The problem with Iron Man 2 is that it reminded me too much of a 90s Marvel Comic...that being sure there was a good story in there, but there was too damn much clutter, junk and crap going on that the good story bits got overwhelmed.
Seriously, in the early to mid-90s, if a Marvel comic didn't have an 18-part crossover happening, a new character to spin-off into his own series, a foil cover, a hologram cover or some other piece of junk, then it simply wasn't trying. Small wonder Marvel managed to drive itself right into the ground, and very nearly oblivion, around 1997.
Iron Man, for the record, had some pretty shitty suits of armor during that period as well.
Anyway, the first Iron Man movie wasn't supposed to work. He was, at best, a B-tier character. Nobody had ever heard of him outside of the comic book world. If it broke even, it would be a miracle. Instead, it made a ton of money and people fell in love with, if not the character, then Robert Downey Jr.
There's a history of second movies doing well in super hero franchises. X-Men 2, The Dark Knight and Spider-Man 2 were all better than the movies they followed. So there was some hope the second Iron Man movie would follow that trend.
Except this is Marvel. Oh sure, Spider-Man and the X-Men are Marvel as well, but other studios own the movie rights to those characters. Marvel is trying to make money, not just off of this character, but also to get people interested in the thousands of other characters they own. So why not do it in their most successful movie to date?
Which is why there are no less than six movies Iron Man 2 is saddled with trying to spin-off. It was like watching an X-Men comic from the 90s there for a few hours. In case you missed it, here's what they're trying to launch.
1. The third Iron Man movie, naturally.
2. The Avengers movie, coming 2012
3. Agent Colson's bizarre appearance for two scenes? Basically to help launch the Thor movie coming out next year. I think there was an easter egg after the credits promoting it as well.
4. A quick reference to the Captain America movie, coming in 2012.
5. They wouldn't mind launching Rhodey off into a War Machine movie.
6. And Scarlett Johanssen as the Black Widow. Then again, I have to admit, if there's more of Johanssen in that costume, I'm all for it. And I can say that, because Cathy was openly complaining there were not enough scenes featuring Downey with his shirt off. So we're good.
So yeah, there's a lot of extra parts piled onto this movie. Not to mention the Justin Hammer character fails pretty spectacularly as a bad guy. He's not scary or intimidating, just really stupid, petty and annoying.
Look, despite all the complaining, it's a fun movie when it works. I don't know how they failed to notice what works best is Tony and Pepper together. The funniest scene in the entire movie is the two of them yelling at each other when Pepper realizes Tony had been keeping his illness a secret from him. More of that, and less of Justin Hammer prancing around on stage, or having dinner, would have been nice.
Hopefully by the time Iron Man 3 comes out, which will probably be around 2013, they won't need to launch the entire Marvel universe in a single movie. Perhaps by then they can get back to basics and remember what made the first one so much fun. And maybe get back to the 10 Rings plot, unless they're using that for the Avengers movie.
Until then, Iron Man 2 was....fine. But considering how much fun the first one was, fine is kind of disappointing, really.
1. Fields of gold - Sting
2. Parting of the sensory - Modest Mouse
3. Strange loop - Liz Phair
4. Great Expectation - The Gaslight Anthem*
5. I can't say - The Trews