With a star-studded cast backing up the sequel to a movie that reclaimed comic-book movies, you’d think itIron Man 2 would be hard for Iron Man 2 to fail.

   Unfortunately, no-one figured that lazy storylines would play into the equation.

    Like most comic-book dorks in the world, I loved Iron Man. Here was a feature-length movie about one of the less-affluent super-heroes in the MARVEL universe. Iron Man didn’t have super strength or the ability to stick to walls or read people’s minds. He was just some dorky genius in a robotic suit that looked cool and got chicks. OF COURSE we would flock to a movie like this!

   Make no mistake, that original movie was well-made, and not just a ploy to get WoW players off their computers and into movie theater seats. The plot itself, while playing the heart-strings of the threat of terrorism at the time, was engaging. Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, and Jeff Bridges created believeable relationships in an action movie, a far cry from the Schwarzenegger/Van Damme days of the 90s. Once you care about the people surrounded by explosions and gun-fire, the movie becomes more than just another action movie, and that’s what Iron Man did.

   Unfortunately, Iron Man 2 did not.

   The story follows the life of Tony Stark/Iron Man with the world’s knowledge that they are one and the same, and how his past intertwines with his present(NOT through time travel).


   Tony Stark is apparently dying from the use of an arc reactor in his chest, iron-ically(holy sh*t that’s lame) the only thing keeping him from having his heart explode. Throughout the movie, Tony goes into a self-destructive mode, as well as risking his life to save humanity from the threat of war over and over again.

   Other than that, not much happens. A Russian guy decides to use an arc reactor to make whips and smash up some race cars. Don Cheadle suits up as War Machine, an Iron Man with guns. Sam Rockwell shows us the sidewhiplash of the science nerd that doesn’t get women, you know, like the real world.

   The cast stays relatively intact in terms of talent. Jeff Bridges is replaced by a Russian Mickey Rourke, Terrence Howard is replaced by a young-looking Don Cheadle, and Jon Favreau is still playing cameos in his own movies when he’s much better as a feature actor.(Jon, stop trying to be the next Quentin Tarantino! You’re better than that. Make up with Vince Vaughn and get back to work.)

   Of course, we also have Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow of S.H.I.E.L.D., but they do little more than refer to future MARVEL movies, and that’s the problem. There are more references to these future movies than actual plot devices, which makes Iron Man 2 little more than a really, really long movie trailer.

   References to The Avengers are never too far behind a reference to world peace. Then we get a scrapped Captain America shield used to hold up a curve in a particle accelerator. We finally end with Thor’s hammer in the closing credits. If I was a bigger Avengers geek, I’d probably pick out more.

   But this isn’t the worst of it. What kills this movie is, after all of the strife and fear of death and vengeance surrounding Tony Stark, the big climax is…

*SPOILER ALERT*iron man heart

   …Tony creates a new element. How exciting. Maybe in the next movie he’ll clean out his closet. Or teach some kids algebra.

   Sure, the idea is interesting, but in an action movie, such a plot device is akin to solving a math problem. What’s worse is that the element sounds like a rip-off from Captain Planet, as “heart” is also an element in raising Captain Planet, thanks to that South American kid.

   And that’s the end. After two hours we are exactly where we started, except now Iron Man has a triangle-looking light in his chest instead of a circle.

   I give this movie 2 out of 5 MARVEL merchandising options, in the hope that they wake up and stop mailing crap in.

stan lee