Iron Man 2

With the Disney+ streaming platform being available worldwide since February this year, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (“MCU”) movies can be found in one convenient place. Power of Pop has been a staunch supporter of the MCU since the release of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk (which is NOT available on Disney+ due to distribution issues) in 2008. Thus, we continue our look back at the MCU with Iron Man 2, which was released in 2010.

Iron Man 2 features all the typical flaws that sequels contain. Sequels will invariably follow the story beats of the original movie, trying hard to repeat a successful formula and banking on the idea that ‘if it ain’t broke…don’t fix it’. This Iron Man sequel attempts to expand the back story of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) a little by providing exposition on Howard Stark (John Slattery) and his relationship with our titular hero.

The movie also tries to incorporate some of the Tony Stark as alcoholic dynamic explored in the comic books but in a superficial manner. Tony is in conundrum as the very thing that is saving his life – the arc reactor in his chest – is slowly killing him as well.

All well and good but the main issue with Iron Man 2 is its clichéd antagonist viz. Whiplash (Mickey Rourke). Not a memorable member of Iron Man’s Rogue Gallery to begin with, the MCU’s representation of Whiplash as Ivan Vanko, the son of Howard Stark’s former business partner is clumsy as best. Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer is definitely a more interesting villain but unfortunately, has been missing from the MCU ever since. Maybe in Armour Wars, Mr Feige?

The introduction of Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) is also a welcome addition, as Johansson dominates every scene she appears in – a foretaste of the vital role she would play in the MCU. Same can be said for Don Cheadle’s rendering of Rhodey/War Machine – Terrence Howard is hardly missed.

Iron Man 2 is probably half a good movie. The first half is brisk, funny and entertaining. The second half sadly is by-the-numbers, somewhat becoming a pale imitation of the original movie’s greatness. Still worth a watch for the various reasons outlined above though.

Now streaming on Disney+.

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