Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark in the sequel to 2008’s Iron Man. Both director Jon Favreau and Gwyneth Paltrow return, with Paltrow reprising her role as Pepper Potts, however although the character of James Rhodes also returns he is not played by Terrence Howard (who portrayed him in Iron Man) and instead played by Don Cheadle.
The Iron Man films were leading from the front of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man was released in 2008 along with The Incredible Hulk and its sequel hit the big screen in 2010, so what has been happening since we last stepped into the Iron suit??
Tony Stark (Downey Jr) has spent six months being Iron Man and has single-handedly stabilised the situation in the Middle East becoming a hero in the process. However, the government want him to turn over the Iron Man suit and its technology believing that the power of the suit should not be in the hands of a private citizen. Stark refuses stating that he and the suit belong together which leads to friction between him and Rhodes (Cheadle) who is under pressure from his superiors to get hold of the Iron Man technology.
Meanwhile the son of Tony’s father’s former partner Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) had constructed an arc reactor and suit of his own with whip-like weapons. He attacks Tony at Circuit de Monaco but is defeated. A business rival of Stark Industries Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) breaks Vanko out of jail in order to recruit him to prefect a line of automated suits Hammer has been developing to out-do Stark’s Iron Man.
Tony is also getting sick as the arc reactor in his chest is starting to slowly kill him. As a result Tony’s behaviour becomes more reckless as his time begins to run out, and he has several more encounters with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) the commander of S.H.I.E.L.D and Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) who has been sent to evaluate Stark to determine his suitability for the “Avengers Initiative”
Apparently Robert Downey Jr recently said in an interview that it was up to him he would only star in Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes films until the end of his career, and it is easy to see why. He obviously enjoys playing the cocky Tony Stark who also gets to enjoy the highlife as a superhero. However, unknown to his adoring public he is running out of time and wonders what will happen when Iron Man is no longer around to protect the world. His cockiness is matched by the cold, calculating and almost silent Vanko, who wants nothing more than to destroy Tony Stark. Mickey Rourke carries the role well and is a rugged enemy driven to eliminate the man who’s family who destroyed his own. He is not as formidable an enemy as he probably should have been and what the film really lacks is a decent villain for Iron Man to tangle with.
Sam Rockwell is also clearly having fun as the rival weapons developer Justin Hammer who is humiliated or upstaged by Stark at almost every turn. Gwyneth Paltrow is Stark’s long-suffering assistant/love interest and continues her reluctant role in Toy’s life despite his increasingly unstable behaviour.
Don Cheadle portrays Rhodes as a harder character than Terrance Howard did in the original film; this is due to the increasing pressure on him from his superiors. He also is able to step into one of the prototype Iron Man suits to become new hero War Machine. Why Howard has been replaced is something of a mystery considering that the three main cast members apparently signed on to do three films, and whilst it is always irritating when film makers keep the character but change the actor it is only one negative point in what is a great sequel seeped elements from the marvel universe.
There is also a little something after the credits.
It has to be said that this is not as good at the original and the final battle is pretty anti-climatic considering what it had the potential to be. I have got no idea why anyone would let someone else screw around with their potentially dangerous equipment. Vanko clearly has a grudge against Stark and yet Hammer allows him to mess around with his prototype robots despite it being obvious what Vanko is ultimately going to do with them.
It still gets a Thumbs Up though because I enjoyed it and that is all that matters to me.
6.5/10 – Its overall rating has slipped from an 8/10 to a 6.5/10 still, it is a decent sequel that sets up the Avengers movie and leaves the audience waiting impatiently for the Iron Man 3