Spoiler Level: High
Oh MAN, that was sweet. (But then again, when hasn't a comic book movie been sweet lately? Unlike the "fan" base, I enjoyed Wolverine, Spider-Man 3, X-Men: The Last Stand, Daredevil, both Hulk movies, and both Fantastic Four movies. I'll confess I did find parts of Superman Returns disturbing, but overall I really enjoyed it. I don't think I've been truly disappointed by a comic book movie since Batman and Robin. Of course I haven't seen Catwoman or Elektra yet, so those might live up to their bad reputations. But I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, Iron Man 2.)
I'm an unapologetic mecha-head. And this movie's got awesome mecha all through it. In addition to Iron Man, War Machine (who is really fun to watch making stuff go BA-FOOM in action scenes) and Whiplash, we get four whole squads of combat drones. Repulsor blasts, rockets, missiles, cannons, and lots of other cool stuff that blows up. Now normally I don't care for movies that just go BOOM, but I'm discovering I like movies with things that go SWOOOOSH-BOOM.
But this movie's got much more than just BOOM. It's got great banter between Tony Stark and Pepper. It's got great banter between Tony Stark and freakin' Nick Fury as played by Samuel L. Jackson! It's got Tony Stark starting to become an alcoholic. It's got Black Widow. It's got Avengers references galore. It's got accurate patches for S.H.E.I.L.D.! It's got freakin' Mjolnir!!!!! It's got Iron Man and War Machine smackin' down with each other, not once but twice, and then teaming up to take out the bad guys back to back!! Whoops, sorry, I slid back into SWOOSH-BOOM territory.
But my point is, if you look back over that list I mention Tony Stark a lot, and that's because the characters in general and Robert Downey Jr.'s performance in particular are what really carry the movie. Actually, I'd have to say Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, and Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko all make this movie fun to watch. Rockwell's Hammer and Rourke's Vanko compliment each other perfectly, the former as the showboating Evil Businessman and the second as the Quiet Bad-ass.
And just for icing on the cake, I really love that Tony Stark's computer interface is the big holographic screens that go swooshy-swoosh all over the place as he moves his hands and arms around. That's just fun to watch. Makes you want to jump in and play with it.
So, Iron Man 2 has good acting, fun characters, great eye-candy effects, lots of comic book fan-wank, and lots of great SWOOSH-BOOM. The Era of Great Comic Book Movies continues!