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Iron Man 2 (2010)
Written by Justin Theroux
Directed by Jon Favreau
Runtime 124 min.
4 out of 5

Taking place six months after Iron Man, old shellhead is using his armor to maintain world peace and keep things right as rain for the world. Enter Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), aka Whiplash, who has a vendetta against Tony Stark and wants to see him dead for the wrong he believed Tony did to his father.

Meanwhile, Tony’s dealing with issues of his own, namely that the very tool he’s using to keep himself alive—the arc reactor in his chest—is actually poisoning him, and time is quickly running out.

Can Iron Man defeat a foe hellbent on grinding him to dust while also saving his own life?

 

Iron Man 2 is a solid sequel. It’s not as smart as the first one, but it’s certainly not bad by any means. The idea of the arc reactor slowly killing Tony is brilliant. I mean, really, what do you do, right? Just wait it out? Unplug? Tell someone? Good stuff.

A lot of people gave this movie grief and I don’t understand why. You got superhero action, superhero struggle, relationship tension, introduction of a new hero—War Machine (Don Cheadle, who plays James Rhodes; the part was originally played by Terrence Howard in the first movie)—and a new villain with a simple but decent origin story. Adding to that you got the breadcrumb trail that will eventually lead into The Avengers. The cool part is this subplot—complete with appearances by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)—don’t detract from the main story. Of course, I won’t fail to mention Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, who’s an amazing actor and becomes whatever role he is assigned. I love that about him.

As before, Robert Downey Jr. continues to amaze me as Tony Stark. He is that guy. End of story. Never thought I’d like a self-absorbed hero, but he proved me wrong.

Anyway, back to the action: Iron Man 2 has got loads of it, right from Iron Man’s first encounter with Whiplash, to the big fight at the end where it takes Iron Man teaming up with War Machine to take out robots and a newly-armored Whiplash. What I liked was the realistic—as you can get, anyway—portrayal of what a suit of robot armor would most likely do and fight like if it was real. It was fluid, yet appropriately clunky and moved as such accordingly. The flight sequences were exciting, same with the weapons used.

What was also good was the humor. Aside from the here’s-how-I-pee-in-the-armor joke, which I found dumb, every other bit of joking around totally worked and still maintained that this was a serious movie with a serious hero fighting a serious villain.

What makes this third movie in Marvel’s Phase One plan great is that while it had its own self-contained story, it was part of the overall Avengers plotline. I loved how the two worked together but weren’t dependent on each other.

Do I watch this movie when I’m going through my super flicks in my DVD and Blu-ray collection? Every time.

A major iron thumbs up from me on this one.

Recommended.