The summer blockbuster season kicked off this week with the release of Iron Man 2. While I see some critics nitpicking and giving this film poor reviews I personally thought the film was excellent and delivered at being exactly what it needed to be; the vehicle for launching The Avengers as Marvel’s new number one platform. This was its main aim, to make people want to see Thor and Captain America; to establish who Nick Fury and Black Widow are in the Marvel-verse, to integrate Tony into S.H.I.E.L.D. and unveil the history between Tony’s father and Fury. The wasn’t so much Iron Man 2 as it was The Avengers chapter 1.
I see some people complaining that Whiplash wanst a prominant enough figure in this film, to the point where they lost track of who the villain even was. To them I say they missed the point. Whiplash was a villan, but not the main villain. The main villain and foe Iron Man had to battle in this film was Tony Stark. Tony’s alcoholism and womanizing behavior we’re a main focus because the viewers needed to see that while Iron Man is a demi-god, Tony Stark is nothing more than a flawed egomaniac with a death wish. Nothing he does is truly altruistic. His actions are to impress and further fuel his massive ego. His ego is killing Iron Man literally. His womanizing is the chink in his armor that allows Black Widow to get close to him and hand deliver him to S.H.I.E.L.D.
Whiplash isn’t that important to the film because he isn’t very important in the eyes of Stark. He is Iron Man everything else is beneath him, not a real threat. Hammer on the other hand is a real threat. Not to Stark’s safety but to his ego and star power. Hammer wants to steal his lime light. Hammer wants to be Tony Stark and will do whatever it takes to snatch the fame from Stark. In a sense they are extremely similar characters, the only thing separating the two is Tony’s ties to reality, mainly Pepper. Hammer is a good example of what Tony could have become if he hadn’t had those bonds keeping ego somewhat grounded.
I see some complaining that the film seemed chaotic in places or poorly paced, to me that wasn’t a detriment, it enforced the film as Tony Stark isn’t exactly a conventional or logical character. A battle that is life or death to a normal superhero holds little meaning to Stark. He knows he will win. Thus there is no need for him to worry. His ego won’t allow it. He is a different kind of superhero. This might be hard for some to embrace but if you are going to truly capture the essence of Tony Stark than you can’t make a traditional three act superhero film. It needs to be chaotic. It needs to weave in and out of plots. It needs to have imperfections because it needs to follow an imperfect protagonist.
In my eyes this film did exactly what it needed to do and did it with flying colors.