Iron Man 2: I liked it. That has kind of an epitaphy feeling, which is not precisely what I’m going for, as I decidedly do not presume that it marks the gravestone of a franchise. I think I may be mildly disappointed with it relative to my expectations, though, mostly based on how Spider-Man 2 turned out. ‘Cause there was a pretty great sequel. Still, though, on the whole it was a thoroughly entertaining sequel to an even better first movie, with nothing to particularly dislike about the new execution. Spectacle plus franchise equals success, right?
Also in the win column, Robert Downey Jr. maintains his essentially perfect portrayal of a billionaire superhero who is always secretly dying, having trouble forming real attachments to women, and drinking a lot. (It occurs to me that this may not be an acting job, ‘dying superhero’ aside.) This time he is facing trouble from the U.S. government, a rival military industrialist, and a brand new supervillain that shares characteristics with a couple of people from the comic book, most notably Whiplash. And while a bad guy who can split metal with his special whip may not seem all that interesting in a comic book, it works a lot better when he is using Stark’s own ARC reactor technology to create really cool-looking energy whips; also, when he is played by Mickey Rourke. The plot was probably a little bit muddled, but the pace was fast enough for me not to care, when combined with my knowledge that comic plots are often at least a little bit muddled in the first place. But then again, any time you sit me down in front of a movie screen where Downey either gets to be constantly awesome or gets to relearn how to be awesome after some kind of setback, that will be enough to satisfy me regardless of anything else that happens.
Also, if the spoiler-laden transition of Stark Industries’ CEO position never happened in the comics run? It should have. (I mean, the details are spoilers, the fact really isn’t. So please don’t misunderstand this as me having given away the farm, over here.)
 For my money, that seeming is fully accurate, though he’s only appeared in one story I’ve read so far and may get better later.