I finally got around to seeing Iron Man 2 (in the cheap theatres). It wasn’t ALL bad. Iron Man 2 was much lighter than Iron Man, with much less violence toward human beings, and that was entirely positive for me. But Iron Man 2 was also much less intelligent than the first film, with very little of the thought-provoking dialogue which made Iron Man so enjoyable. And while Scarlett Johansson makes for a diverting female “superhero”, she and Samuel L. Jackson can’t make up for the loss of Jeff Bridges (personally, I think the film could have done much much more with SHIELD). Mickey Rourke was okay but also underdeveloped and underutilized. Gwyneth Paltrow either acts badly in Iron Man 2 or is meant to be a character who resembles a bad actor. Either way, I was not impressed with her performance (I wasn’t that impressed with her character in the first film either). The evil villain’s demise provides all the components of the redemptive violence that is usually necessary in superhero films and so I’ll just ignore that with a sigh.
In summary, Iron Man 2 was, for me, a rather light and silly superhero film, mildly diverting but nothing more. Compare that to Nolan’s work and it provides a helpful perspective (and corrective) to my essay on Nolan, whose Batman films are so much better (even if The Dark Knight makes no sense) than the lightweight Iron Man 2. So if I was feeling really generous, I might give Iron Man 2 ***, but deep down I know it deserves only **+. My mug is tipping over.