First off, there will be spoilers ahead. I try to keep them at a minimum, but when discussing things, I will let some details slip through. So, if you haven’t seen the movie, and don’t want anything spoiled, I suggest you quit reading, go see the movie, then come back and finish this review.
I do have some reservations about the story, but I thought the script was very good. Before going into detail, let me explain the difference. The story are the plot points of the movie. Tony Stark drives in the race. Whiplash interrupts the race. That is part of the story. The script composes the details of the story: setting, camera angles, dialogue.
Now, my thoughts on the story. I thought that having Tony Stark dying, which leads to erratic behavior, to the revelation of father issues, to the discovery and creation of a new element to power the Iron Man suit all seemed a bit unnecessary. Yes, I understand that this was a large portion of the movie, but surely they could have a healthy Tony Stark do something interesting. Maybe they could have shown us some of the great things Iron Man had done to bring about world peace instead of telling us that he had. Although, from a marketing standpoint, Tony Stark/Iron Man in movie form becomes a hard sell if you make him an alcoholic instead of someone doing whatever he wants to because he is dying. The father issues also seemed weird to me, because they weren’t even hinted at in the first movie, but that’s a minor gripe. Another thing I would have liked to have seen was some more scenes from Stark Expo. They built up the Stark Expo as a long, major event, but only really used it as a platform for Hammer’s mistake to threaten people.
I did like that not a lot of time was spent on Whiplash’s origins. It was quick, simple and effective. Everything we needed to know about Whiplash we knew before the end of the opening credits. I also thought the handling of SHIELD and Black Widow was well done. As viewers, it’s okay for us to only know as much about characters as the main character does. The stuff with Hammer Industries and War Machine were fine. I just would like to see Iron Man face something other than an Iron Man knock-off.
As far as the script goes, I thought the movie was scripted very well. Even during the story points that I didn’t like, the dialogue kept me interested in it. The dialogue was witty without trying to be overly clever. The action sequences were well plotted out, and exciting to watch. Well, except for a moment when the action stops for Iron Man to land and save a kid, but that’s cliché superhero stuff.
The actors and actresses in this movie are what truly makes this movie enjoyable. Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow have great screen chemistry together, and their back and forth moments are wonderful. (Although I would cation that they’re getting close to having too many of those moments, and risk losing the enjoyability of it.) Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury is how I would expect a Sam Jackson Nick Fury to be. He could maybe be a bit more serious, but I do expect that to happen when we get to The Avengers and SHIELD movies. Scarlett Johansson was fine as the Black Widow. She didn’t have to do much, but was nice compliment to the movie.
Not being familiar with the villains Justin Hammer or Whiplash I don’t know if the portrayals were accurate, but I thought they were good. Sam Rockwell, Hammer, portrays such a sleazy business man who I just wanted to punch him myself. Mickey Rourke played a reserved, but vengeful Whiplash. It was a nice opposite to the outgoing Tony Stark.
The special effects were well done. The chase sequence at the end of the movie was easy to follow. The team-up between Iron Man and War Machine looked fantastic. There really isn’t much to say about the soundtrack. A lot of AC/DC songs, but none of the original stuff was very memorable. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good either. It was adequate. I thought it was a nice touch to have the after credits scene tease another of the upcoming Marvel Studios movies.
In closing, I liked this movie. It was an enjoyable movie-going experience. It did a good job of exploring the established characters, and introducing characters that have more stories to tell in later movies. I would recommend seeing this movie.