“Iron Man 2,” the first superhero sequel of the summer, fulfills the basic requirements of the genre, which can be summed up as more of the same, with emphasis on more. Having introduced its physically and intellectually gifted, emotionally tormented protagonist in both his regular and alter egos, a comic book franchise will typically set out, in the second installment, in search of new villains, bigger suits, brighter gadgets and tendrils of plot that can blossom in subsequent sequels.
But sometimes — for instance in the recent Spider-Man, X-Men and Batman cycles — the second time is a charm, as filmmakers and actors use the reasonable certainty of financial success to take chances and explore odd corners of their archetypal, juvenile stories. “Iron Man 2,” directed by Jon Favreau from a screenplay by Justin Theroux, doesn’t achieve the emotional complexity of “Spider-Man 2” or the operatic grandeur of “The Dark Knight,” but it does try something a little bit new and perhaps, given the solemnity that has overtaken so much comic-book-based filmed entertainment, a little bit risky. It’s funny.
Not funny. Anything but that. Nooooooooooooo.