I just came back from a screening of Iron Man 2 (the movie, not the game) and absolutely loved it. I enjoyed 75 percent of the first movie (I thought the last fight was lame) and had high expectations going in. For me, the sequel was better than the original simply because I enjoyed the whole thing. Here are some random thoughts (not a review!) on Iron Man 2. Spoilers ahead!
– Robert Downey, Jr. owns in this movie. He truly is the perfect Tony Stark. He’s charming, smart, sarcastic, suave, and flawed enough for moviegoers to identify with. As charming as he was in the first movie, he’s even more so in the sequel. His interplay with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, Sam Rockwell, and Scarlett Johannson was so entertaining. The interaction and humor felt organic.
– I missed Terrence Howard as James “Rhodey” Rhodes. Don’t get me wrong, Don Cheadle is a fantastic actor, but I loved the chemistry that Downey and Howard had. Cheadle did a good job in the movie, but there were times that made me feel like he wasn’t really trying. He also didn’t have the same rapport with Downey.
– Mickey Rourke was mildly disappointing as Whiplash/Ivan Vanko. He was kind of threatening, kind of brilliant, and kind of maniacal, but he was mostly just a dirty Russian guy. Dude needed to take a shower but never got around to it. After his awesome performance in The Wrestler, I was hoping for more. I suppose the flat feeling I had was due to the writing and not Rourke’s performance.
– Sam Rockwell was very cool as Justin Hammer, save for a completely unnecessary dance scene. He was a great foil for Tony Stark and played his role well. The buzz that the Tony Stark/Justin Hammer relationship is eerily similar to the Steve Jobs/Bill Gates relationship is completely overblown. Don’t believe the hype!
– I loved that Iron Man and Tony Stark had separate villains. That was one of my problems with the original movie. Jeff Bridges (or as I call him, Starman) was a great business rival as Obadiah Stane. I thought he absolutely sucked as Iron Monger. I didn’t find him threatening at all. I liked having two villains with different angles in Iron Man 2.
– Scarlett Johansson was surprisingly good as the Black Widow. She’s one of the sexiest women on the planet, so I was expecting her to be around for decorative purposes, but she totally kicked ass in her fight scene. She had enough screen time to shine, but not enough so that it felt like her face and body were being exploited.
– Sam Jackson went a little overboard as Nick Fury. He was too Snakes on a Plane for me. Yeah, Fury can be fiery, but he’s also cool and always in total control. Jackson had the cool part down but did a little too much screaming for me.
– The action is excellent. The last third of the movie has some awesome fighting sequences. You really get the “heavy metal” feeling from the combat.
– I loved that most of the movie took place in Los Angeles and Queens. Considering where I live and where I grew up, it felt comfortable. A movie hasn’t made me feel that way since Coming to America. Ha!
– I heard that the preview prints didn’t have the post-credit teaser…but I saw it and loved it! I already warned you about spoilers in the opening paragraph, so I have no problem telling you that it’s hammer time!
– Update: Totally forgot to write about the cameos. Stan Lee as Larry King was cute. Larry Ellison as Larry Ellison was cool! Tony Stark would totally rub elbows with people like Ellison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, etc.