Directed by Jon Favreau, Iron Man 2 rocketed to the top of the US box-office charts, scoring the fifth biggest opening weekend in history. The film follows on from its predecessor as billionaire Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) announces his dual life as the armoured superhero, Iron Man, to the rest of the world. As news bulletins repeat in the background of family homes, the setting focuses in on the dull streets of Russia as a powerful enemy, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), watches with an evil glare, adding the final touches to his own weaponed suit.
Meanwhile, Tony Stark is facing pressure from the government to share his technology with the military. Lt. Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) are growing tired of Tony’s unwillingness to cooperate, leaving Tony isolated with his own problems. Eventually having enough of Tony’s behaviour, Rhodey dons a suit and provokes a drunken Iron Man to a fight whilst Daft Punk and Queen plays in the background. It is scenes like this that gives Iron Man its brilliance.
To make situations worse, Tony Stark wannabe Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) seems to be working for the government, but makes the wrong presumption in thinking that Ivan will work with him to create an army of suits after saving him from prison for trying to kill Tony the first time. But this only leads to more brilliant fighting scenes, revealing weapons that you couldn’t imagine were capable of fitting in Iron Man’s tight-fitted suit. The themed background music that runs alongside the incredible effects, which worked just as well in the first film, creates such well-produced scenes. The CGI is truly astonishing.
Undercover assistant Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) as ‘Black Widow’ and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) also play their parts, as Tony did in The Hulk, making their appearance to link with the ultimate Marvel comic, The Avengers, set to be released in 2012. Yet this only leads to the continuous downfall of comic book adaptations; too many characters in too many situations in just too little screen time; you can easily find yourself confused with who’s who and where they’re from. Who’s the film about again…?
There are many similarities in the film (by this I do not mean repetitiveness) that trigger thoughts back to why we enjoyed the first Iron Man back in 2008; Tony’s shameless charisma as he confidently stands, smirking to his large audiences, ‘subtly’ bragging about how brilliant he is for single-handedly creating world peace; the voice of Jarvis running through the house, and the amazing things Tony can do with his robotic equipment; his relationship with Pepper as if they have been married for years, yet we are still waiting for them to finally get together. Through these small aspects, the two films flow steadily together portraying the same balance of comedy, romance, special effects and superhero conflict that made the first work so well.
With no official date for DVD release, Iron Man 2 is assumed to be available around September 2010. Iron Man 3 is also in development, set to be released in 2012.