Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 2010
I think it’s kind of funny that right after putting up a poll and a blog discussing spoilers I watch a movie that was not spoiled to me in any way shape or form. Here is everything I knew about Iron Man 2 before watching it: Don Cheadle replaced Terrence Howard as Rhodie and he gets to pilot his War Machine suit. Black Widow makes an extended appearance in this movie. Whiplash is the main villain played by Mickey Rourke. And that’s it. I had an inkling about the role of Tony’s father, I had no idea Nick Fury played such a big role, and also had no idea about the subplot about him being slowly killed by the use of his arc reactor core. So everything going into this movie was a big surprise and I must say a delight. I can’t say right now if the sequel is better or worse than the original, but it’s absolutely on par with it.
The movie starts off with the introduction of Ivan Vanko as a crazed looking Russian working in his home to create his own miniaturized arc reactor similar to the one that Tony Stark uses. But instead of creating an entire suit to use the reactor’s power, he channels it into two electrified laser whips that will slice through almost anything. I thought he was pretty enjoyable as a villain, playing himself cool and collected through most of the movie, and yet has an unquenchable lust for revenge toward Tony Stark shown even after he gets hit with a car. He is then financed by the real villain of this piece, Hammer of Hammer Weapons Manufacturing or some similar name. He’s a corrupt and ambitious businessman who puts getting the contracts first as a higher priority than getting the product right the first time. Hammer extracts Vanko from jail and recruits him to recreate the arc reactor technology for an army of Iron Man-like suits that he can then sell to the government for a mighty profit. Unfortunately he lets him work completely alone without any help or supervision and is surprised when Vanko essentially takes over the project from the inside. I also liked Hammer as a villain, and he’s played very well by Sam Rockwell who I continuously thought looked too much like Dana Carvey for his own good. But in the movie Hammer is a very cocksure guy with what he thinks is a likable personality akin to Tony Stark, and yet while Stark comes off as amicable and completely forgivable, Hammer comes off as much more of a jerk, which I’m sure is intentional.
The relationship between Pepper Potts and Tony Stark that got built up in the first movie is more or less pushed aside in this movie in favor of Tony Stark’s near death crisis. You see, continued use of his arc reactor creates toxic pollution in his bloodstream that will eventually kill him unless he can find a clean power source which has been eluding him. Because of this, he is trying to get his life in order without telling anyone what’s really happening. He promotes Pepper to CEO of Stark Industries and she spends most of the time during this movie being exasperated at her new responsibilities and Tony’s increasingly erratic behavior. The relationship does finally gain ground during the end of the movie, but it doesn’t entirely feel like it was earned this time as it did in the first movie. But aside from the relationship, I did enjoy how the movie played with how Tony Stark accepted his death rather gracefully for the most part, and yet never completely gave up.
The action in this movie is absolutely ramped up from the first installment. Even though I thought the use of the race cars was entirely unnecessary, both battles with Whiplash were frenzied and enjoyable and the climactic scene with all the drones was absolutely breathtaking. Where often times the final fight scenes come down to brains over brawn, it was nice to see a battle that was ultimately won with superior firepower, even though the added touch of some brainpower didn’t hurt. This movie had plenty of different variations of the Iron Man suit to keep each fight scene fresh and interesting.
Before seeing this movie, I had originally thought that Captain America was the movie that had the biggest lead up to the Avengers. But while Cap really sets the stage for the Avengers at the end of the movie, Iron Man 2 peppers hints of the Avengers throughout almost the entire movie. From the initial introduction to Natalie taking down Happy in the boxing ring, there’s teases of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Nick Fury has the most screen time in this movie than in any other lead-in movie. The one thing I was somewhat disappointed in is that Agent Coulson barely gets any screen time and that’s only used for one great joke before setting the stage for Thor as the next big movie. There is one other bit in here that likely wasn’t intentional, but after hearing that Agent Coulson is a big fan of Captain America in the Avengers, the short scene with the Captain America shield takes on a slightly different meaning. I was also honestly a little disappointed with Black Widow. She has a couple badass moments in the movie, but she ultimately felt like a pretty hollow character and I was hoping to see a bit more of her in this movie. I imagine she will be redeemed in the Avengers, but I’ll just have to wait and see.
There wasn’t really a whole lot about this movie that I didn’t like. It took a lot of what was good about the first movie and made it better. The humor was just as great, the action was more intense, the drama was just as heavy, the relationship… was subdued but that’s really the only negative and it’s fairly minor as the film doesn’t give you time to dwell on it. I wasn’t initially looking forward to seeing Don Cheadle take over the role of Rhodie, but I thought he did a passable job even though I still would have rather seen Terrence Howard reprise his role. It really makes me excited to rewatch Thor and Captain America which I will probably do within the next few days before finally watching the Avengers. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.