Iron Man 2 [Movie Review]


So you’re wondering how on Earth I managed to see the movie a week ahead of its North American release. Well luckily the Middle-East got first dibs on the highly anticipated sequel and because of my current residence in Bahrain, I took advantage of it!

So how does this year’s model handle around the track? Does it live up to the daunting level of hype? Well the best way I can describe Iron Man 2 in a sentence is this: it lived up to the hype but failed to reach its potential. Why? Read on to find out…(Warning! Light spoilers ahead!)

Same Great Action: If you enjoyed the first flick’s superb action sequences, you certainly won’t be disappointed with the sequel. From a memorable clash on a Formula 1 race track to a 20-on-2 matchup near the end, Iron Man 2 has a lot of fun when its blowing stuff up. There is just one little issue with the action, especially in the race track scene: it’s not very realistic. While the original heavily factored in reality to create action that was very exciting, the sequel is much more lenient. It is certainly fun while you’re watching it, and that will certainly be enough for most moviegoers, until you think back and think of how ridiculous it is at times.


Clunky Script = Mixed Acting: Another great part of the original movie was the truly excellent script. Every line of dialogue was nearly perfect and all of the actors benefitted as a result. It seems that with Iron Man 2, the script may have been a little rushed. While Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, and Lieutenant Rhodes are all still pretty great, the new characters suffer the most. Mickey Rourke gives an excellent performance, but the character of Ivan Vanko (aka Whiplash) is a little disappointing. Stark’s business-nemesis, Justin Hammer, was also played very well by Sam Rockwell yet the character just came off as juvenile. And then there’s Scarlett Johansson as the mysterious Natalie Rushman. Johansson did a pretty good job, but her character was almost unbearable for me; if Justin Hammer was as immature as an episode of Family Guy, Natalie Rushman is as exciting as a statue. The Iron Man 2 script could have used a little more time in the oven, but the final product is still pretty good thanks to the chemistry between its lead characters. (Also wanted to quickly mention how fantastic Jon Favreau was as the bodyguard “Happy” in the sequel as he gets much more screen time. Easily my favorite character of the movie.)


Wasted Potential: Those two words say it all: Iron Man 2 could have easily destroyed the first movie and elevated into the pop culture echelon of where The Dark Knight stands today. The story was surprisingly much more focused on Stark’s father issues and his mysterious past, yet the movie failed to explain the point of it besides setting up The Avengers mythology. Another wrinkle with the story was its globe-trotting tendency; while this led to a wide variety of moments in the film it also did a number on the story’s consistency. In simple words, the movie jumped around a lot and did a lot of things without explaining exactly why and it resulted in a bit of confusion here and there. Another big no-no was the under-utilized new characters. Justin Hammer could have been equally as likable as Stark but ended up being a generic mustache-curler; Whiplash could have served as an excellent foil towards Stark/Iron Man; and Natalie Rushman could have also worked as a possible foreshadowing of an Avengers Iron Man. Despite these criticisms, the story still could have been much worse (think Spider-Man 3) and the fact that it avoided such deep potholes associated with going “bigger and better” should be commended. Also, the onslaught of marketing this film has received has been absurd, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the story was left unspoiled. Yet it is always disheartening to see a movie and be focused on what it could have been rather than just what it is.


Overall – Recommended:
Sure, I may have laid it on thick up there but I undoubtedly enjoyed my time with Iron Man 2. But with a little more time under the hood, I could have replaced all of those instances of “great” with “superb” and “excellent”. My advice to you is this: when you enter the theater, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and wipe away all of the hype leading up to the movie. If you do that you will be rewarded with a fun blockbuster to kick off the Summer season and a movie with a completely justified price of admission.


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