No-one has a problem with how the MCU kicked things off, just look at what we thought of Iron Man here. But Marvel’s second cinematic outing with Robert Downey Jr. had a mixed reception when it was released, which continues to this day. It may have 73% on Rotten Tomatoes but it’s also the third-lowest rated MCU film on that critical hub. Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with having a 67% here or a 65% there.
And that’s the MCU in a nutshell, in terms of critical response. There’s yet to be an entry that truly divides critics, but not all of them have had a unanimously positive reception. With that in mind, let’s have a look at three things that we love and adore about Iron Man 2, and three things we really can’t stand about the film.
Top 3 Best Things
3. World Building
The seeds for a shared cinematic universe began with the post-credits scene of Iron Man, but the feeling of world building really took of with a few sweet, simple moments in Iron Man 2. The introduction of Natasha/Black Widow and the longer on-screen moments for Nick and S.H.I.E.L.D., and the decision whether or not to include Tony in the Avengers Initiative were good enough, but there’s a couple more moments as well.
Agent Coulson having to leave Tony’s guard moments after digging out a battered Captain America shield in order to deal with the events of Thor in Mexico bridged gaps between films in an effective yet not essential way. Those moments were really for the fans, and they’re executed with gentle humour and respect.
Also, anyone else notice the Captain America comics as Tony rummages through his dad’s trunk?
2. Howard’s Speech to Tony
Mushy, smalchy, wheezy, cringey-wingey family moments are something that the MCU has avoided for the most part, but this particular scene is actually rather heart-warming. On the verge of death and without a hope in the world, playing an old film reel of Howard demonstrating the Stark Expo and leaving a final message for his son is exactly the push Tony needs in order to save himself, which in itself leads to a gripping and adrenaline charged finale.
Who needs Pepper Potts when you’ve got a friend like Rhodey? Rhodey remains my personal favourite Marvel character who’s yet to have a film of his own, and probably never will, unless Tony steps down as Iron Man leaving the way clear for Iron Patriot/War Machine to take over.
His character, throughout Iron Man 2, is just about the polar opposite of Tony. Calculating, straight-forward and without ego (well, not as much as Tony’s…), Tony may not have made out of the Stark Expo alive were it not for Rhodey’s assistance. Sod being a sidekick, War Machine is full deserving of being a bona fide superhero.