Billionaire playboy Tony Stark is back and he and his Iron Man alter ego are taking on the usual mad scientist, the Congress, greedy defense contractors, shadowy government agencies, longtime friends, inner demons, the legacy of his father and – just to keep things interesting – doing it while often drunk or busy partying.
“Iron Man 2” is a busy film. There’s a lot going on (at times too much) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is right in the middle of all of it. That’s generally the biggest knock on the film, but Downey does a great job of showing just how chaotic and stressful that is. Everybody is out to get him, which would be bad enough even if he weren’t bound and determined to go out in his own blaze of glory. The film does suffer from some overly melodramatic moments, but Mickey Rourke’s villain provides an effective foil and when the action hits the screen, it packs a punch. The surrounding characters are all great: Sam Rockwell is perfectly greedy, sniveling and inept, Scarlett Johansson is a perfect femme fatale, Gwynneth Paltrow dials it up a notch as Stark’s Girl Friday – the film is just brilliantly cast.
“Iron Man 2” is a bit more cerebral than its predecessor, but it works if you’re willing to let it. It gets a bit bloated at times, but always seems to know just the right moment to stop being so serious and blow something up or inject some comic relief. One of the better “Avengers” setup films to date.