A Nerd’s Review of the Marvel Cinematic Universe… So Far, Part 3

Next up in my review of the MCU to date is Iron Man 2, starring Robert Downey, Jr., Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johannson, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, and the Bad Mutha Shut Yo Mouth himself, Samuel L. (I’m not yelling!  This is how I talk!) Jackson.


It was okay, I guess.

Short and sweet, Stark is in trouble for negotiating a peace treaty with the world’s super powers on his own, and not including the U.S. government.   Competing weapons manufacturer Justin Hammer (Rockwell) is trying to develop his own Iron Man armor for the government, and failing miserably, as Stark is all to happy to point out.

Meanwhile, Ivan Vanko (Rourke) is sitting around in Russia, pissed off.  You see, his father helped Tony’s father invent the arc reactor technology that is keeping Tony alive, yet Vanko’s father gets no credit and was disgraced.  So, Vanko decides he will use his intellect and his father’s old blueprints to make his own type of arc reactor suit thingy.

While Vanko is all pissy, Stark has two things to accomplish: (1) put the Stark Expo together.  It is a giant technology expo originally conceived by his father, but never carried out, and, (2) figure out an element to replace the paladium in his chest reactor, as it is slowly poisoning him.  What does he do?  He decides he’s going to die, and starts going a little nuts.  He appoints Pepper Potts (Paltrow) to be CEO of Stark Industries, and he replaces her with Natalie Rushman (Johannson).  Because, apparently, everything is better when Scarlett Johannson shows up.

Anyway, he decides he needs to go drive a race car in Monaco, and as he is racing, Vanko comes out of nowhere and attacks him.  He defeats the Russian bastard, via his briefcase armor.

A drunken Hammer is watching all of this, and gets a bright idea: have Vanko help him develop his own armor.  Vanko agrees, and when shown the armor, Vanko rips the head off and says he can do better.

All the while, Stark is getting more and more depressed, and he throws himself a birthday party, which he believes to be his last, and he gets trashed while wearing his armor.  Unbeknownst to him (but knownst to us), his pal Jim Rhodes (Cheadle) has snapped up a suit of armor for himself, and he uses it to subdue Stark before he takes the armor to the government and Hammer.

Stark also conveniently doesn’t notice that his best friend is a completely different guy.  What a dolt.

A disgraced Stark visits Nick Fury, who tells him he is not right for the Avenger Initiative.  He also tells Stark that his new assistant is not really Natalie Rushman, but she is Natasha Romanoff, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent tasked with keeping an eye on Stark at all times.  Because Scarlett Johannson is such a low profile spy.

Vanko agrees to install weapons on the armor Rhodey stole.  What he really has in mind is to turn Hammer’s suits of armor into drones, which he can control himself, and trash Stark’s expo.  He does this, and we wires Rhodey’s armor, making it possible for Vanko to control it, as well.  Hammer finds out that Ivan has messed with his armor and he confines Vanko to a little cell with two guys guarding him.

As if Mickey Rourke can’t beat two guys.  Dumbass.

Rourke gets free, takes control of his drones and Rhodes, blah blah blah, trashes the expo, blah blah blah, Happy Hogan and Romanoff (or, Black Widow) trash Hammer’s facility and deactivate the drones, blah blah blah, Rhodes decides to help Stark beat Vanko, and he tells Stark he is going to keep the newly christened War Machine armor.  At the end, douchebag senator Garry Shandling is forced to pin a medal on Stark, and he is not at all happy about it.  The end.  Fast forward to the after credits scene where S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) tells someone over the phone, “We’ve found it.”  The camera pans down to a close-up shot of the mighty Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer.  Cue the nerd squeal.

This was the weakest entry into the MCU, so far.  It was basically a giant lead-in to the Avengers, instead of being an Iron Man movie.  Mickey Rourke has gone on record of late, saying that his performance was sabotaged, and I think there may be some truth to it.  He was the best part of this movie, as his cool, calm, and remorseless demeanor was chilling.  He seemed like the kind of guy who would go on a killing spree and go to sleep with a smile on his face.  If  most of his performance ended up on the cutting room floor, then I would love to see what it could have been.  Rockwell was good, and Downey was Downey.    The story was meh.  Not a horrible movie, but not as good as it should have been.

Up next: THOR!


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