Iron Man 2 Blu-ray review
The first Iron Man movie (no, not the 1931 black-and-white, if you’re being pedantic) was something of a surprise hit. Big and dumb, but with plenty of style and more than a little substance, it hooked the casual movie-goers and satisfied the comic book geeks. Favreau’s sequel keeps the basics, throws in comeback king Mickey Rourke as Whiplash, and tops with Scarlett Johansson in skin-tight leather catsuits.
It’s a recipe that should guarantee success, but somehow the film falls short of its predecessor.
That’s not to say it isn’t worth a watch – despite its failings, this is still a solid superhero flick. Downey Jr is excellent once again as Tony Stark, bringing his trademark mix of easy charm and twitchy neurosis, and Paltrow continues where she left off by being uncharacteristically not-annoying.
But unfortunately, while the additions to the cast are all passable in isolation, they don’t quite mesh with the original bunch and the new relationships never really get off the ground.
There’s also the small matter of the plot. Sidelining the straightforward moral battle of the original, this time the framework is on an irritating debate about national defence and a misguided on-off bromance between Downey Jr and Don Cheadle (replacing Terrence Howard as Lt Rhodes in a ‘let’s hope the viewers don’t notice’ move).
While it’s understandable that Favreau wants to put some flesh around the series’ action movie exoskeleton, neither of these new directions feel fully developed. In the end, they’re more distracting than dramatic.
Of course, there’s still some explosive good vs evil battling, with Rourke as crazed Russian scientist
Ivan Vanko (always with the crazed Russians), creating his own arc-reactor suit in order to exact vengeance on Stark. (Apparently their dads didn’t get on.) And the action is strong as ever: it’s hard to go wrong with aerial combat, large-scale explosions and massive property destruction.
If this review sounds negative, it’s more a case of unfulfilled expectations than the result of a genuinely poor cinematic experience. The franchise still has strong characters and plenty of entertainment to offer, and perhaps the most telling thing is that the uber-cheap sequel set-up at the end engendered excitement rather than dread. If this tin man can find his heart again, he’ll live a while longer yet.