I was lucky enough to attend an Iron Man 2 sneak peek at my local theater. Let’s see if I can sum up my feelings in three words: Holy f*%$ing $h1t!!! This movie is incredible! The personality arc that Tony Stark goes through in this movie alone is great. He starts out very narcissistic and arrogant.
He’s pushing everyone away, even his personal assistant, Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. The story starts off by introducing us to the movie’s villain. We see a huge man with a bottle of vodka in his hands speaking to his father, who, obviously on his death-bed, is apologizing for not being able to take care of him. “All I can pass on to you is my knowledge”. Cut to the huge, drunken , tatted up, russian thug making himself an arc reactor just like the one Tony has. Needless to say this can only end with awesomeness.
Nick Fury is around too, trying to get Tony to join the Avenger Initiative and also helping him with his health problems. Tony continues to go on throughout the movie insisting that he doesn’t need them or want to join their team. By the end of the movie, Nick Fury lets it be known that S.H.I.E.L.D. is interested in Iron Man… But not Tony Stark.
There’s a phenomenal scene in the movie where Natasha Romanoff, played by Scarlett Johansson, and Happy Hogan, played by Jon Favreau, break into Hammer Industries on the hunt for Ivan Vanko (a.k.a. Whiplash) and Happy starts fighting with the first guy through the door. It’s a real battle back and forth and we’re not sure who’s going to win. In the mean time, it turns out that Natasha can kick some serious ass. She takes out about 20 guys with class and style. Happy finally knocks his guy out, turns, and exclaims “Hey!!! Look at that!!! I got him!!” just before he focuses on the carnage Natasha left in the hallway.
In the end, Tony has come full circle. He even acknowledges this when reading the report prepared by Natasha about him by stating “yeah, but that was last week” when they are talking about his bad attitude.
A word on the cast: Everyone did exceedingly well in this movie. I could do without the Pepper Potts character. She seems pointless to just about everything. There wasn’t even a hint of her being a “love interest” until the end of the movie. Don’t get me wrong, Gwyneth Paltrow did a fine job playing her, the character just seemed moot.
Sam Rockwell was brilliant as Justin Hammer, Tony Stark’s top rival. He came off as a rich jerk most of the time, but there were some moments where you almost felt sorry for him and his uncoolness. He even does the Howard Dean “WOOOOO” at one point.
Mickey Rourke made what could have been a cheesy villain in Whiplash and made him cool. He oozed confidence. Hell, every time he was beaten he says “heh heh heh…. you lose”.
Don Cheadle really stepped into the role of James Rhodes/War Machine and made it his own. The interaction between him and Robert Downey Jr. felt natural and was hilarious. There’s even a great fight scene between Iron Man and War Machine!
Sam Jackson is great as Nick Fury. I love the way Marvel is slow burning its way to the Avengers movie. I really enjoyed the way they took the focus off Tony Stark and Iron Man for just a fleeting moment when Nick Fury says “I’ve got bigger things than you to worry about right now” followed by a dramatic pause.
And finally, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony “I am the Iron Man” Stark. This was another great performance by Mr. Downey Jr. There’s not a lot different about the character of Tony Stark between the last movie and this one for most of the movie. It’s not really until the end when you realize the journey he’s made.
In the end, this is a movie about a guy who flies around in a mechanical suit of armor with a giant hole in his chest for a battery. If you can’t suspend your disbelief beyond that, then maybe this isn’t the movie for you. I didn’t even have a huge problem with how Tony fixed his health problem. Health problem? Yeah, go see the movie.
Finally, sit your butt down for the whole credits to catch an ever so slight look towards the next Marvel movie.