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  • Tony has tried and tried to find a new upgrade for his outdated power core – but darn it, he just can’t do it!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. i disagree. i thought that everything that went on with tony is what the movie is about. what it takes for him to redeem himself and to stop the government from taking his suits. all while thinking he will not have to deal with it cause he is dead. i think that people try and pull more out of a movie than is even put into it ya know. and introducing s.h.i.e.l.d. upper agents. it would have made the movie more than 2 half hrs long. i did think that he could have suited up more than he did and more action but i completely like the movie. the last fight scene could have been longer. and tony didnt just create a new element his father left it for him. his father was just limited by his time and technology. tony finished what his dad started. and it was originally designed to solve the energy crisis for the world not to save tony but it became what he needed.

  2. and for being a weak link in the avengers chain i think its not. its exactly a link. an intro to the avengers story line. but meant to stand alone. and the issues you addressed where about the movie itself not its connection to the avengers. just saying i thought it was a great movie and that it has all it needs to connect cause i want the avengers to just jump into it with the recruitment done in the previous films.

  3. “I have logical reason to worry.”
    your like Mr.Spock.
    & i love it sir.
    great post Kofi

  4. I agree completely.

    NO urgency at all was shown regarding Tony’s failing health.

    What was NEEDED was something akin to “Crank” (1&2) where the hero MUST perform certain actions OR DIE.

    Or for a closer visual reference for the Generation X crowd think of Ultraman and the suspense going on in each battle because his “heart” was going to be stopped if he didn’t leave Earth, and thus the battle before his time ran out. (I’d LOVE to see an Ultraman film done right!)

    “Ironman 2″ was what I call a “Solid Sequel”, which I define as something that isn’t as good as the original and by no means sets the world on fire but also isn’t a COMPLETE disaster ala “Pet Semetary 2″,”Highlander 2″, and “Mortal Kombat 2″ (AKA “Mortal Kombat:Annihilation”). It could have been much better, or it could have been much worse.

  5. Dude you’re tripping on your own ego. I think you wish you were Tony Starks or something. But John and Robert really got this movie right. They had to seperate from the first movie so it wasn’t so cookie cutter and they will seperate from this movie when they make Avengers & IM3. It’s about progress and that’s what Marvel is trying to do. Give us comic geeks “baby steps” of progress. Look at what happened when Fox took over X-men, Dare Devil and projects alike so chill and take the baby steps with the rest of us and stop tripping.

  6. Is this really about being disappointed in Iron Man and scared of the Avengers or just another Kofi Chris Nolan and TDK love fest? Suprised there was no mention of his boy Bret Ratner’s aproach on X-3 either..

  7. I disagree. I am by no means a fanboy of the IM movies I think that’s well known. I found IM 2 to be much better than the first. The first film had a lot of great stuff but completely fell apart at the end it was a total dissaster and just awful for the end. IM2 was not perfect had it’s problems sure but was enjoyable and consistant all the way through at no point was IM2 amazing but also at no point was it awful. The worst scenes in IM2 were leaps and bounds better than the third act in the first film.

    • I still don’t get the third act complaints of Iron Man 1. Compared to IM2 The third act of IM1 is epic and sensible, IMHO.

      At least in IM1 the final battle made use of the story that came before it (Tony using the “ice trick” against Iron Monger, or the flares he used against the fighter jets) and there was actual dialogue and development between Tony and Obidiah, and Pepper was actually an asset in helping Tony defeat Obidiah. And though it was stupid, even the Arc Reactor explosion was the end result of a well – developed subplot. And there was heroic purpose: to stop Obidiah from mass producing and abusing the arc reactor tech to make iron man weapons.

      In IM2 I felt that the ending battle was just a pointless F/X set piece. The Zen Garden showdown was awesome, yes, but the aerial chase was almost incomprehensible (and I saw the film on digital IMAX) and the Whiplash final battle? Suffice to say I get confused when people say the Iron Monger fight was underwhelming but they liked the final battle with Whiplash. Total waste of that character.

      But that’s just me. Like I said, that Zen garden fight was cool, Black Widow kicking ass was cool – so there are positives.

      • Useless article.

        Some of us have been waiting years for these characters to come to life in Movies. Marvel are doing an outstanding job. Stop knocking it.

        Obviously, everything can always be bettered in some way…

        • That’s a good excuse, Frank.

          Did you say that when you went to see

          X-Men 3
          Fantastic Four 1&2
          Ghost Rider
          Spidey 3
          Batman & Robin

          …OR were you just happy because you’d been waiting so long for those characters to come to life in Movies?

          • No Kofi,

            I didn’t say that. Very funny and a fair point but;

            What I perhaps should have said was many of us have been waiting years to see these characters come to life in the right way, and it seems the majority agree that marvel is doing it the ‘right’ way…

            As you have stated these particular movies, it seems you agree they were rubbish. How can you put Iron Man 2 in the same league as these? While it was ‘different’ to the first one and both movies have flaws, can you honestly call this a weak link?

            Also, I said Marvel were doing a fantastic job, not Fox, Sony ect…

            • I was just busting you chops :-)

              I see your point and respect your opinion. On the whole I think Marvel Studios has done spectacular work, even if I have problems with IM2.


  8. I’m not completely sold on The Avengers,mainly because who are they gonna fight?I think the success of it,and future movies/tie-ins revolves around that.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it,the heroes are only as good as the villains they face.If the villains suck,more times than not,the heroes won’t be as good,and the movie will suffer.

  9. I think Joss Whedon is the weakest link in the Avengers project.

  10. Honestly, it was a good film, the film probably wouldn’t have worked if it was dark, it will blend perfectly with the Avengers. Its not better than the first Iron Man, but Iron Man 2 had more action then the first film, and it was more humorous. Its not the films problem,its your personal opinion. And I think your definitely getting way ahead of yourself, honestly, your just stating what you want and nobody seems to be taking your word on it.

  11. Sorry Simin but Joss is one of the best things going for the Avengers. By far the weakiest link is Chris Evans.

    • Don’t you mean Joe Johnston?

      Listen – I hear his complaints, but this is also assuming
      that movies like the Empire strikes back were ‘perfect’ movies.

      Take a second look at your nostalgic dream movies. They’re not
      quite as good as you remember.

      Who the Hell are these Ewok people, anyway? Are you telling me
      Luke is NOT Leia’s love interest? That they’re RELATED ???


      Take a chill pill. Writing is an imperfect process. This was
      a solid sequel. We can certainly hope that the 3rd installment
      is as solid or improves on its developments & epic scale.

      Let’s really get talkin’ about THOR, and how Robert Downey’s gonna interact w/
      that guy. Cuz I am 100 % interested in seeing that happen.

      Cap – lessee. I think he’ll be the straight guy in the bunch. The “Shemp” if you will.

      And when you think of it that way its almost as if Evans’ sense of humor will have to be subdued
      to make that happen. But restraint can be a good thing. I for one was very impressed w/ his acting chops in SUNSHINE.

      • I agree about Joe Johnston. Along with Louis Leterrier, he’s pretty much the only person working on the Marvel cinematic universe that I’m not 100% confident in.

  12. I’ve said this before, but I feel it applies here, I think this is just people complaining just for the sake of complaining. Certain people are gonna tear any movie down just to get heard, I honestly do not see your point in any way (Not trying to sound like a Douche or anything I just honestly don’t see your point). I feel that putting down a successful movie is always the popular thing to do at the time of it’s release so people are gonna do it. I feel like your waiting [eagerly] for Marvel to fail with the argument you’ve proposed honestly. Personally I thought IM2 was great and I loved the avenger tie ins, can’t wait for Thor next.

  13. I think its really unfair of you to consider IM2 “a weak link”. Regardless of how the storyline unfolded, we’d get a post of the opposite nature from you. Since the story line unfolded the way it did, you give us what you gave us. However, if favreau and marvel gave you a stress free, upbeat Tony Stark, you’d probably say he lacked “human” emotion. Considering IM2 mentioned SHIELD and the Avengers, if they didnt your post would have been on, “how does SHIELD and the Avengers” fit into all this. I mean, SHIELD and Avengers seeds both need to be planted eventually, and realistically, this movie would really be the ideal time to do so; Incredible Hulk would have been way too early, doing it in the first Iron Man would have really taken away from the movie, If they did it in Capt. America it would have left out Iron Man’s involvement, and if in Thor, both Iron Man and Capt America would have been left in the dark. I hope this makes sense. Timeline wise, this was I think Marvels best shot at doing so since CA and Thor arent too far away from releasing. But this is all just my personal opinion. For every great movie, people tend to focus on its shortcomings. I think Marvel is doing a great job thus far and hopefully The Avengers will live up to the hype that we’re giving it.

  14. after reading your post and thinking about the points you’ve made, i would have to agree with you.
    the movie was fun and all but it was lacking in not just the story but the tie in section as well. almost every time sam jackson was on screen he mentioned the avengers and tony being apart of a bigger team etc. not to mention the confusing ‘your not in the group’ scene at the end of the movie.

    the movie should have been better structured and should have had less BS dialogue between tony and pepper (which fyi didnt really achieve anything).
    the movie should have been about tony ‘saving the world’ and suffering the consequences. the 2 villains should have been the ‘what if’ versions of tony showing viewers who he could have been had he continued making weps for people, or deciding on using the suit for his own benefits.

  15. To add to my last comment, the only things that i didnt care for was Sam Jackson as Nick Fury. Him as Fury is so UNbelievable. To me, its just Sam Jackson with an eye patch.

    also, i didnt like how Pepper and Stark kissed at the end. I think it would have been better for there to be that sexual tension. It gives Stark character something that he wants but he cant have.

  16. the issue really isn’t the fact that “iron man wasn’t in it”,this was more of a part 2 done in a comic book way..remember its set a few months after and not years later like other films-also because Fury and Coulson were introduced in the first part,it was a natural progression to bring their situation with Tony more upfront.I do agree that the situation with the poisoning of his body by the poladium-should’ve been brought up as a possible hazard in the first film instead of the surprise it was at the very beginning as well as increase of by 50% like 20minutes into the movie..which was kind’ve confusing-why isn’t this guy on a stretcher somewhere?? did like the fact that War machine acknowledged the wrongness of it but I don’t know how much you would’ve needed to show-maybe more of them outside of their suits..not much “bromance” like there was in the first part..
    I do believe that if they were to have an “Avengers” film in the next few years they better get these directors to put their egos aside and start meshing the Marvel Universe alot better…would’ve been cooler if their had been more cameos or at least during the gov’t scene, show other characters from the marvel universe there…Henry gyrich??Val cooper??

    the last scene after the credits was weak..it was alright but weak…
    I think they need to let the respective heroes build their separate series before they get into one film together..
    I mean Thor isn’t even out yet, captain america hasn’t even started filming yet,and they want to start the avengers next year??hmm…I don’t know..

  17. i would place iron man 2 7th in best superhero movies 1. the incredible hulk 2.the dark knight 3. the punisher with thomas jane 4. batman begins 5. spiderman 6. iron man 7. iron man 2

    • That is one of the most unconventional lists of “top superhero movies” I’ve ever seen. Then again, I kinda’ liked Daredevil.

  18. You forgot to mention Stark Realizing he needed help. besides War Machine was the real star of the Flick

  19. Kofi you are such a pessimist.

  20. I never thought about it ’til now, but I totally didn’t get it was the suit draining the power cores. I just assumed they were naturally short-lived and he was trying to make longer-lasting ones.
    Even when Tony says it’s poisoning him I didn’t get it. That’s a shame.

    Could they not have had a scene in which Tony is visibly weaker and weaker after wearing the suit?

    This a good point Kofi, Iron Man 2 basically told us most of the plot.

    I usually don’t agree with anything you say, as our opinions are totally different (I LOVED Superman Returns and enjoyed Indy 4!) but this article is pretty spot on.

    The Iron Man films are overrated anyways.

  21. I personally think it’s way too early to be discussing weak links in any chain when there have only been three movies released(do three links even make a chain?). The unproven properties haven’t seen the light of day yet namely Captain AMerica, Thor, Ant-Man/Giant-Man & Wasp. Maybe after we’ve seen 2Avengers, 2 Thor, 2 Hulk, 2 Captain America movies and spin off Avenger movies like Ant-Man, Black Panther, Luke Cage/Iron Fist, MAYBE THEN WE COULD DISCUSS A REAL WEAK LINK IN A REAL CHAIN. Even though IM 2 had it’s weak points it is still one of the best movies in the genre and Marvel did a great job. The Incredible Hulk was not as good as either of the Iron Man movies and let’s face it, Marvel has shown us that they are indeed moving in the right direction with the properties they are controlling. Let’s give them the credit they deserve instead of over analyzing every detail of these films.

  22. I think the Avengers will stink! I Robert Downey has quite a big ego and is gonna want to be in charge of the whole film or it’s Cameo time!I think Joss whats-his -name is a terrible choice as director, (Buffy this aint!)
    Chris Evans will stink as Cap,He’s not that good an actor.
    As for Thor, time will tell.
    I didnt really think that much of Iron Man 2 but then again I just thought the first one was ok. As for the Avengers plot line, i didnt really think they rammed it down our throats.I also did nt really think Iron Man came of that much of a hero in this film, i think the film makers were being lazy by just implying it. I think it was a bit too bogged down with characters and maybe not enough just being a Comic Book film.(But Hey, I blame the Dark Knight for that right!?)

  23. Do I think it’s weak? Nope. I think you’re talking out the side of your neck with nothing short of nonsense. HOWEVER- I do understand your opinion and you have a right to it. I felt it followed nicely behind Iron Man- which for the record was NOT as perfect as people seem to want to proclaim. 2 years seem to have blinded people to the rather rushed final battle. Plus, that movie TOLD a lot, too. Sure, it showed a little more, but it has to be intricate- it’s an origin story. Comic books don’t wander into every sticky little corner- they try and keep to the interesting bits that build the story. Along the way they TELL us the rest.

  24. My favorite parts were the Avenger tie ins and S.H.I.E.L.D….with the Hammer being seen and Cap’s shield….but I must say I agree with the author. I am 100% sure THOR will redeem what we lacked in IM2, alas……I still have doubts on CA. THOR will set the bar, which IMO can only be reached with the Avengers on the screen. ( BUT must include Mr. Norton)

  25. I couldn’t agree with you more. I thought that the way Tony Stark’s character was presented was annoying and seemed completely at odds with what was presented in the first film. Being cocky is one thing, getting drunk in the suit and doing party trick is another.

    I also thought the last second “new element” solution was beyond hackneyed.

    What the film needed was more character development, more Mickey Rourke, less drones, less Samuel L. Jackson & NO ScarJO (barf!).

    While I’m at it, I thought Don Cheadle was BAD in comparison to Terrence Howard. Howard brought a coolness to Rhodes that Cheadle totally lacks. The sight of Cheadle walking around in the suit with the face open actually made me laugh. I guess I never imagined Rhodes as being as nerdy as Cheadle.

    I also have to say, I’m convinced The Avengers movie will be just awful. It will probably be more Fantastic Four than Spider Man. Captain America? Thor? Really? LAME!

  26. I totally agree with you. I was waiting for some action the whole time in the movie. The excessive comedy simply made Tony Stark look like an idiot. Actually, everybody looked like an idiot because of the excessive comedy. The respect that I gained for Tony Stark in the 1st movie completely dissolved. Yes, if you tout this as a Comedy movie, I’ll give it a 7/10. But it’s a superhero movie without much superheroism, which made me give it 2/10. Even most of the final fight scene is like Fast & Furious on Wings, and the bad guy went down without much action.
    In short, I completely hated the movie. As soon as the intermission came, first thing that came out of my mouth was “What a bad movie!!” And it was too long.
    I really don’t understand how it got a 7.5/10 on IMDB (Internet Movie Database). It’s the only film where I’ve been cheated by the reviews on IMDB.
    Keep up with the good rants. This was my first time here, but I will be coming back…

    • I wouldn’t say I completely hated the movie, but I agree with you about the excessive comedy elements. The scene with Stark using the suit to do party tricks is the primary offender in this category.

  27. WTF……Was Iron Man 2 that bad? Every critic has ripped into it. Probably because it wasn’t some anti-American, male hero getting in touch with his feminine side, liberal let’s be green movie…..

    • Yeah, it was BAD. All the comedy completely stripped away the grace from all the characters. They simply came across as extremely dumb and stupid. The acting is good, but the writing is not..

    • Dude what are you talking about? This has no political spin to it whatsoever and neither do most of the critical reviews I’ve seen.

      And for the record, Tony getting in touch with his feelings is pretty much what the movie was about…

  28. First of all, I would say that “Iron Man 2″ is not as great as its predecessor, “Iron Man”. I don’t like to admit it, but well, it is true. I felt it that way when I was watching this movie. However, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy watching it. I don’t even think that “Iron Man 2″ was a failure. It’s just that the movie didn’t “let” us to feel full satisfied.
    Regarding to Tony Stark’s bad attitudes shown in the movie (that could give himself a bad name as a hero) while he was having the deadly health problem, I can’t seem to figure out any other way how he should’ve behaved. I mean, Tony is a different kind of superhero. Having been through a lot as shown in the first installment, Tony however remains the same person: an industrialist and a playboy. He is no usual superhero type.
    So, if in this second installment we saw a lot of “disturbing stuff” that showed how far-from-heroic Tony was, it should be understandable. I think the filmmakers wanted him to be like this from the very first place in order to distinguish him from the other superhero characters (his personality is neither too dark nor too bright. It’s in the middle). That way, I come to think that it would be interesting to see how Tony will try to convince Nick Fury that he is hero enough to join the superhero team in “The Avengers”. Yes, I’m pretty sure that Downey and Iron Man will appear in that movie, and that he will assume important role despite of what Nick Fury said in “Iron Man 2”.
    As an avengers lead-in movie, I’d say “Iron Man 2” is sufficient. The characters that will be in “The Avengers” were introduced (Black Widow, War Machine). There was also Howard Stark. It is said that he will appear in “Captain America: The First Avenger”. Also, Stark Expo will have further storytelling in the movie. Then, what was shown in the post credit scene will lead us to Thor movie. So far, there have been many crossovers. I think this is what the filmmakers can do for now to show the audiences that these superheroes are in the same universe and that their stories are related.
    Conclusion: “Iron Man 2” is good. Gotta be better for the 3rd installment (if there will be), though.

  29. blah blah blah review review blah blah blah review blah review blah blah blah