I think I was able to summarize Iron Man 2 easily on my Twitter page.  As follows:

“good, first one better, but still fun movie to watch – B”

Now, I won’t leave it at that.  I’ll try and write a bit, in case some of you haven’t seen it yet.

Tony Stark, as Iron Man, has successfully brought a near era of peace to the world.  The government want their own Iron Man suit (preferably his), but Stark won’t allow it.  Mainly, it’s the government trying to get contracts out to make power suits for the military (which explains Justin Hammer and the Hammer Corporation).  Ivan Vanko, dismayed over the betrayal of his father by Stark’s father, constructs his own arc reactor and powers his own suit.  Lt. Rhodes gets his own suit.  Pepper Potts is trying to figure out what’s going on with Stark, while also hiring a new secretary with an alter ego.  And stuff blows up.

Actually, I just dissected the trailer.  But it also contains enough of the plot to get you moving.

The movie itself is generally quite fun.  Robert Downey Jr. as Stark is just as comical as the first one (he and Paltrow have the best exchanges in the movie), but he’s also quite serious as times, especially when he finds out that… yeah, I’ll withhold that plot spoiler.  The cast is a little bit unwieldy at times: you have your basic characterizations to know who is good and who is bad, but no where in between.  Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow suffers the most from that, but she’s also rather secretive in that regard as well, probably because of her focus.  She certainly looks good.  Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko (Whiplash) is a suitable villain, being sinister and vicious (almost passive aggressive, in certain regards).  Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer probably suffers a bit as well, simply because we know he’s bad, and he isn’t given much to do except for trying to find ways to one up Stark.

Oh, and I started pondering the various plot holes in the movie as it blasted towards the end.

But I’m nitpicking.  The movie is quite fun when Stark is on the screen, even during the darker moments.  The selected action sequences (the Monaco racetrack, the suit fight during the middle, and the final fight) are all filmed quite well, though parts of the concluding fight seemed rushed.  But it’s also tight and controlled, which is a thankful thing indeed (compare this concluding fight to, say, Transformers 2, and you’ll understand the reasoning).  Favreau has an eye for action sequences, and he films them well.

So, all in all, a solid sequel to a particularly good franchise.  Not a strong step forward, but a good step indeed in establishing the character, and, more importantly, establishing a story arc for the Marvel movie franchise in general.


Note: I’d like to add that this had the best Stan Lee cameo thus far in a Marvel movie.  It’s a blink and you miss kind, but also hilarious if you catch it.  Also, once again, stay after the credits.