Tony Stark, I fell in love with you the first time we met. But the second time around, well, some of the charm has worn off. I had high hopes for Iron Man 2. The wit and swagger of the first movie drew me in and kept me engaged the entire time we were together and I was expecting more of the same. Sure, there were still flashes of wit, and plenty of swagger, but this time I found it more annoying than endearing. And sad to say, I kept looking at my watch wondering why our second encounter seemed to drag on so long, when really it was just a few minutes over two hours long.
I can’t blame it all Tony. He’s the victim of a weak script. Robert Downey Jr. is still great as the billionaire inventor and he’s got some real on-screen chemistry going with Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays his long suffering assistant Pepper Potts. But this time Tony’s got too much to deal with – the government wants to take his Iron Man suit, a Russian physicist (Mickey Rourke) wants revenge for something Tony’s father did to his father, a business rival wants to ruin his company, and oh yeah, he’s dying because the palladium in the arc reactor that powers his heart is poisoning him. It all makes for a muddled plot that moves noisily from point to point.
But wait there’s more. I haven’t even mentioned the members of S.H.I.E.L.D who show up. Clark Gregg is back as Agent Coulson, Samuel L. Jackson shows up as Nick Fury, and Scarlett Johansson plays Natalie Rushman, an undercover operative planted at Stark Industries. And while Johansson did some rather excellent ass-kicking, the presence of these characters feels forced. So why are they there? It’s certainly not to add anything to the plot of this movie. Turns out they are there to set up the Avengers movies coming to theaters next summer and the summer after that. Frankly, I wish the producers and writers had stayed focused on this movie.
So I’m sorry Tony. I wanted our relationship to last; I wanted Iron Man to be a super-hero franchise I could stick with through sequel after sequel. But I think it was just meant to be a one-time thing between us.