Film: Iron Man 2
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow
Direction: Jon Favreau
Hello again, Tony Stark. Two years after he stormed into cinemas, the weapons magnate-turned- superhero tests his firepower again in this follow-up to the comic-book blockbuster. Displaying snazzy visual flair and crammed with slam-bang set pieces, Iron Man 2 is popcorn-ready summer entertainment.
Director Favreau, who also helmed the original, once again gives free rein to his fertile imagination. This time around, the dual identity of the man of steel is no longer a secret. Not surprisingly, the government now insists that he also divulge the secrets of his technology.
For that extra bit of tension, a ruthless Russian adversary (Mickey Rourke) and a conniving competitor (Sam Rockwell, seething with malevolence) join the fray. Besides, the crime-fighter is disconsolate to learn that he's gradually being poisoned by the energy source of his red-and-gold armoured suit.
Not to worry, really. After all, there's Stark's loyal partner (Paltrow) and his former best buddy (Don Cheadle) to help him face the daunting new challenges. The script maintains a spirited momentum throughout. Among the action highlights, count the explosive encounter at the racetrack in Monaco and the climactic metal-on-metal smackdown.
Samuel L. Jackson is wasted in the perfunctory role of a one-eyed super-spy. Besides providing the requisite eye candy Scarlett Johansson also gets to kick butt and then some.
Reprising the eponymous role, Robert Downey Jr. brings an acerbic sense of humor and considerable charisma to Marvel Comics' beloved do-gooder. Have a blast.