It's been less than five months since I stepped into the theater for Jon Favreau's follow-up to the surprisingly good (great?) and wildly successful premier entry to the cinematic telling of Tony Stark's story, and it's already paled quite a few shades. The over-the-top (he wuvs his birdie) Russian villain played by pentagenarian Mickey Rourke, the reduction of Robert Downey, Jr.'s character from human to quip-mobile, several poorly developed characters (Black Widow, Sam Rockwell's Stark clone), and the blatant commercialization of the upcoming Avengers movie(s) will all overshadow any pluses the film might've had to its credit.
It's a shame - the film starts off strong, with Stark taking his bravado to Congress, declaring himself to have successfully privatized world peace. But before long, we're shoehorned into an awkward action sequence that forces Stark to commandeer the race car he owns merely so that Rourke's Vanko can slice the vehicle in half. Tony's arrogance aside, his move is the equivalent of Jerry Jones demanding that Tony Romo tosses him thee rock. The man wouldn't make it onto the field, and if he did, he'd be killed in mere seconds. Bizarre as that sequence is, it's not exactly smooth going from there. The rest of the film can probably be summed up as such: Tony drunk, Tony bickering with Pepper, Tony fighting with War Machine, Justin Hammer bickering with Vanko, Tony reconciling with his dead father, the longest, most pointless chase scene that results in a completely underwhelming, over-too-quickly showdown with Vanko. Movie over.
It may not be a step down quite as severe as the one from Batman Returns to Batman Forever, but it's not far off.
Fletch's Film Rating:
"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."