Monday Movie: Iron Man 2 by @destroytheearth

I won't keep you in suspense: Iron Man 2 is not as good as the first one.

However, it is still a fantastically-fun, funny, intelligent, action-packed superhero flick that is religiously faithful to all your favourite Marvel comics, and who are you to ask for more than that?

The CGI has been taken up a notch and there has been, thankfully, no attempt to rip people off by making it 3D. This is gorgeous enough as it is and packed full of jaw-dropping moments: War Machine; two new Iron Man armours, one the much-anticipated briefcase armour; Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow sizzles like she never has before and actually begs for a solo movie; Mickey Rourke as Whiplash is a bad-ass to end all bad-asses; Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer is funny, threatening and joyous; Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury actually gets to do something finally; Captain America's shield pops up in a hilarious sight gag; we get a huge aerial battle between old tin head, War Machine, Whiplash and a squadron of Iron Man knock-offs; more Robert Downey Jr japery; and even a post-credits teaser for the upcoming Thor movie, which looks better and better with each development! (and.. breathe...)

Not that the film is perfect. You've already seen all the above bits in the trailer and it really struggles to maintain the momentum between these high-points. Parts of the plot are a little out there when the first film actually made the story seem halfway realistic. Gwyneth Paltrow seems to be taking her role as Pepper Potts a little bit more seriously now after phoning it in last time, but she's still wrong for the part. Don Cheadle, replacing Terence Howard as Rhodey after he was cruelly booted out, is a lot more like the hard-ass from the comics, but he's nowhere near as lovable, making his relationship with Stark, even under strain as it is here, unbelievable. Jon Favreau, pleased with his cameo last time seems to have decided to make Happy Hogan a central character, whether anyone wants him or not, and he seems ridiculously tacked on. Not to mention, Whiplash's final armour, which is a poor knock-off of the Iron Monger from the end of the last film, is hardly worth keeping out of the trailers as a big show-stopping secret.

Regardless of all this, the Iron Man franchise hasn't stumbled and expands the scope for a Marvel movie universe even further. If someone described this film to you a few years ago it would seem like a wet dream, so it would be ridiculously churlish to denounce it just because it's not the best of the franchise so far.

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