Actor Robert Downey Jr. and director Jon Favreau really find their groove in the sequel to Marvel Comics’ superhero yarn about a do-gooder in a magic suit trying to save the world when he can’t even save himself. Scientist/savior/billionaire Tony Stark (Downey) finds his batteries are running down, literally, just as multiple threats loom. Among the layers of unaccustomed irony in this summer tentpole are lessons for the fanboys in the audience: giant corporations (embodied by Sam Rockwell), the military-industrial complex (Rockwell and also, to a degree, sympathetic Don Cheadle), simpering senators (Garry Shandling), and resentful sons of Russian inventors (Mickey Rourke, with a high-voltage bullwhip) = bad. The wife at home (Gwyneth Paltrow) = good. Enigmatic third-party forces (Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson) = pick ‘em. Straighten up and fly right, Tony. Screenwriter Justin Theroux provides real-world food for thought along with the exciting high-calorie effects sequences, but it doesn’t taste like medicine. And Downey is at the top his game – he’s so confident he even throws in one or two drug-dependency lines. A winner (124 min.).
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Justin Theroux and Stan Lee
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, Kate Mara and Leslie Bibb