And thus, the Summer movie season kicks off into high gear with one of the most anticipated sequels in a long time. Does it live up to the original? Does it surpass it? Tune in and find out!

Cast and Crew

Directed by Jon Favreau

Writen by Justin Theroux

Rober Downey Jr. as Tony Stark
Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes
Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff
Gwyneth Paltrow as Virgina “Pepper” Potts
Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer
Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko

More on IMDB.com

Premise

With the world now aware of his dual life as the armored superhero Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark faces pressure from the government, the press, and the public to share his technology with the military. Unwilling to let go of his invention, Stark, along with Pepper Potts, and James “Rhodey” Rhodes at his side, must forge new alliances — and confront powerful enemies.

High Point

  • Suitcase Armor
  • The Senate hearing. I’d actually watch that on CSPAN!
  • “Hammer Tech?” “Yeah.”
  • Attention to detail (Hammer’s dirty hands, Vanko’s tattoos).
  • Connections to the “other Marvel films.”
  • And basically all the moments from the trailer.

Low Point

  • Final showdown in painfully short.
  • Deus Ex solution to Tony’s “paladium problem.”
  • Samuel L. Jackson just isn’t the same in PG-13 mode.
  • Not enough action.

The Review

It’s an original twist on the original source material. Anton Vanko was originally the Crimson Dynamo, but that character doesn’t fit in the post-Soviet setting of the new movies. Making his son a villain and combining aspects of the Dynamo and Whiplash together to make a solid Iron Man opponent works. 4 out of 6.

The effects are solid. Particularly Vanko’s whips. If you thought Tony’s work computer UI was impressive before, you ain’t seen nothing yet. 5 our of 6.

It really isn’t about the story here, more about lines and scenes. You see all the major turns miles ahead, but you’re enjoying the ride despite it. 3 out of 6.

The acting is great. RDJ is Iron Man. No one else could play this guy. Plain and simple. The reparte between him and Paltrow or him and Johansson is spon-on. Add to that Cheadle (who is a FAR better Rhodes and Terrance Howard), a slimy Sam Rockwell, and a scenery chewing Rourke and you’re in for a good time. 6 out of 6.

The production works in some places, but falls apart in others. Primarily when Stark is in the suit and the face plate is open. He looks odd, uncomfortable and silly. Though it does make for a startling transition when he drops the face plate. That mask is the best superhero visage I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t know if Favreau’s afraid to let the actors work behind the masks, but it seems like they’re flipping them up for just any old reason. 4 out of 6.

Emotionally, you’re meant to laugh, not empathize with these characters. It’s sort of the antithesis of Dark Knight, and that’s not necessarily the bad thing, it just takes some of the drama out of the serious scenes. 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a fine movie. I’d say it’s no better, but it’s also no worse than the original. I would have liked to see the stakes go up a little more. I just hope they didn’t squander the chance to use the Crimson Dynamo with this film. 4 out of 6.

And the grand total is: 30 out of 42.

Bonus

Miss the extra scene after the credits? Fear not, here it is.