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Iron Man 2 keeps its visual and polished appeal. It is entertaining enough but falls a little short of delivering anything new, other than rediscovering its “new element.” Yet, it doesn’t really oblige itself to, anyway. It packs itself with a cool Iron Man air and it blasts things in awesome ways.
More than just being a popcorn spectacle with a typically mainstream plot, the shots are impressively well thought off, the acting performances are engaging, the sound elements and music deliver well, and the special effects are visual grabbers.
Robert Downey Jr. and the rest of the cast fill this superhero flick with solid performances fitting its action-techno-fantasy package. His style for witty dialogue with deadpan delivery continues to own and entertain the part. His portrayal of billionaire industrialist Tony Stark and his superhero alter ego Iron Man continues to be the movie’s most compelling component and the franchise’s strongest asset. People can keep such satisfied popcorn smiles while watching the movie.
Iron Man 2 soars high amidst the heavy metal it wears. There are fewer surprises and exhilarating scenes than its smarter predecessor and there are a few moments of contrivances, but this sequel is still a thrilling and charming offer.
Other than its heavy reliance on CGI, action sets, and stunts, both its production team and cast members live up to the task of making the film a worthwhile action-packed film. It has an aptly fast-paced and glossy look that overwhelms its not so engaging plot. It remains mindlessly entertaining from the technophile’s haven scenes to the fight and chase scenes. The industrialist clunks sometimes get slightly annoying, but it remains mindlessly entertaining with all the big guns, high tech gadgets, cool cars, flashy metal suits and machinery plot.
The filmmakers seem conscious of both the advantages and disadvantages of fight scenes involving faceless actors in big titanium battle suits. The insert shots of their faces from inside their metal gears work. But interestingly, Tony Stark’s scenes are more point blank solid if compared to the showy Iron Man fight scenes. As usual, Downey’s performance as the man outside the suit works best whenever he is hanging out and having fun.
The verbose parts, mostly from the bantering moments and tireless arguments between the main tandems (Tony and Pepper; Hammer and Ivan), are fun and charming. Snappy one-liners also help the movie build up well.
More than his own charismatic personality transcending on screen, Downey’s character really blends well with his colleagues in the acting department. Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts provides wit, energy, and chemistry with the leading man as she offers a beating heart to the story without resulting to cheesiness. Scarlett Johannson as Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff effectively steals the show with her fight scene. Her cyborg-ish looks also add to the film’s visual commercial flavor.
Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer and Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko are great additions to the movie. Their characters are well developed; thus, making the typical plot and characterization work to the movie’s advantage. Rockwell’s smarmy acting is effectively irritating. He really measures up to the need of the story for such a selfish corporate freak character. Rourke is awesome with his very convincing performance as a Russian techno genius with a streak of both serious and comic personalities. He promotes a wide range of emotion than makes him such a driving force on the other end of the Iron Man’s superhero spectrum.
Don Cheadle as Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine doesn’t really transcend to the investment already made by Terrence Howard’s charismatic performance for the first Iron Man. It’s such a disappointing change that really affects this significant part of the franchise. Personally, Howard’s Rhodey is a bull’s eye in the same way as Downey’s Stark. Unfortunately, Cheadle doesn’t live up well as a needed replacement.
Garry Shandling as Senator Stern delivers greatly as the typical politician modeling in front of the public’s eye. Leslie Bibb as the journalist Christine Everheart is a recognizable face from the first Iron Man and she keeps her short but significant appearance in this sequel. Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury also has a short screen time; and yet, how he handles his role quite peaks the interest for his character. Favreau again appears more than just the director as he plays the part as the funny Happy Hogan for the second time around. Stan Lee makes another fun cameo in the movie.
This movie is another treat for those who pay respect to the credits. After the long scroll filled with endless names and production credits of people who really worked hard to make this cinematic project how it is, people staying get a glimpse of what’s in store for the next Iron Man sequel.