This sequel to the 2008 juggernaut is more of the same, for better or worse. On the one hand, the formula that worked so well for the first movie is repeated here, and while there are few surprises along the way, its familiarity is a strength instead of a drawback. Like its predecessor there are plenty of opportunities for Robert Downey Jr. to demonstrate considerable superstar charisma, and while he’s not everyone’s cup of tea he’s at least a lively screen presence at all times. On the other hand, the element of surprise is diluted by the Marvel Universe’s already-established ubiquity, and the movie’s treatment of all non-Tony Stark characters is rather shoddy. Luckily, the supporting cast is extraordinary to watch, in particular Sam Rockwell as a sleazy politician and Mickey Rourke, whose Ivan Vanko makes for an effectively well-matched adversary for Downey’s Iron Man. Ultimately it’s an effective, occasionally mind-numbingly thunderous event movie, but its elements don’t mix quite as well this time around.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)