Despite having twice the action, twice the robots and half the character pathos, it still manages to be an enjoyable film.
While most people had never heard of Iron Man before 2008, he's always been one of favorite superheroes. I'm sure there's some psychological treatise that can be written about a small child dreaming of being encased in a metal suit. For now, lets just pretend I thought it was cool and leave it at that.
Instead of focusing on a theme of redemption from the original, this film focuses on the theme of legacy as Tony tries to both live up to, and live down, his father's legacy.
The romance between Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Tony goes the way most sequel romances do and "there's trouble in paradise." It's implied that the relationship never became romantic, but it's hard to imagine since Stark has the celibacy of a rabbit on Prozac. Their on-screen chemistry is excellent and really helps to sell the film. Unlike the awkwardness of the later Spider-Man films, this romance keeps getting better.
I was worried that Don Cheadle couldn't pull off "War Machine" and was partly right. Cheadle doesn't display the anger that motivates the character, but he does play the "good soldier" and betrays his friendship in the service of his country. I think Terrance would have done a better job, but when War Machine unleashed his weaponry, there was no doubt he was still "The Man."
Mickey Rourke's fish-lipped Russian baddie Ivan Venko, aka "Whiplash", was genuinely terrifying and engaging. The character motivations were clear and, at the same time, inscrutable leading to some surprising plot twists. His relationship with the enigmatic Justin Hammer was fantastic. They managed to pull off the "multiple supervillain" cliche as successfully as Batman Begins.
The action is spectacular and the CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) is so realistic I had trouble figuring out when they switched between the "practical" physical suits and the animated ones.
The characters were formulaic and the action seemed a little staged, I enjoyed it. I didn't follow my own advice looking up hidden "Easter Eggs" and my wife said I was "geeking out" at some parts.
I'm giving Iron Man 2 four out of five stars.
[Image from imbd]
What did you think? Do you feel Iron Man 2 was shiny or dull?