Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

May 28, 2010

Snarky superhero returns

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 5:42 pm

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L Jackson, Sam Rockwell

Director: Jon Favreau

In Robert Downey Jr the makers of the “Iron Man” movies have indeed found a superhero that can fix every seemingly impossible problem – including the cluttered and unnecessarily over-convoluted script of “Iron Man 2”.

The actor returns as billionaire industrialist and egotist-beyond-compare Tony Stark, who refuses to hand over the secrets behind his super-weapons and his shiny red suit to the US government, declaring pompously instead: “I have successfully privatized world peace.”

This time round Iron Man is pitted against Ivan Vanko or Whilpash (played by Mickey Rourke), a heavily tattooed Russian who harbors a grudge against the Stark family.

In the film’s most stunning action sequence, Vanko attacks Tony Stark at the Monaco Grand Prix, wielding a pair of electrically-powered whips that can rip a racing car down the middle.

In terms of sheer spectacle value, there are a handful of exciting set-pieces, some great explosions, lots of dizzying special effects, and so much noise that you might have to worry for your eardrums.

Still “Iron Man 2” is missing the sheer snarky humor of the first film. Stark was introduced to us as an incorrigible womanizer, a self-destructive alcoholic, and while Downey slips into that role effortlessly for this second outing, the script doesn’t give him enough crackling lines or a chance to let loose.

Gwyneth Paltrow returns as Stark’s secretary and possible love interest Pepper Potts, and this time they’ve also thrown in Scarlett Johansson in auburn tresses as the sexy martial arts expert Natalie or the Black Widow. Don Cheadle replaces Terence Howard as Stark’s military buddy Rhody, and Sam Rockwell plays Stark’s oily business rival Justin Hammer.

As action blockbusters go, “Iron Man 2” delivers more bang for your buck than most recent summer releases. But judged purely on its storytelling merits, it’s a less than spectacular sequel. What makes it engaging nonetheless is Robert Downey Jr, who’s possibly the only superhero in film who’s more exciting to watch outside of his suit. Downey throws himself into the part and seems to enjoy every moment of it, making it as much fun for you to watch.

I’m going with three out of five for “Iron Man 2”. For an enjoyable afternoon at the cinema, it’s your best bet this weekend.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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