So I saw Jon Favreau‘s Iron Man 2, staring Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man (Tony Stark), Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Favreau as Happy Hogan, Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko (Whiplash), and Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanov (Black Widow), and Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes (War Machine). What follows is what I’d call a review of medium-high-level spoilerage; I give away some plot points–but nothing that you couldn’t infer from the trailer–and a working knowledge of the Iron Man comics. If you’ve not yet seen the movie, and that worries you, please: Read no further. We can always talk after you watch the glory that is this film. I’ll still be here. Also? This one’s a bit longer than Dom’s. Sorry about that. Kind of.
Now, to continue into the heart of this review, I have to say that I was extremely wary of the replacement of Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle. Not because I thought the latter man couldn’t do the work–if you’ve ever seen him in anything, you know that isn’t the case–but because, no matter the actor or their skill, there will always be a disconnect when a character you love is played by someone else. Always. We are looking at a completely different person, and nothing you do or say can make that not be the case. Your best bet is to just hang a lantern on it, as they say–draw attention to the fact that you’re aware of the problem–and let it be. This is masterfully handled in the film in the very first exchange between Tony and Rhodey. It is so subtle, in fact, that I missed it until I was writing this paragraph.