A Dark Knight-Worthy Sequel or Another Spider Man 3?

Advance Review: Iron Man 2

Our normal modus operandi is to avoid movie reviews, but Gear Patrol was invited to catch an early look at Iron Man 2 which we just couldn’t pass up. If you’re like us, you’ve probably been anticipating this movie all year. Problem is, the advance reviews range drastically in sentiment. We purposely avoided what others were saying in order to keep a fresh “GP” perspective, but now that we’ve seen it, we feel compelled to weigh in on the matter.

First & Foremost

It’s a F%^&*# superhero movie!

Iron Man 2 is about as good of a major blockbuster sequel as we’ve ever laid eyes on. We’d even go as far to say it’s better than the original, once you remove the charms and appeal of the first films “fresh” universe. Just remember one thing. It’s a F%^&*# superhero movie! If you’re looking for “sophistication” like Ann Hornaday from the Washington Post lamented over, go buy yourself a bar of dark chocolate and rent The Time Traveler’s Wife, on demand. Jon Favreau clearly knows who his core audience is with this film and caters to them in spades. The fact that Hornaday goes further to complain that the film is “propelled by stuff getting blown up, strafed, consumed by fireballs and blasted into oblivion” is just hilarious. That’s what we want…

On almost all fronts this movie is bolder than the first. The cast is beefier, with solid actors in virtually every major role. Despite our initial dismay from the previews, Scarlett Johansson turned out to be a welcome addition to the film’s character set, and not just because of her looks. Sam Rockwell’s performance, is spot on as usual, and the substitution of Don Cheadle for Terrence Howard made an even swap for War Machine’s role. If anything, the one negative aspect of having such a star-studded cast is that each of them are forced to share the spotlight. This is especially true for Mickey Rourke, who for the record, caused us to literally laugh out loud within the first 5 minutes of appearing on-screen (albeit it unintentionally).

More, More, and More

There are more jokes, longer sequences of lust inducing technology, and more bits of comic book geekery (don’t miss the final scene after the credits). There are also more plot lines, more explosions, and more AC/DC songs. Some reviewers seemed to find this amplification distracting and off-putting. Us? Well, we were too busy dropping our jaw gazing at scenes like the Iron Man suit form from a suitcase (get it?) or laughing out loud at great one liners.

Gear Patrol may not have attended film classes at NYU, and Iron Man 2 may never see a single nomination outside of the MTV OMG awards, but that doesn’t stop it from setting an extremely high bar for blockbuster sequels moving forward. It may not be The Dark Knight to Batman Begins, but this franchise is directed by the mind behind Swingers, which may be its greatest boon and curse. The upside is that this isn’t Transformers II or Spider Man 3. If you can live with that and are in the mood for pure summer entertainment, Iron Man 2 should be in your sights.