Iron Man 2 Review (Tiny Spoilers)

Posted: May 1, 2010 in Marvel Cinematic Universe, MCU Film Reviews, Movies
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The opening scene of Iron Man 2 shows the press conference at the end of Iron Man 1, with Stark’s impromptu reveal that he is indeed Iron Man. Cut to a run down apartment in Russia, where a dying old man is watching this on TV. His last words to his son Ivan Vanko, (Mickey Rourke) is that he (Tony) should have been you, and that he can at least pass his knowledge onto his son.

Six months later, Stark is enjoying his super powered celebrity status, and is as narcissistic as ever. Of course it’s a front as he secretly faces complications from his Iron Man suit, which was a real nice touch.

Meanwhile the US government wants the Iron Man suit, which Tony refuses to give, and during a Senate hearing he makes a mockery out of the government. This scene introduces Justin Hammer, a rival businessman to Stark. Hammer is a small thin, unlikeable, dorky rich dude, a perfect contrast to a hip cool Tony.

During the last six months, Ivan has been building his own super-powered suit. He becomes Whiplash from the comics, but I don’t think he’s ever called that on film. (We are also introduced to Natalia Romanova/Black Widow, but I don’t think she’s ever called Black Widow either) He comes for his revenge, and the history between his family and the Stark family is revealed. Tony’s relationship with his father is also explored.

The strong point of this movie, like the first one, is the characters. All the acting is great, and the interactions between everyone are fun to watch. Stark’s secretary Pepper Pots is loyal to him even though he drives her insane. Rhodes/War Machine points out to Tony that he obviously has military experience so Stark should listen to his suggestions in combat. Hammer and Ivan are good to watch in their devious relationship. Super spy Nick Fury is only in a few scenes, and he comes across more as just Samuel L. Jackson. Some fans might nitpick Black Widow’s straight hair and lack of Russian accent, but in the context of the movie it makes sense.

For a summer popcorn movie the action comes secondary. There’s really only three action scenes, Whiplash’s first encounter with Tony, a drunken brawl between War Machine and Iron Man, (Seeing a drunk Iron Man was great) and the big finale. Like the first one, the final showdown between Iron Man and the main villain was lacking. Iron Man and War Machine spent a lot of time fighting henchmen, and not enough time fighting the big bad.

Also the end has a lot of buildings blowing up and such, but it seems to no consequence as we don’t know of anyone getting hurt or killed. I know they don’t want to make an R rated movie, but the violence needed to have some consequence to have suspense.

Finally Pepper Pots becomes CEO of Stark Enterprises at the beginning of the movie. At the end, after all the mayhem, she doesn’t want it anymore and Tony regains the CEO position. I didn’t like that at all. You could look at it from a feminist interpretation that they’re saying women can’t handle the pressure etc. However as a comic nerd I think it’s more the comic book world problem of it’s status-qua never changing. Pepper being the CEO was a real change, and a great change. It’d make sense for future movies as Tony is busy being Iron Man.

To it’s credit, it didn’t get bogged down with fanboy Easter eggs, despite it being a series of steps to an Avengers movie. It’s it’s own story that stands on it’s own legs. The other Marvel universe info is just three things, and it’s nothing major,

Howard Stark helped start SHIELD, a half made Captain America Shield is in Tony’s house, and an agent asks “Do you know what that is.” This is more of a joke than exposition. The last scene has Tony meeting with Fury. Tony is about to look in a file called “Avengers Initiative” but Fury stops him. Stark’s relationship to this initiative  is, at present, not what you’d expect.

And yes there is a post credit scene that is cool, but maybe not as “Oh my god!’ as the first one. It does sort of explain what you think might be a minor plot hole in the movie.

Other franchises must take note of Marvel Studios in how their brand building with real characters, with effects and action supplementing them, instead of the other way around.

9.3 out of 10

  1. […] Also, one thing about the previous movies, through all the disasters it seems there are no real casualties. This movie does at least acknowledge that people died in the attacks. However, there is one actual character that really should have died. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is facing the same critique that mainstream superhero comics often get, which is that things always go back to the status quo. I’d mentioned this in my Iron Man 2 review as well. […]

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