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Friday, May 7, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: "IRON MAN 2"

  "I AM IRON MAN!" After 2008's Summer Blockbuster, being the first in a long line of movies to emerge from Marvel Comics new studios now comes the most anticipated super hero sequel since "The Dark Knight"! "Iron Man 2" has the unlikely honor of being the first Marvel Studios release after the controversial $4 Billion Walt Disney Co. buy! Director John Favreau returns most of the original cast of the first "Iron Man" including Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man) and Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) all except for Terrence Howard as 'Rhodey' who is replaced (oddly enough since Howard recently told E! Online he helped Robert Downey Jr. get the lead in "Iron Man"?) by Don Cheadle, which creates an unusual continuity problem as two different actors play the same character in two consecutive movies!? Three new additions to the cast includes Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler" (2009) as new villain Whiplash, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Sam Rockwell as competitor Justin Hammer. As Don Cheadle takes on the role of Rhodey, he also has the opportunity to literally step into the armored suit as War Machine, (which was so delightfully alluded to in the first movie when Rhodey sees the prototype and says "Next time!", sorry Terrence!) Even Samuel L. Jackson reprises his now fanboy-famous role as the new Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., for those who stayed after the credits in the first movie for the little hint of future Marvel movies with the "Avengers Initiative"!
  Despite all the cast changes and extra characters "Iron Man 2" is a satisfying sequel with a deeper insight into the character of Tony Stark, who remains even more of the eccentric, rich-boy, alcoholic, genius he IS! With the first movie/origin out of the way the film is free to explore a darker side to Tony's armored alter-ego as his innovative arc--reactor in his chest which powers the Iron man suit is essentially killing him slowly and  on top of that we have Ivan Vanko (Rourke) a.k.a Whiplash, bent on revenge, leading to a showdown between two protégés both with mechanical genius, advanced weaponry and not to mention, daddy issues!
    The biggest problems come from the fact that this movie juist has way too many characters for its own good. Not only do we get ANOTHER Iron Man with Rhodey as War Machine, but there is Jackson's Nick Fury who until now, has only been an ancillary character watching in the background, and Scarlet's Natalie Rushman a.k.a. Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow, who remains merely eye-candy in all her tight, black, leather! (OK wait, I changed my mind!) For fans of the comics they will know she is obviously Black Widow but nowhere in the movie do they ever actually CALL her that?! Rockwell's Hammer character is an unnecessary antagonist and is just plain annoying at times as he tries to unsuccessfully compete with Stark at every turn. Essentially you have 2 villains and 2 heroes. on one hand you have Iron Man and War Machine, then on the other you have Whiplash and Hammer. I suppose one way of looking at it is Whiplash is there to compete with Tony's technical side, whereas Hammer is there to compete with Tony's business side. So then how do you explain all the extra allies like Black Widow and Nick Fury? Where's Mandarin when you need him?! Maybe in "Iron Man 3"...?
    SPOILER ALERT! In the meantime, like the good fanboy I am, I will be looking forward to future Marvel movies in the years ahead as they all connect to each other in a bizarre way with their extra after-credit epilogues with Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers! "Avengers Assemble! Soon...I hope!"
Official Website: http://ironmanmovie.marvel.com/