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Iron Man 2 – Movie Review

By:   Movie Critic-guest contributor

Iron Man 2 Poster It has begun.  The summer blockbuster season that is.  Iron Man 2 is sure to rake in the dough this weekend, but the big question on everyone’s mind is will it be as good as the first one?  Some sequels to comic books movies can’t hold onto the successful formula of their predecessors (Hellboy:  The Golden Army, Batman Returns), but sometimes the sequel is surprisingly better (X2:  X-Men United, Superman 2, The Dark Knight).  Which will Iron Man 2 be? 

 Iron Man 2 starts where the first movie left off, with Tony Stark (played once more by Robert Downey Jr.) announcing to the world at a press conference that he’s Iron Man.  Unknown to him at this point is that Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) holds a grudge against him and is building a weapon to destroy him.  Flash forward six months, and you find Tony Stark showboating at an expo, and telling congress where to go with their orders that he turn Iron Man over to them.  Within the first twenty minutes you’ll get a clear idea of where the movie is going.  There is no attempt to add any complex plots or convoluted twists.  What you get is a straight forward action movie that stays true to its comic book roots.  Like most comic book movies new characters are added, which in this case includes the Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson), Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), and Ivan Vanko (also known as Whiplash).   Samuel L. Jackson’s role as Nick Fury has a longer screen time this time around, and you don’t have to wait until the credits stop rolling to see him.  Don Cheadle replaces Terrence Howard as Rhodey, but to be honest you’ll hardly notice the difference.

 So the question remains, is Iron Man 2 as good as the first movie?  That is a hard question to answer because the special effects are great, the action is adrenaline inducing, and Robert Downey Jr. really continues to do Tony Stark justice, but eventually it has to be said that it’s not.  What’s missing is Jeff Bridges.  The villain of the first movie was much stronger, whereas Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer comes across as a whiny little rich kid who deserves to be slapped.  Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash character was a great addition, and he definitely needed a mouthpiece behind him since his character was so quiet, but unfortunately Sam Rockwell wasn’t the right person for the role.  Justin Hammer was a much older character in the comic books anyway, and we all ready saw the rich guy villain the first time around.  One of the first villains from the comic book that come to mind when Iron Man is brought up is the Mandarin, and this movie would have excelled much better if he had been chosen as the main protagonist instead.  Or at the very least, the villain behind Whiplash.

 When all is said and done Iron Man 2 will make a lot of money for Paramount, and most people who see it will leave satisfied.    It will be one of the top movies of the summer.  The unfortunate thing with sequels is that they will always be compared to what came before, and in this case the movie is slightly weaker.  It is definitely still strong enough to hold its own however, and it is worth the price of admission.  And if you want to see what Marvel has in store for the future, make sure you stick around after the credits to watch the short bonus.

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