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Film Review: Iron Man 2

Film reviews from across the cinematic landscape. Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.



In 2010, Jon Favreau released Iron Man 2, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby, as the second film in the Iron Man trilogy and the third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke and Samuel L. Jackson, the film grossed $623.9 million at the box office.


There have been consequences for Tony Stark after outing himself as Iron Man, including congressional hearings about his technology, and despite rival Justin Hammer’s best efforts, he is untouchable. Soon though Ivan Vanko, a man with a grudge against Stark, rises as a capable challenger. At the same time, Stark must deal with a medical condition from his arc reactor slowly killing him



Iron Man 2 is a good film as a follow up to both its predecessors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, dealing with the fallout Stark receives after stating he’s the titular Iron Man at the end of the first film. It not only opened him up to government backlash and pressure, but to those wanting to do him harm as well. Additionally, it gives the latter group the idea to either go after him prior to him putting on the suit in order to completely take Iron Man out of the picture or to announce themselves as threats in the hopes they entice Stark to accept their challenge. Vanko and Hammer attempt both scenarios.

Complementing this, Stark finds out his arc reactor is killing him and he wants to go out in the most absurd way possible. To do so, he goes so far as to have a gigantic birthday party where he starts destroying his house and eats donuts while sitting in a donut sign. This is resolved pretty well as Nick Fury gives him the push he needs to keep living and the materials he later uses to synthesize a new element which ultimately cures him. This second plot also works as a way to give audiences more of SHIELD, the group introduced in the last film. Viewers are given more of Fury, who was only in the after-credits scene last time, get some more of Agent Coulson’s personality and are presented with Black Widow for the first time. She’s given an action sequence, too, depicting her as being able to take on multiple targets with little trouble. It humorously compares her to Happy Hogan who dispatches one person in the time it takes her to take care of a hallway full of people.

However, Vanko feels to be more of the same and is underused as a character. The last film had Obadiah Stane take control of Iron Monger and fight Tony. This film does have Vanko fighting Iron Man with electrified whips, yet in the climax he’s in his own suit and controlling the armored drones he built for Hammer. Throughout the story, Vanko had been characterized in a good manner, shown he was just as smart as Stark and that he believed the man to be a worthy opponent. Despite this feeling, he only outright takes him on once before he and the drones fight Iron Man and War Machine and he commits suicide as a last ditch effort. This seems to be a waste of a character who could have been more of a challenge and gives the effect of the filmmakers spending less time on him in order to focus more on the plot.

Awards & Recognitions

bold indicates reception of award/recognition

Academy Awards

  • Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA – Saturn Awards

  • Best Science Fiction Film
  • Best Actor (Robert Downey Jr.)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Scarlett Johansson)
  • Best Special Effects

Alliance of Women Film Journalists

  • EDA Special Mention Award – Sequel That Shouldn’t Have Been Made

ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards

  • Top Box Office Films

BET Awards

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  • Best Actor (Don Cheadle)

California on Location Awards

  • Location Team of the Year – Features

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Biggest Disappointment of the Year
  • Best Special Effects of the Year
  • Best T&A of the Year (Scarlett Johansson)

Guild of Music Supervisors Awards

  • Best Music Supervision for Films

Hollywood Film Awards

  • Visual Effects of the Year

Hollywood Post Alliance, US Awards

  • Outstanding Compositing – Feature Film

IGN Summer Movie Awards

  • Best Comic-Book Adaptation

Italian Online Movie Awards

  • Best Special Effects

Kids’ Choice Awards, USA – Blimp Awards

  • Favorite Butt Kicker – Robert Downey Jr.

Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA – Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing – Sound Effects and Foley in a Feature Film

MTV Movie + TV Awards

  • Best Villain (Mickey Rourke)

People’s Choice Awards, USA

  • Favorite Action Movie
  • Favorite On-Screen Team (Robert Downey Jr. & Don Cheadle)
  • Favorite Movie

Russian National Movie Awards – Georges Award

  • Best Foreign Action Movie

Satellite Awards

  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Sound (Mixing & Editing)

Scream Awards

  • Best Science Fiction Actress (Scarlett Johansson)
  • Best Villain (Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko)
  • Best Superhero (Robert Downey Jr.)
  • Best Science Fiction Actor (Robert Downey Jr.
  • Best Science Fiction Actress (Gwyneth Paltrow)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Don Cheadle)
  • The Ultimate Scream
  • Best Ensemble
  • Best Cameo (Stan Lee)
  • Best Science Fiction Movie
  • Fight Scene of the Year (for “Final Battle: Iron Man and War Machine vs Whiplash and the Drones”
  • Best F/X
  • Best Comic Book Movie

SFX Awards, UK

  • Best Actor (Robert Downey Jr.)

Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie: Villain (Mickey Rourke)
  • Choice Movie: Dance (Robert Downey Jr.)
  • Choice Movie Fight (Robert Downey Jr. & Don Cheadle – Iron Man & War Machine vs. the Hammer Drones)
  • Choice Movie Actress: Sci-Fi (Scarlett Johansson)
  • Choice Movie Actress: Sci-Fi (Gwyneth Paltrow)
  • Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi (Robert Downey Jr.)
  • Choice Movie: Sci-Fi

Visual Effects Society Awards

  • Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual-Effects Driven Feature Motion Picture
  • Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture (Stark Expo)
  • Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Feature Motion Picture (Hammer Military Drones)


Ian Rideout from Alberta, Canada on January 13, 2018:

Good movie. I agree with your point about Vanko as a villain, though. Doing an 'Awards & Recognitions' section was a nice touch.

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