The original Iron Man was breath of fresh air for the superhero genre. Fan, fast and forgettable in a good way. It used all the talents of Robert Downey Jnr’s reformed hellraiser and convinced Marvel Studios that they could be a success going it alone. The second outing for Tony Stark follows the sequel’s law of more – more explosions, more big names, more story lines. The problem is you can have too much of a good thing.
Tony Stark (Downey Jnr) has brought about world peace as Iron Man, but his enemies are starting to circle. The government and a jealous rival want his technology, a Russian physicist wants revenge and the physical effect of wearing the suit are taking their toll.
The additions to the cast are all top draw. Sam Rockwell, currently the best actor working in Hollywood (see Moon – now) is weasley as Stark’s rival Justin Hammer. Mickey Rourke is all physicality and few words as Ivan Denko aka Whiplash, while Scarlett Johannson merely is nimble and deadly as Stark’s new legal aide with something to hide (but looking spectacular!). Add in Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle and you have just too many characters to do them all justice.
While a surfeit of plot is admirable in a summer blockbuster, you can’t help feeling that some of it could be left on the cutting room floor. The introduction of Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury seems a commercial device to bring together the Marvel universe together and introduce more spin off characters.
Director Jon Favreau keeps the action moving along and directs some excellent set pieces. However they work better as individual vignettes. A pretty funny script and Downey Jnr’s charm make it difficult to really dislike the film. where the franchise goes from here though, it’s difficult to know. The fact is unless you’re 12 or Michael Bay, a bunch of robots fighting is not that exciting or interesting.
Overall good fun but already starting to rust.