One of the strengths of this film is continuing the flair from the first “Iron Man.” Though this film is bogged down with having to build up the Marvel Cinematic Universe more it does set up a lot of characters including Black Widow, Nick Fury and War Machine (Rhodey). Those characters are very well utilized and are well acted. Rhodey actually gets to suit up this time and is now played by Don Cheadle. I felt that Terrance Howard had more charisma but unfortunately due to financial contracting issues he didn’t continue to play the character. Looking back I’m alright with who they cast and I’m glad that I got to see his character evolve.
The sleek look of all the characters and costumes changes drastically in “The Avengers” and I wish that style that was used in that film was applied here. Black Widow’s character feels tonally different than she does now but it ended up working for her in the long run. The other subtle hints at what is to come for the MCU was done nicely with Captain America’s shield, The news footage featuring the Hulk and Wakanda as a location on a map. Though the film does hint at those characters the story overall loses focus from Iron Man and becomes more of an audition reel for his status to be a member of the team.
I did enjoy the storyline of the technology Tony built literally killing him. Showing how someone can be so destructive to themselves when they think they don’t have long to live while giving the impression they are immortal or untouchable to others. The relationship between Pepper and Tony is always a highlight to watch in these films. They have such natural chemistry on screen. The villain of Whiplash is what made the film not work as well. It wasn’t well written to were you were emotionally invested in the character and things happened on screen because they demanded it. Though this film I’m sure was rushed into production due to the success of “Iron Man”, Jon Favreau was under a lot of pressure to deliver up to that.
Well, you can forget it. I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one. To turn over the Iron Man suit would be to turn over myself, which is tantamount to indentured servitude or prostitution, depending on what state you’re in. You can’t have it. – Tony Stark
The moments of comedy with Garry Shandling were very effective in balance of tone throughout the picture. I felt that Justin Hammer should have been a more in focused villain of the picture. The envy of Tony instead of Whiplash doubling down as a supporting villain. It would have condensed the story and had more impact as a film to showcase Tony’s growth in being responsible for what he has created. Showing that even though he can create a piece of weaponry that can save others — he is not the only one who can create that weapon and needs to control the situation.
I did like the world building and usage of Queens, NY with the Stark Tech Expo center. That was a nice touch that connects this film with “Captain America: The First Avenger.” This film was a real lesson for Marvel. They shouldn’t double up on the villain count and the emphasis is on the hero & villain not a multitude of stories that don’t fit well together.