Continuing my journey on my Marvel movie marathon quest! The third film up in the Marvel movie marathon: Iron Man 2.
Just to catch you up on what I’m doing with this Marvel movie marathon in case you missed my first post about Iron Man:
I am in the process of watching every MCU film from start to finish in release order, and of course sharing my thoughts. And bonus for my blog readers – since I’m watching all of these films with my new Marvel correspondent (he doesn’t know he has this title yet), you actually get two different perspectives on the movies. Tony (not Stark) has seen all of the films multiples times and knows a lot of the behind the scenes info and comic book origins. I, up until this point, have been a casual Marvel fan and have seen most of the movies once, though some of the early ones not at all.
Even though we actually watched all of Phase One in one weekend (phew!), I’m spacing out my blog posts a bit, which means today we are on to film #3:
Iron Man 2
Release date: May 7, 2010
MCU Phase: phase one
Run time: 125 minutes
Box office: $623.9 million
Rotten tomatoes audience score: 71%
“With the world now aware that he is Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from all sides to share his technology with the military. He is reluctant to divulge the secrets of his armored suit, fearing the information will fall into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) by his side, Tony must forge new alliances and confront a powerful new enemy.”
Becky’s knowledge prior to watching: I had never seen this movie before and really didn’t know anything about it. All I’d really heard was that people typically loved the first Iron Man movie but didn’t think Iron Man 2 or 3 were that great.
The Hero: Iron Man
Tony Stark seemed like maybe he was learning a bit by the end of Iron Man. Now in the beginning of this movie he’s back to his old ways – he knows he’s dying so he’s back to the party lifestyle and living on the edge. So I guess he didn’t learn too much.
The villains: Justin Hammer and Ivan Vanko
Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer is a pretty humorous villain, and he’s very over the top. That being said, he does manage to capture some villainous energy that’s a bit darker as well. I gotta say, Hammer sucking on a lollipop while examining weaponry is definitely an image that defines this character pretty well 😉
Ivan Vanko is more of the “brawn” of the villains in this movie, as he’s basically “Russian Iron Man” (apparently he’s known as Whiplash but I didn’t get that from the film?). I think he’s somewhat underrated as a villain here and unfortunately outshined by the more entertaining Justin Hammer. This is one of the flaws of this movie… we have 2 major but very different villains. I’m not sure Vanko gets enough credit. He’s got an interesting backstory relating to Stark Industries and he’s actually smart enough to build his own arc reactor – something other people have been trying and failing to do.
The romance: Pepper Potts
Okay, you might know how I feel about this if you read my thoughts on the first Iron Man movie. But even morseo in this movie this is a toxic, toxic relationship. Tony Stark has not been nice to her much at all. He knows nothing about her and treats her terribly but expects her to like him and be with him. They’ve known each other how long and he gets her a gift that she’s allergic to? He acts like he’s incredibly generous by making her CEO of the company, but in reality what he’s doing is foisting a ton of problems onto her (and adding to them himself) and giving her extra stress to deal with. And frankly, he’s still a creep and a playboy. When he first meets Natasha his response to her is “I want one” right in front of Pepper. I think the ultimate plotline that “one woman can totally change a playboy,” which is where the MCU goes with Pepper, is also a dangerous one.
Sometimes when I watch movies I can feel the potential for a good film but it doesn’t deliver on that potential. In some ways I definitely got that vibe with Iron Man 2. It feels like the movie is trying to do too many things at once – Tony Stark’s suit is slowly killing him and he’s trying to figure out how to cope with that and hopefully fix it. But there’s also several different villains to keep track of, with Ivan Vanko and Justin Hammer. He’s got a lot of conflict with Rhodes. And then the film is also trying to re-familiarize the audience with S.H.I.E.L.D. to set up the Avengers so we get interactions with Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, as well as the introduction of Natasha Romanoff. And the movie kind of focuses too much on action scene and effects. The entire birthday party scene, including the fight with Rhodes, feels really excessive.
Introduction of Black Widow
This is the first time we see Scarlet Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow. Unfortunately I don’t think the intro here does her or her character any favors. She’s undercover at first, and of course her role to get intel from Tony is to act like a sexy woman who might be interested in him. Yes, she turns out to be a strong female but the fact that we needed to do it this way isn’t great for the whole representation of female superheroes. There are way too many camera shots focusing on her curves (plenty of butt shots). And OF COURSE there has to be a scene of her changing in the backseat of a car. Totally unnecessary to show that, you know they were just trying to do that for the male attention.
Tony (not Stark) says:
“This is in my bottom 5 of the MCU. The first Iron Man movie felt strong because it had a very solid storyline and they really planned out the journey of how to get there. With Iron Man 2 all the ideas are there, but there’s not a cohesive storyline.”
10 random thoughts I had while watching Iron Man 2:
- Wow, this villain must be really smart if he’s actually got a working arc reactor!
- Why did Pepper need to be in the car for this scene at the race track??
- Okay, I absolutely love the Stark Expo because of all the nods to Walt Disney and the 1964 World’s Fair. The clip of Howard Stark is an obvious and fun mimic of Walt’s famous video on Epcot.
- Oh, I didn’t realize this was where we first met Black Widow. For some reason I assumed The Avengers was her first appearance.
- I’ve had a fair number of drinks before, but how drunk are all the women at this party that they all seem to think glass exploding all around them is fun? Pretty sure even extremely drunk me knows exploding glass is dangerous and I’d be making a run for it.
- “This is a bad movie, right?” (Words literally spoken out loud to Tony while we were watching the birthday party scene and the Tony Stark/Rhodes fight)
- Oh my gosh, Justin Hammer is hilarious.
- If I was Pepper I’d be even more pissed than she is at Tony Stark.
- Why did Howard discover a new element but hide it in that specific way? I think this whole scene is confusing me.
- Yay for Phil Coulson in the after credits scene!
Becky: 3 out of 10
Tony: 5 out of 10
What do you think of my Marvel Movie Marathon Iron Man 2 thoughts?
Also, with the romance….isn’t he still technically kind of her boss? That whole thing is UGH.