Critics generally praised this movie, but many of them thought it was too busy and had too much plot. Well, let’s see . . . On the side of the good guys, you’ve got Iron Man, War Machine, Nick Fury, The Black Widow, Happy Hogan, and Pepper Potts versus the baddies Justin Hammer and Whiplash, plus throwaway bits setting up at least three more superhero movies to come (unless I missed a few, which is possible). I think that covers just about everything. And so I say to the critics who complained about this movie being too much . . . have you never actually read any comic books? This is classic Silver Age plotting. And in a nice bit buried in the closing credits, the filmmakers actually thank all the writers who came up with the source material in comics published in the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties, plus one or two who are currently writing Iron Man stories.
As usual in these superhero movies, the story is a mixture of plot elements and characterizations from several decades worth of comic book continuity. Tony Stark is dying because the element that powers the Iron Man suit keeping him alive is also slowly killing him, so he has to find a new element to replace it. At the same time he’s plagued by rival weapons manufacturer Justin Hammer, who teams up with rogue Russian physicist Ivan Danko (wasn’t he originally the Crimson Dynamo in the comics, instead of Whiplash?) to make life even more miserable for Tony, who is also having to cope with friction between him and the government. Yeah, there’s a lot going on. There are plenty of fights and special effects. Stuff, you guessed it, Blows Up Real Good. Plot developments fly by so fast that if you haven’t read the comics, I suppose you could get confused by what’s going on.
Of course that didn’t bother me. In fact, those little moments setting up things for later on were probably my favorite parts of the movie. Overall, I loved IRON MAN 2 and thought it was better than the first one. Your mileage may vary, as the old saying goes. But I’m very happy with what the movies are doing with the Marvel Universe these days, and the trademark closing moment after the end credits really has me looking forward to the movies still to come. If you’re a comics fan and haven’t seen this one yet, I highly recommend it.