Movie Review: Iron Man 2

Saw this Friday morning, which is a great way to spend a day off, by the way.  Very much enjoyed it, a worthy successor to the first, but not without a few minor flaws that keep it from being ‘better’.  But really, who cares?  It was still GREAT.

Spoilers to follow…consider yourself warned!

First, let’s talk about the new characters.  Ivan Vanko (played by Mickey Rourke) is a physicist, believe it or not, and the son of a discredited Soviet scientist that helped Howard Stark develop the original Arc reactor.  Both his accent and the Klingon death scream after his father dies are worth the price of admission.  Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer is hilarious.  He wants what Stark has – the fame, the charisma, badass suit of armor…but he just doesn’t have it.  Hammer allows himself and his technology to be used by Vanko, mistakenly believing he has some sort of partnership or hold over him.  Really, taking a bird and a few other things away from a guy that spent 15 years in a Siberian prison is supposed to scare him?

Scarlett Johansson plays Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff/The Black Widow, who in the Marvel movie continuity is an agent of SHIELD, assigned to keep an eye on Stark and evaluate him for potential as a member of the Avengers.  Good scene with her and Happy Hogan, as she knocks out a half-dozen Hammer security dudes while he takes one on.  Garry Shandling is Senator Stern who wants the Iron Man ‘weapon’ turned over to the government.  Probably not the only person who wants to say “*BEEP* you Mr. Stark!”.

The plot is classic comic book fare – which is not to say it’s some literary masterpiece.  The palladium that fuels the Arc reactor is great, except when it’s embedded in your chest and killing you.  Stark is living like this is his final year, narrowly avoiding death at the hands of Whiplash, in no small part due to the awesome comic book callback of the suitcase armor.  He gets drunk IN the armor, forcing Rhodey to take the Mark II suit and knock Tony down a peg, before flying off with it.  It becomes clear that Stark views that as some sort of passing the torch, as he could’ve easily disabled the Mark II, but didn’t.

Tony’s relationship with Pepper is as complicated as ever.  I really love the interplay between the two.

I would like to give some props to the trailer-makers for the movie – I was completely unspoiled about the Whiplash/Crimson Dynamo type suit for Vanko for the final battle.  Interesting, though, that many of the trailer scenes were cut or changed.

Considering I’m closing in on 500 words, it should be obvious that I immensely enjoyed the movie, despite any plot holes or quirks.  I will say the objections to Whiplash sneaking in to the pits/racetrack to face Tony, despite the decision to drive the car being a spur of the moment thing.  That was the easiest ‘in’ at the track most likely, and Vanko had to figure Stark would make an appearance down by the track at some point.  Tony driving the car just made it that much easier to find him.

There’s so much more that could be said, but I didn’t mean this to be a minute-by-minute breakdown.  If you are on the fence because of some questionable reviews by the ‘experts’, go see it.  There’s more than enough there for your money.