General Release 2008
126 minutes approx
Tony Stark -
Robert Downey Jr
Pepper Potts -
Obadiah Stane -
Jim Rhodes -
Faran Tahir -
Phil Coulson -
Directed by -
Written by -
Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby & Art Marcum & Matt Holloway
Iron Man 2
Animated Iron Man
Tony Stark is young, rich, flamboyant and brilliant. He's the world's most prolific, and best, creator and seller of arms. His motto is that the best weapon is a weapon that you only have to fire once. On a field demonstration of his latest weapon, the Jericho missile, he is captured by Afghan rebel forces and wakes up with an electromagnet keeping shrapnel from his own weapon from entering his heart. The rebels demand that he build them a Jericho missile. Instead, he builds an iron exoskeleton that allows him to fight his way out of their camp and back to civilisation.
Once there, he announces that Stark Industries will no longer sell arms and sets about refining his suit, determining to use it against those that have turned his own weapons against him. He comes to learn that those people may be closer to home that he might have thought.
It's less than a year since Marvel Animation Studios released their THE INCREDIBLE IRON MAN animated feature, so the early part of the story will be familiar to anyone who saw that (transposed to Afghanistan rather than China) and the revelation of the villain and the creation of Iron Man's first super-enemy follows the path of many other (admittedly villainous) marvel characters. Losing the fight for control of a giant multinational corporation comes straight from FANTASTIC FOUR (Dr Doom) and SPIDER-MAN (The Green Goblin). Originality is not high on the agenda for this film.
What is on director Jon Favreau's agenda is creating an entertaining rollercoaster of a film, something that he has, for the most part succeeded. Like most origin movies, it lacks a bit on the action side. Once the suit is created there's the usual getting used to it, things getting dented by accident and finally the opening battle sequence, all of which go well enough. What is lacking is the final battle scene. Iron Man is pitched up against what is effectively a bigger, badder version of himself, but just as the scene gets going it comes to an end. This is a common failing of the initial film in a superhero franchise (see FANTASTIC FOUR, X-MEN, BATMAN, even SPIDER-MAN all of whose sequels were superior in the action department) and there is just about enough to get by with on the promise that the second film will be better. Whilst there is action, however, it is flawlessly pulled off, the special effects being brilliantly rendered. When the iconic red and gold suit gets into action it never looks anything less than impressive.
Where the film excels is in its casting. Robert Downey Jr is inspired casting for the part of the high-living 'merchant of death' Tony Stark. He can carry off the charming, amoral playboy with ease and has the acting chops for the conflicted, would-be superhero later on as well. The supporting cast are all playing second fiddle to him and it is his presence at the centre of the movie that carries it. Gwyneth Paltrow is the gloriously monikered Pepper Potts, although the part calls out for a more feisty performance as Stark's redheaded pa and Jeff Bridges is phoning in his villain, although the choice of hair layout is pretty striking.
IRON MAN doesn't go for the dark angst of BATMAN BEGINS, but the arms dealing angle gives it more meat and moral greys to play with than FANTASTIC FOUR. It's bright and breezy and never less than entertaining. It never scales the heights of the SPIDER-MAN franchise, but shows every promise that further outings might.Top
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