Tony Stark’s secret is out to the world and there does not seem to be anything that will keep him down…that is other than trying the juggle it all. Renewing the glamour of the Stark Expo, Tony has given away his secret identity and his company to Pepper but refuses to release his technology to the military. Danger is rising from multiple angles. Ivan Vanko, a Russian inventor, is after Tony to take down Stark Industries and reclaim the recognition believed to be stolen from his father. Tony also must deal with a jealous competitor, Justin Hammer, who believes that Tony’s hype is undeserved. In a chance moment of genius, Hammer partners up with Vanko in hopes of destroying the Stark empire and eliminating the competition.
Starring: Robert Downey Jr (Tony Stark), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Don Cheadle (Lt. Col. James Rhodes), Scarlett Johansson (Natalie Rushman), Sam Rockwell (Justin Hammer), Mickey Rourke (Ivan Vanko), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Clark Gregg (Agent Colston), Paul Bettany (Jarvis – voice)
Robert Downey Jr returns again as the confident Tony Stark. He is someone who does an incredible job with hiding his emotion behind a facade of intelligence and arrogance. While he exhibited struggles in the first movie with recovering from the kidnapping and trying to restore the good name to his company, the second movie finds him battling more than a couple of villains, but suffering from the side-effects of his generator and the feelings he has for Pepper. Gwyneth Paltrow showed strength in the first movie but transitions to dominance when she expresses challenge with Tony’s carelessness with his heightened fame. Scarlett Johansson jumps into the group as a reserved assistant but shows more of a discipline and method to her interactions, even during action sequences. Don Cheadle serves to replace the role of Lt. Rhodes, but doesn’t quite seem to express the same level of emotion as the Terrence Howard did in the first movie.
As a sequel to a superhero movie, this serves as one of the best stories in recent years. The Dark Knight certainly takes the cake in acting between Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart, but Downey Jr continues to play the role perfectly and the story provides a strong continuation from the exposed identity at the end of the first film. Of course there is a lot of action and explosions (which tend not to contribute much to the story), but it just makes for an overall enjoyable film. The other significant aspect of this movie is that is serves to set up the future Avengers film. Samuel L Jackson appeared briefly in the first movie as Colonel Nick Fury and SHIELD was officially released in the Marvel film universe. With Captain America and Thor on the way this upcoming summer, it looks like the gang is almost all here.
This is a very enjoyable sequel to a strong superhero franchise. Iron Man is the new Marvel poster child and definitely taking center stage.
Dan’s Rating: 4.0/5