Written by: Justin Theroux, based on the character created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Don Heck and Larry Lieber
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson
Tony Stark (Downey) is the king of the world. Since we left the man in the suit, Stark single-handedly brought our world to peace. Although one superhero could never be enough to stop war all over the world, the movie suggests a situation similar to the fear of nuclear weapons: nobody is making a move because they’re afraid Iron Man will intervene, at the same time they are trying to develop their own warsuits.
The tides turn for the eccentric billionaire with the rock star image, when he is being attacked by Ivan Vanko (Rourke) during a car race in Monaco. Stark was able to shrug off the government’s attempts to get the suit into their hands before the incident, but after the attack, even his friend Rhodey (Cheadle) turns against him. And things just proceed from there.
You only need to know one thing about this movie: before the flick started, I was not in a good mood, mostly because the people behind were loud and annoying. When the movie was over, I had a big smile on my face. If you want to know why, keep on reading.
[ad#longpost]There is a lot to say about the cast. Although it is, for better or worse, The Robert Downey Jr. Show, it’s a show with an ensemble. Every actor has just about enough time to really flesh out their character for their function in the movie–and they do it. Johansson and Rourke have only a few lines but they manage to fill the screen with their presence without any effort. When it comes to Sam Rockwell, I am biased. He is one of my favorite actors. I love his energetic way of acting and was curious to see how well he would mix with the equally energetic Downey Jr. At first, I was disappointed. Next to Stark, Rockwell’s Justin Hammer seems pale and boring. When I saw the way Rockwell played Hammer in scenes with other characters though, I knew what was going on. Hammer’s self confidence is as low as it can be. All he wants to be is Tony Stark. Everything he says, he only says it to hear himself saying it. When you see the scenes with Rourke’s character and Hammer, you will know what I mean.
For a summer blockbuster, Iron Man 2 goes great lengths to establish all the supporting characters in the flick, show you who they are and how they feel about Tony Stark. As a result of this, the movie is very fast, there is always something happening. Even–and this is very nice to see–the little scenes put between the action scenes aren’t just there to provide a buffer between the scenes…they push the story forward. By being rather complex (psychologically at least) and subtle for a blockbuster but fast at the same time, it manages to cater to two big audiences: the more mature moviegoer who likes a good story and the younger, short attention span blockbuster addict (mind you, I am consciously generalizing here). Thankfully, this effort does not feel labored at all. All that work pays off, surprisingly enough, during the action scenes of the movie. In contrast to a soulless blockbuster flick like, let’s say Transformers, you care about the characters. So when the big and loud kicksplode starts, you are involved and interested.
If there is anything bad to say about this movie (which a lot of other critics seem to be doing) it is that the movie is full. There is no space, no quiet moments and no time to breathe. Unlike others, I don’t think that’s a bad thing, at least not for this movie. I could just continue to praise Jon Favreau’s newest baby but I will leave you with two useful facts: yes, there is something after the credits (surprise!) and the credits themselves are easy to sit through, mostly due to the great soundtrack.