I am Iron Man. That a hero would so unwisely announce his identity to the world seems amazing, and one imagines that huge fallout from such an announcement would follow. “Iron Man 2” is that fallout. Taking place months after the announcement “Iron man 2” is a pair of tales, depicting two men whose lives dovetail into a spiral of depression and obsession.
The first is Tony Stark, once a loved son of America is now it’s pure golden (and hot rod red) boy, enforcing law and order bringing about a span of peace. But all is not good for Tony as the very thing that gives him his fame is also killing him. In addition to that the government is now trying to take his toy away, afraid that the era of peace could end should Tony abandon the American dream.
The second is Anton Venko, AKA Whiplash, enraged that his father dies in squalor while Tony is praised for the ideas Stark stole from the Venko family. Whiplash uses all of his scary Russian power to mimic the iron tech and travel to America and tech the rich boy a lesson.
Another note of duality is one of the “supportive friends.” In Tony’s case it is Rhodes, supportive and friendly Rhodes eventually realizes Tony is almost beyond helping and is forced into drastic action before he becomes an enabler; by his actions he eventually becomes closer to his friend in not so surprising ways (he’s war machine). On the other side of things is Justin Hammer, rival to Tony Stark. Hammer is so insistent on besting, and thus becoming Tony Stark that he approaches the depressed whiplash and enables him with advanced tech.
Simply put, Hammer hates Tony and hires whiplash to kill him, Tony can’t respond to this because of personal problems that Rhodes can’t deal with. Everyone but hammer gets armor and they all have a big fight. And it’s glorious.
I enjoyed “Iron Man 2,” and found it to be the equal of the first entry. True it bogged down in the middle, but the good bits were really good. There were a lot of characters and exposition which made it feel like the middle of a trilogy, which is what it is. Normally I dislike films “trying to be a trilogy” but with things evening out as they did I think it works here. Some criticism has been levels that while the first movie was peppered with fun bits like building the suit, the second lacked these and it hampered the movie. This is a valid point, but I think it relates to the fact that Tony is often recognized as a man with a problem, and also a gung ho idealist. He obsesses and tends to cope by excess. In the first film he does dive in and have fun, but the problem is by the sequel he had made a promise he has to keep, and it weight on him heavily.
It manages to achieve strong humor and plot motion, telling you that Stark is going to die all while making you laugh. Then in a dramatic scene he slams on the suit, strikes a pose and my lord it’s insanely super heroic and awesome. We understand the drama, and we know that Tony is a funny man, but when he don’s the armor to fight whiplash on the racetrack he fully made me believe that he was a superhero. This reinforces my point above; while his decision to be a hero is pressing him down, when time comes to do the right thing he does it, and e does it with style; More heavy-handed and longwinded than Logan and Rogue’s talk in “X-men” but still effective.
I wish the whole movie could have been as evened out as the whole race section, but it strove instead to throw in lots of references. I agree these slowed the movie down, but they also helped make it feel more real and connected. You can knock it for that, but “Iron Man” was the first step in actually connecting the marvel movie-verse together. Hating it for doing that is hating it for accomplishing its goal.
Anyways, this is all getting too long, and I don’t mean to philosophize so I’ll sum up. This movie has action, human, and drama. All of that adds up, somewhat unevenly, to a good summer blockbuster that I feel just barely makes it on the same level as the first.
It’s a good movie, go see it.