Sequels are always scrutinized because the general opinion is…well they usually suck. Prepare to abandon that thought because Iron Man 2 kills it.

Tony Stark’s creation of the Iron Man prototypes were indeed amazing but in the second installment of the series, we once again find out what’s too good to be true usually is. Tony Stark faces his problem with his usual bravado and lone wolf tactics until he’s forced to rethink his approach by Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), the United States government, and even his own allies.

What sets this apart from most sequels is that we find out just enough about Tony Stark’s past to truly understand his personality and at the same time learn more about his new nemesis’ motivation for retribution. However, this new information and all the branches of the story feel like a natural progression of the first movie. Iron Man 2 does not suffer from having too much story or plot holes that take away from the action either.

The fight scenes are incredibly entertaining and even more important Stark’s personality shines through when dressed as Iron Man. The same could be said of his friend Lt. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) who does an outstanding of counter-acting Tony’s futuristic weaponry with military tactics and good old-fashion firepower as War Machine.  Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) also brings the pain much to everyone’s delight in the theater. While her moments in combat are brief, she leaves a lasting impression on both the audience and several of the actors in the movie.

The acting in Iron Man 2 is about as good as it gets. Every character is believable and most are true to their nature. Out of all the newcomers, Don Cheadle was the biggest surprise. His demeanor allowed him to accommodate the military role needed and also added some serious punch behind his one liners.The casting for the movie was surprisingly spot on as all the newcomers add star power without sacrificing the plausibility of the Iron Man universe.

The visuals and audio were of course top notch but something I feel really can’t be judged properly in a theater as too many variables are involved. Let’s just say I liked what I saw and what I heard. It was an impressive display that put a smile on my face and even my wife’s who could not believe she enjoyed the movie so much.

Iron Man 2 is definitely on par with the first movie and abolishes any notions of “sequelitis.” This is a must see movie and definitely on my pre-order list for purchase on Blu-Ray. Iron Man 2 gets 5 out of 5 michelas.