By Charly SHELTON
When we last left Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), he announced he was Iron Man, using his super suit to fight crime the world over. Now his father’s scorned Russian partner has set his own son (Mickey Rourke) on a path to vengeance and this path leads right to Tony.
While fighting a blood disease caused by the arc rector in his chest, he must stop this new villain Whiplash, save his company from chaos, save his suit from being taken by the government, and still try to save himself. Concurrently, a rival weapons expert, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), is trying to re-create the Iron Man suit for the U.S. government, but to no avail. So he enlists the help of Whiplash, who himself is a brilliant physicist, to make suits better than Tony. But trusting a villain like that can only lead to another mess that Iron Man must clean up.
An immediate follow up to 2008’s summer film, this sets the characters back in motion in the same vein. It further develops technology and relationships while setting up the story for the next film, the upcoming “Avengers,” and for next year’s “Thor” film (seen in the post-credits Easter egg, so be sure to stay for the entire credits).
“Iron Man” was one of the best superhero movies ever made, an all around good film, and it is a hard act to follow. So don’t expect the same amazing movie this time around. It is going to be very hard to reach the height the last film did; it would be hard for any movie. But that being said, this was not a bad film. It was on par with other superhero films while providing what can be expected in a sequel. But this juncture in the story of Iron Man seems almost like a set up for the films to come – “Iron Man 3” (and Tony’s transformation into a team player), “The Avengers,” and so on. But with Marvel now under Disney rule, we may never see some of the future developments, which would make the majority of the set up work in this film all for not.
But as a film itself, it was pretty good. Only a few aspects left the audience wanting: The music was definitely lacking with the departure of Ramin Djawadi, composer of the amazing soundtrack for the first film. Composer John Debney (“Elf,” “Evan Almighty” and “Old Dogs,” as well as many more family movies) has worked with director Jon Favreau on numerous other films but did not capture the right feel with his soundtrack to this film. The effects were patchy in quality, with one shot looking great and the next sequence looking like a 1995 video game. That may be because effects were sent out to so many effects houses, some being better than others.
And overall the camera just moved too much.
Too many “Twilight”-esque endless circling shots of characters talking or inventing and even, for example, when Tony is addressing a crowd in a monologue on a stage, the camera just slides back and forth, almost distractingly so.
This film has its faults, as all films do, but the good far outweighs the bad. It is not as amazing as the last film, so don’t expect a repeat, but it is still definitely worth seeing, on IMAX, if at all possible.
Rated PG-13, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke and the amazingly sexy Scarlett Johansson as fellow superhero and S.H.I.E.L.D. member Black Widow.
I give this film 3½ (maybe even closer to 4) out of 5.