3. Iron Man 2 (2010)
Serving as a sequel to Iron Man and the third film of the MCU, Iron Man 2 had large shoes to fill when it premiered in 2010. Directed again by Jon Favreau and this time written by Justin Theroux, the second movie in the series sees Downey Jr. return as his journey as the superhero continues.
Iron Man 2 is an MCU entry most superhero fans have mixed feelings about. The plot revolves around Tony Stark dealing with his new reality after revealing his identity as Iron Man to the world. He’s now facing pressure from the government to give up, while also struggling with his own mortality as the palladium core in his chest that powers the suit is slowly poisoning him. Meanwhile, he must also deal with two new villains — Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), a.k.a. Whiplash, and a rival weapons manufacturer named Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell).
One of the standout moments of the movie is the introduction of Scarlett Johansson’s character, Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow. Her fight scenes are some of the most memorable, and she brings a level of intensity and excitement to the story. She becomes one of the most iconic characters in the MCU, so her inclusion in the movie is amazing.
The cast as a whole is solid, with Downey Jr. once again delivering an awesome performance. Don Cheadle replaces Terrence Howard as Rhodey, and while the actor is now known for the role, the change was a bit jarring at first. After appearing in the post-credits scene of Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as the now-beloved Nick Fury in Iron Man 2, which is great.
One of the criticisms we have of Iron Man 2 is that it suffers from sequel syndrome in that it tries to do too much and ends up feeling messy. The addition of multiple villains and plotlines can make the movie feel overstuffed at times, and some were disappointed with how Whiplash is handled.
However, despite its flaws, Iron Man 2 still has plenty of fun moments, witty dialogue, and impressive action scenes that make it worth watching for any Marvel fan. It’s just the weakest of the bunch.