Bottom line up front: I saw Iron Man 2 yesterday and highly recommend it.
Iron Man 2 picks up exactly where the first movie left off. No spoilers here, but it’s fair to say that every good thing comes with a price. The movie provides a few things for the viewer to figure out if they care to do so. Not surprisingly, it also provides plenty of room for another quality sequel.
The actors again bring the story to life. Robert Downey, Jr., shines as Tony Stark. He wears it so well that the role seems tailor-made for him. Gwyneth Paltrow does a super job returning as Pepper Pots. Scarlett Johansson does a super job and proved an excellent addition to the cast and story. Another big name was Samuel L. Jackson, who played his role very well as usual. Don Cheadle as Stark’s Air Force sidekick Lt Col Rhodes seemed the only weak casting choice. He does OK, but doesn’t shine like the others. I think that Terrence Howard did a better job with the role and am sorry that he didn’t return for the sequel.
The well-chosen music adds to the pace and emotion of the story without dominating or interrupting the movie. Whomever chose it definitely has a penchant for AC/DC, which isn’t a bad thing. There are even a few places where the music choice adds to or provides the humor. Just see where “Another One Bites the Dust” shows up.
The fast-paced direction keeps your heart rate up. There weren’t many pauses in the action, and it pays to pay attention. Visual effects abound, but all fit appropriately into the plot and action. I didn’t find any gratuitous. I don’t recall any overt language, but there are a few humorous times when “chin reading” might reveal someone’s true sentiments. The action may be too intense for children under 8 or 10 depending on maturity level, but other than that, I believe it’s a good family film.
As an aside, I’m generally happy with the efforts that Marvel has brought to the screen. The graphics and animatronic technology today seems perfectly suited to the comic book classics. The Iron Man 2, Spiderman and Transformer series provide excellent examples.
The basic story starts at a Senate hearing where the government wants Stark to give up the technology to the them. Stark refuses, obviously concerned what would happen if the Iron Man technology fell into the wrong hands. How right he proves. As Larry Pratt often observes, the government has rarely done anything well. The movie follows Stark as he weathers a personal crisis, faces new enemies, meets new friends, and learns some things about his father and himself.
I believe that Iron Man 2 is every bit as good as the first movie, building well on the storyline. I saw that a few reviewers panned it as too fast and confusing. I don’t think that they saw the same movie, or perhaps Bridges of Madison County is more their style and pace. For the Caan Festival crowd, be warned that this isn’t a deep, philosophical tome or a scientific documentary. So turn your left brain off, crank up you sense of humor, and enjoy the ride! I certainly did.
Major non-spoiler hint: Stay to the end of the credits. The movie ain’t over until the last of the film leaves the projector. 😉