“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.”
Watching Iron Man 2 it’s difficult to believe that director Jon Favreau didn’t have the words emblazoned on the back of his hand and spoken as a mantra every morning such is its commitment to delivering exactly the same sense of excitement and fun as the first film. Robert Downey Jnr. in cool sardonic mode? Check! Evil capitalist villain? Check! AC/DC on the soundtrack? Check! The repeat / rinse cycle is even taken as far as the ludicrous Audi product placement of the first film.
Which doesn’t mean it’s ever less than enormous fun. Iron Man 2’s single brave decision is not to be darker / more intense than the first film (something most comic book films seem to try) but instead remain frothy fun from start to finish. The problem is that this brave decision means that no others are taken, where the first film took risks with cast and tone this seems content to replicate the same experience.
However, this is to do disservice to the film that ticks all the Summer-blockbuster boxes in providing a competent (yet not outstanding) plot, characters that we care about on both sides of the equation and just enough spectacle to hold it all together. It’s the last point that marks it out as different – the star of the show spends more time out of his amour than in it as Stark is the more interesting side of the equation. The CGI is also good and once again ticks all the boxes in having weight and an understanding of physics (and interestingly ILM seem to have once again adopted their silhouette policy in that the outline shape of all characters is distinguishable).
Iron Man 2 will inevitably make a shed load of money at the cinema and it deserves to, but here’s hoping that the third film has enough courage to take things in a slightly different direction.