Iron Man 2
PG-13
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +2

Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson. Comic book actioneer. Written by Justin Theroux. Directed by Jon Favreau (who also takes on a supporting role).

FILM SYNOPSIS: Robert Downey Jr. returns as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark aka Iron Man, again under the direction of Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Elf) in Iron Man 2. Mr. Stark is getting a big head, having brought peace to the world and all. He’s rich, handsome and influential. He’s the Hugh Hefner of superheroes. But the government worries that other armored suits, warn by more sinister types, could lead to chaos. Sure enough, there’s this crazy Russian genius inventor with his own destructive suit. And of course, there’s a businessman (who wears a flag pin on his lapel – he must be one of those hypocritical capitalistic Republican businessmen), there to finance the new threat.

To further complicate matters, Iron Man is dying. Holy catastrophe, can the suffering savior create his own cure in time, while fending off this week’s baddie? Tune in friends, same Iron-theater, same Iron-show-times.

PREVIEW REVIEW: The problem with action/adventure sequels is that they generally spend more money blowing things up than the previous installment. There are exceptions in the world of drama (Godfather 2) and comedy (Peter Sellers’ Pink Panther sequel, A Shot In the Dark). I can’t, however, think of a comic book thriller that ever measured up to the original. Oh, maybe that last Batman movie. But they are few and far between. Iron Man 2, comes close.

Here’s what I had to say about the first installment: Smart and witty writing (considering the genre), involving direction, perhaps the best special effects I’ve seen, and actors doing what good actors do best, make this one of the best of the Marvel comics screen adaptations. True, the last third becomes top heavy with the standard combativeness we’ve seen with the Fantastic Foursome, the mutating Transformers and the go-go Power Rangers, but by then Mr. Downey and his supporting actors have cast their spell, drawing us into a mesmerizing action adventure that’s also a morality tale. I do have a concern. While it has a comic book feel, the amount of visceral violence gained the film a PG-13 rating. Because of the amount of violent imagery already aimed at kids by the world’s entertainment community, I question this film’s suitability for younger moviegoers. Indeed, when our protagonist found himself in a bad way, a traumatized child (way too young for such a movie) started screaming. I was also disappointed, but not surprised, by the inclusion of several obscenities and even a couple of profane uses of God’s name. Is that language now appearing in the action comic books?

Well, the follow-up has the same witty dialogue, a great villain (make that two great villains), and a new lovely assistant to Tony Stark (Gwyneth Paltrow returns, but is a bit upstaged by Scarlett Johansson, who at one point is decked out in what looks like Batgirl’s old outfit, sans the cape). But the makers couldn’t help themselves, they lengthened the running time with more POWs, BANGs and SPLATs than the previous episode. The beginning and ending are super-powered, but the middle sags with its own excess (running 2 hr. 5 min.).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Summary
Crude Language: A few crude sexual remarks or references to bodily functions.
Obscene Language: I only caught a couple of minor expletives.
Profanity: One misuse of Jesus’ name, by the villain.
Violence: Intense action sequences, resulting in countless explosions and transformer-like battles.
Sexual Intercourse: No sexual situations, but several women are seen provocatively dressed, including a scene where Iron Man is seen with a group of scantily clad, gyrating cheerleaders – his Iron maidens, no doubt.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Drinking throughout, including a scene where Iron Man gets drunk – then destructive.
Other: None
Running Time: 125 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and above

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