"Iron Man 2"
** 1/2 (out of four)
A couple years ago, "Iron Man" came out of the blue to immediately situate itself as one of the great superhero entries. It lacked the scope of the new "Batman" films and the emotional pull of the first two "Spider-Man" movies, but it was embedded with such a bright, pop-bubblegum aesthetic and badass attitude that director Jon Favreau's lack of nuts-and-bolts filmmaking ability didn't really matter. It was an experience that managed to be far greater than the sum of its parts — pure movie magic, with palpable energy and a grand sense of "let's go save the world" fun. "Iron Man 2" attempts to recapture that same flag-waving, fist-pumping fervor, with mixed results.
"A Nightmare on Elm Street"
Everybody's familiar with the basic plot: Twelve years ago, a child molester named Freddy Krueger was confronted by the irate parents of his victims and burned alive for his crimes. Now that the children of his killers are grown, the spirit of Freddy Krueger haunts their dreams and slaughters them in their sleep. Naturally, the filmmakers behind this new "Nightmare" had a responsibility to follow Freddy's origin story pretty closely, but their obligations to the original film end there. They certainly did not need to remake Wes Craven's movie virtually scene-for-scene, with Craven's funhouse sensibility replaced by director Samuel Bayer's inert filmmaking style. The whole film feels stagnant, despite an awesome opening 10 minutes that set the bar far too high for the rest of the movie.