn’t feel that there were many low points. I will also agree that the movie succeeds largely because of Downey’s charisma and sheer ability as an actor, and maybe I just like him so much that I loved it, but … I loved it. 🙂
Seen Robin Hood yet? I am sad, contemplating the fact that I seem to have no new movies to look forward to anymore.
I think the biggest thing for me is how the script just wasn’t tight enough that it seems a bit all over the place for me. I forgot to mention about Favreau’s completely unnecessary scenes that I found really distracting. He should’ve been behind the camera more instead of trying to be a comic relief that wasn’t. But RDJ is always the saving grace of the movie, and for the first time I find him incredibly attractive. I mean, I know he’s handsome but for some reason I thought he’s even better looking now… LOVE his gorgeous hair!
Haven’t seen RH yet, hopefully this weekend. Can’t believe I could wait this long as I was so excited for it. You know how I feel about Crowe, but I adore Blanchett, too, so can’t be that bad for me. I still have a few more to look forward to this year, especially Inception!
Briefcase was very cool, wish I hadn’t seen it in the trailers though. Tony’s still cool, too, but I just wish there was more action. Wasn’t the thrill ride I was expecting it to be. Single tear.
Yeah, the element of surprise is a bit taken out when you’ve already seen it in the trailer. They should just show a brief glimpse of it. But to see it in full glory in the cinema is really something else. The geek side of me just absolutely ate it up!
I want my bird.
Sure, we can get you a bird 🙂
It’s the Russian Rule of Movie Villainy: All the really outrageous bad guys must be Russian, speak with a flagrant and impenetrable accent and look unwashed. It’s a cliche as old as time, and I’d probably resent it more if I didn’t like Mickey Rourke as Whiplash so much.
You’re on the mark with the Grand Prix showdown — that’s the most exhilarating action sequence smackdown I’ve seen in a long, long time. The CGI is brilliant, and I love the pitting of RDJ against Rourke — two guys who came back from the dead. It’s great on so many levels.
I think on Sam Rockwell’s tombstone, it should read “just plain cool.” ‘Cause he is.
Hollywood’s full of cliches as it is, what’s one more? 😦
Yes, both actors definitely deserve second chances.
Well, Rockwell would have to fight RDJ for that tombstone!
I vant my boird. 😛
I still absolutely love this film and will not be swayed. But I do take your point that it’s not quite sure whether its Iron Man 2 or Avengers -1, which menas characters like Nick Fury don’t really have a place. I think he’s still acting as a teaser for the Anvengers, he didn’t realy need to feature at all but they had to put him in there.
You’re best moment picks are all things I loved. Especially the race track fight.
Daddy Issues. 😛 I should add that to my list
Right… just change everything to ‘v’ instead of ‘w’ and you should sound Russian, ha!
The Monaco scene is awesome indeed, can’t get enough of that briefcase suit!
Yeah, definitely should add that in, Katie, or maybe you should start a new one titled ‘Why all superheroes have daddy issues?’ 🙂