As you may have deduced from my intro, I saw Iron Man 2 this weekend. I would like to write a review. However, in writing this review, I can’t resist reviewing Robert Downey Jr., especially since—in my opinion—when he plays the character of Tony Stark, he’s actually just playing himself.
I first “met” Robert Downey Jr. in Chaplin. I first fell in love with him in Chaplin, even with the silly mustache, because he did such an impressive job. When actors make you forget they’re acting, I consider it genius. By the end of Chaplin, Robbie was transformed into Charlie. Somewhere in my mind, I will always see Chaplin in the guy. Then, there was Wonderboys, where he played a gay, pill-popping literary agent sidekick to Michael Douglas and seducer of a young Tobey Maguire. Wonderboys was the film that first made me realize Downey Jr. is funny—not only in the silent movie sense, but in the traditional, mainstream sense. The lesser-known Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang cemented his silliness, and if you haven’t seen it, you should. And don’t even get me started on Tropic Thunder.
I really enjoyed Iron Man, the original. Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark—a rich, rich, rich smart dude with a well-deserved narcissism complex. In the first Iron Man, he’s captured by terrorists, and it is in captivity that he develops the Iron Man suit. Now, any old director can make an action flick. It’s not like there’s a lot of depth to these things. But in Iron Man, Jon Favreau (with the help of Tony Stark) created an action flick that was funny and charming. We like guys like Stark, with inflated egos that are actually deserved. I mean, okay, maybe I wouldn’t want to hang with the guy in real life, but in the movie, he’s hilarious. And kick ASS.
Iron Man 2 reintroduces us to a Tony Stark whose life may be ending. The powerful technology that kept him alive in the first film is now threatening to kill him. Add to that, the government wants his Iron Man technology. And OH YEAH! There’s psychopath Mickey Rourke coming to get his ass! Rourke never gives me a good feeling. In fact, he scares the crap out of me, but he’s ideal for roles like this—where he basically gets to go around without his shirt, trying to kill people. Excellent. We’re supposed to forget that Terrance Howard was in the first one, because Don Cheadle replaces him as Tony Stark’s sidekick with no explanation. Toss in an eeeeeevil Sam Rockwell (does the guy ever play a nice person?) and a super hot Scarlett Johanssen, and the cast is complete.
Outstanding cast aside, Iron Man 2 is thrilling. I’m pretty sure I owe Jake an apology for all the times my nails dug into his forearm. There’s plenty of suspense, and lots of things being blown up. Action sequences are perfectly timed. Nothing runs too long, yet you feel a pleasant catharsis from all the firepower and intrigue. There’s the usual Robert Downey Jr. comedy, and as I mentioned before, I think he’s really just playing himself—cocky, prideful, and drinking strange liquids to numb the pain. They didn’t go over the top, ruining the memory of Iron Man with a crap sequel. It’s a perfect follow-up. In fact, I may like Iron Man 2 more than the original. I don’t want to give away much more of the plot, but I will say that Samuel L. Jackson develops the Avengers storyline, setting up for many, many sequels to come.
You should see this movie on the big screen. It’s gorgeous. And entertaining. Who knew the dude from Swingers was such a good director? Plus we all know Robert Downey Jr. is a miracle of human evolution. And I’m not just talking about his biceps, okay?