H:3 Tony Stark has some undeniable character change during this film. But since it’s mostly about him being afraid of dying and pushing away his friends, it’s more like he goes a little nuts and then eventually returns to normal rather than really growing.
V:2 This was one of the earliest signs of Marvel’s villain problem. Sam Rockwell may have been entertaining as Justin Hammer, and Mickey Rourke may have been plenty dark and dirty as Whiplash, but did anyone really care about their stories? Hammer was a competitor who wanted to outdo Tony at a convention and Whiplash was mad that Tony’s dad took credit for the arc reactor. Oh, and surprise surprise, it was another robot-on-robot fight at the end.
U:3 This movie gains unique points mainly because it was the first time we started to see true hints of the potential for the MCU. The inclusion of Black Widow and Nick Furry gave this movie just the umph it needed to keep audiences intrigued. But, sadly, it conformed to most of the formulaic plot development one would expect from a superhero movie.
S:5 Speaking of Black Widow, Scarlett Johansen did a great service to providing strong secondary character support, as she continued to do through so many MCU films. Adding Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts and Don Cheadle’s surprisingly wonderful replacement of Terrence Howard as Rhodey, and you get a film that really pushed their secondary characters well.
M:2 Unfortunately, Iron Man 2 wasn’t filled with many memorable moments. But it gets a 2 for the climax scene of Tony and Rhodey fighting all the robots and, most importantly, the first time we get to see Black Widow in action.
Final Score: 15 – Even Marvel isn’t immune to the infamous “sophmore slump,” as evienced by two sequels being in the bottom three. Although a mostly solid film, its main purpose seems to be reminding viewers to come back for the next instalments in the MCU, while neglecting to properly serve its own story.