Pictured: Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle

To say that I was excited to see Iron Man 2 would be an understatement. While I am admittedly not the hugest comic book fan out there, I am a big enough fan of the movie renditions (as long as they don’t suck like Daredevil did). I am always getting teased about the fact that I don’t gravitate toward the big-time action movies, because I tend to get bored when it’s all explosions and dudes with guns. Instead, I like to see a plot behind the flames and a laugh or two between the throat slitting and blowing crap up.

Iron Man 2 easily provided all of the above. There is nothing more perfect than seeing Robert Downey Jr. reviving his role as resident badass Tony Stark. I can’t imagine another actor taking on the role of the snarky, narcissistic but ever-so-lovable Tony, who we see transition from hot mess to super hero once more in Iron Man 2. But do not misunderstand – Robert Downey Jr. wasn’t the only actor who made this film the greatness that it was. In fact, every performance in this movie was thoroughly impressive, for a variety of reasons. Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko/Whiplash? The dude may not be easy on the eyes, but he is a bad mofo when it comes to playing a part. If you’re asking to creep some people out, Mickey‘s the man you hire. Additionally, Don Cheadle was a perfect replacement for Terrance Howard, who bored me to pieces in the first film as Lt. Col. James Rhodes. Now that Tony and Rohdey are sidekicks, they needed an actor who could fill that bill and Cheadle was an excellent choice – much better at the wit and sarcasm than Howard could dream of being. Last but not least, Sam Rockwell once again brought in the quirk with his role as Justin Hammer, weapons extraordinaire and the brainy villain in this tale. I found myself on the very border of liking him more than once, even though I wasn’t supposed to. Damn you Rockwell for being such a likable jerk – and the fancy footwork you showed off didn’t hurt your case either.

Pictured: Scarlett Johansson

Now you may be noticing that I haven’t mentioned the ladies. That’s because, quite frankly, they weren’t worth mentioning. While Gwyneth Paltrow is adorable as Pepper Potts, I didn’t feel like she actually brought anything to the movie other than a pretty face. This also goes for Scarlett Johannson as Nathasha Romanoff. Don’t get me wrong – she’s hot and watching her kick some bad guy ass definitely didn’t hurt anybody (but the bad guys, of course). But both Natasha and Pepper were more eye candy than anything else. I will say that the chemistry between Gwyneth PaltrowRobert Downey Jr. and is still very present and adds humor to a few of the scenes.

Pictured: Robert Downey Jr.

This is the first time in a very long time that I have actually heard an audience applaud and let out little WHOOPS of joy as things went down on screen. Seeing a room full of people all getting excited for the same exact thing, all rooting for the same “good guy?” There is something thrilling about that alone. And the best thing about Tony Stark, for me at least, is that he’s not always a good guy. In super hero stories it is important for the audience to relate to the hero, and Tony’s personality is so over the top that you almost can’t help but love him and want to hang out with him, even when he’s acting like a two year old with a lot of fancy toys. Underneath all of his swagger is a man who is battling with his own health and trying to hang on by a thread while also trying to save the world. Or at least keep it protected from crazies like Whiplash.

From start to finish, Iron Man 2 held my attention, even when I desperately had to go to the bathroom about half way through, I couldn’t talk myself into leaving my seat! From electrified whips to good ol’ fashioned ear biting, every turn was as unpredictable and exciting as you could hope for. It definitely restored my hope and faith in the Marvel Universe on film. Not only THAT but there were also some sweet cameos that were worth mentioning, one of which was from the late Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein and another by Stan Lee who plays a freakishly convincing Larry King. No matter what you have going on this weekend or what excuses you can come up with for staying indoors (it’s storming here right now!) – get your hiney to the movies and check out Iron Man 2. I promise it is more than worth it. And don’t forget to stay after the credits!!

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