Iron Man 2 (Review Part 1 of 2)
Iron Man 2 has some major pacing problems and a slightly limp script that keeps it from reaching the first movie’s height. The movie wasn’t really a letdown, but it was a missed opportunity for the sequel to surpass its first film. And, that’s not to say IM2 isn’t a bad movie, not by a long shot. But, it doesn’t have the same spark as the first movie.
Tony Stark is taking in the fame of being known as Iron Man. He goes to parties and behaves like a frat boy. Behind the scenes, Tony Stark is keeping a little secret about his life and the very thing keeping him alive. Meanwhile, a Russian scientist seeks revenge on Tony Stark using the same technology as Stark’s power source. Plus, the US government wants to take control of the Iron Man design.
The snappy dialogue from the first movie isn’t really in this one. The first movie had at least a four writers credited, and someone contributed to that dialogue. IM2 has only one writer, Justin Theroux. Theroux’s dialogue just doesn’t have the same comedic flow that the first movie had. At times, IM2’s script is almost too serious for its own good.
There doesn’t seem to be as much improvisation between actors either. Jon Favreau seems to have gotten caught up in simply telling the story and none of the fun bits. Tony Stark shouldn’t behave like Bruce Wayne. I like the serious stuff, but I just wanted the fun stuff from the first movie.
However, the serous subplots are pretty interesting on their own. One of the best subplots has to be the public face Tony Stark puts on compared to the somber and lonely guy in his workstation. Because of the power source in his chest, he’s dying. Tony is keeping it secret from everyone else in the movie. Robert Downey Jr. does a remarkable job with the material, giving this sequel a darker tone. This also convincingly ties into Stark’s substance abuse that is more fully explored in this film than the first.
The movie handles the villain storyline somewhat poorly though. Ivan Vanko’s story really drags and slows the pacing of the movie down a bit. While Vanko is a better villain than the first movie’s villain, he still isn’t fully fleshed out. Mickey Rourke does an okay job with the character, but I felt another actor needed to be in the role.
Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer on the other hand was extremely entertaining. He plays Stark’s business rival. Every scene he’s in is just fun to watch, and his interactions with Robert Downey Jr. are delightfully interesting.
I have no real problems with the acting. Here’s the rundown of some of the actors.
-Robert Downey Jr.: He isn’t as quick with the one-liners this time around, but he does handle the meatier portions much better. Again, the story is darker so he plays Stark darker. There is even a bit of Sherlock in there too.
-Don Cheadle: He’s always been a good actor, but it is a little jarring to see him replacing Terrence Howard. They look nothing alike and we’re to believe they’re the same character. Cheadle actual does copy some of Howard’s mannerism here and there. I do miss Howard though.
-Scarlett Johansson: There is little of her in this movie, but damn she is sexy. And, she’s way hotter than Gwyneth Paltrow, and a better actress. There is a restraint in her performance, but this has something to do with a secret the character is hiding from Stark.
-Gwyneth Paltrow: I’m going to hate myself, but Paltrow has improved this second time around. Paltrow has finally found the inter strength in the Pepper Potts character. Potts has some major character growth all around.
-Sam Rockwell: Again, he was fun to watch. Rockwell again dances around just like his character in the first Charlie’s Angel movie.
-Mickey Rourke: Not bad, but under used.
End of Part One…