« Stephen King's ''The Dark Tower'' to become a film trilogy - and a TV series, too | Main | Top 5 summer movies I am dreading the most »

Review: ''Iron Man 2''


The previously infallible rule about comic-book superhero movies assumed that if the first film is good, the second would be even better. With all those pesky introductions out of the way, filmmakers are free to play with the universe they have created, liberating their characters from their original stories and delving more fully into their world. Part I establishes the ground rules. Part II gives permission to play on a broader, more complex canvas.

This formula has applied to every successful comic-book franchise I can think of - Spider-Man, X-Men, Superman, Batman - until the curious case of Iron Man 2. All the main players are back (with the exception of Terrence Howard, who was replaced by Don Cheadle), the budget is bigger, and the somewhat irreverent tone of the first picture remains intact, courtesy of Robert Downey Jr., who remains funny and engaging as Tony Stark, the billionaire with a bad ticker and a super-cool suit of armor.

The main problem with Iron Man 2 lies in the script by actor-turned-screenwriter Justin Theroux (he played the temperamental director in Mulholland Dr.). Instead of amping up the stakes and furthering the relationships among the characters - such as Stark's simmering flirtations with his trusty personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), who has been promoted to CEO of Stark Enterprises - Iron Man 2 recycles most of the elements from the first film, to dwindling returns. You keep waiting for the film to kick into third or even second gear, but it never happens.

Once again, Stark must squirrel away into his lab to build a replacement for his weak ticker (the one he built in the first film turns out to have had toxic side-effects). Once again there is a baddie, Ivan Vanko (a wasted Mickey Rourke) who wants to build a robot evil enough to turn Iron Man into scrap metal. Aside from Vanko, the film's chief villain is a weapons manufacturer (Sam Rockwell) who wants to do what Stark won't: Supply the U.S. military with the technology Stark wants to keep for himself.


Director Jon Favreau, who continues to get better at big-budget gloss, keeps the film interesting on a visual level, but there's only so much he can do with a screenplay saddled with more dialogue than a Merchant/Ivory picture about repressed British people sipping tea and munching on crumpets. Iron Man 2 is one seriously talky movie: With the exception of an early scene in which Vanko disrupts a car race with his electrical whips, which can slice through anything like light sabers, there is no action whatsover - I mean none - until the climactic 20 minutes (and even that is stolen from the leading man by a fantastic Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, aka The Black Widow to Marvel Comics fans) .

 But unlike Avatar, which rewarded your patience with a stupendous action setpiece, the wait this time simply isn't worth it. I'm all for movies that take their time developing their characters, but this is ridiculous. Iron Man 2 is more of a set-up for the upcoming Avengers picture than a stand-alone adventure - a puzzling and unexpected disappointment, considering how fresh and entertaining the first picture was. The summer movie season gets started with a fat dud.

Iron Man 2 (** out of ****) opens Friday May 7.

Spoiler note: If you sit through the end credits, you'll be rewarded with a brief coda (SPOILERS AHEAD!) in which Thor's hammer makes an appearance. The scene is not worth the wait.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Watched it yesterday online (pirated copies are all over the internet) and it really does suck. It reminded me of the Transformers franchise: full of CGI and loud explosions. There was no character development with Black Widow or Nick Fury; why did they even bother writing them in? It was two hours of jumbled mess.


I hear a lot of mixed reactions about this one. I'll have to wait to see it before I can say anything, but I am not expecting it to be better than the first one. So far, IGN's review seems the most plausible to me. They also said the film was too unecessarily talky, though they enjoyed all the Avengers set up stuff. i dont know what to think of that. i hate the thought that they sacrificed this movie just to set up The Avengers. But i'm gonna wait to see if it works for me or not.

You know this summer really doesn't look very appealing. Only Inception and Toy Stoy 3 look like they might deliver the goods. No sure things aside those two. Everything else looks iffy. Hopefully, I enjoy Iron Man 2 more then you did.

Take that

You guys have no clue what you are talking about. The movie kicked ass! Of course it's going to be filled with special effects. It's called IRON MAN idiots! If you wanted charater development, go watch Brokeback Mointain!

Rene Rodriguez

@Take That: Can you please point out the line in my review where I complain about the film having too many special effects? Because one of the problems with the movie, to me, was that there was was too much Tony Stark and not enough Iron Man.


Dude this movie was the worst thing i have ever seen! Do not go see it! It was a COMPLETE waste of time. I loved the first one loved spider man movies LOVED batman but this. ohh this was just terrible.


aaaaaaahhhhhhhh maaaannn. i was hyped for this movie. not so much now. cono!!

Michelle Pendlelton

I agree that it's not as good as Iron Man. But it's still very entertaining, thanks to Robert Downey Jr. who provide the quirkiness of Tony Stark himself. There's no better actor to portray Stark than RDJ.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About The Miami Herald | Advertise