**A long form review originally posted in 2010:**
I find, the best way to look at this movie, is as two movies. Sounds strange I know, but bear with me.
On the one hand you have this Super Hero movie, it's about the main character, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), flying around doing comic book-character type stuff, and it's this pretty okay action film that's worth taking a look at. Then, there's this drama with a hint of comedy, this other film isn't really a genre, it's just about the characters interacting with each other, it's about the main character, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), driving around doing billionaire-playboy type stuff, and this movie, is fucking great. Part script, and part flawless acting, this movie sets _Iron Man 2_ apart from any other Super Hero film out there. It was explored in the first film, and you get a similar thing there, but in this movie the division is more clear, and it bizarrely benefits from it.
When films go franchise-style, it's inevitable that there will be scheduling conflicts, it's an unfortunate part of the industry, particularly when you have a deadline to meet, and for whatever reason, an actor will be unable to return to their original role. Such an event takes place in _Iron Man 2_ when Lt. Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes (originally played by Terrance Howard) is replaced by Don Cheadle. I personally think that Howard was better suited to the role, simply because he looks more like Rhodey does in the comics. But their way of dealing with the changeover is simple, and clever, the character's first lines, whilst making perfect sense in context, are "Look, it's me, I'm here, deal with it. Let's move on. Drop it." Very classy.
Although Mickey Rourke (_Get Carter, Sin City, The Wrestler, Man on Fire, The Expendables_) manages a very convincing evil Russian; Ivan Vanko, who's a perfectly good character, Whiplash as a villain is unfortunately somewhat lacking. Sam Rockwell (_The Green Mile, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Frost/Nixon, Moon, Conviction_) plays Justin Hammer, corporate rival of Stark's. Scarlett Johansen (_Eight Legged Freaks, The Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Island, The Prestige, The Spirit_) is another good addition to the cast, in the role of Natalie Rushman A.K.A Natasha Romanoff A.K.A Black Widow. Samuel L. Jackson (_Jurassic Park, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, The Starwars Prequel Trilogy, Shaft, S.W.A.T, Kill Bill Volume 2, Snakes on a Plane, 1408, The Spirit, Inglourious Basterds_) portraying S.H.I.E.L.D Director Nick Fury, rounds out the newbies in the cast. And it's all good news.
The Hammerdrones are an attempt at revamping the whole boss-battle that was such a let down in the original film, which honestly, once again didn't really work out. Once again it's a case of the character interaction that makes the film what it is. The effects also went a long way in the line of helping out the film, 'cause they were awesome. There are a couple of negatives in the script, just those moments when the suspension of disbelief is not... suspend-y enough. As for example the line; "Congratulations sir, you have created a new element", is a little flawed.
Though if I was forced to choose between them, I would probably say that _Iron Man_ is the better of the two films, but _Iron Man 2_ has a better re-watch value in my opinion, which I prize highly. I wait with baited breath for the next Marvel film to come out, _Thor_.