Director: Jon Favreau
Running time: 120 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12
UK Release date: 30th April 2010
Watched on Sky+ Friday 27th May 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I very much enjoyed the first film in this series and was hoping for more of the same in the sequel. Fortunately I wasn’t too disappointed, it lived up to the first one, maybe not quite as good (sequels seldom are), but a fine effort nonetheless. The setting is New York where Tony Stark, having revealed himself as Iron Man and having brought peace to the world, is holding his Stark Expo, an exhibition of technology from all over the world. An idea originated by his father, Howard.
In Russia, Ivan Vanko, brooding after the death of his father, Anton, who had worked with Howard Stark on the early prototype of the power source that now drives Iron Man’s suit. He was extradited back to Russia for espionage and made to live in Siberia. Ivan, now seeking revenge works on a suit of his own. Meanwhile back in the USA, Tony Stark has been summoned before a Senate committee who are determined to get him to give them the Iron Man suit for military use. One of the experts called to the hearing is Justin Hammer, one of Stark’s former competitors when he made weapons for a living. Bringing his friend, Lt. Col. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes to testify backfires on the committee and Stark wins the day, but things are not over between him and Hammer.
Stark now decides to hand control of Stark Industries over to Pepper Potts having discovered his health is at risk from wearing the suit. The papers are drawn up and a woman from the legal department, Natalie Rushman, brings them for signing. She impresses Stark and later becomes Pepper’s assistant. Heading to Monaco, Stark decides to compete in a motor race. He is surprised when Ivan Vanko turns up and destroys his car with plasma whips. Fortunately, Pepper is there with his Iron Man suit and he manages to subdue the Russian. Vanko goes to jail but is later sprung by someone who is very interested in his work.
Returning home, Stark prepares for his birthday party, but with many things praying on his mind he gets drunk wearing the suit and ends up in a fight with Rhodey. Enter Nick Fury who helps put Stark back on the road to recovery and reveal that someone close to him is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Hammer is due to show the work he has been doing at Stark’s Expo and he has a few things he wants to surprise him with. Things are brewing up for a big fight at the end, but I don’t want to spoil it for you, I’ll just say it’s pretty spectacular and Vanko isn’t finished with Stark just yet.
This is a very well made film with plenty of very well designed and executed special effects. The score is great, but if you put AC/DC, The Clash and Queen in there you’re always going to get my vote! The performances were all good, special mentions go to Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer and Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko. Honourable mentions go to Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Don Cheadle as Lt. Col. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes, Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
I must admit I didn’t much care for the character of Tony Stark at first, he is egotistic and narcissistic. As the film went on he did show he does have a human side though. Justin Hammer is equally egotistic which I found made for an interesting dynamic to this good versus evil story. I also had a problem with America being the centre of everything, yet again, it’s like the rest of the world doesn’t exist! (Apart from Monaco). Although I did find it amusing when Stark is standing in front of a giant US flag projected on a screen with an Australian/British rock band providing the music. But enough of these minor niggles, the film is great fun, not as good as the first one, but as sequels go, it’s certainly watchable. Over all, recommended.
My score: 7.3/10