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Iron Man 2

Year: 2010
Studio: Paramount
Director: Jon Favreau
Producer: Kevin Feige
Writer: Justin Theroux
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L Jackson, Jon Favreau, Paul Bettany, Garry Shandling, Christiane Amanpour, Leslie Bibb

Jon Favreau remembered one important element when he made the original Batman and every other better-known comic book superhero, he didn't try to take the story from the pages and implant it in the real world to the extent of turning it into an existential diatribe on the nature of evil or anything similarly lofty.

What he did was create an American James Bond/frat boy hybrid in Tony Stark, and Robert Downey Jr gave the character the wings he needed. Without the contributions of both men it would have another forgettable CGI licensing deal cash-in.

Neither Favreau nor Downey Jr forget to adhere to their talents this time around and Iron Man 2 is everything the original had in quantities that are just right. The plot does have a USP in that Stark's identity isn't a secret and he isn't hidden away in a dark mansion struggling with his conscience. After telling the world he's Iron Man, Tony's loving every minute of it, from single-handedly bringing peace to the world to driving his own race car in Monaco.

It's there he meets one of his nemeses, Whiplash (a grizzled Rourke), the son of a former technology partner of his father out for revenge, believing the Stark empire has screwed his family out of their due.

He's given a benefactor in Justin Hammer (Rockwell), a business rival to Stark who sees the deadly engineer's skills as a way to compete with Stark. But while Tony drinks, parties, tries to understand who the mysterious figure is that wants him dead and contends with his idealistic friend Rhodes (Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard) who wants to give the suit technology to the army, Hammer doesn't realise what a mistake he's making giving Whiplash access to so much weaponry.

An expanded cameo from Samuel L Jackson as SHIELD boss Nick Fury gives the movie its best line ('Please exit the donut') and a hot but wooden Scarlett Johansson is there for the teenage boys. But for teenage boys of all ages, Favreau doesn't scrimp on the action.

The movie suffers a little from Spider-Man 3 syndrome, stuffing too many characters in and leaving a few of them under-serviced as a result (particularly Rourke as Whiplash - who does little but mumble through a few scenes), but it's great fun.

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