Iron Man 2
Jon Favreau’s film of Justin Theroux’s script is essentially a Marvel Studios trade show, preoccupied with franchise propagation and all the additional sequels and spinoffs it has to set up. Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and again Gwyneth Paltrow are gladly on hand, but only Robert Downey Jr. can so comfortably guide us through the conspicuous outlay. He’s in a chatty, romping mood, and about as lovable as an alcoholic billionaire narcissist and self-styled knight in shining sci-fi armor can be. Here, after the great flamboyant relief of coming out as Iron Man, Downey’s industrial tycoon Tony Stark resumes the battle to keep his deadly technology out of the wrong hands—like, say, the electric-whip-affixed hands of fellow recovering ‘80s-excess casualty Mickey Rourke. With the movie’s too many characters in need of establishment, these two remain the ones to watch.