Iron Man 2
(12A) 124 min
Marvel Comics continue their dominance of the superhero genre as the Iron Man sequel rolls out. Building up their stock (with Thor and Captain America in production) before the huge multi-hero crossover The Avengers hits screens in 2012.
Taking no chances after 2008’s massive box-office hit Jon Favreau returns to direct Robert Downey Jr as the man in the supersuit. As expected the action is big, bold and brash, the first appearance of Mickey Rourke in his Whiplash guise at the Monaco Grand Prix is a masterpiece of flying debris and crackling electricity (however their final showdown is a little lacklustre).
It’s also great to see an action film that actually features people who can act, Sam Rockwell excels as corrupt CEO Justin Hammer, Rourke is a great grizzled villain and Don Cheadle makes an even better Rhodey/War Machine than Terrance Howard (in the first instalment). However, as per usual, Scarlett Johansson isn’t required to do more that look pretty and pout with her big action scene coming across as clichéd, while Gwyneth Paltrow is as inoffensive yet unexciting as ever. But of course it is Downey Jr as charismatic multibillionaire playboy Tony Stark who steals the show. He’s Bruce Wayne minus the guilt, revelling in his wealth and the public’s adoration of his Iron Man persona, he’s as much an adrenalin junkie as he is a superhero.
Favreau injects the film with goofy fun and sharp whit but despite all the bangs, whistles and flashes IM2 is ultimately vacuous popcorn fare. A love letter to capitalism as money buys power, businessmen become heroes and corporate takeovers become hi-tech battles. Lovingly made multiplex action fodder with street smarts, it won’t change the world but it’ll keep you giddily entertained for two hours.
General release from Fri 30 Apr.