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By Jessica Kwon, 15, Bravo Medical Magnet HS

I’d been hearing about Iron Man 2 ever since the trailers came out. I didn’t watch the first Iron Man, so I didn’t know why people were making such a big deal out of this movie. At first, I really wanted to watch a documentary called Babies, but at the last minute, my family bought tickets for Iron Man 2. I am glad we did. This movie was so awesome that I sometimes forgot to breathe because of all the excitement.

After revealing his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a weapons manufacturer, becomes more of a glamorous celebrity than a super hero. But behind the fame and glory, Tony secretly suffers from blood poisoning because his artificial heart, which also powers his suit, is leaking. On top of this, he’s got other problems. The U.S. Senate pressures Tony to hand over the Iron Man suits for military use. Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), a rival to Stark Industries, looks for dirty ways to construct better robots than the Iron Man suits. Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), a Russian physicist, blames Tony’s father for destroying his family and seeks revenge by trying to kill Tony.

Iron Man 2 has amazing special effects that make some scenes look realistic. For example, the first time Ivan attacks Tony is at the Monaco Grand Prix. While the racecars speed past him, Ivan easily slices the cars in half with two powerful electric whips. Ivan menacingly walks toward Tony with his whips thrashing around. I could hear the crisp sounds of the whips hitting the asphalt track and see them flashing like lightning. I wanted to jump out of my seat and run away. I felt like Ivan was coming after me!

My favorite scene is when Iron Man and Colonel Rhodes (Don Cheadle) battle against the drones at a Japanese garden. I felt threatened as the massive drones surround Tony and Rhodes. I imagined myself in their position and knew I’d be terrified, but they dealt with the drones better than I’d expected.

My favorite character is Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson). She works as a hot undercover agent. In one scene, Natalie effortlessly beats up numerous buff guys, while Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) takes a long time to wrestle one guy down. She totally rocked in this movie.

Although Iron Man 2 was entertaining, there were some confusing parts because I hadn’t seen the previous movie. Many characters and their relationships with each other tripped me up. Why does Colonel Rhodes get special access to Iron Man’s headquarters? I thought Tony was opposed to the military. Tony likes his personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow)? I thought he liked Natalie Rushman! Who is Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and why does he keep talking about the “Avenger Initiative?”

Despite brief moments of confusion, I was captivated by the movie. Unlike recent movies such as Green Zone, Iron Man 2 had fresh ideas that impressed me. I liked how some scenes were shot at a cool angle. The gadgets and special effects were unbelievable. Some of the humor was witty and creative. Actors like Downey, Rourke, Paltrow and Rockwell seemed really devoted to their roles.

My mom even called up my aunt in Korea to recommend the movie. But my aunt had already seen it the day before and said, “Transformers was better.” (because it was the first movie to show robots transforming using special effects) But whatever movie the Iron Man sequel is compared to, I think you’ll enjoy this movie. So this weekend, release your stress from AP tests by watching Iron Man 2 with your friends!

By Patricia Chavarria, 18, Cesar Chavez Continuation HS (Compton)

Compared to the first movie, which I really liked, Iron Man 2 had more action, better special effects and it was funnier. It’s the best super hero movie I’ve ever seen.

In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark (in another great performance by Robert Downey Jr.) faces off against two villains—a rival weapons manufacturer named Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) and Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) a creepy-looking Russian who wants revenge for something involving Tony’s father. Adding to the drama, Tony is also facing his own death. His artificial heart, which gives his Iron Man suit its powers, is also poisoning his body.

My favorite action sequence was when Iron Man uses his laser against an army of Hammer’s Iron Man robots. Everyone in the theater was clapping. My favorite special effects scene was the fight scene at a car race. Ivan ripped Tony’s car apart piece-by-piece using his long electric tentacles.

A funny part in the movie is when Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) is inside a boxing ring with Happy Hogan (played by director Jon Favreau) and he tries to hit her because he says to never take your eye off your opponent. However, he is the one who ends up on the floor.

The only problem I had with the movie was that I didn’t understand why Ivan had so much hate toward Tony.

Still, knowing how much I loved the first Iron Man, my expectations for Iron Man 2 were high. And after watching the movie, my expectations were indeed surpassed. Make sure you stick around for the credits, because the movie isn’t quite over.