As a long time fan of Marvel Comics, I have been delighted by the growing trend of adapting key Marvel characters into film but disappointed at the quality of quite a few of them (Punisher, Daredevil and Elektra, anyone?). A few years ago, when I heard that they were going to make an Iron Man movie, I was not optimistic that it would be good – a tin man flying around could potentially be real cheesy. But the final product was in fact, surprisingly, one of the better Marvel films. Of course, with its success, a sequel was planned and the film made its debut in Hong Kong on 30 April 2010.
Pre-release reviews by the mainstream press were pretty negative, but that obviously didn’t really affect my desire to see the film (nor, I suspect, will they stop many others). At over 2 hours in length, Iron Man 2 does provide enough adrenaline pumping action to satisfy most viewers. While there is little character development, which was one of the strengths of the original Iron Man movie, and the plot goes all over the place, I suspect most viewers who simply want a good time will find this sequel more than satisfying.
As far as the story goes, the film begins with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) facing two problems: deteriorating health and the government’s desire to force him to hand over his battle suits. Soon a third problem arises in the form of Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), who wants revenge on Stark of what Stark senior did to Vanko senior. Soon, Stark’s pal Lt. Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) flies away with one Iron Man Suit that gets fitted with multiple rocket launchers and Gatling guns and Vanko unleashes an army of battle droids on Stark. All hell breaks loose.
I am sure fanboys will be delighted with Scarlett Johansson’s role as the Natasha Romanoff aka the Black Widow. Johansson’s role was obviously an attempt to add some sex appeal to the franchise – while her role seems tacked on rather lazily, guys probably won’t mind some eye candy.
Iron Man 2 represents the return of Mickey Rourke to the blockbuster movie and this is the first post The Wrestler role I’ve seen him in. Unfortunately, he doesn’t really have much to do apart from looking mean. I’ve always like Rourke as an actor and find him excellent in Sin City. But I’m afraid The Expendables (coming later this summer) and Rambo V might sink his career again. As a side note, I’m not sure what villain he is playing in Iron Man 2; he looks like Whiplash to me, but the Hollywood Reporter lists him as Crimson Dynamo! I suppose he is a composite of the two.
Other fan moments : Samuel L. Jackson appears as Nick Fury, lends Tony Stark a hand in creating an updated power source and invites him to become a member of a special ops team. After the roller credits, a scene also hints at things to come, namely, Thor’s mystic hammer Mjöllnir is found in Mexico.
Overall, not as great as the first Iron Man film but still a great popcorn movie. Recommended.