Iron Man 2 is the sequel to Iron Man, a film that catapulted Robert Downey Jnr back into the spotlight thanks to his roguish portrayal of Tony Stark, playboy millionaire and talented weapons physicist. At the end of the first film, Tony Stark admitted that he is Iron Man - and we start the second following Ivan Vanko as he starts work to bring Stark down using his own technology. The film has a number of different subplots - that featuring Ivan Vanko; Justin Hammer and the Senate trying to get their hands on Stark's Iron Man suit; Stark himself living recklessly as he realises that the suit is slowly killing him.
With that in mind, Iron Man 2 feels like a very busy film, and often switches rapidly between different storylines. It could easily have lost a couple of the subplots without losing any of the impetus - in fact, the film might have been all the better for it.
It is, however, a great film to watch! Fun, sexy, much funnier than the original - with simply awesome effects and a thumping soundtrack (helps being a fan of AC/DC, although there are some additional tracks used to excellent effect). The main emotion you feel while watching the film is glee - I grinned the whole way through.
I particularly loved all the moments that feature Robert Downey Jnr working alone or with his computer Jarvis - the computer interface is simply amazing, with the touch-screen holographic element. RDJ is clearly having a great deal of fun bringing Tony Stark to life - whether using the kick ass suit, delivering razor-sharp one-liners or playing the louche millionaire. (I should mention I have an almighty crush on RDJ, so all of the previous paragraph should be taken with that in mind *grin*)
I remain unsure as to why Terence Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle in the role of James Rhodes/War Machine. I thought Howard did a fine job in the first film - but also enjoyed Cheadle's interpretation as well. The exchanges between Stark and Rhodes rattled along with wit and bravado.
The other excellent feature of the film was the humour. This was definitely not a film taking itself too seriously, which other superhero films have suffered a little from. Stark drives most of the humour, but Justin Hammer (played brilliantly by Sam Rockwell) is a great character for driving comedy moments.
In fact, all of the actors picked for the film were excellently chosen, with not a duff casting choice amongst them. I liked Mickey Rourke's portrayal of the heavily-tattooed and fiercely intelligent Russian scientist Ivan Vanko, and would have appreciated more focus on him through the film.
All in all, Iron Man 2 goes bigger and better in this sequel to the first film. A thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours and definitely a movie to be watched on the big screen.