I’m a huge comic book fan, especially of Marvel comics. In particular, I love the character of Iron Man. I think the main reason for this affection stems from the fact that Iron Man is really just a guy in armored suit. You might say the suit is the super hero, and the guy inside it just operates the suit. This may be oversimplifying things, but I think you can see the difference with that very broad overview between Iron Man and the rest of the super heroes out there. I think of Tony Stark as a continuous work-in-progress as a character, and therefore seemingly very real. In a nutshell, this means that Iron Man is not without flaws. That is why I like him as a comic book super hero.
All that having been said, Marvel Studios has done a marvelous job bringing Iron to life on the big screen. This is due to two factors: Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. Favreau is a director that has a deep love for the material he is handling (not unlike Sam Raimi with the “Spider Man” films). Favreau has taken the super hero franchise to a whole new level, thanks to Marvel’s unfailing support of his work. In short, they have simply gotten the story, the feel, of Iron Man exactly correct. Robert Downy, Jr. has come back from relative obscurity into an entirely new fan base. (Read my review of “Sherlock Holmes” for more of my praise of him.) Downey just absolutely NAILS Tony Stark; nobody else could have done the character so much justice.
“Iron Man 2” is fantastic! It is precisely what the film should have been. As a sequel and a continuation of the Iron Man franchise, it succeeds on a masterful level. It has action right up there on a level that a super hero movie should have. The suits, the technology, the setting – it’s all there and all of it is EXACTLY how it should have been done. I cannot express how delighted I was to see a film pack all of the elements it was supposed to have that are ACTUALLY in the film! “Iron Man 2” delivers on all levels. If you liked the 1st film, you will love the sequel!
The most surprising element of “Iron Man 2” (to me) was that it captured the feel of the comic book so well. IN the comics, Tony Stark is always at the center of some drama involving his staff (kudos to Gwynneth Paltrow for once more hitting the mark as Pepper Potts!) amid some sort of industrial espionage plot against him (usually by Justin Hammer). Add to this scenario either Tony’s failing health due to something related to his armor or his continuous battle with alcoholism and you have the perfect Iron Man comic storyline. “Iron Man 2” captured all of that so well, that I was utterly spellbound.
For all you fellow comic geeks out there who loved Iron Man from the early ‘80s thru the early ‘90s, this film has got you covered! You have Black Widow, S.H.I.E.L.D., Pepper, Happy, Justin Hammer, Whiplash (sort of), and – of course – War Machine. I won’t spoil anything by speaking about some of the events in the film, but comic fans know that something really great lies in store when you have War Machine AND Iron Man in the same storyline. Scarlett Johansen was fine as Black Widow (although she was never named as such in the film), but I was disappointed in her lack of a Russian accent. Mickey Rourke was brilliant as Ivan Vanko (presented as an amalgamation of the Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash) and they did a fine job of his “creation” storyline. The show stopper though was Justin Hammer, played perfectly by Sam Rockwell (skip the age discrepancy between comic and film). I couldn’t believe it! He may be a little pluckier than most fans would have wanted. However, I think he was done in the exact manner he should have been done.
There of course are some inside jokes that were thrown in there for just the comic fans. Stay after the credits if you want a little teaser of an upcoming Marvel film, but again that’s really just for us comic book fans. There’s just so much of this film that was done right that I cannot help by give it a stellar review and a GLOWING recommendation!
Enjoy the 1st real hit film of the Summer movie season with “Iron Man 2”!
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE