Iron Man 2
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, and Scarlett Johansson
Directed by John Favreau (Iron Man)
Rated PG-13 for sequence of intense sci-fi action violence, and some language
Appropriate for ages 13+
Now that the world is safe from terrorists due to the invincible Iron Man/Tony Stark (Downey Jr.), the U.S. government wants the suit, and they want it bad. With other countries and even U.S. defense contractors hard at work to duplicate it, Stark won’t give it up, but is happy to keep defending the U.S. Little does he know that there is a crazy Russian named Ivan Vanko, A.K.A. Whiplash (Rourke), that wants to kill him and a competing weapons manufacturer lead by Justin Hammer (Rockwell) that wants to hire the Russian to do just that very task.
With the first film, the origin story is very important, and they did a tremendous job of bringing it to the screen. There was great action, humor, and a couple of decent battles. But what the first film lacked was a great villain. Iron Man 2 has such a villain in Whiplash. Mickey Rourke brings just enough creepiness into the role to provide a villain that is not only terrifying but brilliant at the same time which is worse. He just might be the only person on the planet as smart as Stark and his only motive is senseless revenge. When he makes his move you just know things are going to get bad and fun at the same time.
Writer Justin Theroux (Tropic Thunder) did an excellent job of providing loads of excellent characters. It helps when you have a terrific cast like this, but you can only attract a cast like Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson, John Slattery, and Gary Shandling when you have such juicy parts for them to play. Even director Jon Favreau was able to steal his own stage several times as Stark’s driver/assistant Happy Hogan.
So without a knock on the first film, I will say that this one is better, but that doesn’t really matter because it’s just a second great addition to a terrific franchise.
Spoiler Alert: While I really liked the film, I was deeply disappointed with one aspect of the final battle scene where Iron Man is being chased by a group of drones through a crowded fairgrounds. He is dodging bullets left and right, but I question why Favreau or Theroux wouldn’t have taken this scene off sight to avoid collateral damage. It almost appears like Iron Man is trying to get civilians everywhere killed. If it was just a quick shot (no pun intended), it would be forgivable, but this was a lingering scene and stuck out severely. A-