A Grandson’s Guide to – Iron Man 2

Invincible! That’s what they call him, and his name is Iron Man. Welcome back to the world of Marvel comic movie adaptations with the second installment of the popular Iron Man series. Iron Man 2 has everything anybody would want from a super hero movie. You have your super hero, of course, your love interests and triangles and evil nasty villains. You can find something for everyone – I saw the first Iron Man with my Grandpa, and we had a blast.

Created by Stan Lee (Spider-Man) in 1963, Iron Man already has a built-in fan club. So granddad and dad (and maybe some moms, too!) have read all about him for the past 40 or so years. And, it’s also sparked a new generation of Iron Man fans. (If you don’t read comics you may miss the few dropped hints and trivia – Captain America’s shield for one – on screen.)

Iron Man 2 is a PG-rated film so kids will most likely be okay with the content. Although there are lots of massive explosions and CGI action, it is not heavy (most of the fatalities are robots); the violence is mostly implied rather than in your face and, overall, the film is highly stylized to match its comic book counterpart.

Justin Theroux (Tropic Thunder) wrote the script and matches the quality of the first one. Jon Favreau returns as director and actor as well (Stark’s bodyguard). While the first Iron Man setup the origins of the story, Favreau used the sequel to add explosions and drama.

Just turned Zoomer at 45, Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as Tony Stark/Iron Man had me saying, “Oh, my, gosh, I don’t think there is another actor that could even touch this performance.” But then Sam Rockwell (Frost/Nixon) appeared and was fantastic as Justin Hammer, Stark’s competition in the weapon business. Gwyneth Paltrow returns as Stark’s assistant Pepper Potts. New performances are Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation) as Black Widow, and Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) as supervillain Whiplash — who still kicks butt at 57. Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda) steps in as Lt.-Col. James Rhodes, replacing Terrence Howard and does an exceptional performance taking the character forward, eventually becoming War Machine, Iron Man’s “sidekick.”

Iron Man 2 is a well-written, well-acted, great action romp that is fun for the whole family. The film really lives up to its name in the end. Invincible! And it’s good enough for me to want to see it again.

Grandpa, wanna go to the movies?

-Chris Heyes, 15