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Monday, May 24, 2010

Review: Iron Man 2

Review: Iron Man 2

The Premise 
Iron Man 2 is the sequel to the critically acclaimed and 2008 blockbuster hit Iron Man. The story picks up shortly after the first movie ends. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr, or RDJ) reveals to the world that he is the man inside the Iron Man suit, after beating up the bad guy and proving that he is the superior weapon of all weapons. Some time later, the world is at peace, because the Iron Man suit as a deterrent for War. Basically all the other countries are afraid to make trouble because they don;t have the weaponry to match the suit of Stark. The Iron Man technology is advanced and unrivaled...Or is it?

The Promise
Typical sequel development: Ok so we already know the main hero is cool and powerful, so what now? Hammer the guy from all sides. Make him fall from grace. Let him redeem himself. This isn't a spoiler, It's a formula, that we all know. In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark is faced with problems on all sides. The reactor on his suit is the only thing keeping him alive (as explained in the first movie), but it is also now slowly killing him. The US government is after his technology to use it as a weapon, his competitor in the weapons industry is plotting against him, and to make matters worse, somebody has been able to create a weapon to rival Iron Man. So how does Tony deal with all of this at the same time? Well, that's what the movie is all about. The promise of this sequel.

The Result
Director Jon Favreau once again plays a fine balance between action and character development (i.e. fighty-fight vs talky-talk). Many people commented that the action time in the first movie was too sparse. I think that in Iron Man 2, they actually shift more focus away from the action and play up on the movies best assets, namely the fantastic characterization of Tony Stark portrayed by RDJ; and the great chemistry between him and Gwyneth Paltrow. Sure we get to see good Metal-on-Metal fighting action, and some might say they are too few and far apart, but the Character interaction is where it's at with this movie. Mickey Rourke gives a convincing, although brief, performance of Ivan Vanko, the main antagonist of the film. Don Cheadle also does a charming portrayal of Rhodey, Tony's friend and sidekick. His transition to the role was smooth enough to avoid any nuisance that he isn't the same guy from the 1st movie. Not even worth mentioning is the appearance of Sam Jackson and Scarlett Johansson as agents of SHIELD. Their appearance seemed more of just a tack-on to the film to set-up future comic book movies. If for nothing else, they only served as more stimuli for RDJ's Tony Stark to interact with and entertain us.

Why Watch it
If you enjoyed the first Iron Man, you're basically getting more of the same here. Solid story-telling (comic book style) interspersed with some "summer blockbuster type" Eye candy and Action. If you just want to see Robot vs Robot action, and you want to see something like Transformers, this movie might bore you. If you want an enjoyable story with captivating and entertaining characters, that just so happens to be set in the midst of a Robot technology war, this is for you.
Fans of the Iron Man character will enjoy the movie as well, since the treatment of the characters are done with fondness and care for the source material, even if not 100% faithful. Hopefully Jon Favreau continues the quality of this franchise, and it doesn't suffer the curse of the superhero trilogy degradation.

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