23. Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 came along at a time when the MCU hadn’t really figured out what it was. Sure, it was still dropping hints but, at the time, it was still primarily focused on the task at hand. As a result, the film was little more than a direct sequel to its 2008 predecessor.
While that’s not necessarily a bad thing (we still love standalone sequels), this just very much felt like “another adventure with” and the fact of the matter is that the adventure wasn’t all that great.
Though it does have a strong story in that focused on the decline of Tony’s health after his arc reactor began to fail, the execution leaves something to be desired as if often prioritized the entertaining elements of the story over the story itself.
Thus, while it cleverly utilised Tony’s charming immaturity as a mechanism for the character to cope with everything happening to him, the script relied on it too heavily which resulted in endless immature acts (the explosive house party) which were anything but charming. This hindered the development and pacing of the story which, when you met the one-dimensional villain, didn’t really improve.
Far from a poor film, it’s a highly-entertaining romp which Robert Downey Jr once again pulls off to perfection – and it also deserves credit for introducing Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow – but it was an uncharacteristic weak point for the MCU.