Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2

***

Reviewed by: Stuart Crawford

It's one of this year's most eagerly anticipated films, but does it live up to the hype? Iron Man 2 is really well put together by a team who know how to make a great action movie. It's beautifully paced most of the way through, but unfortunately the pacing falls flat before an abrupt, truncated ending that may leave fans wondering where the rest of the film is.

This film sees billionaire industrialist Tony Stark facing problems both in business and in his superhero guise. Robert Downey Junior is ace as always, as is Gwyneth Paltrow, with Scarlett Johanson as the mysterious Natasha still giving them a run for their money. Sam Rockwell has lots of fun hamming it up as the evil CEO of a rival corporation who can wear the suits and talk the talk but is a bit cack-handed with the actual technology, like a naff copy of Stark. Then there's Mickey Rourke, whose villainous performance is just top; and Don Cheadle (replacing Terence Howard from the first film), who brings a surprising amount of depth to the man who becomes War Machine, struggling with divided loyalties as he tries to support the US military but becomes uncomfortable with the things they make him do to his friends. The two villains plot is a bit more complicated than in the likes of Spider-Man 2 and there's effective comedy as well as some spectacular fight scenes.

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Plot-wise the film is let down by a couple of really stupid bits. It seems as if the parts about Stark's inventions were written by somebody who did have a vague understanding of physics, so they're not just random nonsense even though they're not possible, but it's about the writer knowing what he could get away with rather than caring about making it properly believable. Still, the big set pieces are, by and large, excellent. There's some great stunt work built around Johanson's character and the CGI blends in seamlessly so in places it's impossible to tell what's real and what's not. As with the first film, there are also lots of clever references for fans to enjoy, and the Avengers background plot with Nick Fury is well woven into it.

Anyone who enjoyed the first Iron Man will love this, but if they expected something better then they will be disappointed. It's caught in the usual action sequel trap of trying to one-up itself and not quite succeeding. Still, it's great fun - and make sure to stay until the end of the credits, when there's a teaser for the forthcoming Thor.

Reviewed on: 29 Apr 2010
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Tony Stark faces new challenges and meets new enemies, both in his own life and in that of his alter-ego, Iron Man.
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Nick Da Costa ***1/2

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Justin Theroux, based on the comics by Stan Lee.

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson

Year: 2010

Runtime: 124 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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