I have said before that I think Iron Man (2008) was one of the best superhero movies of all time, and I gave it five stars ***** (essential). While Iron Man 2 doesn't quite match it, it isn't far off the mark. It is a very entertaining movie, and I give it four stars **** (recommended).
- People in armored suits beating the shit out of each other and blowing stuff up. You can stop reading here and run to the theater now.
- Robert Downey, Jr. is a perfect Tony Stark: obnoxious and narcissistic, but just witty and charming enough to win you over and convince you that he's a good guy at heart.
- Suitcase armor.
- Whiplash may be an absurd villain, but it ends up working because Micky Rourke plays the role so convincingly. Likewise, Sam Rockwell's weapons dealer Justin Hammer is delightfully weaselly.
- ScarJo in a catsuit. She doesn't have much screen time, but the scene where she kicks ass is a big highlight. Jon Favreau has a wonderfully comic moment in the scene as well.
- The movie drags a little in the middle and is all over the place at times with many different plot lines intertwining. It's not a fatal flaw, but there are some elements that seemed strained and could have been cut for better flow. (For example, the bits where Tony uncovers old research and reconnects with his dead father.)
- There are a few places where the plot stretches the "willing suspension of disbelief" boundaries - much more so than the first film. The scene where Tony Stark creates a new element is an awkward clunker. Unless Favreau was going for comic absurdity ("Congratulations, sir, you have created a new element.") - in which case it was brilliant.
- The final battle with Whiplash is over too soon and is anti-climactic. Rourke's character is such a bad ass all movie, he deserved better.