100 Days of Superheroes- Day 84: Iron Man 2
The main villain in the film is.....blood poisoning?
"I am Iron Man, the suit and I are one."
After the first Iron Man brought in both comic lovers and none superhero fans alike while simultaneously launching the MCU, there was really no chance that they wouldn’t put forward a sequel. Unfortunately like many second films, Iron Man 2 suffers from Sequel Syndrome where they up the action and stakes, but lower the quality of storytelling.
The movie opens with the beginning of the Stark Expo, which celebrates and shows off new technology. Iron Man is doing great as a well-received superhero and superstar. His alter ego, however, is having a bit more trouble as he is slowly being poisoned by the reactor he created to keep his heart running. This results in him giving away almost everything to his few friends in preparation for his death. To make matters all the worse, Ivan Vanko arrives to try and take revenge for the wrongs done by his father (co-creator of the arc reactor).
The movie mostly suffers from a mix up of subplot and main plot. In other words the part that should be subplot—Tony Stark dying—becomes the main plot. The two villains of the film get pushed to the back. Although Stark’s attempts to save himself are interesting and well portrayed in many scenes, it lacks a real threat and motivation from the villains.
Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) is the lead villain as a hybrid of the Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash. His mission is too first tear down Stark’s reputation, and then kill off Iron Man. Unfortunately he spends the better part of the film sitting in a warehouse and only has one real fight with the title character. Coincidentally Iron Man fights War Machine more times than Vanko. Even his motivation to go after Stark isn’t all that interesting or inspired.
The main flaws of the character are in the writing and scripting. Rourke actually gives a great performance and effortlessly pulls of a tremendous Russian accent that makes the fake accents in Captain America look like a bad middle school rehearsal. With a little better writing and an actual physical presence in the film, he could have been memorable. In the end though it was just wasted talent.
The secondary villain is portrayed by Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer. Much younger than his comic book counter part, he actually may have been better served as the main villain rather than the secondary one, as his back story and rivalry with Stark is considerably more interesting than Vanko’s. Rockwell likewise gives a good performance even if he sounds a little too much like an Owen Wilson impersonation at points. His attempts to show up Iron Man at the Stark Expo covers much of the plot.
The movie succeeds in bringing back a lot of the charm from the first film with the tone, comedy, and interactions between characters. They all play off each other really well and its fun to watch. Even Don Cheadle does a good job in his replacement role as Rodey, even if he doesn’t have that same buddy, buddy chemistry with Robert Downey jr. as his predecessor did.
The music takes a bit of a fall with the original composer getting shafted and replaced with ACDC. The famous metal band does a decent job (even if it does feature too many of their songs for my taste) but it lacks the unique superhero orchestration-metal hybrid that the first film had.
In the end Iron Man 2 suffers heavily from the sequel syndrome and isn’t without a stupid scene or two. The worst one being Tony Stark getting drunk while in the Iron Man suite at a birthday party. Words cannot express how dumb that scene is and brings the entire film down a couple notches with just those fifteen minutes.
But the action and charm between the cast members makes up for the many faults. The end climax between Iron Man, War Machine, and the Hammer Drones is considerably more fulfilling than the finale of the first film (even if there was less going on emotionally). The film is still fast, fun, and funny even if it is the weakest of the Phase One films.
FINAL RATING: 6/10- (60%)
Previous DAY 83- Kick Ass
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