Rating:

Directed by Jon Favreau, Iron Man 2 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.

A very decent follow up to its predecessor. It may be more light-hearted than most instalments in the MCU, but it’s still full of brilliant dialogue, great action and visual effects, many comical moments, and a rocking soundtrack.

The cast also makes an improvement. Undercover assistant Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) and head of The Avengers, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) also play their parts, making their appearance to link with the ultimate Marvel comic, The Avengers, which is set to be released in 2012. Don Cheadle also joins as Rhodey. 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 play in the background. It is scenes like this that gives Iron Man its brilliance.

The many conflicts throughout the film only lead 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 brilliant throughout.

In some ways, I prefer this to the first film. Not in quality, but it certainly has more humour and entertainment. There are many similarities in the film 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.

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