I went. I saw. But Iron Man 2 didn't quite conquer as I hoped it did. Don't get it twisted, the movie is still worth paying full ticket price for and enduring the full two hours (plus the "surprise" ending after the credits) and I highly recommend that you do. It just could have been SO much more. It just seemed like something was missing to really send this movie over the edge to greatness but instead it JUST missed short. The only thing is it wasn't just in one area, it was in many. It was like Swiss cheese. Tasty, but yet filled with holes. To compare, its like having 500 experience points to spend on your Final Fantasy party but you spend all of them on improving magic but you don't even touch your attack power and strictly rely on that to get by. There's nothing wrong with that, but what if you run into that ONE monster in the forest who is immune to magic? Now what? That's what I feel Iron Man 2 tried to do which is hide behind the witty, charming dialogue and special effects (magic) hoping to throw off the fact it lacked an Iron Fist (no pun intended) to really make the movie better than its first installment. Hopefully you guys were able to follow that geek-laden analogy.
Where it did shine was with the leading man and woman, Tony Stark and Pepper Potts played by of course Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow respectively. They both killed every scene they were in on their own and even more so when they were on screen together. One of my favorite scenes with them was in Pepper's office and Tony was coming in to apologize for his earlier behavior, as he usually does so this isn't much of a spoiler here. I wish I could say the same for Tony's new rivals. Iron Man's new foes played by Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke as Justin Hammer and Ivan Vanko aka "Whiplash" weren't as complex and dangerous as I hoped they would be, BUT that's just me. But despite this, Rockwell embodied the depressing and starving for attention Justin Hammer as your typical "mad scientist who just wants to be respected and admired at any cost" bad guy. Vanko was for a lack of a better word "meh" to me. I didn't feel threatened by him in the slightest and this is Mickey Fucking Rourke we're talking about here. He did make an explosive entrance in the race track scene that you see in the trailer. That was done exceptionally well. But he fizzled out and never gained any momentum back in to the story except one scene towards the end where you really saw how whacked out he is and then quickly died out again. Honestly, Iron Man was more threatened by the reactor in his chest that was slowly killing him than Vanko.
Don Cheadle held it down filling in the role that Terrance Howard walked away/dismissed from as James "Rhodey" Rhodes/War Machine. And no I'm not saying this because he's my favorite actor ever EVER...ok partially it is. But he balanced well if not better with Downey Jr than Howard ever could. And don't get me started on the awesomeness that was War Machine, I'll let you all enjoy that yourselves. Scarlett Johnasson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow is so damn sexy I can't even put it into words. Her introduction to be part of Tony's team of assistants was very witty and hot at the same time. And she was kicking ass and taking names in typical Black Widow fashion. At first I was skeptical as her being The Widow but she did the role justice and I can't wait to see more of her. Samuel L. Jackson as Samuel L. Jackson w/ a nifty leather coat and eyepatch was a miss for me. Then again, its Samuel L. Jackson so having him as Nick Fury and basically making Nick Fury into Jackson isn't a bad idea at all so take it how you see fit. Special shout out to Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan and his cool guy driving skills. Not so much fighting skills, but his driving was pretty smooth.
As for the story the Swiss cheese analogy comes into play once again, but in the "wait wtf happened" kind of way. I think there was too many moments of witty dialogue that at times the story dragged along just for brief moments. Jon Favreau obviously just let the actors have at it and improv scenes to pass the time instead of create a moment and some of these scenes could have been cut out and used as extras on the DVD. I also wasn't too keen on The Avengers tie-ins either, they came off more like a total separate storyline and movie altogether rather than really being apart of Iron Man's universe. Tony Stark/Iron Man's true foe was not his opponents but was the battle within. As most superhero movies with their second installments, wasn't quite convincing enough, that is until he fulfilled the secret task that his father left him. The revelation was a bit anticlimactic but at least it got the point across. The build up for it wasn't as satisfying as I would have liked it to be. It also went over a lot of people's heads after talking to them afterwards and seemed a bit rushed in order to get to the finale of the movie. And THIS is what everyone was pretty much waiting for anyways. The last 20 minutes is basically what the whole movie should have been. If this was an action short film submitted to Sundance it would have cleaned house across the board. Every main character had their personal moment of awesomeness sprinkled with amazing and topped off with supercalifragilisticexpialidociousness. The hair on my arms were standing on end as everything came to an explosive and thrilling close.
SO in closing, I say go see the movie. It gets two thumbs up with a twist from me. This was far and between my favorite movie of 2010 so far. Despite the glaring holes I was able to notice with my trained film eye. Nonetheless, the movie definitely had enough thrills and chills in order to keep the average movie goer satisfied all the way to the end. Even better you can also take the kids to see this as they will enjoy the show just as I did.