The 2010 Summer Movie Season arrives loudly this weekend with the sounds of artillery, AC/DC and the crashing of heavy metals: Iron Man 2 is here. Robert Downey Jr., Rolling Stone‘s current cover star, is back as Tony Stark, the egomaniacal arms tycoon who flaunts his alter ego Iron Man. Peter Travers says Downey Jr. is the best of the unmasked big-screen superheroes, playing a “narcissistic bastard” who captivates audiences. Despite boasting one of the worst Russian accents in cinema history, Mickey Rourke is delightful as the villain Whiplash, who causes mass destruction with electric whips.
But the big question remains: “Is it as good as the first one?” Travers says it is not. Iron Man 2 is an above-average summer flick, but it suffers from sequel syndrome — overstuffing the runtime with too many villains and plotlines. Rourke is plenty on his own, so adding Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson to the mix only knocks the film out of rhythm. And while Don Cheadle, who fills in for the role Terrence Howard played in the first Iron Man, is a fantastic actor, here he’s overmatched and incapable of donning the War Machine suit.