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IN SHORT: Simultaneously, this shows what is great and what is not so great about comic book movies. [Rated . minutes]
If nothing else, Iron Man 2 exists to establish a base for the next three years of Marvel Comics based movies, culminating in The Avengers and The First Avenger: Captain America way down the line in 2012 or so. We are not going to give away the surprise ending to Iron Man 2, which had at least one fanboy in our screening yelping with surprise and happiness. We, being that fanboy, will reveal that what we expected to be found at the New Mexico location that plays a role in the tease is not what happens. It's something entirely different. OK, back to the sequel at hand.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) aka Iron Man . Stark security [and mostly chauffeur] Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) S.H.I.E.L.D. head Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson)
Competitor weapons manufacturer Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) is busy stomping on Stark's coat tails; convincing Senate arms committeemen like Sen [Stern] (Gary Shandling) that the country needs an Iron Army -- and if Stark refuses to turn his plans over, Hammer will be more than happy to bootleg the design with the help of a Russian thug slash Stark-ish wannabe named Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke). Vanko's father apparently worked with Stark's father at one point and, "after doing all the work to develop all the moneymaking materiel" was double crossed and deported back to Russia. At least that's what "Whiplash," Vanko's nom-de-crime believes as he makes a spectacular debut on the streets of the Grand Prix of Monaco, slicing race cars into little pieces as they rush down at him speeding well past the red line.
The drivers of one of those cars is, of course, zillionaire Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), working through a death wish of his own. The element palladium; the power source for that thing that replaced his heart in the first Iron Man movie is killing him, you see, and no combination of materials that he has tested has managed to alleviate the problem. Stark spends most of the early part of the film partying himself stupid and behaving in ways that could kill ordinary individuals. He can behave irresponsibly because he has turned control of his company, Stark Enterprises, overto his former assistant (and now newly minted CEO), Virginia "Pepper" Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Replacing Potts in the job of "keep the boss alive" is a fine femme from the legal department, one one Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johanssen)
monitoring his blood. The results he gets are not promising.
Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes aka War Hammer (Don Cheadle) Stark Industries
Meanwhile, Senator Al Franken (Garry Shandling hiding behind the nom de scriptwriter Sen. Stern?] is all pissed off that, in the 6 months between the end of Iron Man and the beginnig of Iron Man 2, Tony Stark and his magical coat of many metals has brought peace to the entire world all by hisself. . . that would, of course, require the elimination of three quarters of the world's population (depending on which religion Tony decided should run the show, of course) and is thankfully kept offscreen.
Sorry about that... that was my half-brother The Snide Critic. We're back in charge now.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Iron Man 2, he would have paid . . .
Again, fanboys should sit through the credits Iron Man 2 for the final surprise. Ladies, or anyone else unfamiliar with Marvel continuity, make sure to bring someone to explain it to you. Fanboys will be very, very happy.
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