Mickey Rourke Really Doesn’t Like ‘Iron Man 2′; Calls Marvel Movies ‘Mindless’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 12:22 pm,

Mickey Rourke Dislikes Iron Man 2 Calls Marvel Movies Mindless Mickey Rourke Really Doesnt Like Iron Man 2; Calls Marvel Movies Mindless

Iron Man 2 (while performing admirably at the box office) is widely considered to be the lesser of the two Iron Man films – in part because the most memorable thing about the villain was his fondness for birds.

The man who played that bird-loving bad guy, Mickey Rourke – who recently spoke to our very own Roth Cornet about his distaste for Iron Man 2 – went into further detail while promoting the forthcoming Greek mythology epic, Immortals.

On his attempt at complexity with Ivan Vanko – courtesy of Crave Online – Rourke said:

“[W]hen I did Ivan Vanko in Iron Man, I fought… You know, I explained to Justin Theroux, to the writer, and to [Jon] Favreau, that I wanted to bring some other layers and colors [to the charater], not just make this Russian a complete murderous revenging bad guy. And they allowed me to do that. Unfortunately, the [people] at Marvel just wanted a one-dimensional bad guy, so most of the performance ended up the floor.”

Ivan Vanko Loves Birds in Iron Man 2 Mickey Rourke Really Doesnt Like Iron Man 2; Calls Marvel Movies Mindless

He continued:

“[It’s] ****ing too bad, but it’s their loss. If they want to make mindless comic book movies, then I don’t want to be a part of that. I don’t want to have to care so much and work so hard, and then fight them for intelligent reasoning, and just because they’re calling the shots they… You know, I didn’t work for three months on the accent and all the adjustments and go to Russia just so I could end up on the floor. Because that can make somebody say at the end of the day, oh **** ‘em, I’m just going to mail it in. But I’m not that kind of guy. I’m never going to mail it in.”

While speaking to MTV Splash Page, Rourke blamed both the studio – for their desire to make mindless comic book movies – and Jon Favreau – for his lack of conviction (or in Rourke’s words, his lack of “nuts”) — for Vanko’s deficiencies:

“If they let you play the bad guy with other dimensions other than one-dimensional. You have to fight for that though, to bring layers to the character. Otherwise, if you’re working for the wrong studio or let’s say a director that doesn’t have any balls, then they’re just gonna want it to be the evil bad guy. […] So, if you’re working with some good studio guys that got brains and you’re working with a director with a set of nuts that’ll let you incorporate that then it’s fun. Otherwise, you end up with what happened on ‘Iron Man.’”

Mickey Rourke as Hyperion in Immortals Mickey Rourke Really Doesnt Like Iron Man 2; Calls Marvel Movies Mindless

By comparison, The Immortals‘ director, Tarsem Singh,was significantly more impressive. According to Mickey Rourke:

“Tarsem was great. He’s really smart, innovative. He had little things that were all ‘Oh wow.’ And that’s what it’s all about – to have somebody working with you that can kind of take your performance further than you maybe think you can or whatever. And he was so enthusiastic that it rubs off on the crew, it rubs off on the other actors. So it’s a collaborative, supportive kind of thing, instead of a laborious technical twelve hours. You get through the day and you look forward to going to work the next day, sometimes.”

It’s interesting that Mickey Rourke is choosing now to bash Iron Man 2 (repeatedly, and to different outlets), when Marvel has since released two financially successful films and has its biggest – The Avengers – on the way (not to mention Iron Man 3, written and directed by Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)). Perhaps that’s because this is the first major villain Rourke has portrayed since Iron Man 2, and he still has a terrible taste in his mouth about the whole ordeal.

Check out Roth Cornet’s interview for more about how unhappy Mickey Rourke is with the Iron Man 2 end product.

Do you agree with Mickey Rourke about Iron Man 2 and its lack of a strong or interesting villain? Let us know in the comments.


Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

The Immortals hits theaters this Friday, November 11th, 2011. Iron Man 3, which it is safe to assume won’t include the participation of Mickey Rourke, is scheduled to hit theaters May 3rd, 2013.

Sources: Crave Online, MTV Splash Page

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  1. I will have to admit the powers that be didnt do Whiplash (Mickey’s version) very much justice. There was so much cheese in IM2 compared to the first one. Ive always wondered what happened there. IM2 was very entertaining but so much could have been changed for the better….by anyone.

  2. Told fanboys that IM2 was weak when it FIRST came out. Lot denial/backlash was the response. Now RDJ AND Rourke have both admitted it sucked. Days like this, I love my job:


    • The storytelling in IM2 was very sketchy, and too many opportunities to fully flesh-out the characters — and back stories — of Ivan Vanko and Tony Stark were either wasted or missed completely. I had hoped that Ivan Vanko would be a equal to Tony Stark, but thanks to poor to non-existent character development, Vanko was more like a cartoon character.

      In the end, that lack of development of both the antagonist and the protagonist made IM2 (imo) an unsatisfying experience from a storytelling perspective. Too much “resting on past laurels” and failure to raise the stakes definitely didn’t help.

    • Hear, hear.

      Which is such a pity because IM2 had a lot going for it – bigger action, bigger potential for plot development, and of course a potentially great villain. Rourke looked so good as Whiplash that at first I thought it could be great, and when they opened with the scene with Vanko’s father I thought they really were playing the depth card with this one.

      Then all they bothered to let Vanko do was talk about birds and make suits. It’s a real pity.

    • @Kofi

      Just read your article for the first time and I pretty much agree with everything.

      IM2 and all movies later released are pretty much the reason why I have not jumped on The Avengers train yet. They were IMO ok films but left a lot to be desired. I just hope The Avengers gets it right but I wouldn’t be suprised if its more a popcorn (and red cherry slushee) flick.

    • Hah, I had to contend with the same sort of thing when I interned at Marvel.

    • IM2 was obviously not great,the superhero vs.villain fight ended on the race track,the last fight was crap compared to that first fight scene.
      Talk about a prologue to the Avengers movie.IM2 was the heaviest on setting up the Avengers.Saw it once and that was it.

    • Kofi do you ever take a day off from talking about how great you think you are ?

  3. which is funny because immortals looks absolutely horrendous and i’m willing to bet his screen time is going to make him just as much of a phantom as he was in iron man 2( by phantom i mean, never on screen for more than 3 minutes which you eventually forget he’s there at all).

  4. yes i talk smack about movies i dont like yet i take the money, stfu and get paid.

    Who is Mindless, the movie or the person who works on it and calls it Mindless? ither way you get paid. and thats the problem with hollywood a bunch of old fks running dont know sht and the people who say HELL YES this is going to be great, please pay me.

    • At leas you labeled your self right away to avoid confusion.

      That is appreciated mr Troll.

  5. You know, I didn’t like IM2, but Mickey Rourke is starting to come off as a complete ******. All the articles I see about him lately are him bashing other films and directors.

  6. Feels like Edward Norton all over again. But it doesn’t hold much water with me.

    Look at Robert Downey Jr. – he decided to have fun with the movie, still got to do his thing, and the franchise pretty much revived his career. Ditto on Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, and the rest.

    I don’t blame Mickey Rourke for not liking how Iron Man 2 turned out, but in some ways I think his attitude of “let’s do more! let’s do more!” instead of just having fun with his character may have hurt the film.

    Still a lousy script though, I won’t argue that one.

  7. Marvel used IM 2 as a filler for setting up The Avengers rather then letting it be it’s own film with Avengers easter eggs. Can’t blame the actors as well as Favs for wanting more from the film.

  8. im a huge marvel fan but lets face it, they suck at making movies..the 1st xmen movie was the best so far. Imo DC makes better movies..just seems dat marvel really wants to make comic book movies, instead of real moves based on comic books. There cartoon-movies are really good tho

    • I think that dc comics are more realistic to begin with. Look at batman. He doesn’t have any special powers. Nor do most of the villians he fights. They are just psychos.

      • DC comics are generally believed to be the less “realistic” (in terms of style) of the two comic books, Batman notwithstanding. Although even he is often a fantastical character within the constraints of being human.

      • @ Rabbit93

        Marvel Comics has realistic characters aswell such as The Punisher who’s just as realistic as Batman, if not more. Some of Batman’s villains wouldn’t be realistic.

    • well marvel did not make xmen. they sold the rights same as spiderman and blade. i bet if marvel would of did xmen it might of been better but whos to say because im2 was crappy so…

    • lol, Marvel sucks at making movies? You obviously have no clue who is and who is not making those movies because, as far as most of us are concerned, the MARVEL made movies have been highly successful (and good if not great) for the most part.

      Oh and none of the X-Men movies were made by Marvel ;)

      • Marvel is aragant when it comes to making movies. They ruined Spiderman to the point they’re rebooting.

        They forced Raimi to include Venom. It became a convoluted mess, and I side with Rourke, Norton.

        • Aragant??? Not even sure what that is. Anyway…

          You realize Marvel didn’t make Spiderman right???

          • It’s true, though, that Avi Arad worked for Marvel — helped make Spider-Man, too — and he was the guy who pressured Raimi to include Venom.

            • @Ben

              Oh ok, I’m not really a fan of Spider Man so don’t really know too much about it. Just knew it wasn’t made by Marvel Studios. Thanks.

  9. I thought Rourke had made peace with all the deficiencies of Hollywood. He’s not going to change the system. Badmouthing directors and rubbishing films he starred in is what sent him into exile in the first place. What director would want to work with a guy who’s going to trash the film afterwards?

    I love Mickey and am glad he came back, but it seems that success is going to his head again, and he might find himself out in the cold again. Second chances, maybe. Third, i wouldn’t count on it.

  10. Although I agree with Rourke, I don’t find it professional to bash an employer after all the checks have been cut. I’m not a big fan of complaining to people who wouldn’t be part of the solution (namely, we the public). He should reserve voicing his discontent to the ones responsible for “ruining” the role.

    I also find it humorous that he described Tarsem Singh as “really smart, innovative” when Singh stole that cool arrow scene nearly shot-for-shot from Zhang Yimou’s “House of Flying Daggers”. You can see the side by side comparison in this vid:


    Inspired much?

  11. He was the worst thing about IM2 – he sucked ! So what if it wasn’t as good as the 1st movie…it was still fun – at least they tried to give us a great movie. Justin Hammer was ace in IM2 – plus gave us some steps towards Avengers.
    Mickey Rourke took the job, took the money..he should show some respect and shut up now.

  12. I agree with Rourke and I believe everything he says but I do find it funny because Immortals looks to be on the same calibur as IM2.

    As far as the bashing goes it has become a lil obssesive and nay cool. Some things you don’t speak on and especially not repetition.

    You messin up the money. People dont wanna work with people who run their mouths like that. Keep it gee and just say “WE could of done better” and move on. Own up to it even if it wasn’t your fault. Pointing fingers is never cool.

  13. I’ll have to agree. IM2 had SO MUCH potential, but in the end it became a commercial for The Avengers. Which is too bad, because if that first Whiplash encounter at the racetrack was any indication, the movie could have been epic…

    • Oh, just to clarify, I’m agreeing with the sentiment that IM2 wasn’t as good as it could be, not agreeing with Rourke. I have no idea what other direction or layers he thought he was adding to the character, so cannot say if that would have made the movie better or not. And at the same time, I don’t think it’s cool of him to bad mouth the people who employed him… I mean, he could have just declined the script if he didn’t think it was deep enough…

  14. I have to add, in the end, I still enjoyed IM2, but it did leave me wondering just how much better it could have been. One major improvement over IM1 though, is recasting Terrance Howard, which was basically the worst part of IM1… This guy actually seems like he could be a bad-ass… Howard just looks and sounds like a pansy all of the time in every movie he’s in…

    • I tell people that all of the time, Howard had no military bearing. Some people can pull it off and others can’t. Cheadle actually seemed like he was an officer.

      • Exactly, thank you.

  15. The medium of comics and films is vastly different. You can take years, months or even decades flushing out a character in ink, but in a film you only have a limited time. Though I have been generally a fan of the Marvel cinematic universe, they have to realize that not everyone knows these characters. It almost seems that they cater to their own guidelines rather than making it accessible to a mass audience, which is good and bad.

    As far as IM2 goes, I didn’t even make it through. Tried twice and fell asleep both times.

  16. I don’t think IM 2 should be considered for awards, but I think it is unnecessary to bash the film. Yes, it was mindless. Mindless fun…that’s what the Marvel universe is about. How did Spiderman get his powers? A radioactive spider. The Hulk? Gamma radiation. These aren’t psychological story lines…they are comics. Rourke needs to quit with this subject. Big deal, it didn’t go the way you envisioned…you didn’t create Whiplash, he isn’t your intellectual property. Quit your bitching, take your pay check, and go to your next job…maybe next time, read the script before taking the offer. Anybody who works on a contractual basis, wouldn’t be publicly bashing their former employer this way…but he’s Mickey Rourke…an egotistical a-hole.

    And Kofi…nobody likes arrogant writers. Good job doing your job. Now, go bash your former employer.

    • “Mindless fun…that’s what the Marvel universe is about. How did Spiderman get his powers? A radioactive spider. The Hulk? Gamma radiation. These aren’t psychological story lines…they are comics.”

      Have to disagree man. While some comics are POS, there are a lot out there that won literary awards. All forms of art should be deep. I hate shallow work. That kinda attitude is why most people don’t look at comics on the same level as novels when they should.

      If the source material can win awards than so should the adaptation.

      • I’m certain the first renditions of these comics in the Marvel universe were not perceived as the Mecca of literary achievement. It took years of character development through multiple writers and artists to create story arcs with any true depth. I’m not sure what literary awards Marvel has won especially for Iron Man books, so I cannot comment directly on this. But, I wouldn’t call a blockbuster movie an art form. Also, does a MTV movie award count because Rourke’s Whiplash was nominated for best villain. IM2 also won a People’s Choice Award for best action movie…so there’s some pointless movie awards to go with those meaningless literary ones. These stories were originally meant to simply entertain not change an individual’s perspective of the world.

  17. It’s a movie based on a comic. Hello? MR didn’t have any problem cashing his check as soon as he got it. We’re not talking Shakespeare here (and I doubt MR would be cast in any role the Bard wrote, anyway).

  18. Forget IM2 Marvel films in general have been fun and some are even pretty good, but over all they just are not great. Rourke is right that they are not very smart films they are dumbed down and nothing more than what is on the surface and that’s a shame.

  19. While marvel beats out dc on the big screen, dc beats out marvel on the small screen in animation and in the video games department. just my opinion

    • @ Clear

      I think id have to agree with ya there since im a fan of both DC&Marvel.

  20. I’ve never been a fan of Rourke and this is part of the reason why. His ideas are always the best because he’s a method actor. Sorry Mickey but every time you play a bad guy you want to have a monologue like Brando in Apocolypse Now and in the previews for The Immortals it looks like he got his wish. I bet that’s why he liked this director. Maybe his people should remind him that before The Wrestler he was all but an after thought in Hollywood because of reasons like this.

  21. Thing about his complaint that rubs me the wrong way is that he should have seen it coming. Name one Marvel movie that has a deep, interesting villain that really stuck with you. Closest they’ve ever gotten was Ian Mc Kellen’s performance as Magneto. That’s the one that stuck to me the most.
    It’s impossible to say if MR would have been on the same level as Ian Mc Kellen, but judging from previous roles he played and the overall flow of the IM2 movie, I have my doubts. I realize this is an unfair comparison since they didn’t let him do his thing, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt though.
    Hindsight is always clearer then foresight. So they didn’t give you a green light to play the character your way and instead decided to make him the typical one dimensional bad guy Iron man has to overcome.
    Hey, guess what? That’s exactly the same as any other Marvel villain so far.

  22. IM2 is without a doubt one of, if not, the weakest out of the marvel avenger setup movies in terms of story. Thor would have to be the second due to the forced love story and the studio’s desire to force the sheild side story.
    One of captain america’s saving graces, other than having characters you care for, was the lack of sheild. Incredible hulk and Iron man1 allowed the sheild story to take a back seat instead of shoving it down our throats. But thats not saying I didn’t enjoy thor or IM2 just had more to complain about afterwards.

  23. Rourke rhymes with Dork. It is not anyone’s fault except the writers, director, producer, etc. that they cast a third-rate character as villain. The little whipper-snapper would be no match for Iron Man. But someone tried to get off cheap, so on with the show, bring out Mandarin like everyone wants. A big bad ring-zapping Chinaman one that is evil and wants to conquer the world, political correctness to the devil, I say! Oh, and scuzzy-looking Rourke needs to get a haircut and a Ronald Reagan suit. He does not impress too many people. I will say I did buy both Iron man movies, cuz hey, after all, it is Iron Man!!!

  24. IM2 fell quite a bit short of IM, but I’ll take IM2 over Batman And Robin any day.

  25. Wow, saw Rourke on “Attack of the Show” today. Probably the most unprofessional presser I have ever seen. If someone is this jaded with the movie industry I have no idea why he doesn’t only do art house films…

  26. I whole heartedly agree! Not only was the character flat and under used, the powers that be deemed it necessary to shove too much shield and avengers initiative sh$$ down our throat, excessively robbing the story. No hero is a good hero without a great villian.

  27. Can someone shut this jackwagon up? I am so tired of hearing him complain ALL the time.

  28. WOW another Megan Fox (dissing the hand that feeds you)if the character is not memorable its his fault and I beg to differ the most memorable thing was his nasty finger nails EEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWW

  29. Bottom line….It’s Marvel/Disney…
    They (Ari, Kevin, Louie and etc..) tell you what is gonna be made with the characters on film…There will be NO ARTISTIC LISENSE here…these characters are older than the Actors portraying them…
    The other studios have proven what happens with these properties in the hands of *others and the reaction by the Fans who actually buy the Comic books.
    I’ve said it before the other “Property holders could care less about the books and continuity. They don’t sell the books and make no profits from them..
    Time to grow up People..its a BUSINESS.

    As far as Mickey, or maybe even RDJ and His Girlfriend hook up “Shame Black.. thinking its *their World when it comes to theses films..go F!@#&?*$ Yourself.

    • Here! Here! Jolly good post, mate!