* * * ½
(Great special effects and Downey’s performance outclass confusing plot)
The problem with sequels is that the writers and directors assume that the audience is familiar with or remembers the previous movie plots and characters. The audience, with the exception of the true fans, watch the opening scenes trying to piece everything together. Such it was with Joyce and I as we tried to remember what happened in “Iron Man 2.”
Once the movie settled down, we could concentrate on Robert Downey Jr. and his terrific portrayal as the rich, suave Tony Stark. Ben Kingsley plays the Mandarin, the terrorist villain of the movie. Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is a twisted scientist in league with The Mandarin.
It’s all about a plot to eliminate the President and wipe out Iron Man. Mandarin guns down Stark’s bodyguard (Jon Favreau), kidnaps the president (William Sadler) and destroys Stark’s Malibu ocean-front mansion and lab. Then he kidnaps and tortures Stark’s one true love, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).
Can things get any worse? How about an Iron Man suffering from anxiety attacks!
Stark gets help from an unlikely source, a young boy (Ty Simpkins) who has been abandoned by his parents and latches on to him.
It all comes down to the usual big battle with a few twists and turns and a violent conclusion. Stick around after the long credits for a funny scene and a promise of more to come.
Rated PG-13, with lots of violence.