Build-up to the Avengers – Iron Man 1 & 2

12 Apr

One of my favorite film reviewers, Jeremy Jahns (, is gearing up for The Avengers by reviewing the films leading up to it. I kinda want to give that a try myself so here’s my review of Iron Man and Iron Man 2.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is a defense contractor in charge of Stark Industries who is known for his loose cannon, devil may care attitude. While on a job in Afghanistan, Stark is captured by terrorists and forced to build them a version of his Jericho Missile. Instead, Stark constructs a giant iron suit and escapes. After this incident, he decides to go into the business of peace keeping instead of “arms dealing” and becomes the superhero, Iron Man. Not everyone is too thrilled about this decision, especially his mentor and second in command, Obadiah Stane who will stop at nothing to take charge of the company and remove Tony.

While The Dark Knight may be the greatest comic book film ever made, Iron Man certainly comes close. The strength of this film’s story is that it doesn’t rely too heavily on overblown action and special effects, but on the origin story and development of the characters. This make the film not only entertaining, but also interesting and relatable.

Robert Downey Jr. was made for this role. He is a great actor who really puts a lot of his personality into his characters, but his Tony Stark is hysterical and sympathetic, but can definitely not be very likable. Jeff Bridges shows talent as Obadiah Stane, and the massive character arc from friend to enemy. Terrance Howard is kind of forgettable, but Gwyneth Paltrow shines as Pepper Potts.

When there is action, it is intense and exciting with incredible special effects that will leave your mouth hanging open with sheer joy. Iron Man should not be missed and it is definitely more than just popcorn entertainment. It is an exciting film with surprisingly layered characters and themes of peace vs. war.

With Iron Man setting the bar so high, the pressure was on for Iron Man 2. If anyone says that the second film was better than the first, they are lying to you, but make no mistake, Iron Man 2 is still a fun and above average action flick.

Tony Stark did something that not many superheroes do: reveal his secret identity. Well, he’s loving all the attention he is getting and using his elevated fame to his business advantage. Everything seems to be going great until Ivan Vanko (Micky Rourke) begins attacking Stark and accusing him of not sharing the profits of the new Iron Man technology and the subsequent arc reactor. Meanwhile, Nick Fury approaches Stark with an offer to join a new team that is being assembled.

Iron Man 2 has a lot of ups and a few downs. The middle part of the film is bogged down with a lot of scenes that are unnecessary and that can drag on for a little too long. There also seems to be more of a focus on action and flashy-CGI than characters and development. While Iron Man can be seen as more than just cheap entertainment, Iron Man 2 is definitely a summer popcorn flick.

Robert Downey Jr. is still great in this one, and Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer’s addition to the villainy is great. He is a perfect complement to Rourke’s physical intimidation as a weak but sneaky businessman who is only in it for himself.

The effects and action are really great and a lot of fun. If you blink during one of the more intense scenes, you might miss something really cool. Iron Man 2 is a quick, fun, but weaker installment in the Marvel Franchise films. I definitely recommend both of these films, but prefer the first. Still, the characters, action, and special effects are enough to please any action fan.

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