All contents, unless mentioned, are written by me.

We’ve all come to expect that films based on comic-book weren’t going to be about characters in black and white as it once was. A departure that more or less, or at least, in a way I had wanted it to, started with the “Dark Knight” reboot. However, apparently, we’re about to venture further into an established universe where superheroes are occupying the same time and plane in a planned mash-up where these big names collaborate into one huge gigantic team of superheroes. Of the two prominent universes, Marvel looks the more ready than DC and films such as “Iron Man 2” was at least responsible to laid the groundwork for the eventual “The Avengers” film in the future.

Started off immediately from where the first film left-off (it should be still fresh in your memory, after all, it wasn’t that long time ago), “Iron Man 2” introduces us to Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke in a badass role) in Moscow, a brilliant physicist with a history that related to Stark family. He imitated the Iron Man core in his underground lab with poster on Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to let us, the clueless knows his intention on engineering the device. Meanwhile in the U.S. Stark was on a high note although apparently on the surface. Quickly, we introduced with slew of characters that made up the prominence of the film. Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell who is ah-some), Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), James Rupert Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson in a bored stance). Events piled up, and more importantly, groundwork for the eventual “The Avengers” is being set-up with the introduction of agents from S.H.I.E.L.D, and eventually, it concludes with a high note where these characters concludes their respective conflicts.

“Iron Man 2” tries to do many things at once. Resolving conflicts, laid the groundwork while trying to adhere to the characters established in the source material, and pleases the casual movie-goer going for nothing but a blockbuster that marked the start of the summer season. Mostly, the film didn’t disappoint. I particularly love the way the film wrapped up itself. From the Justin Hammer’s presentation in the Stark expo up to .. well, I’m going to let you see it for yourself. However, once the film finished, I was wondering and finally came to a conclusion that the film was made with that particular ending in mind, and the scenes that led up to it were more of an obligatory as it merely tries to set up the pieces for the grander plan according to Marvel rather than a necessity to drive a plot forward. For example, the scenes where Tony Stark drunk is nothing more but a hint of what yet to come, and kinda doesn’t fit that well in respect to the overall film’s tone. Fortunately, we have a strong horde of actors here, that even a crowded scenes, a so-so directing, and a lack of coherence in the plot won’t fail the film.

And that was the strongest suit from this film. Actors. Robert Downey Jr. is already on a high-roll since he starred in “Iron Man” and he rarely disappoints. Mickey Rourke is also one of those actors who making a come back with a bang. Here, he channels some of the energy from “The Wrestler,” and if you’ve seen the film, you know how badass he is. Heck, for the next couple of days, I’ll dye my hair with strand of silver, tied it up in a bun, chewed a perpetual toothpick and learns to speak Russian. That is how good he is in this film. Sam Rockwell is ah-some. Simple as that. Hollywood need to give him more roles. Even Don Cheadle and Gwyneth Paltrow is passable and able to keep up with Downey Jr. and Sam Jackson as always, is Sam Jackson. You can’t argue with him. You really can’t. My only disappointment lies on Scarlett Johansson. She looks bored and her acrobatic scenes weren’t that exciting anyway. Well, I loved her better when she’s blond, anyway.

For all it’s worth, “Iron Man 2” is a pleasant watch and a good start for a summer season. It’s like “Transfomers” but with modest amount of mecha fighting, and far-far, up-and-away, better in every account performances.

My rating: *** / **** A jumbled scenes that merely exists for the benefit of the high note ending scene and laying the groundwork for Marvel’s ambitious project, “The Avenger.” Of course, it won’t stop you from seeing it anyway. Awesome horde of actors, though, that you could easily dismissed the film’s shortcomings. In short word, I liked the first film better.