"Iron Man 2"
Robert Downey, Jr. reprises his 2008 role in the new blockbuster Iron Man 2, this time as a more sassy and more savvy Tony Stark -- first hectoring a Democratic Senator then successfully privatizing World Peace. In other words, the Tea Party may have found their 2012 Presidential candidate.
Stark Industries’ Iron Man technology is under assault on multiple fronts. The penniless son of the company’s original partner, who was deported back to Russia, wants it as restitution; a rival weapons manufacturer wants it to gain an edge; and the US government just plain wants it.
Those, however, are less pressing problems for the scion than the palladium that powers the arc reactor in his chest. Yes, it’s keeping him alive, but it’s also slowly poisoning him. Sensing that the time until he succumbs is short, Tony starts taking big risks, not the least of which is naming as his successor former personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).
Meanwhile, back in Butyrka, toothpick-chomping Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) and Stark competitor Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) are collaborating on an electric bullwhip-wielding super scourge to bring down Iron Man. It all comes to a head, as these things do in the movies, in an epic battle royal and when the smoke clears, good triumphs over evil, father saves son from beyond the grave, and Samuel L. Jackson teaches the Hathaway shirt guy how to sport an eye patch.
Iron Man 2 is one of the best sequels and is nearly as good as its predecessor in spite of unfortunate casting choices like Don Cheadle subbing for Terrence Howard as Stark’s Air Force liaison pal “Rhodey,” or Scarlett Johansson, whose agent Natasha Romanoff would not last five minutes in the same room as “Hit Girl.” After all, it’s Robert Downey, Jr. fans come to see. Rich, smug and able to fly.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks that is a dream trifecta. Iron Man 2 took-in a whopping $125+ million over its opening weekend (the 5th highest gross ever) and it’s easy to see why. Like a Geritol-laced espresso, “Iron Man” is at the same time stimulating and fortifying. It’s action-packed and engaging without being tiring. Best of all, it’s witty. Downey, whom I have called “the Lionel Barrymore of our time,” is a master of wry and here he brings it. For example, when an evaluator accuses him of displaying “textbook narcissism,” he pauses masterfully before replying, “Agreed.”
Clever and entertaining, it’s a worthy heir to the franchise.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some language.