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October 23, 2017

Iron Man 2 (2010) --- "Guy Fights An Electrical Whip-Wielding Enemy And Discovers A New Metal To Save His Life."

Plot Summary
With the world now aware that he is Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from all sides to share his technology with the military. He is reluctant to divulge the secrets of his armored suit, fearing the information will fall into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle) by his side, Tony must forge new alliances and confront a powerful new enemy. (1) 

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Iron Man attracted a lot of attention in 2008 as a large majority of audience members were surprised that the first installment turned out to be a pretty solid film. As a cross between a serious origin story and a comic book comedy, it became clear that topping the sequel would have some pretty big shoes to fill if they wanted to top the first film. Well, Iron Man 2 (2010) does so with a balance of nail-biting tension and witty humor, everything good about the first film was carried over and then amped up in the second film. Picking up where Iron Man (2008) ended, billionaire genius Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.Sherlock Holms) has just revealed his identity as Iron Man to the entire world and now he faces the consequences. Not only is the military and Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell - Moon) a crooked competitor, striving to obtain the secrets of his Iron Man technology Stark also discovers that the very technology keeping him alive could potentially be killing him. As he is trying to have some semblance of a life Stark seems to have met his match with a new villain named Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke Sin City), a foreign weapons genius who bears a deep-rooted grudge that has stemmed from the legacy of Tony's father, Howard Stark (John Slattery - Spotlight). Iron Man 2 is far from being darker than the first film and that is refreshing. Of course, there is a bit of tension in the film but for the most part, it is a brisk, cheerful, and inoffensive film that moseys on at a compelling pace with a bit of emotional awkwardness thrown in. This allows the film to give itself the authority to stretch its innocence and the idea that realism does not apply here.

     While Iron Man 2 is superior to the first film, this is partly by default as the sequel had no shortage of possible paths to take. Rather than expand upon its universe, Iron Man 2 takes the path of characterization by reprising its amplified personality, upping the stakes, and overall reiterating the same heart and spirit of the first film. Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man films, Chef) and writer Justin Theroux (The Girl on the Train, American Psycho, Megamind) have some interesting themes going on in the plot, one, in particular, is the theme of "legacy". The impression one leaves on their successors when they are gone and how the past actions of a predecessor might affect a successor. In other words, the plot could actually be called the “Sins of the Father, Are the Sins of the Son.” Stark and Vanko are similar, both are geniuses and their present lives have been affected by the legacies of their fathers, and yet both have taken different paths in life because of their fathers. Another similarity is their origin story, the parts of this film that follow Vanko’s story are almost parallel to Stark’s origin story in the first film.
     All the characters are well-written and the dialogue is more mature and humorous as it appears natural and seamless. The script was filled with witty banter and intelligent jokes typical of Marvel films and the acting had good chemistry all around. Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark like he was born for the role and this time around he portrays Stark as someone who his following his ‘change of heart and less like a playboy. Although he continues to carry the same sarcastic wit and self-confidence that we see in his other movies. Mickey Rourke’s character has a truly tragic back-story, and it’s easy to pass him off as a sort of ‘Darth Maul’1 character with no real purpose aside from becoming a powerful adversary set on providing a mandatory climax so he can destroy the hero. Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda) replaces Terrence Howard (Empire) role as War Machine/Lt. Rhodes. Although it felt as if his potential was obstructed by the War Machine suit and he lacked the personality Howard exudes, he is still a good choice as Stark’s friend and sidekick. Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer easily balances the portrayal of a silly one-dimensional villain and a corporate competitor scumbag that is providing both comic relief and presenting as a credible threat to Stark. My favorite character though has to be Jon Favreau as the bodyguard/driver for Stark and Potts, especially since now he gets to play a part in a bit of the action. The action is satisfying with Favreau's steady directing bringing out the appropriate level of intensity in every scene. The CGI and its realism were amped up allowing for Iron Man’s armor(s) to look even more amazing. The only concern that I have is there were a few kinks in the story. Some scenes rushed by too fast and I wished that the film had taken on a more serious tone so that some more complex themes and romantic sub-plots could have been expanded upon. But since this did not happen, I was left with some "could have been" moments by the end of the film.

     Overall, Iron Man 2 (2010) is an entertaining and well-done sequel. Marvel Studios has started a new tradition of comic book films that go beyond the comic books and Iron Man 2 is one such film; true to the spirit of its source material as well as tailored to the tastes of modern moviegoers. The new villain is very impressive, the action scenes are entertaining, the character dialog was typical of a Marvel film, and the acting was good. As I stated before it is obvious that Stark and Vanko are very similar with Vanko being the darker version of Stark. The only thing that I wished was that a few of the fight scenes, especially the final battle, were longer. However, I believe that Iron Man 3 (2013) makes up for the few flaws in this film. 

***Marvel Cinematic Universe (In order of how you should watch them)***
Iron Man (2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Thor (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Marvel's The Avengers (2012)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-Man (2015)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Untitled Avengers film (2019)
Untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel (2019)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBA)

“Sir, I'm gonna have to ask you to exit the donut.”
- Nick Fury [seeing Tony Stark, in partial Iron Man armor, sitting in a giant rooftop donut display]

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  4.5 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  4.5 of 5 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Iron Man 2 (2010).

Movies Similar 
Ant-Man (2015)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Avengers (2012)
Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (2015)
Avengers 3: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers 4: Untitled film (2019)
Black Panther (2018)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBA)
Hulk (2003)
Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man (2008)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 (2019)
Thor (2011)
Thor: Dark World (2013)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Cast & Crew
 Directed by Jon Favreau
Produced by 
     Victoria Alonso          ...         co-producer
     Louis D'Esposito        ...         executive producer
     Susan Downey           ...         executive producer
     Jon Favreau              ...         executive producer
     Kevin Feige                ...         producer
     Alan Fine                   ...         executive producer
     Karen Gilchrist          ...         associate producer
     Eric Heffron               ...         associate producer
     Jeremy Latcham       ...         co-producer
     Stan Lee                     ...         executive producer
     David Maisel             ...         executive producer
     Denis L. Stewart        ...         executive producer
Music by John Debney
Cinematography by Matthew Libatique
Film Editing by Dan Lebental and Richard Pearson
Casting By Sarah Finn and Randi Hiller
Production Design by J. Michael Riva
Set Decoration by Lauri Gaffin
Costume Design by Mary Zophres
Robert Downey Jr.         ...     Tony Stark
Gwyneth Paltrow             ...     Pepper Potts
Don Cheadle                     ...     Lt. Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes
Scarlett Johansson         ...     Natalie Rushman / Natasha Romanoff
Sam Rockwell                   ...     Justin Hammer
Mickey Rourke                 ...     Ivan Vanko
Samuel L. Jackson          ...     Nick Fury
Clark Gregg                       ...     Agent Coulson
John Slattery                    ...     Howard Stark
Garry Shandling               ...     Senator Stern
Paul Bettany                      ...     JARVIS (voice)
Kate Mara                          ...     U.S. Marshal
Leslie Bibb                         ...     Christine Everhart
Jon Favreau                      ...     Happy Hogan
Christiane Amanpour    ...     Christiane Amanpour
Philippe Bergeron           ...     Detective Lemieux
Larry Ellison                     ...     Larry Ellison
DJ AM                                 ...     Adam Goldstein
Tim Guinee                        ...     Major Allen
Eric L. Haney                    ...     General Meade
Evgeniy Lazarev               ...     Anton Vanko
Stan Lee                              ...     Stan Lee
Davin Ransom                  ...     Young Tony Stark 

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