Iron Man 2 – Spoiler Free Review

With the world now aware of his dual life as the armored superhero Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from the government, the press, and the public to share his technology with the military. Unwilling to let go of his invention, Stark, along with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) at his side, must forge new alliances — and confront powerful enemies. – IMDB

Ok here’s my lengthy and detailed scene by scene breakdown of Iron Man 2…GO AND SEE THIS FILM NOW!

Thank for your time hope you enjoyed the review.

In case you wanted a little more meat on your bones here goes. The problem with a lot of sequels is that after the first film is a big hit the filmmakers sit down and ask themselves what was good about the first film? They then give you the same story but with bigger effects and with an even bigger budget but strip all of that away and essentially you’ve just paid to see the same film you’ve already seen three years earlier(yes Die Hard 2). The sequels that work are the ones that give the audience the same feeling they had with the first film but with a everything tweaked to make it a better, more rewarding experience, a different plot, more insight into the characters  and yes the aforementioned bigger and better set pieces. It’s a delicate balancing act but when it’s done well you get Superman 2, Spiderman 2,Xmen 2 and The Dark Knight. I’m happy to report that the next time I use that list I can add Iron Man 2 to that honored roll call of great summer movie sequels.

From start to finish Iron Man 2 doesn’t disappoint from a great opening which straight away sets up the differences between Villian (Ivan Vanko) and Hero (Tony Stark) and their shared history right up to their first confrontation as Iron Man and Whiplash which is epic. The action scenes are a fantastic blend of cgi, stunt and  camera work. You definitely get more bang for your buck in this sequel culminating with more action and a finale that makes the Iron Man fight with Obadiah Stane from the first film look like he was fighting a tin opener.

Once again Robert Downey Jr proves why he’s the comeback kid in Hollywood right now. His Stark is the right mix of arrogance, bravado, humour and vulnerability. When I left the cinema my first thought was “When I grow up I want to be Tony Stark” because this guy has it all.  Not only does he have the looks, the lifestyle, the women, the cars, the gadgets (the level of future tech in this film is a sight for these jaded IT eyes) and to top it all he’s also a superhero and guess what he loves being a superhero. This is one of the great things about Tony Stark in this film is that you get a real sense that yes he’s doing what he does to protect the world but he’s also doing it because you know what it’s pretty fun put on a cool hi-tech suit and fly faster than the speed of sound..who wouldn’t want to do that? (Clark in Smallville please take not). Even when he’s being a total jerk there’s just something about Downey’s portrayal Stark that make you like the guy. On the flip side the few times Tony’s scientist side comes in you completely buy into the fact that this guy is the world’s greatest scientist\inventor. The film also takes some time to explore Tony’s relationship with his father which give you a little insight into why Tony is the way he is. If Downey ever decided to step down from the role it’s going to be like trying to find a replacement for Superman in the films as I can’t see any actor right now stepping into Stark shoes and doing what Downey does with the character.

Gwyneth Paltrow as the long-suffering Pepper Potts gets more screen time second time around and like Downey brings her A game. Watching the two together in a scene you would think that they just ad-lib their way through the film as the dialogue between the two of them feels natural and spontaneous. I thought Scarlett Johansson was decent enough in her role and was working the catsuit but to be honest she didn’t have a great deal to do (If you’ve seen the trailer and clips you’ve seen most of her scenes) but she did well enough with her screen time. The weak link for me was Samuel L Jackson’s performance as Nick Fury. Now I know the character of Nick Fury in the Ultimates comic series by Mark Millar was based on Jackson but honestly I preferred the comic version of Jackson, if that makes sense. He was great as a little cameo at the end of the first film but his extended role, although pivotal to the plot, just didn’t work for me. He felt more like Samuel L Jackson with an  eye patch than Nick Fury, Head of one of the most powerful intelligent organisations on earth. Given the film is about a guy who dresses up in a metal suit to fight bad guys it felt real in similar way to Nolan’s Batman in that it had it’s own sense of reality(abelit a crazy hi-tech one) to it. The minute Jackson swaggers on as Fury that sense of reality took a back seat for me. If he could have just dialed back ‘the Jackson’ a little then maybe I would have warmed to his character more.

Don Cheadle stepping into the role of Lt. Col. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes for the first time does a great job as Stark’s right hand man and best friend. He also manages to upstage Downey in a comedic  scene towards the end of the film, no small feat. When we finally see War Machine in full force (trust me the trailers have wisely kept back the good stuff on WM) you’re left thinking if you’re a bad guy the last place on earth you want to be is in front of  War Machine.

‘Every hero is only as good as the villain he’s up against’  and in Iron Man 2 we get  two, in the shape of Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer and Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko  aka Whiplash. Both villains are poles apart in both look and attitude but events in the film give them a common enemy in Stark. I loved these guys because they were so different from each other  plays Rockwell plays Hammer as kind of mini-me style Stark desperately trying to follow in his footsteps. He’s like a spoilt brat throwing his toys out of the pram for most of the film and it works perfectly. Whiplash on the other hand is a man of very few words but man what he does say in words he makes up for in action. The first entrance of Whiplash is definitely one of the highlights of the film (and we’ve not even hit the halfway mark) You could argue that Rourke doesn’t do a lot but mumble a handful of lines in the movie but he doesn’t need to as his size and menacing presence do a lot of the work for him. He has one scene with Stark early on which is just chilling and pretty much sets up the rest of the film for the audience.

If I had to level a criticism at the film it’s that it follows the tried and true path of a lot of superhero film sequels in that the prideful hero has to be taken down a few notches to learn a few lessons about himself to become a better hero. It didn’t really bother me because I was having too much damn fun to care but I  did notice a template in there that I had seen used many times before.

Everyone from cast to crew is more comfortable in their roles and it shows on every frame of film. You can see the love that  Jon Favreau has  for the genre and for comics and there’s a great nod to a particular marvel character in the film that is guaranteed to raise a laugh from those who spot it. Favreau also gives himself more screen time as Stark’s bodyguard Happy Hogan and it surprisingly doesn’t feel intrusive and works pretty well, especially one  action scene involving Scarlett Johansson.

Overall Iron Man 2 is a  great sequel and in many ways surpassers it’s predecessor, so strap on your armour, fly to your nearest cinema and check out this bad boy now.

GS Reporter: Nuge

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  1. Red Five /

    “They then give you the same story but with bigger effects and with an even bigger budget but strip all of that away and essentially you’ve just paid to see the same film you’ve already seen three years earlier(yes Die Hard 2).” – and Transformers!

    I cannot wait to see this, heading straight to the cinema after work on Friday to wrap my mind around this feast of a film!

    Thanks for the awesome review Nuge!!

    • geeksyndicate /

      No worries mate hope you enjoy. I’ve been looking at a lot of reviews today and it seems to be getting a roasting from some. I still stand by my thoughts in that at then end of the day I came up the cinema with a smile on my face …job done.

  2. Good review and looking forward to see it soon! Any idea whether I should stay to the end of the credits, Nuge? 😉

    • geeksyndicate /

      I didn’t stay to the end(needed to catch my train) but I have heard there is an after credits scene.

  3. Red Five /

    Went to preview night last night and saw it…AWESOME!!!! Got some funny looks for being on the edge of my seat with a beaming smile on my face and I nearly kidnapped the 8 year old boy who had his full Iron Man suit on.

    One very happy lady here!!

  4. The story with the villains in Iron Man 2 was not like the first Iron Man it was almost exactly the same. Hmm, villain replicates starks power source and uses it to make his own suit. Only thins time it’s Micky Rourke instead of Jeff Bridges.

    Some good moments but seriously you could watch the original again and get a better movie.

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