Iron Man 2: The IMAX Experience (12A)

Action (2010)
124mins US

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Samuel L Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Mara, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer(s): Justin Theroux
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Billionaire industrialist and inventor Tony Stark embraces his dual life as the supersonic Iron Man, and wins countless fans in the process. However, the US government and private investors are keen to acquire his technology for their own needs and Stark resists at all costs, aided by beautiful assistant Virginia "Pepper" Potts and good friend, Lieutenant Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes.

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LondonNet Film Review
Iron Man 2

Director Jon Favreau's first encounter with the Marvel Comics superhero was one of the most exhilarating diversions of the 2008 summer blockbuster season...

Robert Downey Jr. (left) stars as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, in Iron Man 2. Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel. © 2010 MVLFFLLC. TM  &  © 2010 Marvel. All Rights Reserved. The film's heady conflation of dazzling special effects, playful performances and sizzling screen chemistry between Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow jet-propelled the film to gargantuan box office takings in excess of half a billion dollars. Money talks loudly in Hollywood and so inevitably, Favreau and most of his cast return for the sequel. The weight of expectation on Iron Man 2 would even test the strength of the eponymous hero's red and gold armour and regrettably, the turbo-charged sequel misfires. Screenwriter Justin Theroux struggles to integrate the new characters and to strike the same rumbustious tone as the first film. However, he does incorporate several scenes of Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) which lay the groundwork for the forthcoming film of The Avengers featuring Iron Man, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk. A brief sequence after the end credits continues to whet the appetite of ardent fans of the comics.

Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) announces to the world that he is Iron Man and buoys his overinflated ego with the adulation of the masses. He single-handedly maintains world peace to the chagrin of the US government and private investors, who are keen to acquire his technology for their own needs. Stark refuses to share his invention, causing a furore at a Senate Armed Services Committee run by Senator Stern (Garry Shandling). Soon after, Russian physicist Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), whose father helped to pioneer the Iron Man technology, creates a crude replica of the electromagnetic device in the industrialist's chest and transforms himself into the villainous Whiplash. His attack on Stark during a grand prix compels the military to take action, seizing one of the suits. Stark races to avert disaster aided by good friend 'Rhodey' (Don Cheadle), new secretary Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) and chauffeur Happy Hogan (Favreau). Meanwhile, rival arms industrialist Justin Hammer (Rockwell) concocts a plan to destroy Stark Industries, which is now under the control of new CEO, Virginia 'Pepper' Potts (Paltrow).

Gwyneth Paltrow (left) is back as Pepper Potts, the right hand woman to Tony Stark aka Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr. (right) in Iron Man 2. Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel. © 2010 MVLFFLLC.  &  © 2010 Marvel Entertainment. All rights reserved.Iron Man 2 is sluggish, weighed down by the anguish of Downey Jr's inventor, who is being poisoned to death by the technology that keeps him alive. There is a couple of cute one-liners - "Don't be mad. I'm fending off a Hammer-oid attack!" - but these are few and far between. The rapport with Paltrow's sassy love interest energises several scenes and Rourke's tattooed villain is quietly compelling, destroying the myth of Iron Man because as he tells Stark, "If you can make God bleed then people will cease to believe." Action scenes are slickly orchestrated but don't get the blood pumping and the final showdown is a huge anti-climax. Like its egotistical central protagonist, the sequel feels tired.

- Kim Hu

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