'Iron Man 2'
Lots of things get blown up and torn apart in 'Iron Man 2', as you would expect from any self-respecting blockbuster kicking off the summer movie season. The magnitude of destruction far exceeds that of its predecessor -- from rows of cars to armies of drones to Tony Stark's cliff-top Shangri-La -- and includes repeated instances of characters walking away from a massive fireball without looking back. 'Cause looking back is for wimps.
But that's not all that gets obliterated here. The substance of the original 'Iron Man', the brain and the soul that set it apart from the typical seasonal fare and made it one of the best films of 2008, also have been blown to bits.
Tony Stark had purpose back then, and despite the outlandish fantasy of his Marvel Comics-inspired story, as a person he had a believable arc. Crafting the high-tech suit and transforming himself into a superhero gave this selfish industrialist and self-destructive playboy a sense of drive, a reason for being beyond just his whims and indulgences.
Here, he's purely arrogant once more, with some glimmers of mortality and daddy issues. And Robert Downey Jr., so irresistibly verbal and quick on his feet in the first film (and in pretty much every film he's ever made), seems to be on autopilot. Sure, he's got a way with a one-liner, and his comic timing is indisputable, but he's done this song-and-dance routine before and seems rather bored with it.
Then again the character -- and the sequel itself -- are less defined this time. Narratively, 'Iron Man 2' is a mess. Director Jon Favreau, working from a script by Justin Theroux, throws in too many subplots, too many characters -- and what a waste of that cast, actors who can really act like Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson in an eye patch as Nick Fury, offering a bit of foreshadowing to 'The Avengers' film. (For more Marvel movie geekery, stick around until the end of the credits.)
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