I went into Iron Man 2 with a knot in my stomach. It couldn’t possibly be as good as the first, and it was getting all sorts of bad press. Then again, it’s Robert Downey Jr., and I’m fairly sure he actually IS Tony Stark. I steeled myself for disappointment and sat down.

And you know what? I really liked it.

No, it wasn’t nearly as good as the first movie. Iron Man catapulted from a B-list hero who was on the wrong side of Civil War to an A-list celebrity with more charm and fun than the series had seen for a while. It was full of action, didn’t take itself too seriously, had some wicked humour, and was generally a fun ride. Plus, Robert Downey Jr. was absolutely amazing – but I love everything he does.

The basic premise of the sequel is Tony Stark dealing with his fame and mortality, while struggling to keep hold of this monster he’s unleashed. In doing so, he finds out more about his father and himself, and finds he doesn’t need to be a lone ranger.

Before I head into spoiler territory, I’ll say this: if you liked the first movie, you’ll like this. It’s a fun ride with a few neat action sequences, and the actors are great. I actually didn’t mind Scarlett Johansen as Black Widow, and that’s saying something. While it won’t be as great of a boon for the series as the first one was, it held steady, and set things up for the Avengers movie nicely.


The Good:

God I love Robert Downey Jr. Have I mentioned that? Don Chedle did a great job as Rhodie too, even though I would have loved to see more of the two of them together.

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury is always fun, and some of the best dialog was between Fury and Stark. The special effects were top-notch – Industrial Light and Magic strikes again! – and it was really enjoyable to watch. I’m glad it wasn’t in 3D, I’ve had my fill of that for a while.

The action scenes were excellent, if few and far between. Seeing War Machine and Iron Man back to back made me squeal like a rabid fan girl. More of that, please. I like the explosions.

The Bad:

I felt like there could have been more action. I mean, I’m all about the plot, but its Iron

Man. Keep it simple.

I also felt like there were too many factions involved in the movie. Hammer and the military could have been combined somehow. I’ve heard comments to the effect that there were too many characters, and I didn’t find that to be the case, just too many sides to the story. It wasn’t convoluted to the point of getting confusing, but it was a bit of a pain to bounce back and forth.

They really need to stop pimping out the Avengers movie. Yes, I understand you’re in talks for it – I think the script’s being written now – but this is Iron Man. Concentrate on him for now!

The Ugly:

There was some Spider-Man 3 syndrome happening – the hero decides to self-destruct into emo territory, and there isn’t a lot you can do but watch it happen. I understand you think you’re dying, but you’re Tony Goddamn Stark, deal with it. The second act in the series is traditionally the darkest, yes, but you didn’t see Luke driving race cars and drinking himself stupid in Empire Strikes Back.

Also: they took out the “You complete me!” scene from the trailers. I liked that bit.
In the end, it was a good movie despite my nit-picking. If you’re looking for some mindless super-fluff to keep you entertained, go for it…and stay until after the credits for more Avengers teasing.