In the land of Movies, summer begins on the first week of May. I don't know exactly how this came to be, but I do believe we can thank Stephen Sommers' The Mummy for that strange alteration in the calendar. Two years ago it was Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man, and this weekend it's, yep, Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2. As of this writing the sequel is has a robust 75% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes -- an impressive number for any popcorn flick, let alone a sequel. So what did the Cinematical team think of Iron Man 2? How about weekend documentaries like Babies and Casino Jack and the United States of Money? Find out below -- and then share your own thoughts.

Iron Man 2

"Ultimately, Iron Man 2 can really only be faulted for being okay, rather than really great. No expense or effort was spared in recreating the look, sound, and feel of the first film, and as expected, expanding it to proportions befitting a no-brainer sequel." -- Todd Gilchrist

"While Iron Man 2 doesn't break any fresh ground (like its predecessor did), it's still impressive enough for a flick to be called "a worthwhile sequel to a superior film," and Iron Man 2 is certainly that." -- Scott Weinberg

""If what you loved from Iron Man two years ago was the action, you should be pleased with the upgrade on that front. The sequel includes a wealth of wisecracks; it feels as though every character has either a punch line or a wicked punch, and sometimes both. Even as Iron Man 2 delivers more, more, more, however, it feels like less than the original." -- Peter Martin




"I really liked Iron Man 2. It didn't wow me as much as the first one, but it felt like a solid second issue of a good Iron Man comic book run. This is Tony as he is in the comics -- a guy who can solve big problems, but not his personal ones. I'm anxious to see where Jon Faverau takes it and if he can make a movie that CAN stand alone from The Avengers." -- Elisabeth Rappe

I think Iron Man 2 is going to get a a bit of a bad rap because it's so much fun and because, though the individual scenes are well-constructed and very funny, they don't build or generate much suspense. (It's a little like Duck Soup that way.) But this lightness is what I like about it. Lightness gets a bad rap these days. I'd much rather see a pure celebration of fun than a movie with a false sense of depth. -- Jeffrey M. Anderson

"The most egregious offense that Justin Theroux's screenplay makes is reducing Stark's chief adversary to an absolute afterthought. Theroux makes the same mistake made in Tim Burton's Batman Returns by making Vanko a secondary player while Justin Hammer becomes the Max Schreck puppet-master . Why do you make a play to get an actor like Rourke at the peak of his recent comeback and then lock him up to repair drones and type on a keyboard for the second half of the film? Hardly innovation for a film that argues against wasteful spending on hardware." -- Erik Childress

"I'm in the minority that found it to be a surprisingly dry superhero movie, mainly because the action scenes were as equally flat as the characters surrounding Tony Stark. However, with part 2 we not only have a larger circle of characters that are all given more to do (I'd chalk this up to Justin Theroux having written the screenplay), but we're also given action scenes that have a bit more pop to them as well. Sure, their arrival times are distended a bit, but when they do come, each action sequence is crafted with enough bombast to make sure that their presence is felt. -- Peter Hall

"Iron Man was an average blockbuster that seemed to scream, "stick with us, it's only going to get better." Perhaps it's unfair to criticise Iron Man 2 for failing to deliver on that promise, but that's the overwhelming sense as you leave the theater. In the end it's no better or worse than its predecessor: plenty of fun, but without enough substance for it to linger long. Bringing the continuity of Marvel's universe to cinema seemed like an enticing notion, but if Iron Man 2 proves anything it's that cinema just isn't a medium suited to that level of depth. Good characters are underused, minor ones play too big a role and if you're not well-versed in the Marvelverse you might find yourself asking who that damn Nick Fury fellow is anyway." -- Joe Utichi

"I'm perfectly happy with Iron Man picking up the gauntlet from Raimi's Spider-Man films, in terms of escapist Summer thrill-rides. Iron Man and Iron Man 2 are both very much comic book movies -- not dramas that happen to have superheroes, or crime stories where the protagonists wear costumes. They're both snappy, disposable, and appealing larger-than-life good-versus-evil sci-fi fantasies, and that's what superhero comics are all about." -- John Gholson

"I like that the villain is a good old-fashioned Russian bad guy, complete with the thick accent and emotionless malevolence. But Mickey Rourke may have applied too much Method acting to the role of Vanko: He's cold, inscrutable, uninteresting. Comic-book movies are often made or broken by their villains, and while the bland Vanko doesn't break Iron Man 2, he doesn't help it much. There's a lot going on here, and director Jon Favreau keeps a brisk pace, even when the story meanders into lesser things like Stark and Pepper's relationship and Stark's father issues. But there are only a few action sequences in the film, none of them spectacular, and the final one is downright anticlimactic. What happens in between is droll and lively, thanks mostly to Downey and Rockwell's typically colorful performances; it just isn't very super, you know?" -- Eric D. Snider

"Anyone who thinks the sequel isn't on the level of the first Iron Man probably gives the original too much credit. There are plenty of weak aspects to Iron Man 2, but there are also so many really great moments, mainly because the entire cast is incredibly entertaining. That's what I came away remembering. Also, I'm surprised to say that I wouldn't mind seeing Scarlet Johansson get her own Black Widow movie. Especially if they make it a silent film." -- Christopher Campbell

Babies

"I'm not saying that every documentary has to spell it out for you, but I didn't feel that finding out how different parents clean up their child's waste and how similarly babies scream their heads off when knocked over by a sibling was justification enough for this entire endeavor. If I saw it while channel-surfing, I'd stop, grin and move on, but Babies doesn't exactly boast natural spectacle worthy of the big screen." -- Will Goss

"With no commentary, anthropological insight, or deeper looks into the subjects' lives, Babies is an overly long montage of first-year experiences with little substance ... At 79 minutes, Babies is more set on fandom than discovery, relishing in OMG BABY! love at the expense of baby depth." -- Monika Bartyzel

"Sure, the babies' interactions with their siblings and pets are occasionally amusing. If you trained a camcorder on your own baby for several hours, you'd capture events very much like these, though perhaps with less corncobbing. In fact, there is almost literally no difference between watching Babies and just watching a baby. Alfred Hitchcock said drama is "life with the dull bits cut out." Babies is life with the dull bits intact." -- Eric D. Snider

Casino Jack and the United States of Money

"While Casino Jack is a colorful but unflinching smack at Jack [Abramoff], it also speaks to something a lot larger than just one gang of crooks: maybe we need to keep a much closer eye on those D.C. lobbyists -- and toss the rotten ones out before they can infect the rest." -- Scott Weinberg