I've been reviewing superhero movies lately and have somewhat enjoyed them, but Iron Man is a different story. I loved reading the Iron Man comics as a kid and he is still, today, my favorite superhero. But he doesn't occupy the top of my list just because of his awesome first name, but the fact that he is just like anyone else. He wasn't born with any incredible super powers or accidentally played in some radioactive waste. No, Tony worked hard and used his mind to help him create a suit that could protect the world. So I'll mark that up as one bad ass SOB. The first Iron Man movie was received well by all and was one of the top grossing comic book adaptions. Iron Man 2 did just as well and there are good reasons as to why.
At the end of the first movie, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) revealed to the whole world that he is Iron Man. Now he is a huge star with all the guys wanting to be him and the ladies loving Tony everywhere he goes. Everything seems to be going his way, except for the little fact that he is slowly dying from the injury he received in the first movie. Believing this may be the end, Tony decides to give the CEO position of Stark Industries to his longtime friend and secretary, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and gives her vacated position to Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson), who seems to have a mysterious side to her.
While all of this is taking place, a Russian physicist named Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) has a grudge against Tony and teams up with his rival, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), to take him out. A new threat has risen so Tony dons on the Iron Man suit once again with the help of S.H.E.I.L.D director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Air Force Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) who uses his own armor that many fans wished for in the first.
The story was solid, but had a few problems that many comic book adaptions fall under. The first Iron Man did everything perfect when explaining all situations, but this sequel falls short on a few parts. The pacing is off. They present too many characters such as Black Widow, Vanko and Justin without giving them any real background. When you see Vanko you think there must be an interesting story to tell from him. Instead, we get a sob story about his father getting fired by the Stark's and them stealing his idea, so he died a poor man. They tried to cram so much and didn't leave enough tension in the film, which left me feeling a little cheated. Another part that I felt confused on was the fact that Rhodes handled one of the suits so well. It took Tony weeks to learn and understand. Rhodes picked it up the second he got in the suit, which seems very unrealistic, considering. But I'm sure had they need to explain it, they would come up with a lazy excuse.
Downey as Tony is perfect because he is almost playing himself. Tony was always a bit cocky in the comics, suiting Downey Jr's personal to a T. Rourke played an excellent Whiplash, but I found it a shame he didn't get as much screen time or a good background. It could be said the same for Johansson's character. I won't spoil anything because she plays a big part in the marvel universe, but not in this movie. I didn't know how Cheadle was going to do with Rhodes because Terrence Howard did a good job in the first movie, but he played the part well. Rockwell did an awesome job as the crooked competitor to Downey and I was grateful to see that considering I've enjoyed his other work in Moon and The Green Mile. Lastly, Gwyneth Paltrow has a good on screen chemistry with Downey and has a larger role than the first now that her character is becoming more of the love interest in the film.
The action and CGI effects were good, just like any comic film these days had better be. It's sad to say that it's what people are going for now. Transformers, Thor and Green Lantern lack any good story telling, but it would be a lie to say their action sequences were bad.
Overall: The first was much better, but that doesn't mean this movie doesn't entertain. As a sequel, director Jon Favreau did a fine job with it. I'm not a big fan of his work, but it seems obvious that he is a fan of Iron Man and he doesn't fail to keep this true to its source. I wish there was more storytelling for many of the characters in here, but maybe that will happen in the third installment, tentatively slated for a 2013 release, or possibly The Avengers. Anyways, I highly recommend any comic book fans to watch this, along with any average movie goer. And if you enjoyed the first I wouldn't doubt that you would like this as well. 8/10.