This is one of those sequels that I actually liked even more than the original.
The effects were, of course, great. But effects alone do not a good movie make. Where this installment succeeded, like the first, is in the writing and the acting. It has the human element. It has heart. It has emotion. And, ever important, it has humor. It has characters we can have fun with, and care about.
Downey, as expected, totally delivered. He really is perfect for this role. Paltrow, Johannson, and Jackson were all fine.
There was question as to whether Don Cheadle could fill the roll that Terrence Howard had in the first film. Frankly, I didn’t miss Howard at all, and thought Cheadle was better. Clark Gregg, always funny in “Christine,” didn’t have a lot of scenes, but he may have more in “Iron Man 3.”
Sam Rockwell gave a standout performance as Justin Hammer. His arrogant, self-centered, spoiled brat of a man was a joy to watch. I’ve enjoyed his nuanced performances ever since “Galaxy Quest.”
One of the biggest reasons I found this movie better than the first was the Mickey Rourke villain, “Ivan Vanko.” In the previews, I thought his character would be one of the reasons I would like “2” a little less than the first. Quite the opposite was true. And Mickey fleshed out the role beautifully. Don’t get me wrong. I Like Jeff Bridges. Maybe more than Rourke. But the writing, and even the effects for this bad guy seemed more interesting, and even more believable. (OK. “Believable” is not a good word to bring to a discussion of a movie like this. Nevertheless…)
Two ACDC tunes, along with one from Queen, helped the soundtrack really rock. Hey, good music is always a plus.
And finally, let me say that just like the first movie, you’ll want to stay through the credits.