When CGI technology became mainstream enough for all the movie studios to get their own toys, the superheroes were set free. Oh sure, Richard Donner didn't need fancy computer tricks to make you believe Superman existed, but really, the technology required to deliver a convincing Spider-Man, Hulk, or X-Men only recently arrived on the scene -- which is how we get so many cheeseball flicks like Ghost Rider, and (sometimes) an unexpectedly great adaptation like Jon Favreau's Iron Man.
But since Tony Stark is not nearly as mainstream as Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, or Peter Parker, there was no guarantee that the Iron Man movie would strike a chord with general audiences. Well, it did. As a matter of fact, Iron Man presently stands as the fourth highest-grossing Marvel adaptation so far (behind all three of the Spidey flicks), and that explains why we're looking at a sequel precisely two years later. But with screenwriter changes, casting switches, and a more hurried production schedule ... how would Iron Man 2 turn out?
Pretty darn solid, this Iron Man fan is happy to say, although not without a few minor-yet-nagging reservations. As pedantic as it sounds, if you dug the first one a lot, you'll enjoy this one too -- just a little bit less, I suspect.