Review: Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 isn’t better than the original, but considering it doesn’t have an origin story to drive it, the film more than satisfies in moving the franchise forward. The film does suffer from a proliferation of characters, a common mistake of sequel producers who think they have to provide more of everything, and Mickey Rourke is surprisingly flat as the new villain, Ivan Vanko. Scarlett Johansson is beautiful but deadly dull and completely unbelievable as a super spy/martial arts expert. She gets so many great movie roles yet does so little with them. Nonetheless, these weaknesses don’t bog the movie down because Robert Downey is so fun to watch. He makes it look effortless, but it’s important to note how much better he does compared to others who have tried out the superhero mantle. More than Tobey MacGuire or Christian Bale, Downey has made Tony Stark into a believable human being.  This is in good part because Downey is so well suited to play a brilliant, charming, wealthy man with deep flaws. He knows it and makes it work, bringing real sparkle and personality that keeps the movie from becoming a total cartoon, a job was made harder by overblown and overlong action scenes.

Bottom line: if you liked the first one, you should like the sequel. It’s a fun way to start the summer movie season.

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