Iron Man 2 (2010)

Pedal to the metal

Iron Man 2 was always going to be one of 2010’s biggest films, but the fact that comeback king Mickey Rourke is playing uber-nemesis Whiplash has made it a must see. And director Jon Favreau clearly knows he’s got a casting coup on his hands, as the film opens straight into a sequence which introduces Whiplash’s alter-ego, Russian physicist Ivan Vanko. All sweaty bulk with greasy hair, gold teeth and thick accent, first impressions of the character are, admittedly, more pantomime villain that criminal mastermind. And, as Rourke delightedly chews the scenery during that first scene, hopes are in danger of being dashed. But, as the story progresses, and Ivan morphs into Whiplash, Rourke’s physicality and laid back humour attune him to the role until he becomes hugely entertaining and highly watchable. Indeed, the same could be said for the film itself; although it starts off rather slow, it picks up speed from mid-point and runs full tilt into a high-adrenaline finale that provides a satisfying, if predictable, conclusion and sets up future films – and franchises.

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The Descent: Part 2 (DVD)

Deeper underground

Neil Marshall may have handed over directorial duties to film-editor-turned-film-maker Jon Harris, but he maintains a presence as executive producer on this horror sequel to his 2005 subterranean horror. And as sequels go it doesn’t get much more immediate; The Descent: Part 2 carries on directly where the first film left off. So we see lone survivor Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) emerge, bloody and terrified, from the cave system which claimed the lives of her potholing friends. Unfortunately for her, however, she is unable to explain what happened, and so is forced to return to the dark depths with the rescue team. It’s only when they see for themselves the terrifying, hideously deformed cannibalistic Crawlers who lurk therein that the officials realise exactly what they are dealing with – but by then, of course, it’s far too late.

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