Robert Downey Jr.
Life has gotten in the way of my updates, which is why I’m quite behind. We’ve got 11 days until Avengers: Age of Ultron and after this, I still have six movies to go. We’ll see how close I can get.
So we return to the world of Tony Stark in Iron Man 2. This time, Tony has apparently made the world a safer man, due to his Iron Man technology. But alas, the government wants to get its hands in the cookie jar. Led by Senator Sterns (who we will lately learn a nasty secret about), the federal government wants Stark to turn the suits and the technology over to the military. And they succeed, more or less, and the slimy Justin Hammer gets his slimy hands on the tech (Hammer Industries got the military’s weapons contract after Stark Industries stopped selling weapons).
Tony is able to keep the government at bay, because as I said, he’s making the world a safer place.
“I’ve successfully privatized world peace!”
However, It turns out that there are outside forces working to unravel things. Long ago, Howard Stark invented the Arc Reactor along with the his friend and partner Anton Vanko. But when Vanko tried to sell the technology, Howard had him deported. Now Anton has died, and his own son, Ivan Vanko, is out for revenge. He designed his own Arc Reactor and used it to cause havoc at an Indy race in Monaco. Iron Man managed to defeat him, but Hammer arranged for Ivan to escape incarceration so that he can design tech to upstage Tony at the Stark Expo. Hmm… trusting someone who is hellbent on another’s destruction. What could possibly go wrong?
Another plot is that while Iron Man is protecting the world, the tech is slowly killing him. The core that powers his Arc Reactor that keeps him alive is slowly poisoning his blood. Of course, no other known element can simultaneously power the Arc Reactor and not kill him, so Tony starts acting quite erratic (in his mind, he’s a dead man walking, so he might as well go out with a bang). However, Tony discovers the blueprints for a new element hidden in the design for a Land of the Future designed by his father. Tony is able to synthesize the element, power the Arc Reactor, and not kill himself. Yeah, dad!
In the film’s climax, Ivan remotely takes over the drones he designed, as well as the Mark II suit that Hammer had acquired (with Stark friend and Air Force Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes helplessly inside), using them to attack Iron Man. With careful maneuvering and help from Natasha Romanoff, Iron Man defeats the drones and gives Rhodes control of his suit again. But like a video game, winning the boss battle leads to the final boss, as Ivan attacks on a special hybrid of the Iron Man suit and the electric whips he used in Monaco. Iron Man and War Machine (Rhodes’ suit isn’t referred as this in the movie) combine their powers to defeat Ivan and save the girl.
In the post-credits stinger, Agent Coulson had been reassigned from Stark duty to investigate an 0-8-4 in New Mexico… Thor’s Hammer.
I didn’t see Iron Man until shortly before seeing The Avengers (expect to see this statement a lot), so I don’t know if anyone knew that this was the first movie in a massive cinematic universe. As far as I know, there wasn’t any real hint to this until the post-credits stinger with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Speaking of which, we were taught early on to not leave a Marvel movie until the lights turned on in the theater (Joss Whedon says that there will be only one mid-credits stinger in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Personally, I don’t believe him. Stay till the lights come on, just in case.).
“I am Iron Man.”
Such a cool statement. Tony Stark has saved the day, and there is every opportunity to disavow involvement. But Stark likes the spotlight, so why not?
There was a running gag in the movie when Agent Phil Coulson would introduce himself as part of the Strategic Homeland Intervention… and he didn’t get much farther than that. Pepper Potts and Tony would make a joke about the length of the name. Then at the end, Potts starts making another joke, and Coulson says, “Just call us S.H.I.E.L.D.” So were they trying to act like Coulson just created the acronym on the fly, because it’s well established by now that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been around a lot longer than Coulson has? Or did Coulson just like hearing the full name?
So this Iron Man movie didn’t really have a lot of Iron Man in it. The crude armor didn’t make its appearance until more than 30 minutes in. The full armor waited an hour. Once all the testing is done, Tony takes a joyride in the suit, saves the Middle Eastern village, and shows up for the finale battle. That’s it.
By the way, Stark has got J.A.R.V.I.S. running his home and his suit, but it seems that Tony could have benefited from a simple home security alarm. Obadiah Stane breaks in undetected and paralyses Tony, and later Fury makes his entrance. Stark, go ahead and give Brinks a call.
Now while I’m making jokes, I do want to stress that I enjoyed this movie. Robert Downey Jr. is the PERFECT Tony Stark. Terrance Howard is a fun Rhodey. There was a great nod to War Machine when Rhodes looks at an extra suit, thinks about it, and then says, “Next time.”
I close out this installment of Avengers April with the post-credits stinger, as Fury finished with, “I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger initiative (Holy shit!).”