Robert Downey Jr. returns in 'Iron Man 2.'

There's no reason teens won't get great enjoyment out of the crackerjack sequel "Iron Man 2." The movie falls into some of the usual traps - including the apparently unbreakable rule that sequels must reveal how the superhero's unhappy childhood shaped him. Yet director Jon Favreau (who's good with actors, not only digital effects) does that and everything else with style and humor.

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Also, the film has a wonderfully icky villain in Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko, a Russian physicist with a tattooed, Punk demeanor and a reason to destroy the billionaire inventor of the weaponized, supersonic Iron Man suit, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr. still terrific). The film opens with Stark on an ego trip, lionizing himself as the savior of world peace. Neither his pal Lt. Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle) nor secret agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) can get Stark to give his technology to the military. Stark's Girl Friday, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), fumes about his inattention to corporate detail. So he focuses on a mysterious new employee, Natalie (Scarlett Johansson). Stark knows the element keeping his reactor-heart glowing is also killing him, hence his reckless attitude. Then Ivan comes after him in a suit that hurls lightning bolts and Stark's competitor, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), hires the Russian. Of course, this means war.

The bottom line: The violence is loud, and much high-tech material is shattered, blown up or gunned down, but the human damage is minimal. There is frisky but generally mild sexual innuendo and lots of Johansson's cleavage. There is mild profanity, toilet humor and drinking. The film opens with a prologue involving Ivan and his father that could be interpreted as an act of euthanasia. The overall intensity factor could be too much for some middle-schoolers.


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