Devin loves movies and loves critically looking at them. He hopes to give people the same appreciation for film that he has.
In part four of the "Hot or Cold: MCU" series, we take a look at Iron Man 2 released in 2010 and directed by Jon Favreau. Favreau returned after nailing iron Man one and comes back with mostly the same cast: Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Pepper Potts portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle takes over as James Rhodes in this film. Mickey Rourke appears as whiplash and Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer. Check out the trailer below.
Iron man is now a widely known public figure, and Tony Stark loves the attention. We start off at the Stark Expo which was the first of its kind sense Tony's father hosted it a long time ago. Iron Man drops onto the stage to roaring applause from the audience, however when Tony goes back stage, we find out that the palladium core in his chest is poisoning him.
In Russia, we see a man who will be known as Ivan Vanko whose father worked for Howard Stark. He begin making his own miniature arc reactor to power a different kind of weapon.
Back to Tony, he is pressured by the government to hand over his suit, but he refuses saying that no one else is close to coming up with the technology that he has. Feeling a lot of pressure believing he does not have long left to live, he appoints Pepper Potts to CEO of Stark Industries and hires a woman named Natalie Rushman to replace Pepper.
Feeling impulsive at the Monaco Grand Prix, Stark decides to drive his companies car in the race. During the race however, Vanko appears now as the villain Whiplash, with arc reactor powered whips that are cutting right through the cars including Stark's. Happy and Pepper rush to get Tony his suit and Stark defeats Vanko sending him to prison.
Vanko is broken out of prison by a competitor of Tony, Justin Hammer. Hammer stages Vanko's death and recruits him to build a military suit like Iron Man for his company. Instead of creating suits, Vanko creates drones saying that drones are much better than humans.
It is now Stark's birthday and believing that it his his last, he chooses to go all out. James Rhodes comes in to break up the party and fights Tony in another Iron Man suit. Rhodes then takes off with the suit and bringing it to the U.S. government who allows Hammer access to the suit. Stark then meets up with Nick Fury and Rushman who turns out to be the Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff. Fury gives Stark some of his father research, which allows Stark to discover a new element that replaces the palladium and is no longer killing him.
At the Expo, Hammer shows off Vanko's drones and the new suit manned by Rhodes. Vanko takes control of Rhodes and the drones and attacks Tony Stark who is trying to free the people from the attack. The fight ends in a 2 on 1 fight between Vanko in his own suit against Stark and Rhodes in theirs and ultimately ends with the defeat of Vanko.
There is a lot going on in this movie, which ultimately does not help. there are so many different story lines going on between Tony trying to stay alive, Pepper running the company, Vanko and Hammer and also the addition of Black Widow. However, with all of these things happening, the film still feels dull. It is no fault of the actors, but rather the script writing which was said to have been rushed and put out before it was ready, and it really shows. They did not know what main point they wanted to hit on in the film, so they tried all of them and that ultimately makes the film feel chaotic and not complete.
Due to the poor script writing, all of the things happening to Tony feel empty. It is hard to connect with him because the movie is so jumbled up which causes my emotion score for the movie to fall a bit. There is a good way to handle a lot of stories which was exhibited in Infinity War, but this abandoned the simple formula of the first Iron Man causing the audience to disconnect from the characters a bit.
However, the connections that we do have with the characters are all thanks to the acting. Robert Downey Jr. once again does an incredible job at bringing the character to life, and Gwyneth Paltrow as well does a remarkable job. I feel like she was better in this film than the first. The chemistry between the two is also incredible. It is hard to offset a bad script but these two certainly made the most of it.
Another thing I thought went well was the development of Tony Stark. A lot of this is to do with his inner conflict of doing right and wanting to do what he wants due to him dying. I thought the inner conflict of Tony was a for sure bright spot in this otherwise dull film.
A big part of a superhero movie is the villain. We have two in this movie, but neither one is really done well. We have Ivan Vanko who has a compelling revenge story with Howard Stark deporting his father back to Russia, and we have Justin Hammer. I would have much rather just seen an Ivan Vanko story than him combined with Justin Hammer. I have seen many people wanting Hammer to return to the MCU and not only do I see that unlikely, but I do not think it would go well as I do not see Hammer as a threatening character at all. He seems more like a wannabe than an actual villain. i felt like he stumbled around in the film, making a mess of things as he went, where Vanko felt imposing and a good challenge to Tony.
As a whole, I do not think this movie was a total disaster, but it certainly was not a good movie. There was a lot of things to like about this movie, and some things that could have been better, and still some things that should not have been in there. It is not as solid as the first one. It is actually far from it, however it is not unwatchable. With more of a focus on an imposing villain and a cutting unnecessary fat from the plot, it could have been solid, but this film just misses the mark for me.
© 2022 Devin Weatherly