Nick Schager Reviews Iron Man 2

Upgraded with the latest CGI hardware but also more shoddy screenwriting software than its system can withstand, Iron Man 2 is an example of subtraction by addition. For a sequel designed to deliver what its predecessor did not, Jon Favreau’s follow-up to his 2008 blockbuster piles on incidents and characters it doesn’t need while still managing to skimp on the combat that should be this franchise’s bread and butter but which remains an element only trotted out at sporadic intervals and in modest portions. Not simply concerned with billionaire arms dealer-turned-metallic hero Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Justin Theroux’s story features a bevy of superheroic figures outfitted with deadly artillery, from Stark pal Lt. Colonel Jim Rhodes (Don Cheadle, taking over for Terrence Howard) decked out in his own silvery weaponized War Machine suit, to a straggly haired, heavily tattooed Russian genius named Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) who mimics Stark’s tech to create an outfit equipped with energy-beam whips, to a horde of gigantic drones programmed to kill. Yet regardless of this cornucopia of battle-ready players, inspired action—the ingredient most absent from its otherwise admirable precursor—continues to be in short supply, a failing made additionally disappointing by the film’s nominal preoccupation with the importance of legacies.

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