One of the best action movies of recent years was undoubtedly Jon Favreau's labour-of-love production of the second-tier Marvel superhero 'Iron Man', starring Robert Downey Jnr as Tony Stark, debonair millionaire weapons manufacturer turned reluctant hero courtesy of a gleaming mechanical suit of armour. Unlike yer Batman movies which I find a bit laboured and heavy-going and yer Fantastic Fours which were probably a bit too lightweight, 'Iron Man' got the balance right with some fantastic action set pieces and a rich vein of humour courtesy of Downey Jnr's twinkling performance.
Work is well on the way on the sequel - 'Iron Man 2', anyone? - due for release next summer. The first publicity pictures are starting appear and the most interesting is this shot of Mickey Rourke, his own career blossoming again after his turn in the wonderful 'The Wrestler' earlier this year (why no Oscar, Mr Academy??), portraying bad guy Whiplash who, it seems, has his own supersuit which seems to bear a bit of a resemblance to Iron Man's. Now I'm very much a lapsed Marvel comics guy and the name Whiplash rings only the vaguest of bells so I've no idea if this visualisation of the character is true to its four-colour origins or whether it's been refashioned and remodelled for a cinema audience - and I don't really give much of a damn about that sort of stuff anyway. But it's a jolly nice picture and if nothing else it should serve to whet your appetite for what promises to be one of the big tent-pole summer blockbusters for 2010...and it's gotta be better than 'Terminator Salvation', right?