The first IRON MAN movie, which I’ve now seen several times, really holds up. It’s fun and fresh and has a vitality that’s been missing from some of the superhero/comic book movies of late. And while I didn’t necessarily expect the sequel to be as good as the first, I certainly hoped it would be.
SPOILERS AHEAD – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
I still enjoyed IRON MAN 2, and would see it again, but overall it felt flat. The pacing was off. It felt more like they were going through the motions than truly having a great time.
Robert Downey Jr. is still a great Iron Man/Tony Stark, and we want to root for him, but even his performance felt like it was about a half-beat behind where it was in the first movie. Although he does still have great chemistry with Gwenyth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. Their love tension worked.
This was (to a degree) and totally should have been, Mickey Rourke’s movie. He was perfectly cast as Whiplash. But I wanted more of him. More Whiplash would have been a better movie. He was a motivated villain, portrayed by an actor with the gravitas to pull it off. Sam Rockwell as industrialist Justin Hammer was the right mix of Stark’s nemesis/comic relief, but he got a lot of screen time compared to the heroes we’re supposed to root for.
And regardless of her performance, per se, if you can’t get on board with a red-headed Scarlett Johansen in skin-tight leather kicking butt, then you’ve come for the wrong movie (hey, don’t judge me).
As for the action … it went (mostly) to waste. Did I really need a fight scene between Rhodey/War Machine and a drunken Tony Stark/Iron Man? Not really. It was loud and messy, but it didn’t propel the story much. And for the climactic battle scene, which did have a few cool twists, it was mostly Iron Man blowing up a bunch of flying robots. Snore. I wanted more of Iron Man going toe-to-toe with Whiplash.
Iron Man 2 is not disaster, but it’s not a home run either. It’s a watchable comic book movie that could have, and should have, been a lot better. It’s forgettable. Hopefully they’ll rebound with Iron Man 3.