Tony Stark – now established publicly as Iron Man – grapples with personal and technological demons, as well as the son of an inventor that his father slighted who’s got a bit of a grudge. The only problem with the film is that it felt less like an Iron Man movie and more like a prequel for an Avengers movie before most of us even knew there’d be one – but we’re hardly holding that against it.
As one might expect, all the major players from the first outing show up in the second – although Rhodey’s undergone a bit of a makeover since the last one. Still, Don Cheadle is a better fit than Terrance Howard, and the introduction of War Machine means there’s no less than two suits of armour to do battle.
Mickey Rourke is far more entertaining than the role strictly called for as the villain of the piece, and his Ivan ‘Whiplash’ Vanko occasionally feels a little over-played, given that he’s given little more than a villain-of-the-week character.
Scarlett Johannsen is a welcome sight as Natasha ‘Black Widow’ Romanov, and Sam Rockwell is a great deal of fun to watch as slightly rubbish weapons-builder Justin Hammer.
Last but not least, we welcome back Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury, with a verbal showdown against Stark in a diner, for seemingly no reason other than it is Jackson playing the role. Still, it’s a neat turning point in the grand Marvel Cinematic Universe story.
The drunken brawl between Iron Man and War Machine is a great sequence, while the Iron-Man-in-the-box act during the race in Monaco is a cool concept spectacularly realised. There’s also the more stand-out writing, coupled with Downey Jr’s delivery, and his continuing chemistry with Gwyneth Paltrow, not to mention JARVIS on dry form as ever.
Tony Stark: “It’s good to be back!”
Tony Stark: “I told you I don’t want to join your super-secret boy band.”
Tony Stark: “‘Mr. Stark displays textbook… narcissism.’ Agreed.”
Tony Stark: “You! I swear to God, I’ll dismantle you! I’ll soak your motherboard, turn you into a wine rack!”
Tony Stark: “You have *a* big gun, you’re not *the* big gun.”
Col. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes: “Yeah, it’s called being a badass.”
The Avengers assemble:
As said, the entire movie is a prologue to Avengers Assemble, introducing the major SHIELD players properly, alongside Black Widow (slinking her way through eight guys in the time it takes Happy Hogan to take down one), with a lovely, lingering shot of a dossier proudly marked ‘Avengers Initiative’ – though that’s not for Tony’s concern, we’re politely informed by Mr Fury.
What did you think of Iron Man 2? Let us know below…