Iron Man 2 - Avengers: Infinity War Marvel MCU Marathon
As I do with my other marathon posts, there may be spoilers for Iron Man 2.
I don't know why people hate this movie so much. While I probably do place it closer to the bottom, I still enjoy this film quite a bit. When I was Shanghai, one of the two channels with English language programming kept playing this film over and over again and I watched it every time.
If anything, Iron Man gets bogged down in too many things going on. You have Tony in an existential crisis as his arc reactor is slowly killing him as Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) tries to commandeer Stark Tech while in cahoots with Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) who is trying to seek revenge for his father and basically screw everybody over. At the same time, the film tries to move S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers Initiative forward. Oh, and it introduces Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) as well.
And, some (or a lot) of the dialogue is super cheeseball, from Nick Fury's saying, "I have my eye on you" to Justin Hammer's calling his dangerous missile "the ex-wife."
When I first watched Iron Man 2, I hated Whiplash. If they could make a suit of armor that looks exactly like the comic, they could have come up with a better look than shirtless with a harness and electric whips. But, the more I've seen Iron Man 2, I got the character and his motivations. His father was co-creator of the arc reactor and feels he got screwed over by Tony's dad. I liked how he played both Tony and Justin Hammer. He was the puppeteer. Although, he is a bit moustache twirling.
Sam Rockwell is always entertaining and I liked the idea of him being Justin Hammer, but I would have liked to have seen him on the same level as Tony. I felt Hammer was a little whiny corporate shill than worthy challenger. It was almost like you knew he was going to be defeated in the end. He's just a little too cartoony. And teaming him up with Whiplash seemed strange. You immediately knew Whiplash was in charge. So, it wasn't a big surprise when he tricks Hammer.
This film also introduces Don Cheadle in the role of James "Rhodey" Rhodes who previously was played by Terrence Howard. I've talked about how I like Terrence Howard better, but I do like Don Cheadle. Although, he is a bit of a prick in the early part of the movie. And a little more of a war hawk. It was cool, though, to see him actually don the War Machine armor and glad he came to his senses later in the film.
It's nice to see Tony name Pepper Potts CEO which adds new challenges to their relationship.
If I can be absolutely honest, my favorite scene is when Whiplash slices Tony's car in half. Happy and Pepper have to race to get Tony his Iron Man suit. They end up on the raceway and Whiplash cuts the car in half. Pepper starts screaming and I just find Gwyneth Paltrow's performance so damn entertaining. There's lots of comedy in there that does nothing to advance the plot, but it's always the part of the film I look forward to.
One of my less favorite parts is the introduction of Natasha Romanoff (aka Black Widow). For most of the film, she poses as Tony's new assistant Natalie (from legal). I feel, though, she plays it too sex pot. I get they were trying to appeal to Tony's penchant for beautiful girls, but, knowing Black Widow now over the years, her appearance in this film feels awkward. Even when she reveals herself as Natasha Romanoff, she just doesn't seem right. But, this is probably more a product of the writing and direction. It's only at the end that we get to see Widow truly be Widow.
Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is in here for a minute before he's relocated to New Mexico where, as we now know, both Thor and Mjolnir have landed.
The movie also features a fantastic Stark Expo theme song by Disney Legend Richard Sherman. The song is a tribute to "There's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" from the classic Disney attraction Carousel of Progress which opened at the 1964 World Fair first.
And it features the first appearance of Senator Stern (Garry Shandling) who we would later see as a member of Hydra in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Stan Lee Cameo: Dressed as Larry King who sees Tony as he leaves the Stark Expo.
And, now, on to Thor which is teased in the post credits scene in Iron Man 2.