Six months after the end of IRON MAN, Tony Stark and his superhero alter ego are superstars. The threat of the technology he controls is enough to scare the world straight. World peace seems to be the norm. However, the potential of another country gaining this sort of power is enough to frighten the US Government into attempting to strong arm their way into controlling Iron Man’s secrets. It turns out their fears may prove to be well founded as the one-two punch of the wealth of rival Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) and the pissed off genius of Russian Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) may be more than Iron Man can handle.

Where the first movie is solid entertainment from start to finish, IRON MAN 2 will eventually serve as a highlight reel for most. The issue here is not the direction, John Favreau is as on his game as he was with the first one. It’s not the acting, all players do well with Robert Downey Jr. being the standout yet again. The issue comes from the script by relatively new writer (and long time actor) Justin Theroux. His script has a big issue with pacing in that the film hits a wall after the first major action scene and doesn’t pick back up until the (admittedly) spectacular and bombastic third act. Through that middle section, though, characters and plot lines flounder searching for a point where they will merge together. When the payoff is reached it almost feels like too little too late.

Another major issue here is that there’s little weight to the proceedings, the world never feels actually in danger. It’s too personal. While that may make for good superhero cinema in some cases, there are too many subplots for this to remain a story simply about the threats against Iron Man and Tony Stark alone. Again, the first half hour and the last half hour will remain favorites amongst fans and many will see past the weakness of the middle section with its constant barrage of one liners, but it still remains a much weaker film than the first regardless of the piles of cash it will make.

Read some additional thoughts over at my blog.

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