CST Throwback Thursday – Film of the Week

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by Kyle Arango,

Remember when Iron Man 2 came out? It was a huge deal back in 2010. After the success of Iron Man back in 2008, people were understandably ready for a sequel. Not to mention, the secret was out. We knew now that this is a shared universe and the destination we can’t wait to get to is The Avengers. It made sense to make a second Iron Man. The first film was a massive hit that brought Robert Downey Jr. to super stardom and the character of Iron Man into a household name. The sequel had so much pressure and potential, could it live up to the first?

The answer to the question was no. This film is no where near as good as Iron Man, but that is not to say that it is a bad film. I do not think this movie is as bad as people say. After recently rewatching it, you can see real moments of greatness and understand what they were trying to do. The setup here is that the world has had its longest era of sustained peace in a long time. This is all due to the introduction of Iron Man. Now government wants their hands on that technology, so they can use it in the military. Tony refuses to give this up to a government he doesn’t trust. This is an intriguing concept as I thought to myself “what would I do if I was the Iron Man”. While this is all happening, it is revealed that the arc reactor in his chest that is keeping him alive, is also killing him. For most of the movie Tony lives his life as if he is dying which leads him to make bad decisions. Actions have consequences, and Tony learns that in this movie.

When I look back at this movie, the scenes I think of are the courtroom scene, racecar scene, and final battle. The courtroom scene I enjoy because we get to see Robert Downey Jr at his best by being a cocky know-it-all. In the Racecar scene, we see the first result of Tony’s actions when Whiplash attacks him during the race. We get to see the armor again which is what we all love. The final battle is a run ride where we get to see the suit in action and at its best. This film is also responsible for the introduction of Scarlet Johannsson’s Black Widow. She has an amazing action scene here where she gets to show off her skills and it is a joy too watch. Finally, Sam Rockwell gets to have the time of his life here as Justin Hammer and he makes up for the other lackluster villain.

What Iron Man 2 suffers from the most is falling victim to world building. Marvel clearly got to eager with their universe, and the film suffered because of it. They were pushing their narrative of this whole thing leading to The Avengers and forgot to put more focus on the story. The worst part of this movie is the villain Whiplash. Mickey Rourke doesn’t do anything special here at all. His whips are pointless. Instead of using the technology for whips, why not use it to make something better? He started the trend of weak villains that recently ended in 2017. Ego, Vulture, Hela, and Kilmonger are all great so we at least know Marvel went in the right direction. Regardless, Whiplash is still a dumb villain with no solid plan. What was his plan? Attack Tony at the racetrack? What if Hammer never got him out? For a guy who was able to replicate the arc reactor technology, he certainly is a bad planner.

So here we are eight years later. Looking back, Iron Man 2 is not as bad as people say it is, and it certainly got better upon rewatch. Is it in the top tier of Marvel films? No, but it certainly is a worthy addition to the franchise. This is a movie I’ll definitely watch again, and you should to.

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