Iron Man 2
There isn’t much to say about the plot for Iron Man 2 that isn’t covered in the trailer: a generic Soviet attempting to thwart Tony Stark, Stark fighting the government for control of his suit, and War Machine teaming up for a brawl. Another unseen plot point is thrown into the mix, but it remains a simple story. This is the part where many superhero movies go wrong: it is okay to stick with the basics as long as they are done well.
With this sequel’s release, Iron Man handily becomes the second best comic franchise on celluloid (behind the Batman reduxes). It does this not by ratcheting up the action – which is the overused ploy seen in other films – but by making the superhero interesting outside of his/her powerful persona. Opposite to mainstream thinking, stringing together countless action scenes where the lead narrowly escapes death does eventually get boring.
Tony Stark (Downey) is still a sharp-mouthed narcissist that loves to save the day, if only to see the headlines he makes. Iron Man 2 explores his fading timeline and what he will do in order to keep playing the hero. The love-hate relationship with his father ties in to this as well as the main villain’s – Whiplash (Rourke) – motive for wreaking havoc. Many audiences will come away talking about the amazing action sequences and special effects, but they are really only a small part of what makes this movie, and this franchise, tick.
On the flipside the movie opens slowly with a dragged-out Stark Expo commencement speech followed immediately by a tedious governmental hearing. Two things that people should be paying not to see; it felt like a lecture on irrelevant back-story catch-up. And during this time the dialogue is extremely jumbled together with numerous people speaking over each other and too rapidly to hear. The best part of Tony Stark is his quick quips and wit and these obstacles made his words nearly impossible to discern.
The addition of Black Widow (Johansson) felt lazily tacked on and unnecessary. In fact the whole of Nick Fury and his S.H.I.E.L.D. subplot was a pandering detour that should have been nixed. If Samuel Jackson wants to play Fury, he has his own movie he can do it in (Nick Fury), if not two (The Avengers).
Iron Man 2 is a great way to kickoff the summer schedule. While not a masterpiece compared to the remainder of the year, for an action-infused, super-hero movie it stands tall above the rest.