It's almost hard to believe it's been two years since Iron Man was released. It had a big budget, but it stared a relative has-been who didn't have any blockbusters going on named Robert Downey Jr. and was directed by John Favreau who was known as being a comedic character actor and the guy who directed Elf. Little did anybody guess that it would gross over $700 million world-wide, be the biggest movie of that year and shock audiences by making them remember how much fun a superhero movie could be. Now, it's two years later and they try to recreate that magic with Iron Man 2. They came real close, but missed. Here's the problem: it's JUST as good as the first one was, but it doesn't seem like it. The first one caught us all off guard when more than just comic book nerds were raving about it. Soon Soccer Moms, Grandparents, little kids and even women in their twenties were not only checking it out; but they were LOVING IT! So now the stakes are really raised because the expectations are sky-high for the same quality movie. Downey Jr. still wins the audience over with his charm, charisma and good looks as the suave Tony Stark. Gwyneth Paltrow returns as his sexy assistant, Pepper Pots. But besides that, the lead characters are all replaced with new faces. Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle (Crash, the Oceans movies) (who replaced Terrence Howard), Sam Rockwell (Moon, Choke) and Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler, Sin City) show up, all of which have been nominated for awards. It might have been too many characters though. The problem with this film is that it's kind of sloppy. It starts off good, ends great and drags in the middle for about 45 minutes. That might be due to too many characters on too many storylines. Usually that can be enjoyed, especially when it's used in a world as rich and dense in detail as the one Marvel Comics created for us. However, the center of this story turns a fun-filled action movie into a wordy drama that caused a boredom so thick, I could feel it in the theater. However by the time the movie is over, the ending is so spectacular, you've forgotten how long and dry the wait was for it. What excites me the most is the return of Agent Coulson, played by Clark Gregg (New Adventures of Old Christine, Choke), and the introduction of Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Adding them introduces us to a story that drags the movie out, but are crucial to set up what will become a comic book epic film called The Avengers (due out in 2012). I won't give anything away, but know that there are SEVERAL hints dropped in the movie as to who will be in this film (stay till the end of the credits!!). I feel bad for Iron Man 2 even though it will make more money than most countries will make in their G.D.P. this year. The reason why is because there was no way it could have ever been as good as the original. That was a sucker punch of fun that no one saw coming. Now when we expect it, we're almost let down by how it didn't knock us out like it used too. But that's not to say that Iron Man 2 doesn't try its damnedest. It delivers a fun action movie that's bright, colorful, a little long and the perfect start to what seems like a summer of lackluster films. Let's just hope the high water mark doesn't come at the very beginning of the season with this.
Iron Man 2 (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: B+Click below to hear the interview with Clark Gregg about Iron Man 2 and the forthcoming Avengers movieClark Gregg 5-7-10