Film: 'Iron Man 2'; Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke; Director: Jon Favreau; Rating: ***
How long does a film franchisee take to lose the beautiful morality and values it stands on? If you consider 'Iron Man 2', the answer is - just a sequel.
'Iron Man 2' is everything the first 'Iron Man' was not. A film that has a prequel in 'Iron Man' cannot simply be a build up to show special effects in the climax. Post 'Avatar' that would feel childish. And that is exactly what this film feels. It is an attempt to 'capitalise' on the success of the first.
In the film, Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr) success as 'Iron Man' has the US government worried that it would inspire a race to build similar machines. But Stark is not ready to give away his creation for military use, insulting the CEO of Hammer Industries, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell).
Hence, when a Russian - Ivan (Mickey Rourke), who with his controlled bolts of lightning almost kills Tony Stark, Hammer hires him to build something better than Iron Man. Sadly, Ivan succeeds and it is up to Tony, and his friend Rhodey (Don Cheadle) to save the day with a little bit of help from SHIELD, his secretary and now CEO of Stark Industries Pepper and a SHIELD agent Natalie (Scarlett Johansson) who has body curves to compete with her brains and martial arts skill.
'Iron Man 2' no doubt engages you for the duration of the film. But the first part was not just about engrossing you, but of shaking your conscience and getting you to take responsibility for your actions. Tony Stark represented the conscience of humanity, and every member in it.
This film represents everything that the first part indicted - the desire to make money at any cost. 'Iron Man 2' is nothing but that, an entertaining film that has nothing to say. So while the first part surprised audiences with its heart, this one will depress you by the lack of it.
Yet, if you were to see the good in the film it has to be in its invisible indictment of technology. The problem with technology is that it is never enough. The more you create, the more you want to create. And technology that can be used for the greatest good, like the Iron Man suit, can also be used for the greatest destruction.
Because of the success of the first part, this part will do well at the box office. But it will not endear itself to the heart of the viewers like 'Iron Man' did, and neither will it survive that long.
It would do the franchisee much good to fire writer Justin Theroux and bring back Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby who wrote the first part.