Tony Stark faces off against a rival arms
dealer and a vengeful Russian scientist.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Directed by Jon Favreau
Written by Justin Theroux
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle,
Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson,
Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg, John Slattery,
Garry Shandling, Jon Favreau, Paul Bettany
Sequel to 2008's Iron Man
Based on characters from Marvel Comics
Oscar Nominations - Best Visual Effects
I must say I was not all that impressed with Iron Man 2. It's a far cry from the brilliance of the first film, but it does have it's moments. However, it does just seem like it follows the typical sequel formula as well as rehashes themes from the first film.
That being said, it is fairly enjoyable. Robert Downey Jr. continues to shine as Tony Stark and the casting of Don Cheadle in a role that previously belonged to Terrence Howard was thankfully a good move. Cheadle is much more likable than Howard and I believe his friendship with Tony Stark considerably more than I did in the first one. It was also very cool to get to see Nick Fury in an extended role, and I liked the continued set-up of The Avengers.
Still, Iron Man 2 fails to capture the originality and excitement of the first installment and seems to only exist to further Marvel's Avengers plan. It isn't terrible, but it's not groundbreaking either.
After the brilliance that was the first Iron Man, the sequel fails to live up to it in every conceivable way. While it does have its moments, and continues to build towards the Avengers, it mostly fails to capture the magic of the first film. I definitely consider this to be Marvel's first major misstep.
Like I said earlier, there are some good things about the film. The performances are top notch across the board. Robert Downey Jr. continues to shine in the lead role, making it impossible to see anyone else play the character. Mickey Rourke was great as the villain Whiplash. He brought all his hulking brutality to the role, helping make the character a force to be reckoned with. Don Cheadle, who replace Terrence Howard form the previous film, was a much better fit for the role of Tony Stark's best friend and future War Machine. The final scene of Iron Man and War Machine fighting together for the first time is also one of the MCU's more cooler moments.
On the flip-side, the character of Whiplash is, to me, severely underused in favor of character Justin Hammer. While Rockwell does good in the role, his character is much less interesting to watch. This also leads to the film's slightly misguided storyline, where it starts out as the government wanting Tony's suit and quickly becoming more of a focus on his morality, along with seeds being planted for future films.
Still, Iron Man 2, for the most part, is an enjoyable film held together by Robert Downey Jr.'s performance. If they had focused more on making this an actual Iron Man film and less of a stepping stone towards the Avengers, this would have been an excellent film. Luckily, it's not the total failure it could have been and does have its moments.