When asked how he gets into character for his role of Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies, Robert Downey Jr. replied in typically self-deprecating fashion, “I’m not even really an actor. I make faces for cash and chicken.”
Downey has always been an outsider and has never had much interest in interviews – unless he can find a way to turn them on their ear as he did here. But in the case of Iron Man 2, I don’t think he was kidding.
The movie is one long, extended excuse for having a handful of scenes where robots (or men in robotic suits) smash each other. All that was expected from what must’ve been a very expensive cast was to keep the audience interested when robots weren’t smashing each other.
Downey has never had so few emotions to express. He has a funny line late in the movie where he admits to being a complete narcissist. But we don't laugh so much with the line as at the line. It makes us squirm because all Stark is to us is a man insanely full of himself.
Scarlett Johansson is all curves upon curves and her scenes offer little besides showing off her lips, my vote for the most sensual lips in popular culture. But Johansson looks lost, just a free-floating image from a fashion magazine. When she finally becomes Natasha Romanoff late in the movie and gets to kick a bunch of bad guys around, you can hear her giggling with glee – and sighing with relief.
Samuel L. Jackson is totally wasted as Nick Fury. He has no character to play. He has almost no words to say. I kept waiting for words to twirl about on his tongue like his usual little dancers and kept finding nothing but an empty stage. Where was Quentin Tarantino when Nick Fury needed a rewrite?