Even with its problems, Iron Man 2 is leagues better than the original.
There’s some awkward plotting to catch the viewer up with the characters and it all makes for a wonderfully boring superhero movie.
That open’s a showcase for Downey’s acting abilities, given he’s on a slow burn as everything around him explodes–for the first half, there’s not much Iron Man, but lots of villain stuff with Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell, plus the introduction of Scarlett Johansson and “return” of Don Cheadle.
And when it does finally catch fire–even with the more ludicrous plot elements–it’s fantastic. It’s a shame it ends when it does, since it introduces so much great material for the actors to work with.
As far as actors… Downey’s great, Rourke’s great… Rockwell’s a little toned down–he’s been a lot more dynamic in other stuff–and, finally, someone realized Downey and Gwyneth Paltrow do a great Nick and Nora together and let them.
Unfortunately, there are other actors. Cheadle’s okay. It’s never believable he and Downey are friends though (it wasn’t in the first one with Terrence Howard, so no biggie). Johansson’s infinitely bland, which is better than her normal awful (regardless of her acting, her fight scene has some great choreography). Samuel L. Jackson is a joke, one the filmmakers don’t seem to be in on.
It’s a lot of fun and it’s got some actual content, which really surprised me.
It’s a shame about John Debney’s laughable score though.