Iron Man 2
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke
Directed by Jon Favreau
Sequels often don't live up to their predecessors, but Iron Man 2 does a pretty good job.
Tony Stark (Downey Jr) is back to his usual arrogant and wild ways. Fresh from outing himself as Iron Man, he feels untouchable. He dares the world to challenge his technological might and superiority. The world does not disappoint.
Russian Ivan Vanka (Rourke) is Stark's primary nemesis. He isn't alone, nor is he unarmed. Stark is fighting a battle on two fronts, as the US Government fights to acquire the Iron Man suits as military weaponry.
This leads Stark and Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes (Cheadle), previously his ally, to come to blows (literally). Meanwhile Natalie Rushman, his new PA (Johansson), turns out to be seriously kick-ass, and Pepper Potts (Paltrow) is struggling as CEO of Stark Industries.
Downey Jr is once again pitch-perfect as an immature technophile with new toys. Cheadle replaces Terrence Howard as Rhodes, and plays him more despairing than frustrated. Johansson's is a largely and disappointingly voiceless role, but she certainly achieves the desired effect as the sultry female sidekick. Rourke is a sight to behold as the surly, bitter foe, and does the role justice.
Iron Man 2 exhibits the same witty, humorous one-liners as the first, but the plot feels weaker. Pepper's promotion from secretary to CEO is confusing, and the backstory to Vanka's beef with Stark, as well as the Avengers subplot, is vague at best.
The technology is more impressive, the pace is fast, and the explosions are bigger and more frequent. The ending is a little disappointing - too tidy - but overall the film is highly enjoyable, funny, and has a similarly toe-tapping rock soundtrack.
As with the first film, don't forget to stay after the credits to find out what could be next for Stark...
3.5 out of 5
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