Back in the armor, back on the big screen

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With comic book movies being made like there’s no tomorrow, our favorite superheroes are taking over the big screen by the dozens. With big box office names like, “The Dark Knight” or “The Incredible Hulk” and smaller Indie films such as “Wanted” or the recent release, “Kick-Ass.” It’s clear that super heroes are taking over movie theaters everywhere, and Iron Man 2 is no exception.

In the latest Iron Man rendition, Tony Stark is dealing with a lot of problems. Not only is he the head of one of the biggest industries in the country, but he’s now known around the world as Iron Man. Consequently, the government wants to take his armor away from him, and to make matters worse, the arc reactor that is powering Stark’s heart is slowly killing him.

While the first installment was about his beginnings as the armored superhero, Iron Man 2 features Tony Stark a character that is less focused on being a playboy that wants to gallivant around town with his super-powered armor. Instead, he is more concerned about what happens when you take on the full responsibilities of being a world-renowned super hero.

Even though I did enjoy the action ride of the previous Iron Man, I’m more appreciative of Iron Man 2 because there were more defined character and relationship developments in the second movie. While perfect for Robert Downy, Jr., Stark originally came off as a shallow character. Is seemed like his character was choosing to take the role as Iron Man because he had to, and not because he wanted to be heroic.

In Iron Man 2, the changes in his life give Stark reason to man up and be a hero. Depressed and his condition worsening from his current situation, Stark pushes away his closest friends, and in turn he grows up and embraces the lifestyle of a true hero.

Another thing that Iron Man 2 did right was the action. For an action junkie it was perfect—full of laser blasts, explosions, large guns, and deadly electric whips. Even though these action scenes were fun, my favorite had to be the no-holds-barred fist fight between Stark and Rhodes suited up as Iron Man and War Machine. Watching them fight and throwing 80-pound weights like small rocks, or tossing each other through walls, ceilings and floors was great. To top that off was Daft Punk’s song “Robot Rock,” which added a bit of humor to the fight and helped transition to one of the film’s stronger points, the amazing soundtrack.

Most movies will either have a composer make accompanying music or will just acquire popular hits from hot new artists. On the other hand, Iron Man 2 took it a step further and peppered the movie with songs from classic rock ‘n’ roll band AC/DC and as previously mentioned, techno group Daft Punk.

For a movie that did a lot right, it also did a few things wrong. Some of the battles, especially the final one against vengeful Russian Ivan Vanko, seemed to be very anti-climactic. In the fight, Stark and Rhodes are fighting Vanko after taking down a large group of robots. What could’ve been an epic battle amounted to five minutes of Stark and Rhodes getting beaten, then coming back all of a sudden and winning. Many of the battles like this were greatly choreographed, but lacking in substance.

Sequel films seem to have it the hardest. Their predecessors provide the groundwork—be it bad or good—to encourage movie makers to always strive to improve upon the original when making a sequel. Iron Man 2 has managed to so, with its flashy action sequences, lively soundtrack, and most importantly, its characters.

Iron Man 2 could prove to be this summer’s—if not this year’s—best and biggest super hero movie.