Now I’ve spent the last two movies talking about Iron Man, Tony Stark, and my dying love for Robert Downy Jr. However, Iron Man 2 does not live up to the huge expectations I had after that perfect origin story. We’re not dealing with a bad film here, unlike Hulk it actually manages to keep the MCU spirit alive and build the universe in plenty of ways. For the time it was still one of the most enjoyable movies I’d seen when it came to superheroes. That’s of course mainly because of the main character and his growing emotional and physical pain that makes you want to wrap him up in a blanket. I’m warning you Thanos you better back off my boy or I will ground you.
“My Greatest Creation, Is You.”
Iron Man 2 released in 2010, which is hilarious because 2 years between a Marvel movie sounds impossible now. They’re pumping out 3 a year and back then we had to deal with waiting, which isn’t fun. However since I’m on the topic on releases I want to let out a secret. I didn’t see any of phase 1 in the cinema. Some of them I didn’t see for years or recently, I was a teen and somehow didn’t know that this massive universe was building while I wasn’t watching. I was busy hyping up Halo Reach, do you think I had time to see a movie?
The movie kicks off feeling great and pumping up the fun immediately, you’ve got Tony Stark just being himself, I could easily just watch that for 2h 11m or so. To be fair as well there isn’t a moment in this film where you get tired of him, which is why I think this movie still holds better than something like Hulk. Most of the main gripes come from the villain and some weird narrative stuff that isn’t thought out. Despite this, when the action kicks off, it does so with style. Every time Tony suits up is another moment of pure joy in my innocent soul. His suit up on the race track is simply fantastic and you’re already having more fun than Hulk ever provided you.
I’ve talked a lot about Robert/Tony but to be fair the rest of the acting in this movie is all great. Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer is particularly a treat stealing away all the scenes he’s in. Don Cheadle takes up the mantle of War Machine and I love him so much. War Machine is always one of those side avengers. However every scene with him is made better by Cheadle. All this acting and cast is perfect and sets up some long term MCU members. The great cast makes the movie very fun, but at the cost of anything making sense and falling a bit flat in terms of a satisfying conclusion.
One thing Iron Man 2 does well and especially for the time, is set up more MCU goodness. Hulk always felt like an odd child that felt disconnected with the rest of the universe. This however expands our horizons and makes us realise that so much more is yet to come. Nick Fury and Black Widow are given a juicy amount of screen time and you get to see Natasha kick some ass. Scarlett Johansson has always made me appreciate the character. She was a simple spy made interesting and lovable by Scarlett and she would go onto be one of my favourite Avengers.
I feel that one of huge problems is that there’s so many different arcs and plot points trying to be squished into one movie. You’ve got Tony suffering poisoning and how he deals with it. There’s Tony dealing with his fathers legacy. There’s even a political point about Tony being the sole owner of the suit and how the rest of the world can trust him with his massive ego. There’s potential for each of these to have been grown into their own main story while revolving around the main villains. In fact they took on the political route in Civil War, and Iron Man was about legacy in the right that Tony didn’t want to be known as a mass murderer and took things into his own hands.
Because the movie tries to get all of these points in one it fails to give a satisfying explanation or conclusion to any of them. Instead we are given a retread of the first movie, being about the power of the suit in someone else’s hands. Those hands aren’t very interesting either. Marvel have managed to make Phase 3 villains pretty darn perfectly, but bird man Ivan is a good example of how they failed in the early days. He’s not interesting, nor does he have any real purpose to be here, spending most of the time sat in a warehouse.
You’ve got an ending that is all about mindless destruction as well, just serving the audience eye candy without and satisfaction. At the end of Iron Man, Tony Stark was ready to die in order to defeat the Iron Monger and it was a great moment. Iron Man 2 just gives us a two on one fight with nothing really going on. Nothing is exciting or interesting and we just want the movie to hurry up and end at this point.
It’s a shame because I do love seeing Tony Stark being Tony Stark and everyone else was great. I’m not saying this one is terrible or that I dislike it. If anything it’s pretty watchable if it just happens to be on, however I’m not actively planning my next Iron Man 2 re-watch anytime soon the same way I would the first film. Something that gets people really excited though is the Thor tease at the end. People realising that the actual god of thunder would be in the same universe as Iron Man and Hulk was insane at the time. Thor for me is a direct opposite to my love for Tony Stark, but I’ll see you next time for that!