Well, here we are. Finally, a year late, Late Title Card finally reveals their Marvel Cinematic Universe series of reviews. I'm sure we may have even lost some readers over this. Fear not. Yes, this was originally supposed to appear on the site in the run-up to Guardians of the Galaxy last summer. However, after we crunched the numbers on the site we decided it obviously made more sense to do it in preparation for our upcoming review of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. In each installment we will be examining an individual film from the MCU, in order of release. Keep in mind these are reviews done after a great length of time since my first in-theater viewing; these are thoughts on movies I have most likely seen a number of times. Without further ado, let us turn our attention to the first sequel in the MCU. That's right, I skipped The Hulk reboot that is quasi-standaolone MCU certified. Iron Man 2 was met with quite a bit disappointment in critical circles, but established the character in a top-tier realm of superheroes in terms of popularity.
You may be surprised looking at Iron Man 2's decent rotten tomato score, but generally the film was considered a disappointing follow-up and, to this day, is generally one of the least regarded films in the MCU. Similar to the mass reaction, back when I saw Iron Man 2 I liked it, but was a bit disappointed. However, possibly due to the rest of the MCU having a few duds along the way, Iron Man 2 holds up much better in retrospect. The formula is exactly the same superficially, as the appearance of the film shares everything in common with the original Iron Man-same shine and gloss as the previous installment, but maybe a bit bluer.
The biggest negative to Iron Man 2 is its weak narrative. This marks the first time in the MCU that we witness the catch-22 of stuffing the Avengers storyline into every solo character's runtime and, like every other movie we see it in, detracts greatly from the individual story trying to be told at the heart of the film. Nick Fury and Black Widow are fun characters, but the shield storyline takes up a surprisingly gargantuan amount of time; time that would be much better served focusing on Tony Stark. Although, even Tony is a bit worse this time around, I can't get over the party scene where Tony is drunk in the Iron Man suit. He easily could accidentally murder everyone in his Malibu home.
Iron Man 2 also has the same disappointing in-suit action as its predecessor, although this time around the set pieces are much improved and a bit original. My biggest disappointment was the final action scene, which after being built up beyond belief throughout the final act merely resulted in a ho-hum under a minute long fight between Iron Man, his silver sidekick, and Whiplash in his own Iron Man suit. IF he counts, Sam Rockwell has the best "bad guy" performance and is a fantastic and truly humorous addition to the cast.
Those were a lot of negative features for a film I like quite a bit. Iron Man 2 still has plenty of positives: most notably Robert Downey Jr. in another turn as the character he was born to play and the return of the humor from the previous entry. Maybe it is due to superhero fatigue, or just a general effect of seeing worse superhero films now that we get 5 of them a year, but Iron Man 2 holds up as one of the better Marvel features.