Historically, sequels grow progressively worse than their predecessors. Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece “The Godfather,” for example, was followed by “The Godfather: Part II,” a great movie but a smidge below its antecedent with “The Godfather: Part III” following a full notch below that. (And don’t even get me started on “Revenge of the Nerds IV.”)
In the Marvel Universe, however, there is a cohesion that buoys the entire franchise.
In this go-round, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) flashes back to a missed opportunity to work with a bright scientist named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) who later goes on to become Iron Man’s nemesis (yea, I know, Buddy Pine and Syndrome in “The Incredibles”).
Killian and botanist Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) have created a regenerative virus called Extremis. To hide the technology’s imperfections blame is laid on a terrorist strawman called “The Mandarin” (Ben Kingsley).
Lots of fun and action here with Downey once again doing most of the heavy lifting. (Iron Man, heavy listing, ’cause iron weights a … oh, never mind!)
Pearce makes a great villain but is somewhat upstaged by Kingsley’s nuanced “performance.” There’s additional comic relief from Happy Hogan, Stark’s head of security played by Jon Favreau (who helmed the first two films); and, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts has an expanded role. But you forget all of that with the surprise after-credits bonus which real fans would stay for even without my recommendation.
(Speaking of comic relief, Stan Lee’s clever cameos are epic and I give this one a 10.0 but it’s quick so don’t look down at your tub of popcorn for even a second or you’ll miss it.)
The question remains, with the shrapnel removed is this the final film in the series or will a new chapter be written? “The Avengers 2” is slated for a 2015 release but Downey has not yet inked his participation.
Chris Miksanek, The Med City Movie Guy