The first Iron Man was one the best comic book movie of all time. It was universally hailed as great by fans and critics alike -- and it almost made my top movies of 2000-9. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark was inspired and even though everything played out like you'd expect, the movie was just fun all around. Traditionally, the sequel in superhero movies has been the one that set the high mark. Superman II, Dark Knight Returns, X-Men 2, etc. Well, I'm happy to say that Iron Man 2 continues that proud tradition. Freed from having to introduce us to Iron Man's origin story, the sequel concentrates on piling on the fun. Plus, Sam Rockwell as a poor(er) man's military mogul is just perfect.
While it's impossible not to have some quibbles with everything crammed into this movie -- more Black Widow, more Whiplash, too fast action sequences, maybe too many side plots, no Terence Howard -- there's so much punchy dialogue and action that any weak spots are easily overlooked. The most egregious downside of the movie was probably a scene where Stark, dressed in his armor, dances to Going Back to Cali. Really? It's 2010 and this is what Tony Stark wants to hear at his birthday party? It doesn't help that Going Back to Cali is on on my list of songs that should never be played in a club. Actually, the song might have been California Love. Whatever, it was a bad choice. But then director Jon Favreau redeems himself by inserting The Average White Band's, "Pick Up the Pieces," which is instantly recognizable as a reference to his first movie, Swingers. So even the bad stuff is good stuff with this movie.
And after watching it on IMAX, a real giant IMAX, the experience is pretty awesome but not necessarily needed. Save the extra bucks for a large popcorn.
For those not so high on superhero movies, here's an article from Salon about why comic book movies are "Hollywood's most bankrupt genre." Blasphemy I say! Although there are many fine points made here and worth thinking about.
And to close, this is old but I just discovered it this past week: "Ironing Man," a spoof of the original Iron Man trailer, starring Mr. Starch. It's brilliant and genius and I've been sharing with anyone who'll listen.