Director: Jon Favreau
Screenplay: Justin Theroux, based on the comic-book series Iron Man by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson
Running Time: 125 minutes
Genre: Superhero, action, science-fiction
Summary: Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Downey, Jr.) has publicly revealed himself as armoured superhero "Iron Man". With Iron Man helping to maintain world peace, Stark becomes a beloved national hero. However the US Government are deeply uncomfortable with allowing the technology and power of the Iron Man armour to remain in private hands and demands that Stark hands over his armour and equipment.
However Stark is more concerned about the fact that the equipment which he designed to save his life and power the Iron Man armour is slowly poisoning him and his behaviour becomes increasingly irrational and unstable much to the concern of his friends such as Air Force Lieutenant Colonel James "Dusty" Rhodes (Cheadle) and Pepper Potts (Paltrow), as well as mysterious new employee Natalie Rushman (Johansson).
Meanwhile Stark's arch-rival Justin Hammer (Rockwell) enlists the help of murderous Russina scientist Ivan Vanko (Rourke) to build an even more advanced version of the Iron Man armour in order to beat Stark. However, Vanko has an agenda all of his own.
Opinions: This movie is a fun sequel to Iron Man (2008) and is intended to be the middle part of a proposed trilogy. The special effects are spectacular and the movie includes some memorable set pieces, such as Mickey Rourke's interruption of the Monaco Grand Prix. The piece is anchored by some great performances from a very talented cast. Robert Downey, Jr. does brilliant work in the central role, making the character of Tony Stark, who could very easily come across as just obnoxious, arrogant and cocky, both likeable and sympathetic. Gwyneth Paltrow also does well as Stark's put upon friend and assistant.
The problem that the film has is that there are so many story lines running through it that they don't all have a chance to fully develop. Also, despite the set pieces, through most of the middle of the film there isn't really much of a sense of jepordy or danger.
However the script is witty and the film is well directed making of a great piece of action entertainment. It should appeal to people who aren't necessarily superhero fans, since it isn't as fantasy oriented as most superhero movies, and plays more as a techno thriller. It also doesn't hurt that the film includes Scarlett Johansson in a very fetching superhero costume.
Watch out for comic-book icon Stan Lee appearing in a brief cameo (where he is mistaken for Larry King). There is also a brief scene at the end of the closing credits which serves almost as a teaser for Thor (2011). Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America are due to meet up in The Avengers which is due for release in 2012.
Robert Downey, Jr. faces off in Iron Man 2