I am by no means a comic book aficionado, or enthusiast, or nerd, but even I was mad at what happened with this movie. I was completely surprised and delighted by Iron Man proper, and feel that the movie itself has a high level of “rewatchability”. In fact, I’ve probably seen it about ten times (I told you I wasn’t a fangirl). However, Iron Man 2 is not worth one watch, let alone multiple viewings. It was complete and utter bunk, and I am more than disappointed in the whole cast and crew for making this turd of a film.
The movie picked up where the last one left off, with Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) announcing to the world that he was Iron Man. Whoo, hey, there’s a shock, Tony Stark likes the attention. Shortly after his big announcement, he goes off-stage, where he checks his blood alcohol level with a little handheld device. Here was a little glimmer of hope for me: I remember discussing the origins of Iron Man at length with my fiancee and (spoiler alert) Tony Stark becomes an alcoholic and Rhodie has to take over for him in the form of War Machine. I thought this BAC detector was a little glimpse into why War Machine was featured so heavily in the film’s advertising. Well, hey, that’s not the case at all: his mini-arc reactor in his chest is slowly poisoning him to death. The plot thickens.
The US government is giving Mr. Stark one holy heck of a time as far as handing over his “weapon” (the suit) and of course, Tony throws a few barbs and one liners at the expense of the “unhip” US Senators and explains that other nations that are trying to replicate the suit are years away from even coming up with something remotely similar. In walks Justin Hammer (played by Sam Rockwell, whose hair always looks like a hedgehog to me) with footage showing how other nations are more advanced at perfecting the suit than Stark thinks. I smelled a rat right away, and Hammer turns out to be one of the film’s antagonists (more on that later).
Mickey Rourke makes his debut as some sort of electric Russian named Ivan Vanko that has found out a way to make his own mini arc reactor (thanks to his father conveniently working with the senior Mr. Stark), but uses his powers for evil! Stark goes on one of his crazy jaunts at the Circuit de Monaco (oh-ho, that wacky Tony, will he ever learn?) and Vanko comes up with some weirdo electric whips and cuts Stark’s car in half. Oh no, I smell a fight! It doesn’t matter that some crazy Russian with poor plastic surgery somehow got into a heavily-guarded race track wearing a suspicious get-up. What really matters is that his clothes burn off just so, so that you can see how much Rourke worked out for this role. Anyway, Stark saves the day again with his portable armor and Vanko is never heard from again. OR IS HE?
After Vanko’s death is faked, Hammer takes this opportunity to proposition him.
Hammer: “Hey buddy, I saw what you did there. Make me some of these Iron Man suits and you’ll be one rich Rushki.”
Vanko: “We have a deal. However, even thought you have very clearly and thoroughly given me instructions on what you want me to do, I will do what I want. Because I am a free spirited, kooky scientist.”
Meanwhile, at Stark Industries, Stark has given up control of his company to his assistant, Pepper Potts (a bland-as-always Gwyneth Paltrow). Pepper in turn must find a replacement for herself, so she hires Natalie Rushman (an equally bland Scarlett Johansen). Uh oh, this new assistant seems a little off. We as an audience are not sure if we can trust her. But let us laugh as Tony tries to have sex with her. Oh, that Tony.
After a few more boring interludes, Tony has a birthday party, gets drunk, and starts parading around in his armor. Rhodie (played by Don Cheadle… whose voice apparently has no inflection whatsoever) puts on the “War Machine” armor and they have it out. Sorry party guests, it’s time to leave. Even though you are infinitely entertained at the drunk guy shooting laser beams directly at and above your head. Oh, that Tony! Rhodie gives the suit to the US government. Tony goes to pout in the corner.
But wait! Three separate plotlines aren’t enough! Let’s add a fourth: here comes Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson, who is not nearly angry enough for my tastes) with Natalie Rushman—HEYWAITAMINUTE!!! We were right about this girl! She’s an undercover agent for S.H.I.E.L.D., and her real name is Natasha Romanoff. *headdesk* After some banter, Fury reveals that Stark’s problems can be cured with a simple formula for a special element Senior Stark created. That’s right, a whole new element that no one has even bothered to mention until now. Stark synthesizes it with his computer-man’s help, and miraculously receives word that Vanko is alive… and he’s coming for you, Stark. Surprise – the element works and Tony’s good as new. High fives all around, gang!
Don’t celebrate too soon, here comes Vanko and a bunch of iron drones. Blam blam smash smash, here’s the big fight you’ve all been waiting for. Yawn. I don’t think I have to tell you who wins.
This big stink of a movie was one of the worst superhero movies I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen The Hulk, sans Edward Norton). The dialogue was incredibly predictable; I found myself saying the lines even before the actors have said them. There were cliches abound and there were way too many plotlines. However, even with too many plotlines, the movie itself was so lame and easy to follow that my head hurt from its simplicity. I didn’t care about any of the characters or what they had to say.
All in all, this movie might be worth watching if you catch it on cable late one night, but please don’t go into this expecting much.