The darkest times are upon us in an otherwise fun, event-filled, and growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. To celebrate the coming release of Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War," where two ideals will come to a head, let's reflect on the "marvellous" films that this studio has put together. I will be going in order from 2008 - 2015, ending with thoughts and predictions for "Captain America: Civil War." These will be minor reviews and more of a re-evaluation of my thoughts on these films, how they hold up now, and how well they connect/impact the films that came after. Here we go.
WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS THROUGHOUT!!
Part 3: Iron Man 2 (2010)
In what is known as the most divided among fans in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, what most fans seem to overlook is the thanks it deserves for it's set-up. "Iron Man 2" is two films in one, playing out as it's own story while also having a side plot about S.H.I.E.L.D as we get to know Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his ultimate goal. Having the worst issue that a superhero film can have, which is having too many villains and side plots, this film is the most forgivable of the sin in my opinion. I am a defender of the poor filmmaking choices here, even though the film has countless amounts of them. Building a new found relationship with his maid Pepper Potts, dealing with the villain of the story (Whiplash, played by Mickey Rourke), setting up "The Avengers," and having to deal with the personal conflict of the corroding of his chest plate, this film goes in too many ways to follow.
As far as setting up the universe goes, this film has the most stuffed into it as far as the solo films go. Although all close in length this film is the shortest of the three "Iron Man" pictures, and it tries to shove in the most information. That should have been a red flag for the studio right off the bat. They did however do a nice job in briefly explaining the organization while not getting too caught up in that aspect. As he tries to build a machine to save his own life, easter eggs such as Captain America's shield are present. Things like this are nice little touches for fans that will not distract the casual moviegoers, it was just a nicely added bonus. I personally think the writers made the mistake (maybe it was the studio as well) in focussing too much on the universe as a whole.
When the story kicks back in and Rhodey is forced to take on Tony, that is a very intense moment between friends that is my favourite portion of the film. The suits end up tearing them apart and they go their separate ways before needing to team up to fight off the enemy. This is a story that has been told many times as well, and the fact that the fight is over pretty quickly in order to save time in the finale to set up "The Avengers" felt like messy storytelling. Granted, this film definitely does it better than films more recently have done, such as "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" was trying to do for the "Justice League" or "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" was trying to do for "The Sinister Six." Those are an entirely different story on their own, but the fact that this film has so much pressure to speed things up for the franchise, I commend it.
It is definitely the weakest of the three "Iron Man" films, but it is still an enjoyable one at times, due to it's terrific cast, solid direction by Jon Favreau, cool action sequences, and a pretty touching backstory with Tony's father in my opinion. This film is so polarized to the point that it is very hard to recommend, but it is one of the only films in phase one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is a must watch, due to it's heavy S.H.I.E.L.D aspects, but once you have seen it, it is not one of the films to go back on. Like "The Incredible Hulk," it is one of the weaker Marvel films, but it does not make you dislike anything about this universe.
The thing that saves even the most average of Marvel films, is that they remain fun. They take their time in the moments that matter, but the entertainment value never falters. I must say that with all criticisms aside, this is still a very enjoyable film for it's characters and action. After the credits end, this film is the one that expands the biggest thus far. Having already shown Cap's shield as an easter egg, they take it one step further by showing you Thor's hammer after the credits. This was the moment that got fans geeking out and needing more. This "Iron Man" film was just as much of a success at the box office as it's predecessor, which should come as no surprise, due to the fanbase. I can say with confidence that this is not a bad film, but it is a weak one in comparison to the rest of the universe. A nice watch with an ultimately forgettable storyline. "Iron Man 2" is average superhero fare, but it is commendable and ultimately needed upon revisiting it.
Review By: KJ Proulx