In the first phase of a universe that should be getting bigger and bigger with each film, was putting out a sequel the best option? I’m not saying more Robert Downey Jr. is necessarily a bad thing but, my opinion is that we should have gotten an origin story instead. I’ve always preached that we should have gotten Ant-Man as a phase one film or even better a Hawkeye & Black Widow origin film. I get it, the first Iron Man was so successful, its only logical to get a sequel out as soon as possible. Give the fans what they want. That just happens to be more RDJ as Iron Man. Things did get shaken up a bit though as you all might notice that isn’t Terrance Howard as colonel James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes aka War Machine (It came as a shock to me when I first saw this, I really liked RDJ and Terrance’s chemistry together). The split was due to money issues as RDJ became the face of the MCU. The two actors did set aside their differences a few years ago but no one really made a big deal about the recast at the time. Still to this day the reasons for the departure isn’t really known, Marvel has been hush hush on the topic.
The “I am Iron Man” press conference is being watched in Moscow by Anton Vanko as the world is finally aware that genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist Tony Stark is leading a dual life as the superhero Iron Man. With this declaration comes government interference in the form of the United States government trying to force Tony to hand over the suit. Weapons Expert Justin Hammer comes to testify on the governments behalf but Tony being the genius he is, makes a mockery of the entire hearing. Meanwhile Ivan Vanko (Anton’s son) is hard at work building his own arc reactor to destroy the legacy Howard Stark stole from the Vanko’s. Ivan plans to attack Tony in Monaco while the world watches the grand prix race. His plan fails but gains the attention of weapons contractor Justin Hammer. While this is all happening, Tony’s arc reactor is killing him forcing him to find a new element to power his reactor. In Tony’s apathy for life he becomes reckless and signs over his company to Pepper. She basically runs the company, anyway, might as well make it official. Tony’s destructive path peaks as he gets drunk at his birthday party and picks a fight with Rhodey, who steals his suit.
Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) becomes nonchalant eating donuts in his suit on top of the donut shop where Natalie Rushman aka Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) get him back on track and focused to find a new element. Tony gets help from the person he least suspects, his father Howard (John Slattery) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg). In his failure to find a new element to replace the palladium Tony invents a new element to help keep him alive. Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) being on Justin Hammer’s (Sam Rockwell) payroll has been tasked to create suits for Hammer. With a new lease on life, Tony discovers a plot to attack the Stark Expo. Tony gets aided by Natasha and Happy (John Favreau) who race to Hammer’s facility to shut down the operation. Ivan turns on Hammer, programs the suits and James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes aka War Machine (Don Cheadle) and builds a bigger suit to fight Iron Man. Natasha reprograms War Machine and both Tony and Rhodey take on Whiplash. Rhodey finally gets his shot in the suit and he doesn’t waste it even though the War Machine suit is fitted with Hammer Tech (the ex-wife was a complete failure).
If you think Marvel is dumb enough to not know the star they have in Iron Man and RDJ you’d be dead wrong. Kevin Feige knows exactly what he has in Iron Man to follow up with Iron Man 2 in phase 1. Yes, it would have made more sense to have all origin films in phase one but, Iron Man 2 is a solid entry in the early MCU. The one thing Marvel knows how to do is put a stellar cast together, yes there was the recast but, Don Cheadle and RDJ have great chemistry together and it builds with every film they are in together. RDJ plays Tony in a way that mirrors the comics version. Tony, in the comics is an alcoholic and its calming to know that Feige and Marvel Studios genuinely cares about not only these characters but the fans and giving the fans the best movie possible. The first Iron Man is the superior over this sequel but that doesn’t necessarily mean Iron Man 2 is a bad film. It’s rather good however, so far through 3 films, the villains have been the weakest parts of the infant universe.
Robert Downey Jr clearly understands Tony Stark in every aspect, and he steps his game up even more in this film. I didn’t mind Mickey as much with multiple viewings, Sam Rockwell is the one to me that doesn’t fit to me in this film. His character feels like he’s trying too hard to be Tony but comes off as a poor man’s Tony Stark. Hammer just comes off as pathetic to me and it reminds me of Obadiah in the first film, always trying to walk in a Stark’s shoes but never being good enough. Now that we’ve seen the two actors portray Rhodey, Don Cheadle is the better choice in my eyes. I love the line he has when it’s his first scene where he says “Look it’s me. I’m here. Deal with it.” It could be taken as a shot from the writers addressing the controversy or it could just be his seen as Rhodey’s arrival to the congressional hearing. I believe you can decipher it however you want; I believe it could be a subtle shot by the writers. With every Marvel film that comes out, we get more Easter eggs and of course, a Stan Lee cameo.
The Stan Lee cameo was him playing the role of Hugh Hefner (but not actually Hugh) and Tony mistakes Stan for Hugh. I liked how S.H.I.E.L.D had a bigger role in this film as Nick Fury, Agent Coulson and Natasha all have an impact on Tony’s actions. Yes, they sort of force him to create the element and get his head out of his ass but, it just proves more that we are getting an expanded universe. If it wasn’t obvious with their roles in this film the end credit scene has Coulson going to New Mexico looking for someone and finding a giant crater in the middle of the desert. We find out who that someone is in the next film (it’s Thor, we all know it’s Thor) it’s not really a spoiler anymore.
I liked Iron Man 2 as a sequel, it expands on Tony and Peppers relationship while pushing Tony as a character forward. We get to see him grow as a person and become a more selfless human to those around him yet still be a bit cocky and arrogant as we see in future films. Tony Stark is a man of his beliefs; he believes he is the greatest person because of his status in society (he also happens to fight bad guys and saves the day). If I were to rate Iron Man 2 I’d rate it 3.3 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Iron Man 2 and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Iron Man 2 is directed by John Favreau is Rated PG-13 and has a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. Iron Man 2 was released on May 7nd, 2010 and has a runtime of 2 hours and 4 minutes. Iron Man 2 can be streamed on Disney +.
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Iron Man will return in The Avengers