Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 2010. Paramount Pictures, Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Studios, Fairview Entertainment. Screenplay by Justin Theroux, based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby. Cinematography by Matthew Libatique. Produced by Kevin Feige. Music by John Debney. Production Design by J. Michael Riva. Costume Design by Mary Zophres. Film Editing by Dan Lebental, Richard Pearson. Academy Awards 2010.
Now that his status as Iron Man has made world news, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has become something of a joke, more a glorified party host than a superhero, and his ridiculously smarmy personality can’t get enough of the attention. His frustrated assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) has decided she’s had enough until he makes her CEO of his company, a position she happily accepts while he replaces her with sexy young Scarlett Johansson. Stark also avoids telling Potts that the device in the middle of his chest that keeps him alive is beginning to fail, and the toxicity of his blood from his shrapnel injury in the first film is beginning to kill him. This is not a convenient time for such a complication considering that he is opening a giant, multibillion dollar theme park, and the son of his father’s old rival (Mickey Rourke) has shown up in town to create destructive Iron Man technology with which to kill him. This sequel to the 2008 surprise hit doesn’t have as much wonder or danger as its predecessor, relying far more heavily on Downey’s smarmy comedy than anything else. Rourke’s performance is top-drawer and he is wonderfully menacing, but the script has him spending most of his time locked away in a laboratory and he only really comes into contact with our hero a minimal amount of times. That said, it’s a worthy follow-up, fun and action-packed and dazzling to the eye, boosted by the charisma of its lead and the downright classiness of Paltrow, whose exasperation with Stark’s antics is the perfect antidote to his incorrigible personality.