BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
Iron Man 2 ★★★
The original Iron Man was a big critical and financial hit. This sequel, though slick enough and amply equipped with action and special effects, isn’t up to the same standard. But then that is often the fate of sequels. Nevertheless, Robert Downey Jr reprises his role as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark-cum-Iron Man with entertaining aplomb. Also on the film’s plus side are Gwyneth Paltrow, as Stark’s assistant Pepper Potts, and Mickey Rourke, cast considerably against type as a mad Russian scientist intent on destroying Iron Man. The unlikely scenario here is that Iron Man has, as he vaingloriously announces, “privatised world peace”. And indeed peace does seem to have broken out – until Rourke, who bears a very nasty grudge against Stark, turns up armed to the hilt and eager for combat. From there on, we’re into familiar comic-book movie territory. As I said it’s not as good as the original but there’s much in it to satisfy fans of the genre.
Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach ★★★★
PREMIERE 9.10-10.40pm BBC2
Fifty years after his film Cathy Come Home focused documentary-style on homelessness and had an impact way beyond television, Louise Osmond’s documentary examines Loach’s career and a body of work that continues to highlight social issues.
Gulliver’s Travels ★★★
Jonathan Swift’s 18th-century fantasy yarn gets a modern update with Jack Black as the slacker who gets to stand tall in the land of Lilliput.
9.00-11.10pm Film Four
Camouflage and cunning supplement the firepower in this inventive sci-fi thriller. Arnold Schwarzenegger rumbles in the jungle with an unseen alien hunter.
The Dark Knight ★★★★★
9.00-12 midnight ITV2
Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his scarily intense portrayal of The Joker, who here brings chaos to Gotham and manages to rattle Christian Bale’s normally unflappable Batman.
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