Running Time: 117 minutes
Release Date: 29 April 2010
This sequel to the surprise box office hit Iron Man in 2008 in this made for vehicle for its star Robert Downey Jnr’s persona. As exemplified in Sherlock Holmes and The Soloist, Downey has rapidly become the consumate actor to potray characters that are witty, self deprecating, narcissitic, sexy, charming but flawed. This takes off where the first film left off where Tony Stark (Downey) is finally revealed as Iron Man. Now world peace has finally been achieved through Iron Man’s efforts however he must now thwart government and competitor espionage to gain control of his intellectual property. He is assisted by Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow in a return performance) his Girl Friday slash love interest. Unfortunately the very element which fuels Iron Man and keeps Stark alive, paladium, is also poisioning him. Faced with his mortality, Stark’s behaviour becomes erratic as he relinquishes the role of CEO of Stark Enterprises onto Pepper and takes on a new PA in the form of Scarlet Johansson (Natalie Romanova). Friend Lt. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) seizes control of the Iron Man suit technology during Stark’s lowest point.
Joining the all star cast is Micky Rourke as Ivan Vanko, Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury, Sam Rockwell as rival arms supplier Justin Hammer and Garry Shandling as Senator Stern. Probably the one weak link is Mickey Rourke cast as the typical badass foreigner attempting to speak Russian…NOT. His portrayal is totally unconvincing and ridiculous even in this film where you generally suspend all your belief and just sit back and enjoy the ride. I’m not a Rourke convert following The Wrestler hype and this performance just confirms my assessment. It may not be a meaty role but compared with others who share less screen time they tend to steal the limelight and command your attentention such as L. Jackson, Rockwell and Shandling. Paltrow and Johansson though potential rivals compliment each other well and no sex scene in sight which makes a refreshing change.
Director Jon Favreau returns for the sequel and also appears as Stark’s chauffeur Happy Hogan. The battle scenes between the “metal suits” provide nothing new but this is only a minor detraction as most of the entertainment comes from the witty one liners from writer Justin Theroux, new to the Iron Man production, and the over the top but engrossing performances.