Why ‘Iron Man 2′ Is A Weak Link In ‘The Avengers’ Chain

Published 5 years ago by , Updated July 16th, 2014 at 11:10 am,

Iron Man 2 Still War Machine Mark V 570x320 Why Iron Man 2 Is A Weak Link In The Avengers Chain

If you are a regular Screen Rant reader, you no doubt know that I am not yet on this Avengers bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong – I WANT this to be the epic, game-changing comic book movie event that most of you are hoping for… I’m just not yet certain that it’s going to be.

And if Iron Man 2 was anything to judge by, I have logical reason to worry.

Iron Man 2 is officially a box office success, taking the number one spot two weeks in a row and raking in another pile of profit for Marvel Studios. Things are proceeding toward the epic Avengers movie event as planned, I would think. Critically, Iron Man 2 seems to be 75% fan-approved, with our own Vic Holtreman giving it a ‘flawed but fun’ review.

But I’m not drinking this glass of Kool-Aid. Not this time. To me,  Iron Man 2 is a super hero movie where nothing super heroic happens – a movie that totally mishandles its main character in favor of secondary goals like setting up the Avengers movie.

Let me be clear upfront: I “get” the story of Iron Man 2: Tony Stark has revealed to the world that he is a superhero and is addicted to the power and fame that revelation brings him, even though the demands of being Iron Man are literally killing him. With villains circling and death on the horizon, Tony must once again find the will and way to salvation.

Now, there is a time-honored rule of good writing: “Show, don’t tell.” Think for a second about what we are told in Iron Man 2 versus what we’re actually shown, and then tell me that this movie got things right.

Here’s what we’re told at the start of Iron Man 2:

  • The demands of constantly being Iron Man are draining Tony’s life-sustaining power cores faster and faster. It’s basically a death sentence every time he puts on the suit and plays hero.
  • Tony has tried and tried to find a new upgrade for his outdated power core – but darn it, he just can’t do it!
  • The stresses of being a public superhero are wearing Tony down emotionally as well as physically (as evidenced by Robert Downey Jr.’s long stares).

iron man trailer2b Why Iron Man 2 Is A Weak Link In The Avengers Chain

That’s a great premise for a superhero movie – a story about a hero with no secret identity (no refuge), trying to balance a celebrity ego with the great responsibilities that come with great power icon wink Why Iron Man 2 Is A Weak Link In The Avengers Chain . Best of all, with an actor like Robert Downey Jr. (who certainly proved it in the first film), none of these heavy themes have to feel too heavy, or too serious (read: too Dark Knight). Should be awesome! Right?

But here’s what we were ultimately shown in Iron Man 2:

  • How Tony Stark spends his downtime.
  • What a bunch of the supporting players are up to.
  • Eventually how Tony stops playing around and solves his problem.

Before you tear into me, please just think about it. What did you see? Tony opening the Stark Expo; Tony screwing with Congress; Tony getting boxing lessons; Tony at the Monaco races; Tony bumming around the Stark Industries offices; Tony getting drunk at a party; Tony staring off at nothing (the “heavy” moments); Tony eating donuts, while in a giant donut; etc…

Now I already know what some of you are going to try to say: “Dude, that’s the point! It’s about how Tony Stark starts to unravel from the demands of being Iron Man, the pressures of fame, and how he has to mature as a hero!” And that’s a fine story to tell, I don’t disagree – but unless you show the audience what it is, exactly, that’s causing the hero to unravel – the actual trials and tribulations he’s going through -  the story kind of misses its own mark, no?

Continue what Iron Man 2 should’ve been…

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  1. Great article Kofi.

    While I agree with most of what you said, I actually liked the second movie more than the first.
    I am by no means a fanboy (I think the only comic book I ever read was Astonishing X-Men: Gifted about a year ago) so some things might pass way over my head, but when I think about both movies, I like the second one the most.
    It is really hard to define why but I think it was because it was the first time I really saw a super hero be such an ass (emo Peter Parker doesn’t count) combined with the fact that I love RDJ. That seemed to compensate all the other problems in the movie, for me.

  2. Although I did enjoy and like the movie a lot, I too agree that the magic that made the first one so great was missing here. What we did get were more laughs and more of a reason to go see The Avengers and to stay in tune with all the other Marvel movies that are coming out. I personally have always thought that the Avengers was going to be a bomb. Sure it will make money, but to me there will be so many things going on, there will likely be no lead character, and there will likely be many, many gaps in the story. I think that after the Avengers people will calm down a bit off of this superhero hype that is going on because I just doin’t see the Avengers making it as film, at least from a quality standpoint. We will probably just get a bunch of fight scenes and supposebly epic speaches from tthese so called heroes.

    Neverthless, I did like Iron Man bt I did think that if you went into the movie not haven seen Iron Man 2 or not knowing about what is going on in the Marvel universe you might have been a little lost.
    The whole scene when Iron Man created the new element was one of the most ridiculous scenes I have seen this year in a movie. It took him what 5 minutes? haha I cant help but laugh at that. Samuel Jackson and SHIELD were overly used imo and the chemistry between Stark and Potts was not strong enough to warrant such a passionate kiss at the end of the film.

    They should have spent more time with Whiplash and gave his story some more substance because whne the final fight came out and he dies it was very anticlimactic. I mean WHiplash really did not do anything to “hurt” Iron Man deeply (yes I know he attacked him on tehrace tracks) but there was no real passion or loathing that Stark had towards him and that is what was needed. In the first film Obediya really hurt stark emotionally which only added more emotion to the final fight scene. We all know that the batman had a personal vendeta against the Joker in TDK and this is what we needed here. We needed Stark to have a reason to hate Whiplash, and that was missing and what bothers me is that they had a great opportunity to make whiplash this years joker and make him a great villain in history. Instead they chose to focus on the Avengers, black Widow, and Nick Fury.

    Totally see the point in this article but all things taken into consideration I still cant help enjoying the movie,definately a guilty pleasure that I have.

    • i agree with the whole whiplash thing what the hell was that 3 min life span of the final fight. I mean come on dont you think that russian knows how to fight i mean damn hes super smart and come on he is in a big freaking suit. cheese it took him longer to fight the old guy in the first film.

      Also with that whole element dont you think it would have takin alot longer to develope.

      I mean dont get me wrong i loved this movie but c’mon there has to be more to the whole thing. Like you said whiplash could have been the next joker but noooo.

      Im sorry but now that i think of it there was alot wrong with the movie but still okay.

      Lets just hope they dont make the same mistake with the Avengers.

  3. I agree with what you said.. I think there were mistakes and I dont understand how they didnt “Show, don’t tell.”… I mean, yeah maybe budget was an issue.. But same time there’s ways around it though. They should have prioritized. Like you said that would be an excuse. You need to SHOW certain things to truly make it work. If these are important elements to the character and the story the audience needs to EXPERIENCE these things with the main character. If not it would not have the emotional attachment. It’s truly a good point you made. I hope that Marvel learned from their mistakes in Ironman 2 and consider this one a dodged bullet- ’cause I really liked the film even though it was flawed.

  4. With all due respect Vic I think you are being to obsessive regarding this leading up to the Avengers movie stuff. I thought Ironman 2 was a great story to tell. Why does every superhero story have to always be about super powered guys fighting extreme super evil guys. Why can’t it be about super powered hero’s dealing with their own evil demons?
    I didn’t need to see Ironman destroying weapons, and deposing terrorists, or saving babies from runaway cars, to know that it has gone on. Extraneous set pieces don’t get me excited. A good story gets my juices flowing and this was the story of Tony Stark doing something that no other super hero movie had done yet. No secret identity and many personal demons to fight and that was the story.
    I really didn’t feel like anything was too contrived. I didn’t think just because they time compressed his research to find the new element, was a problem. Ya can’t delve into every moment of a characters life or adventures. That would be too much and we’d all be bored very fast. Also remember Tony’s Dad actually solved the problem for Tony but didn’t have the tech to apply the solution, so he left it for Tony to complete. So it wasn’t a discover the element from scratch situation requiring tons of hours, which I believe is your assumption.
    I think they are teasing us in these films about the Avenger movie and for me I do not think they are sacrificing good story telling to to it. I do not want these films to eventually become camp or parodies of themselves down the road in order to adhere to some stereotypical ideal of what a superhero film has to be like. I just want them each to be good popcorn movies that I can enjoy and not be embarrassed to watch.

    • Vic didn’t write this, though I’m sure he also respects how you feel :-)

      To each his own. But I don’t think highlighting and showing Tony working hard at his obligations as Iron Man would be “extraneous.” What other super hero movie has shown us the hero being overworked to the point of exhaustion? Nowhere did I say it should be the superhero forumla of good vs. evil – I said I liked the premise, but they executed it wrong. That’s my point: a wasted opportunity.

      Thanks for reading, and again, to each their own. :-)

  5. I enjoyed Iron Man 2 the only problem I had with it was that the most important scenes were not focused on enough while the non-important scenes had too much focus, all coming down to climax that wasn’t climatic enough. One other issue is the Vibranium!!! Now hopefully down the road we’ll see Tony disappointed to find out that Vibranium already exists in a land called Wakanda the land of The Black Panther.

  6. Iron Man 2 was ultimately a weaker movie, with several unnecessary character modifications, missing several of the beats that would have otherwise made it great. As a fan I think it’s fun to see Iron Man on screen doing stuff, so in that regard I enjoyed the movie. The special effects and fun factor were present, but the soul of the story and the characters were not.

    The weak story, unnecessary cameos, and false drama in the movie let me with the impression that the cast and crew created a frat party of a movie with people they met at the height of their fame, rather than actually creating as airtight a movie as they could.

    The people involved with Iron Man are super nice people, and I don’t hate the movie by any means. Actually, there’s a lot of good things to be said about Iron Man 2. It’s just that the criticisms that can be levied against it are so obvious that you’d swear those components were thrown around the movie either in defiance of somtehing, or for some intentional reason.

  7. Why am I not surprised by this article being written. While there would have been too much of a hoopla over an “Iron Man vs. The Dark Knight” article, might as well redirect towards something else. Same opinion, different heading.

    • Oh that article is coming. This is a separate point being made.

      You just seem stuck on the idea that I’m some TDK fanboy or something. So really YOUR COMMENTS are always the same – just posted under different threads.

      I would thank you for reading…If I felt you actually did so.

      • Thanks for taking the high road.

        Seeing as I never called you a fanboy, I’ll clarify and not attempt insults. First, I read what you wrote, but even if I didn’t I would have already had a sense of what you were going to address. I can respect someone not liking a movie, and Iron Man 2 is a movie with faults. Outright telling plot points insults the audience, SHIELD tended to feel sort of tacked on as an extraneous plot device for The Avengers, and the final battle with Whiplash was underwhelming. Those are qualms that come to mind that I know IM2 suffered from.

        While I actually agree with most of your points against the movie, the biggest problem I have is the tone drawn out of you when you address IM2. In the same way the outright revealing plot points disrespects the audience, outright instructing people what their opinion ought to be does the same thing. When I start feeling like I’m reading something by Devin Faraci a part of me just turns right off to it.

        It’s not about you disliking IM2 (I have problems with it too) or that you’ve talked about liking TDK over IM in past posts or comments (a film I also like), but how I’ve noticed your tone gets with IM2 for some reason. If you were to want me to compile a list of what I’m talking about I suppose I could, but we’re talking about a superhero movie. It’s not something I get worked up over, and, of the things I allowed myself to know before walking into IM2, I knew those involved with it were doing their own thing with the genre.

        To a fault at times, sure, but they’re respectable efforts.

        • You make assertions without citing one line of evidence.

          How am I trying to steer people’s opinions? Every point I argue is ended with a question (i.e., asking people if they agree or not).

          If my argument is persuasive, why is that a bad thing? (See there, ended with a question again – not the same thing as saying “It’s a good thing” or “I’m right.”)

          I guess I could see your point better if you actually cited examples of how my tone is too pushy, instead of just saying it is. “Show don’t Tell,” – the very point of this article, man.

          • I can see there’s no point in me having even addressed this, as to talk about tone seems to only invite more of the same tone in question. Not that there isn’t something more that I could say, but it’s beginning to feel more like “who can argue their point the best.” I can play that game, but not when attitude gets involved.

            • That’s a cop-out. I asked you for examples and evidence instead of assertions. Now you’re saying “we’re going in circles.”

              I’m fine if you don’t want read my stuff from now on. I prefer those who can prove their points.

              Have a good one.

  8. Great insight. I thought that Iron Man two was a lot of fun, but I can definitely agree with you that it wasn’t great. The problem is that I have just come to expect that any movie of that budget and genre can only be fun. I wish I could expect more but I would just be continually disappointed.

  9. I would certainly agree with two of the key points there, it bugged the crap out of me that suddenly Stark is being poisoned by his energy core (why wasn’t that hinted at etc in the first film, possibly because they needed a plot device?) and we were just told that, it seemed like it needed justification to me and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with the show don’t tell aspect of it.
    And secondly the very rushed, daddy issue, new element creation scene. Too reminiscent of the scene in Spider-Man 3 where the butler suddenly tells Harry Osborn that Spidey is a good guy really… aka too easy.

  10. Very well argued, Kofi, and I think Stark’s lack of any truly significant action as Iron Man was mirrored by Whiplash. Having introduced a great actor in a supposedly custom-written role, the script then proceeded to do nothing especially villainous with him. Mickey Rourke ended up doing precious little except directing a bunch of robots from behind a computer with his large monster hands, then getting pimp-slapped in seconds flat when he finally did decide to show up for a row in person.

    Black Widow: totally superfluous.

    Walt Disney creating a new element and then hiding the plans for it because he couldn’t be bothered to build it himself and wanted to mess with his son’s head in the future (“See, Tony? The sun really does shine out of my dead warmongering behind.”): quite literally “deus ex machina”.

    There’s a scene from the Demon In A Bottle storyline where Stark, drunk as a sack, tries to help out as Iron Man at a railroad crash. Lifts a tanker, misjudges it, it all goes horribly wrong and he has to scarper with his tail between his legs. I’d never seen a superhero behave like that before – screwing up spectacularly not because he was under alien mind control or whatever, but because his life was in freefall and he had a bottle of whisky in him. Nothing remotely that intriguing in the movie, visually or emotionally.

    IM2 felt too much like a cold exercise in covering bases, hitting marks, setting this and that up for The Avengers and moving on to the next set piece. It made me feel absolutely nothing – like being abducted by saucers, gang-probed, and returned three days later with no memory.

  11. I agree with the article as well. I actually found myself wanting certain scenes to end, like anytime Paltrow and RDJ were talking to each other. I would say that this film is decent, but you’re right, it just doesn’t measure up. The 2nd X-men movie was better than the first. Dark Knight was better than Batman Begins. That’s the way it should be. I wish this film had been more direct and heavier with regards to Tony’s condition. The way the story ran, I never really cared about his illness and I didn’t really feel like he was in danger anyway. I do think though that the third movie will be a lot better because it won’t have to set up another film like this one did.

  12. hi kof,
    good story, a bit over analysed for a comic book movie maybe.
    i enjoyed the movie but have not seen it a second time yet. (that’s usually when i start over analysing myself)
    i too was disappointed when shield said they would not need him other that consultant…for about a second. but then it occurred to me that capt. america was gonna be the team leader (good set up.
    so consider this..
    when loki comes to earth disquised as thor and begins lobbing lightning bolts at the hulk and his girlfriend (tie in from hulk movie, whether it was originaly meant or not) which really agrivates the hulk and sets him off after the real thor. hulk is looking like he’s more than thor and capt. america can handle, so iron man steps back in to save the day. they get the hulk back to being banner and let him know how he’s been tricked. aha! avengers assemble!
    they then go after whatever loki and whomever have in store for them.


  13. “In fact, the hero in this superhero movie is SO unheroic that the epilogue to the story is the super team basically telling the hero that he’s not hero enough to join them – a development which now has the geek community wondering if Downey and Iron Man will even factor heavily into The Avengers” ~and they can all say that it was planned that way from the beginning, Lucas style ;)

  14. The only thing that can bring Iron Man above and way beyond Iron Man 2 status is if Iron Man 3 DOES DEMON IN A BOTTLE. It’s absolutely necessary and someone must be critically injured(Hogan) while someone else seemingly gets killed(Pepper). The would be the perfect reason for Tony turn plunge into darkness of the bottle and blame himself while also losing Stark Industries. Someone say maybe Madame Mask who seems like a female corporate rival actually helping Tony,along with Rhodey would work and help with him regaining Stark Industries back and with defeating “Ghost”(responible for Hogan & Pepper). Tony overcoming his greatest internal enemy “Alcohlism” and external “The Mandarin” is the way to go.

  15. I don’t see why people have such a big problem with Iron Man 2. Sure, it wasn’t as good as The Dark Knight, Kick-Ass, or Watchmen, but it was still really good for a comic book movie. I actually liked it better than the first. I can understand your point about nothing heroic happening, but the movie really wasn’t about the hero being a hero, it was about the hero’s fall. Iron Man had done plenty of heroic deeds in the space between the two movies, we don’t really need to see it all. This was about the fall out, and then his rise from the ashes in the greatest phoenix metaphor ever personified (Tony’s words, not mine ;)). It’s a bridge movie. Really, the only thing that I had much of a problem with was the misuse of Vanko. He had the potential to (almost) match Kedger’s Joker, but they just had him on the sidelines throughout the entire movie and then used a giant cop-out move to take him out in the end.
    Anyways, all that aside, I think that people are scrutinizing comic book films far too much. Not all of them are going to be The Dark Knight. In fact, it’s unlikely that any of them will be. I like to think of these movies as void-fillers. Right now Hollywood is in a giant creative slump, and comic book movies are a good way to fill the void while we wait for modern classics like The Departed, No Country for Old Men, and Into the Wild to pop up.

  16. I agree that IM2 had more than a couple of misses although I still enjoyed the movie overall. I do, however, feel that we saw too much of Tony in his suit while doing, well, nothing. Getting drunk, sitting at a donut shop, and sitting in a giant donut with the suit on was overdone IMO. These mishaps make me wonder how Avengers will all be put together and that it may not completely meet our expectations.

    I think the fact that Tony has no “powers” and flies around in a suit is perhaps the wrong barometer to use for how the tone and look of Avengers will eventually be. I think seeing The Incredible Hulk (and eventually seeing Thor) we get a better idea of how some of those fight scenes will look on film in the Avengers. Tony shooting lasers may not give us that feel entirely, but I do very much love Iron Man as part of the Avengers team.

    Regarding some of the talk about TDK and IM what histeachn had to say, these are both great movies/stories to debate about. I think these two heroes have similarities (young billionaires with expensive toys and absolutely no super powers), but are used very differently in their stories. IM, to me, is much more of a superhero/comicbook movie without the heavy, dark tone. It is much more playful while maintaining a dramatic tone. TDK is a great movie and a great story as well, but I never felt like I was watching a superhero movie at all. It has the feel of a rogue cop/fbi/detective thriller with a badass protagonist and an even badder antagonist. But there isn’t anything about it or how the story is told that screams “superhero” or “comicbook” movie. I think the fact that Marvel cross-pollinates its stories (Avengers angle) to their movies supports that fact. TDK is very much in its own world and that works perfectly fine…hard to imagine that other superheroes exist in the same world. However, now I’m reading that WB/DC will attempt to cross pollinate Nolan’s Batman with Green Lantern and Superman to follow Marvel’s lead (JLA angle). While I’m not 100% sold that the Avengers movie will be a huge success (but I hope that it is), it’s even harder for me to imagine that a JLA movie will work…I think it would go more smoothly without Batman IMO.

  17. @Kofi,

    Great article. Made me rethink my impressions of this film. It is definitely more of a set up for the Thor and Avengers films than a stand alone film. Sadly, I think it could have still told the same story differently (read: better) and still accomplished the “lead in” elements for the Avengers just fine.

    The premise was good. It was executed poorly. 100% agree.

    But, one thing that bothered me is that you said that it was “ridiculous” that Tony Stark created a new element. And that the lab scene was “rushed.” How is the creation of a new element any more ridiculous than the fact that Tony Stark created a mini nuclear reactor out of spare parts in the first film while in a cave? And as for the “rushed” scene where he creates it, how is it anymore rushed than the fact that his home computer basically builds the Iron Man Suit for him in the first movie while he goes to a party?

    All I am saying is that speed (and ease) with which he is able to create game changing technology has not changed. If Tony Stark has any super power at all, it is that he is probably the smartest engineer and inventor alive, making someone like Tesla or Edison look like a idiots. It is following the franchise’s internal logic just fine. Real world logic was thrown out the window in the first film.

    • “How is the creation of a new element any more ridiculous than the fact that Tony Stark created a mini nuclear reactor out of spare parts in the first film while in a cave?”

      I’m pretty sure he was in that cave for over three months, using materials from weapons he constructed, with a design based off the arc reactor that Tony has had his entire life to analyze. I don’t see that as rushed. I see that as fortuitous.

      If they had included a sense of time lapse when he was putting the equipment together so it seemed like a week or two had gone by and not simply hours it might have been more believable.

  18. Iron Man is part of the Avengers. Get over it…

  19. I gotta completely disagree. You say they should show things like the stresses of being a revealed superhero and his emotional downfall as he discovers his continued use of the Iron Man suit is killing him. Yet you write off scenes that show just this, like the government going after Stark for the Iron Man armor (“Tony screwing with Congress”), him essentially giving up and getting wasted helps show his downfall but you act like it’s just his downtime, Tony staring off at nothing, which I don’t recall tbh and I saw it twice. The scene with him “bumming around the Stark Industries offices” was a scene that’s used to further his character/relationship arc with Pepper. The rest are tiny things, like boxing lessons and eating donuts. It’s like complaining the first Iron Man movie had him watching stripping stewardesses, showing up unannounced to parties and drinking saki. They weren’t big scenes, just things that happen in passing.

    And Stark Expo, that ties in with the theme of legacy in the movie. Stark’s legacy, his dad’s legacy looming over him, the Vankos’ legacy having been trashed, the Stark Expo being a part of both his and his dad’s legacies, his dad leaving the blueprints in the expo for his legacy specifically for his son, yadda yadda etc. etc.

    As for him having to constantly suit up and save the day- he doesn’t have to. He’s “successfully privatized world peace.” They say in the movie that people aren’t in danger because nobody wants to mess with Stark once he dons the Iron Man armor. And calling the element scene “rushed” is pretty unfair. I thought it was even better than him designing the suit in the first one. It’s paced really well and doesn’t feel rushed to me at all.

    Also he only suited up four times in the first movie as well. You could argue he should be doing it more now that he’s an established hero, but personally, I love that we have a superhero movie that isn’t about the hero going out of his way to stop a villainous threat, but solely trying to defend himself after getting targeted himself. You could argue that SM3 did that, but well, come on. ;)

    • It sounds like you’re saying that if we’re told something, it’s sufficient.

      I’m sorry, but I can’t just hear a term like “privatized world peace” without thinking how was it done?

      In The Dark Knight, for example, within the first fifteen minutes of the movie we SEE how the criminals of Gotham City have reacted to the debut of the Batman after BB. A few quick scenes of criminals ducking for cover when the Bat signal flashed in the sky was all it took to establish how the rules of the world had changed because of a superhero.

      In IM2, they just say these things, but in terms of what we see, the world is far from peaceful – Tony is wrong, and that’s a major point of the movie. Guys Like Vanko and Hammer are out there.

      I have to concede to your point: no a superhero doesn’t have to be suited up the whole time in a superhero movie – some of the more interesting stuff happens out of the suit. You are correct. I just don’t think what Tony did outside of the suit this time around was all that interesting. But that’s a difference of opinion so I’ll have to accept it. ;-)

      • Thanks for the response. I can get behind the “show, don’t tell” aspect of stopping terrorism. I think they could have shown some of that in the opening credits sequence rather than Vanko building the arc reactor. From my understanding they had a bunch of that footage (the Vanko footage), with him talking to the bird and stuff, which could’ve been divided up to pad out the quick pace of the beginning of the movie.

        Overall, I really liked the movie as much as the first. I think it provided a solid link in the Avengers chain. It had good references without being overbearing, especially that Captain America shield joke. Some people say the movie was like an ad for Avengers, but that was kind of the point of the joke. They build it up with Tony looking at it saying “I need that” and the audience is like “oh boy they’re really gonna hit us with this Avengers thing huh?” Then there’s the anticlimax of using it as a level, which to me says, “yeah we’re making this huge movie and there are gonna be easter eggs, but we’re not gonna get carried away with them or go crazy linking these things.”

  20. I think you make some valid observations. I can go either way with IM2. I liked the movie but think it certainly had its issues. I was really disappointed with the anticlimactic last fight and how Stark magically conjured a new element after ‘seeing’ the design in the model his father made. Genius or not, that was a stretch for me to believe, even in the context of a super hero movie.

  21. I couldn’t agree more. IM2 was “fun” in the ways that the power-brokers intended- synthetic “heavy” moments, a lotta clever-cool fake-improv quickly-mumbled banter between Pepper and Tony (specifically for that “see, it’s really like an.. indie film with a BIG budget, dude!” mandate, come DVD-extra time).. waaaay too many quick problem-solved moments, way too little actual darkness or depth… i “loved” it when i was watching it, and i can barely remember a complete scene! it just didn’t stick, in the way that i remember almost every moment of IM1. the saving graces for me were Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell, who seemed to feel that, as their first turns at bat, they had to establish quirky seriousness and scary power, on some levels.. i enjoyed their characters actually a lot more than Downey’s portrayal this time (though he’s a great actor overall)… but it just felt a bit… cocky? a bit like… “yeah, we got this nailed down”, when it actually felt like a pre-viz of a film that could’ve been amazing. Three words, guys” THE DARK KNIGHT. Power, depth, emotion, sadness, killer tech used organically, tremendous poignancy… oh, and what was up with ol’ sad-eyed softie emo boy, Don Cheadle??? another huge question mark.. if this character is supposed to be an ultimate badass US military careerist, we’re in big trouble!! He’s another GREAT actor, but his portrayal was strictly “rom-com emo sidekick helps main character get over jennifer aniston after the breakup by introducing him to the new hotty office manager” generic jive… the character was about as steely and tough as seth rogen.. in a word, a waste of printed ink on a script. Justin Theroux needed, with respect, to not be hanging around his buddy Ben stiller while writing this one… he shoulda holed up somewhere tough and basic, with few amenities, and created a tensile, heartfelt, complex and needle-sharp legacy piece. and Favreau shoulda shot THAT instead. excelsior!!! nuff said!!!

  22. What the Avengers need is Iron Man, not Tony Stark. First thing I thought of wasn’t “OH NO! someone else in the suit!” it was “We don’t need a drunk playboy/loose cannon”. Showing Stark sobering up is a step in that direction.

    As for a setup to the avengers? It’s called Iron Man, not The Great Pre-Avengers Movie co-starring Iron Man.

  23. I wouldn’t say I disagree with the points you made but some of the reasons why you didn’t like it are the exact reasons why I DID like it. I liked the fact that it was less of a superhero movie and more of a drama with really good characters, some comedy and a little action. To be honest, Tony Stark as a character is a bit more entertaining than when he suits up as Iron Man. It sounds like you wanted the movie to focus more on just Iron Man w/o focusing on the secondary characters. Personally, I think showing the other characters makes his world more fleshed out, more believable.

  24. Sorry Kofi, I usually agree with what is said on ScreenRant, but with this I don’t.

    By the way, at the end they basically make the deal that Tony is basically a “consultant” for S.H.E.I.L.D. I’m sure that whether it’s before The Avengers movie or during either Thor or Captain American they will make Iron Man/Tony Stark a full part of The Avengers.

    I think this movie was perfectly fitting into The Avengers and I am sure that we will be seeing Tony in Captain America & Thor at least as a Cameo.

  25. First of i loved iron man 2 and i disagree with most of everything you just said. Yeah it lacks some of the heart but i think it was a 4 out of 5 and it had way better scenes than the first one. The cameos are a little corny but you make it sound like batman & robin. I ignore most of the avengers stuff anyway and dont care when it comes out. I focus on that individual movie, not that it is a prequel to the avengers.

  26. IM2 storyplot wasnt as intense as it’s predessor. Because in the 1st movie we get to ride along his journey of invention from mark1 to mark3 & travel back to Afgan to kick their ass.
    But IM2 we know he was been poison & eventually he will die; yet he does not want to share his technology with the government. Exactly what does he want, he doesnt seem like looking for a cure, he was lost in his life direction which literary happen in this movie.
    The supporting character isnt supporting enough especially Pepper who happen to be a little useful at 1st movie turn out to be useless in the sequel. I mean in the comics she could still able to help hiding Tony secret identity but in the movie what else can she do – waiting to be save by her boyfriend?
    I also agree there wasnt sufficient heroic action until towards the end & the fight scene at his home was a little too much & unnecessary.
    Lastly the final fight scene was a major letdown the fact that how easily Whiplash being defeated almost as if he was standing in middle of stage waiting to be finish by Ironman & Warmachine.
    Whiplash could at least put up more fight scene such as follow:-
    (spoiler ahead)
    When both Ironman & Warmachine trying to create their finishing move (which is not so impress btw); Whiplash could at least swing them around using his whips whenever their try to create their finishing move.
    Ironman then counter attack by stretching both his arms at each end trying to stablelize his armour along with Warmachine doing the same preventing Whiplash to swing any further.
    While both their arms are occupied, they can use their ultimate chestplate to unleash the greatest beam aiming at Whiplash at both side. Wouldnt that be more impressive rather than using the same old trick again.
    Besides, the chest repulsor ray is one of Ironman trademark but yet they just let it slip away without even featuring at all in the sequel.
    Favreau shld have do more homework on Ironman fight scenes instead he concentrate more on his own.

    • Well he did shoot a watermelon with it. :-P

  27. I think Iron Man is meant to be the “fun, funny summer action flick” character in the Marvel Studios lineup… As we saw in The Incredible Hulk, Hulk is the “moodier/darker action movie” character in the lineup… Thor will be the classical, legendary “mythology movie” character (Branagh’s directing will help with that). Captain America will be the war hero character.

    If all of these movies have their own feel to them like that, I think The Avengers could still be great, no matter how “flawed” Iron Man 2 is… Because in summer action flicks (Iron Man 1 and 2), flaws are expected – flaws are OK in those movies. They’re meant to be fun, not perfect.

    As long as these movies are awesome for what they are individually (Iron Man 2 isn’t perfect, but it is awesome), then they can all come together. If it’s done correctly, then The Avengers can be awesome… But Joss Whedon definitely has his work cut out for him.

    I’ve still got hope for this franchise.

  28. This is one of the reasons why i love “SCREENRANT” job well done Kofi Outlaw!!!!!

  29. I totally agree with your article. I walked out of the theater with no complaints about IM2, but after I rewatched the first movie a week later I thought: “Ughhh…”

    In Iron Man, Tony talks about defending the world as Iron Man was the reason he was still alive. By the end of the movie, we saw that he had become a somewhat selfless hero. But in the sequel, Tony just went back to being an a**. That whole selfless hero side had completely disappeared.

    Iron Man 2 was just a two hour commercial for the Avengers. It was more like spring cleaning…setting us all up for Captain America and Thor. Did they need to do that? Yeah. I think introducing the whole S.H.I.E.L.D element needed to be done, but it could have been better. (That’s where the “show, don’t tell part” comes in)

    Was IM2 fun? Heck yeah! Did it live up to the first one? No. I just really hope they don’t make the same mistake for the rest of the Saga. Fun just won’t cut it.