Iron Man 2 (12A)
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Jon Favreau
Running time: 124 minutes
Say the name ‘Tony Stark’ and the comic book geeks among us feel the surge in our chests, the ladies can’t stop their pupils dilating and the gents… well, they’re simply envious. It’s extremely difficult for someone with so much wealth, power and sex appeal to not develop a gigantic ego — especially if they had a pretty big one to begin with. But, despite Stark’s superciliousness, he has a certain je ne se quois that makes him admirable. We learnt in the first Iron Man film that he was willing to put aside his love for fame and power to do what was right. But, somehow, he’s managed to screw up again and the sequel takes you on a journey of the contents of his mind.
The only downside of being Tony Stark (Downey Jr), I would imagine, is that you aren’t able to switch your brain off. Constantly deliberating, but never contemplating the outcome of your actions makes for a very complex way of life. He’s so used to doing whatever he wants that he’s forgotten all the people that put him where he is — least of all poor Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Paltrow), working to the bone in her perfect pencil skirts and Christian Louboutins. Refusing to eat his strawberries, Potts brings home the bacon and tries to make him see what he is missing, with the help of Colonel James Rhodes (who they changed over for Don Cheadle).
The film’s central plot revolves around Stark refusing to hand over his Iron Man suit to the American government, claiming he and it are one. He is brought to the Senate to be made a fool of, but alas he is the master, ensuring he has public backing by claiming he alone has privatised peace with his invention. Little does he know that on the other side of the world in Russia, Ivan Vanko (Rourke) is stirring and is after revenge. Simply put, Stark Sr screwed over Vanko Sr and thus Vanko Jr is out to find Stark Jr and settle an old grudge for daddy. Plot seems simple enough. But, somehow Favreau has managed to miss the point – and the entire film, although a freakishly enjoyable CGI funfest, will be forgotten straight after seeing it.
The storylines are thinly veiled attempts to show off the wonders of computer technology. Unfortunately, the film lacks the same substance as Sherlock Holmes by trying to show off, but still somehow manages to keep you entertained. As per usual, Downey Jr is a treat to watch. In the same fashion that Hugh Jackman makes for a glorious Wolverine, Tony Stark is portrayed with the usual lack of humility and grace. This time, though, he has a dark secret he is latching onto and plain refuses to seek help from his loved ones. It’s this struggle that causes him to fight, once again, with the bottle causing not only him, but all of his friends an immense amount of grief.
You are unable to avoid the lead up to The Avengers that this film is clearly setting up and, truth be told, I’m not looking forward to that production at all. Scarlett Johansson plays an unbelievably bad and forgettable Black Widow. She could actually be removed from this film and you wouldn’t even notice. Samuel L. is as perfect as ever (despite only ever playing one type of arse-kicking character) and a pleasant surprise to add to the repertoire of unsuspecting actors is Mickey Rourke. I have to admit, I was seriously bored after watching him in The Wrestler, but he’s gone back up a notch with his Russian accent and scorn for Stark Jr. Another brilliant cast in this film is Sam Rockwell; exuberantly batty and hides his evil well.
Overall, it’s just a fun film not to be taken seriously.
I give Iron Man 2 a three out of five.