Iron Man 2 (2010) Directed by Jon Favreau. With Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson.
I’m at odds with how I feel about Iron Man 2. For the most part, it’s enjoyable, but mostly enjoyable in a disappointingly throwaway fashion. Jon Favreau returns to the directors chair for this second instalment, which in part, feels increasingly like a set-up film for future Avengers adventures.
When it isn’t laying franchise foundations, this outing specifically deals with Tony Stark and his response to being known to the world as Iron Man, as well as his ongoing studies to discover a cure for his own slow blood poisoning – which is accelerated by usage of his own technology. That, and the daddy issues that cause an angry Mickey Rourke to attempt to rain on his parade.
Rourke is a fine presence in any film, and brings a strong air of physical authority – yet disappointingly, his character isn’t given nearly enough consideration (or screen-time) to impress much other than ‘mad, angry Russian’.
In truth, there’s a lot of stuff whizzing around in Iron Man 2. The trouble is, little of it amounts to as much as it should. On the plus-side, the script by Justin Theroux offers more sharp, funny exchanges of dialogue; perfect for the likes of Downey Jr. and Sam Rockwell (a Stark wannabe) to deliver in their typically quick-witted comedic styles. On top of that, Scarlett Johannson’s Black Widow is introduced to the world, and although the gist of her role is mostly ‘sexy-girl-in-a tight-costume‘, her presence adds an intriguing layer, promising more development as this Marvel business model unfolds.
That’s partly the problem with Iron Man 2. While it’s fun in chunks, as Samuel L. Jackson pops up again to remind us, it feels like it’s a pre-cursor to something that Marvel studios are far more interested in – The Avengers. In the meantime, we have to make do with what we have. That said, Downey Jr. doing his thing is more than enough to put us on. 3.5/5