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Zach Manges
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Sequel made of shoddy material than first movie
January 25, 2011

Iron Man 2
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Release date: 2010
Length: 125 minutes
Rated: PG-13

Another summer, another sequel. The question is, does this second outing for Marvel’s wise-cracking man in armor measure up to its predecessor? The short answer is “no.”

However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The first Iron Man was an excellent blend of action, humor, and even the slightest trace of light drama; topping it wasn’t going to be easy. The only reason it didn’t get much attention was because The Dark Knight was busy sucking up everyone’s money with a publicity vacuum. But enough of old news; let’s talk about Iron Man 2.

This time around, Iron Man, aka Tony Stark (once again played hilariously and believably by Robert Downey Jr.), is facing a slew of new, inconvenient challenges: The government wants his suit, a jerk named Justin Hammer wants to top his robot-making abilities, a Russian inventor wants to kill him, and the pacemaker chest piece he created in the first film is killing him. Not good timing at all.
My initial impression of the film was: information overload. There are so many story lines going on simultaneously that it is overwhelming, at least at first. Only during the spectacular final half-hour climax do they all tie together into something cohesive.

This is my main bone to pick. Particularly in the time leading up to the climax, I had trouble following what was going on. Literally three people are building suits for different purposes, and I found it all a bit silly. I mean, does the director actually expect us to take this all in and make sense of it, while caring about each and every plot thread that’s going on?

Another thing I took issue with was the simple question of Iron Man. I kind of wanted to know where he was. The first hour or so has Tony involved in a couple of fight scenes — awesomely rendered by the talented effects people — which are highly entertaining. However, the movie then goes into a lull for about 40 minutes, and I actually found myself getting rather bored. However, my total impression of the film was saved during the climax, which provided such incredible eye candy in the form of a fight scene.

Now, I realize I’m making this thing look pretty bad; it isn’t. Any fan of the previous film ought to check this out, as there are many good things going for it besides the special effects and Downey’s stellar performance. Iron Man’s nemesis in this film is Whiplash (played by Mickey Rourke), who manages to be creepy without saying much. Samuel Jackson also gives a brief but entertaining performance as Nick Fury, the leader of the superhero tracking team, who stays just long enough to provide Tony with some vital information.

In closing, I would suggest moviegoers go to this film with an open yet alert mind. If you don’t pay attention even for a few minutes, a new plot thread will probably start and you’ll likely miss it. It’s a fun sequel and while it doesn’t quite measure up to the original, it’s still a worthwhile diversion. I’d give this a 7 out of 10.


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