Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 picks up right where the first one left off, and manages to continue the enjoyment without losing too much steam in the process. Jon Favreau has kept the exciting action, lost a bit of character development, but added more of a comic-book dimension to the film series.

The plot was slow to start, but once you see how events start fitting together for the eventual showdown, the movie picks up speed and leads in for a very satisfying finish. Thankfully, there weren’t too many slow moments (this is an action movie, after all), and the plot flowed well from scene to scene. The action-packed ending more than makes up for any slow moments toward the beginning.

The interplay between the characters definitely felt more formal than the first film. Robert Downey, Jr. plays the title character with just as much snarky humor and snide dialogue as he did in the first film, but he seems to play his dramatic scenes with less emphasis than the first. Don Cheadle, as Colonel Rhodes, continues with the memorable character that Terrence Howard defined, but doesn’t come into his own until near the finale. Scarlett Johansson performs the part of the sultry and mysterious Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff quite well, although aside from one stunning action scene, her role is relatively minor compared to the rest of the cast. The villains, Ivan Vanko, played by Mickey Rourke; and Justin Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell, more than match their opposition on screen. Rockwell in particular is absolutely fantastic in his portrayal: totally believable, animated, and fun to watch. I just wish everyone had his enthusiasm for the film, because I sensed less emotion this time around.

Iron Man 2 also has much more of a comic-book feel than the previous movie. Marvel fans will notice quite a few more nods to the Marvel Universe, but even more than that, Iron Man feels more like the fantastic character that he is when he has a properly villainous opponent. In the end, this film is a fitting sequel that nearly matches it’s predecessor.

Four out of five stars.