Iron Man 2

War Machine by AC/DC

Jon Favreau Interview After Making Iron Man 2

One word from AC/DC to describe "Iron Man 2"....BIG GUN!

Indeed, "Iron Man 2" has all the bells and whistles of a big budget super hero follow up film, but it also carries the many faults and follies of a sequel too. Before I get into my review, I would like to point out a few things first about what I look for in sequels in general. Whether you condone this to be fair or not, but I hold all sequels (especially super hero and sci-fi ones) to a much higher standard than the original film, it was spawned from. Some of you maybe asking why that is so? Well, the answer is fairly simple to quite honest. In the first film that launches any franchise, the movie has the daunting task of not only introducing and establishing the main characters of this fictional universe, but they also have to establish the universe and world the story takes place. Even establishing motives and relationships that occur within this universe. Laying out not necessarily the most realistic world to be honest. I mean let's face it, do you honestly think a man in an iron mechanical suit is realistic? No, but a plausible and believable world based on how the world is laid out in the story. Once that gets established in the first film, then I believe it should not only allow for the writers to delve deeper into the problems and relationships of the main characters, but it should allow them ample freedom to expand on them as well. Allowing for the writers and director to take the story in any direction they see fit, and expanding the universe of the character on a broader scale.

Such films to look at are "Spider-Man 2" and "The Dark Knight", as perfect examples of what I mean. Both comic book characters were very well established in their prior films. Thus, when the sequels came out for their perspective franchises, the directors were not only able to expand on the world they created for these characters, but they were also able to delve deeper into the character's problems and psyche as well. Allowing the audience to be embraced into a much deeper story content, as the film would explore the relationships of the characters much more thoroughly and deeply than before. Thus, I hold "Iron Man 2" to a much higher standard than it's previous film, and expect no less. Having said that, how does this new film stand out you may ask? Well, let's go over that now shall we.

(Warning: Possible Spoiler Alert if you haven't seen the first movie)

For those of you who saw the first film should know, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) was last seen, before the end credits, admitting to the world that he was the armored hero, Iron Man. Naturally, this has never happened in any super hero movie before, but Jon Favreau thought it was a fun and unique story idea to help make "Iron Man" stand out from other super hero franchises. Which it does, as it allows for the movie to show a different kind of hero than the ones we've seen before. Rather than portraying the traditional self loathing and dark hero like Batman, or the troubled angst hero in Spider-Man. Or even the stoic and traditional hero like Superman. No, Iron Man has a style all his own. Displaying a self destructive narcissistic, horny, womanizing, charming, intelligent, hard drinking, and humorous person as only Robert Downey Jr. could pull off so nicely. In fact, the beginning starts off strongly because of that basic concept.

Six months after the events of the first movie, Tony is shown living the life of celebrity stardom due to his new secret identity being exposed to the world. Take in mind, the world Jon and Marvel established in the first movie was a mix of the real world with technology exaggerated, as Jon Favreau put it once. Therefore, one can expect things that would logically happen in the real world if Iron Man did exist. Such things like U.S. Senate hearings declaring Tony's armor as a possible weapon of mass destruction, and hold a hearing in which they demand he turn over his armor to the government. Along with various countries and rival competitors trying to duplicate the technology for military and financial purposes. Unfortunately for them, none of their attempts even come close to Tony's technical expertise, as he arrogantly puts it: "It'll be another twenty years before anyone is able to duplicate the technology." Sadly, he couldn't have been more wrong than that......

As it seems a new mysterious Russian villain by the name of Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) has found a way to not only duplicate Tony Stark's technology, but he plans on using it against him as well. For you see, it turns out this new adversary has his own agenda against Stark's family. When Ivan makes his debut on the race track as Iron Man's new nemesis, Whip Lash, and humiliates him in front of millions on television, only becomes the tip of the iceberg for Stark's problems. As one of Tony's competitors, (Sam Rockwell) Justin Hammer CEO of Hammer Industries, decides to secretly enlists Ivan's services, so he can finally beat out Stark Industries' technological aspects and humiliate Tony, at the annual Stark Expo (An event where Stark Industries and his competitors display their latest tech for military technology and such). However, unknown to Justin Hammer, Ivan has other plans for the Stark Expo.

What some of you probably don't know....is that the story didn't end when Tony admitted he was Iron Man, in the first movie. Unless your one of those closet comic geeks like me that watched the last scene, at the end of the credits for the first movie, then you probably might have seen the last scene where it shows S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), initiating Tony Stark into the "The Avengers Initiative".....before going to end. The reason I bring this scene up is because it plays a very crucial part in the sequel.

As Jon Favreau once said, "The problem with most super hero sequels is that they tend to over load it with too many subplots and characters, that the story becomes too watered down and generic." I agree with him. The problem with super hero movies is that you can't create as many subplots and have too many characters in it, as there simply isn't enough screen time to explain it all. Sure, you can always have it set up for the rest of story to be explained in a sequel, but there's never any guarantee that there will be a sequel (i.e. Superman V or Daredevil 2; two sequels that never happened). Or that anyone will care enough to watch spin offs and previous films just to catch up. Where as in a comic book, you can get away with those things as their whole concept is to keep the reader constantly into an ever expanding (possibly never ending) storyline for them to follow. However, in any film franchise in general, each movie has to stand on it's own. Sadly, it looks like Jon didn't bother to listen to his own advice about super hero sequels, and it does effect the movie tremendously.

For you see, not only does the film tend to explore the synopsis I just described, but it also delves deeper into Tony and (Gwyneth Paltrow) Pepper Pott's unrequited and unconsummated romantic relationship, from the previous movie. Pepper and Tony are both two adults, who happen to be attracted to each other immensely, but they're often unsure of how to show their affections for one another. Mostly due to Tony's flashy and self destructive narcissistic lifestyle, and Pepper's frustrations of having to run Stark Industries while Tony is away secretly trying to devise a new arc reactor for his heart. As it seems, his current one is killing him slowly each time he uses the Iron Man suit. Which is fine, as there was tremendous tension between these two unlikely lovers, in the first movie, and "Iron Man 2" just expands on it a bit more. Plus, the new arc reactor heart sets up for an interesting dynamic in the story as well. All this alone would've been enough make up a great movie along with the Whip Lash story arc. However, it doesn't end there though.

If that wasn't already enough to introduce into one two hour film, then you'll be happy to hear the Tony's best friend, Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle) finally turns into War Machine, for the sequel. Add in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new expanded role along with Nick Fury, as it tries to conveniently tie this film into Marvel Studios' grand super hero cross over team up film, "The Avengers"; while introducing the infamous Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Seriously, you'll have to be a comic book geek in order to pick up on all the references, in this movie. Oh and Jon's character, Happy Hogan, gets an expanded role as well. Some of you might wonder how it's even possible to explain and fit all this story content into one movie without feeling rushed or watered down, huh? Well, the short answer to that is that it doesn't.

Outside of all the bells and whistles of the overwhelming hype surrounding this film, "Iron Man 2" fails to live up to the original. As the story comes off rushed and often too watered down, as you could obviously tell Jon and Marvel were trying to put too much into this movie. On the one hand, it looks like Jon wanted to explore Tony and Pepper's unrequited and unconsummated love affair a bit more by adding in a new romantic rival, Natasha Romanoff aka The Black Widow, onto the scene. Even introducing two new adversaries, Justin Hammer and Whip Lash, who exploit Tony's arrogance and narcissism to the world. While exploring the concept of a super hero who confesses his identity to the world, and how it affects his life. Yet on the other hand, you could also tell that Marvel must have forced their way into putting all sorts of references that will eventually tie in this movie to Marvel's team up movie, "The Avengers." Don't get me wrong, I understand those references were necessary for upcoming "Avengers" movie to make any sense, but I have to wonder if there was possibly a more subtle way they could have done this without bogging down "Iron Man 2" with too many references, characters and subplots.

However, as bad as the story was for "Iron Man 2", it could have been a lot worse. Which by no means am I saying this was bad at all. No, it's just vastly over hyped, and fails to live up to the original. Sure, it has a lot more special effects and more action sequences, for those who yearned to see more action in the last movie. Well lets just say "Iron Man 2" satisfies that craving nicely if you really want to see Iron Man's full power cut loose on screen.

Plus, the moments whenever Robert Downey Jr. had to act outside of his armor, were when the movie was truly at it's best. Showcasing a man who is actually quite vulnerable as he hides behind his own pride and ego. For Robert's performance alone, it made up for many of the film's shortcomings. Something that very few actors are capable of when having to work with rushed mediocre scripts.

And lets not forget about Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke either. As the old saying goes, "a hero is only as great, as the villain he fights." If that reigns true, then Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke definitely prove to be more than worthy enough adversaries to the Invincible Iron Man. Proving to be great antagonists to Tony Stark, as they both reflect the dark side of different aspects in Stark's persona. Whip Lash proving be the side that wishes to use Tony's tech for his own selfish gains, while Justin Hammer merely wants to exploit and profit off of modern warfare with it. Indeed, you couldn't ask for better villains than them.

Overall, I seriously doubt most fans will even care about what I just said in this review, as the movie does deliver a lot on special effects and action sequences that will keep most fans happy. While still leaving in the various references for this movie to lead into "The Avengers" movie eventually. Like I said earlier, "Iron Man 2" isn't a bad film by any means. Just vastly over hyped. However, if your into the super hero genre and you liked the last movie, then "Iron Man 2" will prove to be a very entertaining movie for all to enjoy. Just don't expect too much out of it, in terms of story content.

Iron Man 1990's Cartoon Intro

Iron Man 1990's Cartoon Intro 2

Comments 17 comments

satomko profile image

satomko 6 years ago from Macon, GA

I agree in that the performances of Downey Jr., Rockwell, and Rourke help elevate the film, and that this movie seems really busy and contains more subplots and set-ups for the Avengers than it needs to. It's pretty good summer action sort of movie, but I hope it hasn't reached the over-saturation point like Spider-Man 3. As usual, you give a thorough review; keep up the good work.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago Author

Thanks Satomko. I appreciate you saying that and stopping by to share your thoughts with us like always. Yeah, I hope so too. However, it's starting to look that way to be quite honest. Hopefully, I'm wrong though. Anyway, thanks pal for stopping by again.


My SciFi Life profile image

My SciFi Life 6 years ago from London, UK

Really, really good review and write up ... thanks very much for the excellent information. I didn't know about the Narnia movie not being made (my kids loved the previous ones) either. :(


Lecie 6 years ago

do you really think mickey rourke was right for the part? can you name any movies where he's played a villian before? the only movie i've seen him in was marlboro man with don johnson. i just can't believe he could be a villian as well as he played a nice guy in that. this is not the first comic based movie samuel has been in. even though i hate comic book based movies i thought he was awsome as mr. glass, in unbreakable. otherwise great hub steven. i myself hated the first as i usually do with movies based on comics but my mom loved it. i'm thinking about buying her the sequel for her birthday. sssshhh. :)


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago Author

@My Sci Fi Life

Yeah, apparently Disney didn't make as much money on the last Narnia movie that they had hoped for. Therefore, they've decided to scrap the projected third Narnia movie altogether. I do apologize having to tell you that. Which is sad because I actually liked both the Narnia movies too. Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I really do appreciate it.

@Lecie

To be perfectly honest with you, I've never seen the Marlboro Man. In fact, outside of this film, the only other movie I've seen Mickey Rourke in was "The Wrestler." However, I'll definitely check it out sometime since you highly recommend it though. Anyway, thanks again so much for stopping by lecie, as it's always a pleasure having you here. By the way, I won't ruin your mother's surprise gift, so your secret is safe with me. lol.


Lecie 6 years ago

well i've never seen the wrestler. so can you tell me what you thought about it? did mickey play a good guy or a bad guy? you can usually find marlboro man at walmart for $5. it is a really old movie. both mickey and don were much younger and cuter back then. not that you would care about the cuter part. i just thought i would mention it for any other women that come to read your review and are curious to know more about mickey. thanks again for another great hub.


Lecie 6 years ago

just came to give you the full title of marlboro man. it's actually harley davidson and the marlboro man. mickey plays harley davidson and don plays the marlboro man. it was made back in '91. like i said it's an older movie that's why i had trouble remembering the exact name of it. i was around 6 when i got to see it. i feel deeply in love with mickey or as i called him harley. at that age i din't have a clear concept of what was real and what was not. i watched that movie over and over that year each time paying closer attention to mickey. that is until i saw kevin costner as robin hood. then life moved on and somewhere along the way my parents got rid of the movies they were tired of me watching. eventually all of my old favorites were gone. now as an adult i can't afford to replace them or buy any others. just makes me wish i was a kid again and just believe a knight in shining armor will come along and pull me up onto his horse or in mickey's case his harley.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago Author

@lecie

well i wouldn't say he played a bad guy in "The wrestler." he was actually portraying a broken down old wrestler, who spent so much of his life dedicated to his career. That he ends up alienating the people that he loved the most. It's a very good movie if you ever want to check it out though.

As far as your recommendation goes, I'll definitely be sure to watch the movie sometime. Thanks for the tip, as I appreciate you stopping by and sharing some of your thoughts with us.

I'm sorry to hear your mom took those films away from you though. However, if you want, I can always refer you to some great online sites where you can still watch them for free if you want. As far as the knight and shining armor concept goes, I'm sure many ladies would like to have that scenario happen where some brave hero would sweep them off their feet. However, it's like the old saying goes, "good things always come to those who wait." ;) Anyway, thanks for stopping by and commenting again.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Great review, terrific screen shots.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago Author

Thanks paradise. that means a lot coming from you.


Beth100 profile image

Beth100 6 years ago from Canada

I came out of that movie just wanting a suit like his .... Okay, I'm easily amused. :D Another great review, Steven!


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago Author

Thanks Beth for the nice comment. It means a lot to me coming from a lovely lady like yourself. ;)


reagu profile image

reagu 6 years ago from Los Angeles

I like Iron Man 2, though it's not my favorite superhero movie. Sam Rockwell, in my opinion, is the standout and I'd like to see Justin Hammer in the Avengers. They could have done away with Black Widow and focused more on developing War Machine. As you said, some of the best parts of the movie was Downey as Tony Stark and not as Iron Man. What I like is that they let the possibility of Tony Stark not be Iron Man when working with SHIELD / Avengers. It's plausible that Rhodey can take that duty while Stark works as a consultant.

@Lecie -- Mickey Rourke also played Marv in Sin City. He was fantastic and that movie was also based on a comic book by Frank Miller.


pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

wohh..whatta review! I'm planning to see this movie but I want to know what others think about it. I don't know but your hub makes me more curious, I really have to watch it.. thank you very much! ^.^..


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago Author

@pinkhawk

your welcome and thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy the movie when you see it.

@reagu

hmmm...you make some interesting points there about Tony Stark possibly not being Iron Man when working with Shield/avengers. plus, justin hammer in the avengers too could be interesting to have him show up again as one of the main villains. However, I guess we'll have to wait and see. I'm just kind of hoping that the avengers turns out to be pretty good. personally, I think they should have Tony Stark and Steve Rogers be the main characters though in that movie. Build up kind of a rivalry at the beginning the movie where they hate each other, but then realize that the only way they can beat some new adversary is by working together. although I know that kind of rips off last year's star trek a bit, but whenever you think of the leaders of the avengers you always think of either Iron Man or Captain America. Both are completely different as characters. Where you have Tony being the narcissistic womanizer that he is, then you have the boyscout all american hero in Cap. Just think about the possibilities there. I think that would pretty cool to see in an avengers movie as well. lol. Anyway, thanks again guys for stopping by.


Sab Oh profile image

Sab Oh 6 years ago

Wow, great review!


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago Author

thanks sab oh. i appreciate you taking the time to stop by.

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