When “Iron Man” was released two years ago, I remember leaving the theater hungry for more. Now that Jon Favreau has come up with the sequel I can’t help but want less. By less I mean less of a lot of things. Less characters, that’s for sure. The film introduces so many new characters without taking the time to develop them, it becomes almost repetitive.
I constantly found myself saying “Oh, there’s Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow; Mickey Rourke looking badass as always. Wait a minute Don Cheadle replaced Terrence Howard? Sam Rockwell is in this too? Oh looky here, it’s Samuel L. Jackson in yet another below average superhero movie.”
Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against ensemble casts, as long as each character has purpose, is well-developed and supports the overall flow of the film.Unfortunately, this is not the case here. Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson’s characters did nothing for me. They were both unnecessary to the plot and quite frankly felt like characters from another movie who just happened to run into the set of “Iron Man 2”. I have no problem with Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard though, he stayed true to Howrard’s performance in the predecessor. While Rourke needed more character development, Rockwell was the surprise showstealer.
Less storylines and more focus is another thing this film needed. Favreau should’ve focused on one basic storyline instead of losing grip of the direction of the plotline and wasting what could have been a great sequel. The film starts with Ivan Vanko also known as Whiplash (Rourke) witnessing the death of his father. We get that Tony Stark is somehow responsible for it and so in an attempt to avenge his father’s death, Ivan builds his own cheap electronic vest. Meanwhile Tony Stark is busy trying to prevent the US army from getting their desperate hands on his suit. We also learn that the arc reactor attached to his chest is both keeping him alive and killing him.
After completion of his vest, Rourke takes a shot against our hero during a Formula 1 race. Yes, a Formula 1 race. Why you ask? Well, apparently we need hundreds of people watching as Rourke stands up against Stark, in addition to that, there also has to be some explosive action like cars flipping into the air and crashing into one another. The location is a lame desperate excuse to make the standoff a fireworks show. The “he did it to show people Stark wasn’t invincible” is a stupid argument. Did everyone forget about Jeff Bridges using Iron Man as a metallic frisby?
Suddenly, the story switches focus from Whiplash to Stark’s main business competitor, Justin Hammer (Rockwell). Hammer is sick of living in Stark’s shadow and so teams up with, well you guessed it. The main villain becomes a minor one and then returns once again to the center of attention. In addition to all that you have subplots including a childish fight with his best friend, Col. Rhodes (Cheadle), Pepper Potts (Paltrow) getting promoted, Stark (Downey Jr.) coming to terms with some Daddy issues, and an introduction to the Avengers.
Another negative aspect in “Iron Man 2” is the over use of far-fetched technology. It was fun in the first film but they overdid it with the sequel. It was almost an in your face display of the bigger budget. Part of what made “Iron Man” so special was the relevant theme of terrorism, which is absent here. Also, in the first picture, there was something about that suit that made it unique and special. However, “Iron Man 2” introduces so many different armour suits with special attachments, our hero’s suit only becomes less impressive. In fact, we get so many suits in this film, I’m surprised they didn’t just title the film, “Iron Men”.
Now that I’m done discussing the negative aspect, I’ll point out that the action sequences were somewhat impressive in terms of editing. Thank God, this wasn’t filmed in 3-D because it would’ve resulted in me adding another paragraph to my negative review.