Gleefully light-feathered and witty in its dialogues, enlivened with mysterious and well-defined characters, Iron Man 2 is a enjoyable non-superficial ride. A contrast, if you may compare, to the very dark 'cult-in-the making' Batman movie The Dark Knight, this sequel keeps it non-serious, engaging and tight, despite a much-repeated plot of bad guys from Russia and a tedious final showdown.
Much of the movie's freshness lies in Robert Downey Jr.'s superb portrayal of a seemingly arrogant genius billionaire scientist and Iron Man; his rapid repartees with the other members of the cast - especially Paltrow and Cheadle. Then there is a zany stunning act by Scarlett Johansson, a bit part by Samuel Jackson and a solid part by that rare actor Don Cheadle. Rourke's villain is intimidating, but breaks no new ground like The Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.
All together, with each character given ample screen time to establish themselves with the audience (doesn't happen too often in Hollywood movies lately), there is an individuality in each that works well with the film's superhero drab. Fantasy mingles with fun, watch out for that last scene with the senator, the birthday party, and for Scarlett's stunning attire, among other things. Now we know why we love those fluffy comic books, Iron Man 2 is as close as one can get to a precise comic book adaptation. All said and done, the first Iron Man movie was much better though.