Ah, don’t mind the headline – it’s hard y’know, coming up with good titles. The words are supposed to be a pun on the word “ferric”, referring to a compound of iron – from the latin (ferrum) – but you knew that. And this is a review of Iron Man 2…
Marvel is a great brand – they have a stable containing some of the most famous and most popular comic-book superheroes on the planet: The Hulk, Spiderman, X-Men, Captain America – the list just keeps going on and on. I’d go so far as to suggest that any geek worthy of the title would count at least one of these series amongst their favourites – mine was definitely the X-Men.
Most of them have now been turned into movies, with varying degrees of success ranging from the absolutely dire Daredevil, to the brilliant X-Men (the first two, at least). The first Iron Man movie helped to bring up the average: it was Robert Downey Jr.’s big come-back, and the red armour and character of Tony Stark fit him like a tailored suit.
Iron Man 2 picks up almost exactly where the first one left off, with Tony Stark outing himself as the Iron Man. The government is miffed that such a powerful so-called weapon is not bound by the American system of checks and balances, to which Tony Stark replies that he “has successfully privatised world peace”. What follows is a kind of technological arms race as Stark nemesis and wannabe, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), enlists the help of the Russian physicist Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) to help create his own Iron Man suit, unwittingly helping the Russian to bring to boil a feud between the Stark and Vanko families.
This sequel delivers a much of a muchness, which is to say that it’s a competent movie that I was entertained by, but didn’t leave me with much of an impression. The dialogue is snappy, there’s plenty of eye candy in the each of the categories of the 3 g’s: girls, gears and gadgets, and the story is largely uncomplicated and coherent. It also proved that product placement really works, because now more than ever, I want an Audi, having seen them in here as well as in Date Night. An interesting side-note: there’s a scene in the movie where Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow kung-fu’s her way through a bunch of security guards. I could not take this seriously after seeing the climatic scene in Kick-Ass where the Hit-Girl takes on a horde of gangsters. I’m sure it’d have been a lot cooler if I hadn’t recently seen it done by an 11-year-old girl.
One last point: bear in mind that this is part of a new kind of franchise that is no longer just a long list of sequels. This movie not only sets the stage for more Iron Man movies, but also serves as a set piece for several other Marvel franchises, culminating in an Avengers movie in 2012. To get a taste of what’s next, remember to stay after the end of the credits…