Iron Man 2

Stark and Armor


07 May 2010| No Comments on Iron Man 2     by Sean Chavel


Sequel downgrade but it’s still a blast in the bootie. The opening episodes of Iron Man 2 however are gripping especially during Tony Stark’s spectacular entrance (as Iron Man) where he is to deliver a speech at his grand expo on his outlook on world peace. Current world peace won’t last because there are cutaways to a number of questionable evil characters. Can the baddies serve up worthy action blockbuster havoc?

I kept waiting patiently – very patiently – for Mickey Rourke to do something terrific with his performance as Ivan Vanko, but it never happens. For all those who are fans of the cinema of agony, the ones who appreciated his extraordinary work in “The Wrestler,” it is a crushing letdown that his is the weakest drawn character in “Iron Man 2.” True Rourke followers were waiting for him to deliver something genre-breaking, something diabolically twisted, something conjuring an astonishing level of evil never seen before. But his performance lacks juice probably because the character itself is written as a standard dry-bone villain. He has all the dimensions of Dolph Lundgren impersonating a Slavic robot.

That unfortunate news aside, it is still an ecstatic joy to see Downey Jr. let it rip like a method actor on steroids as Tony Stark, the man inside Iron Man. The consummate actor must be enjoying the acme period of his career. “Zodiac” and “Tropic Thunder” were Oscar-worthy performances that earned him a nomination only for the latter. And “Iron Man” and “Sherlock Holmes” are multi-million DVD sellers. But in film after film, he retains his indie edge with his cocky and flippant personality without flipping the finger, either. When he chews out a senator (played by wormy Garry Shandling) he does it with classic Downey SOB smart alec style, laid back but sharp with the tongue.

Running second in the joy department are those whooshing airborne scenes. You get the sense that Iron Man is travelling 100 mph with flying in the air, maybe it is 500 mph. Whatever the speed, Iron Man has the velocity of a missile. It is still far-fetched however that Stark can get from Malibu, California to Flushing, New York in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

There are the many secondary performances, and somehow, Gwenyth Paltrow lends the film the most heart as Pepper Potts, whom possesses the classiness of the 1950’s with a 2010 academic brain, becomes appointed to company CEO. Tony and Pepper have an unexpressed affection for each other. Pepper has to take upon herself all the stress of running a company while concurrently cleaning up Tony’s compromised public image. Their tension is obscure, at least to her, as Tony refuses to inform her about his dangerous blood toxicity levels (Where is Tony’s personal M.D.?).

And after it was told that Scarlett Johansson was not action blockbuster movie material, famously dissed by her own producers of the flop “The Island,” it must be sweet revenge for her to appear here. As Natasha, Stark’s sexy personal assistant, the more limber than ever Johansson is seen stunningly leather-clad – a martial arts vixen. Her showdown against a brigade of guards is among the film’s kick-ass highlights.

If you’re not an avid comic book reader, you might not be sure as to why Samuel L. Jackson is in the picture, but if you cut out all the mumbo jumbo he’s basically Natasha’s supervisor. Don Cheadle (taking over from Terrence Howard) becomes Iron Man partner War Machine but the camaraderie is put on hold until Tony can cool his ego jets.

You may also question as to whether we are waiting for another sequel so Tony Stark can follow through on his dad’s legacy wishes (John Slattery as Howard Stark), which is never as resolved as it could have been. Dad speaks from beyond the grave via old company promo footage. It’s a subplot that could have been a way-y-y awesome major plot had it been followed through on – I kept thinking about the end to Alex Proyas’ “Dark City” – but now we’re talking detours but that probably didn’t interest the producers behind “Iron Man 2″ to put that kind of Proyas-like effort into it.

The Stark Expo, the arena for the final metallic showdown – is well, a blast and boost a second, but I was raising a logical question or two as to why Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell, as the second but more white collar villain), a snotty arms manufacturer who finances Ivan Vanko, had been given permission to deliver a presentation in the first place. Regardless, Jon Favreau (“Elf,” “Iron Man”) is a fantastic action director who expertly paces his actors through some plausible motions. Favreau, too, actually gives a damn or two about human vulnerability beneath all the explosive chaos.

124 Minutes. Rated PG-13.


Film Cousins: “Hulk” (2003); “Batman Begins” (2005); “The Incredible Hulk” (2008); “Iron Man” (2008).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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