Iron Man 2 Movie Review

iron man 2Given that Iron Man 2 is coming to DVD and Blu Ray on September 28, I thought it was as good a time as any to take a critical look at Robert Downey Jr. as the Armored Avenger.  Be warned:  the following review contains spoilers (yeah, spoilers for a movie that made $128,122,480 in its opening weekend at 4,380 theaters) and is a giant ‘whatever’ fest.  But read on…

You can’t talk about Iron Man without gushing over its star, so let me get that out-of-the-way.  Robert Downey Jr. is the man, and he’s great in the Iron Man movies; whatever you think about the Iron Man films, you can’t deny that.  The man has talent, and I can’t think of another instance where an actor had the opportunity to play a character he had so much in common with.  Maybe the movie version is a bit sillier than the comic book version, but it works.

I was surprised to see negative reviews for the film; sure, I agree it’s not as good as the first one, but I don’t think there is a tremendous gap.  Check this out:

David Edelstein of New York Magazine wrote, “It doesn’t come close to the emotional heft of those two rare 2s that outclassed their ones: Superman II and Spider-Man 2.”

Really?  Spider-Man 2?  The standard that we’re holding comic book movie sequels up to is Spider-Man 2?  Spider-Man 2 has its moments, but it’s not great even for a comic book movie; I think we can all agree that The Dark Knight and X-Men 2 are probably two of the best comic book movies of all time.  Oh, and the end of Spider-Man 2 is awful:  Maryjane is the worst character ever, only acceded by the lame death of Doctor Octopus.  And Superman II, while great, has some really silly moments, but should never, ever be mentioned in the same sentence as Spider-Man 2, or worse still, Spider-Man 3.  (I know, it wraps everything up nicely, but come on, the movie is moronic at best.  Talk about two people who seriously need to visit the couples therapist.)

Getting back to Iron Man 2:  I thought the final battle with Ivan Vanko/Whiplash (Crimson Dynamo?  Whatever.) ended a bit too quickly, and the Ununoctium sequence (that’s the element he builds/discovers/whatever – which is a real thingy, by the way – see the link) was kinda… well, shitty.  But hey, a prototype for Captain America’s shield was in that scene, so I’m down.  But that’s pretty much my entire list of complaints.  Knowing the Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) character as I do, I was surprised she didn’t kill anybody during her action sequence, but whatever.  Oh, and they never refer to her as the Black Widow, but that’s become a bit of a staple of the current Marvel movies.

I know the whole Don Cheadle vs Terrence Howard thing got a lot of attention, but that’s the movie business for you, and I’m not going to talk about it here.  Its not great to have two actors play the same character, but whatever; they both did a fine job as Lt. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes.  I think they actually referred to him as War Machine once during the movie, so cheers!

I was particularly pleased with Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts and Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer – they stole the show a bit.  Vanko could have been in the movie more, but given that he’s not going to be in any of the other movies, whatever.  It was nice to get Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in there, and I know this is the ‘Ultimate Comics‘ version of Fury, but Samuel L. Jackson, for the most part, plays Samuel L. Jackson.  It’s not bad, but it’s not what I was looking for.

On the whole, I enjoyed this movie; and I’ve seen it twice already, so that says something.  The performances and effects are great, and the aforementioned more than make up for minor story faults.  They were trying to do a lot with this movie:  an Iron Man sequel, an Avengers prequel, a Thor prequel, a Captain America… prequel, I guess.  Maybe that’s too much, but I think it all worked out well enough.  I’ll probably see it again soon.  But if you didn’t like Iron Man 2…


NOTE:  Isn’t it strange that the scene with Pepper kissing Tony’s helmet before he jumps out of the plane was so prominently featured in the advertising campaign but didn’t make it into the movie?

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on September 21, 2010, in comic book reviews, movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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