Iron Man 2 (2010)
“It’s good to be back!”, says Tony Stark after landing and un-suiting in front of a crowd of screaming thousands. Too right he is. Iron Man 2 comes in with a bang and delivers a taste of what is to come.
Iron Man 2 actually feels like a comic book. The story continues where the prequel left off and continues in a natural progression. It still feels relatable but is also written with the same energy as a multiple issue story arc in comics. With an increased presence of SHEILD, and more characters, the Marvel cinematic universe is vastly expanded making the film feel more connected like a comic book that has come to life. And the action takes a step foward from the prequel without being an obvious attempt to outdo the first film. The combination of Iron Man with War-Machine makes me geek out every time!! But its the expansion that is a huge leap towards the events to come, and provides just a taste of the massive ensemble piece waiting on the horizon.
Another thing that is making comic book movies successful these days are the actors. Iron Man 2 is no exception with most of the original cast returning as, once again, Robert Downey Jr. leads the charge with a supreme effort. Here he is able to juggle the brash arrogance of Tony Stark with the vulnerability of a man that’s dying with limited options. Gwyneth Paltrow is back as Pepper Potts as the relationship between her and Tony develops to a new and entertaining place. Don Cheadle takes on Rhodes this time and plays him with an appropriate coolness that balances RDJ superbly. Scarlett Johansson is great as Black Widow (although, I would’ve liked to have had an accent there) and reprising his glorified walk-on role from Iron Man, Clark Gregg is SHEILD agent Coulson. The subtle way he plays the part is genius; I want to see the Agent Coulson movie! And the sometimes under appreciated Sam Rockwell is kind of Ridiculously Awesome as Justin Hammer. He’s totally believable as a lesser version of Tony Stark, the “K-Mart brand” Tony Stark if you will. But while Mickey Rourke is a great actor, for me, he felt kind of out of place as Ivan Vanko/Whiplash. He looked more like a dirty Mexican (no offence intended) and less like a Russian and just didn’t really pose a threat.
Continuing the hallmark of the franchise, Iron Man 2’s visual style is slick. New locations, mixed with some familiar ones, provide excellent eye candy for establishing shots and background settings. The action set pieces are bigger and more dynamic, the tech is improved and fantastic but still believable, and once again the suits look fantastic. Every time the Iron Man suit is in action is a good time but when the Iron Man suit and the War-Machine suit are together, it’s nothing short of awe inspiring. Still looking good and expanding the world it inhabits,