Iron Man 2 is the second installment of the Marvel comic book film that follows Tony Stark as Iron Man. This film fits as part of the newer “Marvel Cinematic Universe” in which multiple Marvel films are related and interconnected (leading up to an Avengers film). Directed by Jon Favreau, the film stars Robert Downey Jr., who reprises his role as Tony Stark. In cinematic canon, it takes place six months after Iron Man , and directly before The Incredible Hulk . But how does this film hold up to the first (which I haven’t officially reviewed on here yet but absolutely loved)? Let’s take a look.
Iron Man 2 picks up right after where the first film ended. Tony Stark has admitted to being the super hero Iron Man. As he’s giving his press conference, in Russia Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) is given blue prints by his father, Anton Vanko (Yevgeni Lazarev), who dies moments later. Ivan takes these blue prints and builds an arc reactor similar to the one Tony uses to keep himself alive with. Using the new technology he also builds weapons with intent on taking Iron Man down.
Six months later Tony Stark has caused world peace and the government wants his Iron Man suits. Tony being, well, Tony, refuses to hand them over and basically says that he can do a pretty good job of keeping the world at peace so long as there’s no technology that matches his. He also starts a scientific expo where scientists around the world can come and share technology and help leave behind a legacy to make a better future for the world.
Without revealing the whole plot, I’ll just mention that Ivan shows up and wrecks some stuff, a competitor scientist/engineer named Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) recruits Ivan to build some better equipment to match Stark’s, and there’s a subplot involving Tony Stark’s chest arc generator slowly killing him and he’s going to die pretty soon unless he can figure out a new, better, power solution.
For everything else you’ll just have to watch it.
I mention this because in the last film I thought the music was pretty awesome. AC/DC make a reappearance in this film as well, with two songs, but overall the film’s score is not quite as good or memorable as the first. This kind of surprised me. Most films will have a main theme and it’ll appear in every sequel remixed or thrown into another part of a song. I didn’t hear it in this one. Odd.
+ Visually this film is absolutely amazing.
+ The portable suit was an awesome idea.
+ I liked Ivan and his whips as a villain.
+ I really liked the way Sam Rockwell played Hammer.
+ I felt the whole “I’m dying, I need a new power source” subplot dragged on for far too long.
+ The drunken fight with James Rhodes (now played by Don Cheadle) wasn’t that great to me.
+ I really don’t like Don Cheadle as Rhodes. At all. He isn’t anywhere near as good as Terrence Howard.
+ While the last fight was pretty good, I wish it went a little longer. It built up and up to the two vs Whiplash (or whatever Ivan’s evil name was by the end) but it ended in like 30 seconds.
+ I never liked the idea that Tony Stark has all his other suits in his laboratory hooked up to individual power sources. In the fist film it was his chest piece that exclusively powered the suits. That was the whole point of Obadiah stealing it, after all, as he couldn’t operate his own suit without it. So why does he have them all hooked up to individual power units now? It’s a huge security risk, obviously, as anyone can just hop in one and fly away with it (I mean, I know Rhodes had a key to get in but he just jumped into a suit and zoom, there he went!)
+ The drunken scene was kind of a 0__o moment. The image of Iron Man scratching a record or shooting watermelons was kind of funny but the whole scene was just out there.
+ When did Rhodes learn how to fly the Iron Man suit? It took Stark many, many tries to finally learn how to fly that thing and yet Rhodes hops in and flies like he’s been doing it his whole life. I guess we are to assume that in 6 months he’s been practicing? They could have at least mentioned it (even a simple “all this practice finally paid off” kind of line).
While I enjoy the second installment of the Iron Man franchise, I still believe the first film is a lot better. That’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend this one or won’t ever watch it again. I just think the humor and action in the first film are perfectly blended while this one tends to lean on the dramatic side a little too much.
Overall, I think I’ll give this one 4 out of 5 stars.