May 6, 2010, - 5:12 pm

Boring “Iron Man 2”: Arrogant Schmuck Superhero Reminds Me of Superman III

By Debbie Schlussel

I love comic books.  I love superheroes.  I love, love, love comic book superheroes.  And I mostly liked the first “Iron Man” movie (read my review), starring Robert Downey, Jr.  I soooo badly wanted to like “Iron Man 2,” in theaters at Midnight, Tonight.


But I didn’t.  I was bored to tears . . . and sleep.  Another movie critic literally awoke me from my slumber.  It was that slow.  And even though I had temporary sleepitude, I didn’t miss a thing.  There was nothing to miss.

This movie was a mess.  Yes, some of the special effects are cool.  But so what?  For much of the movie, Iron Man/Tony Stark is a creep.  We want our male superheroes, while cocky and self-assured, to be somewhat modest and unassuming, at least a tad nice and circumspect.  But that’s not what happened here.  Remember “Superman III,” when Superman becomes a drunken jerk and barely saves anyone?  That was Iron Man for most of this movie.  It’s kind of like the conceited rich guy you dated.  For like the first five minutes, it’s fun to be seen with him, but when he starts abusing the waiter, you wanna crawl under a rock.  Not cool.

And aside from that, the movie was crowded, confusing, and incomplete.  And there was no spark, no magic, nor charm, not to mention much of a solid plot with defined evil versus defined good.  Instead, it was jerky guy versus villains I didn’t dislike much.  Too many villains.  There was Mickey Rourke (I like him) as a Russian dude, Ivan Vanko.  Rourke is one of the few actors I’ve ever seen do a good Russian accent.  But he lacked anything that made me hate him or wanna see him foiled except his Medusa-style bad hairdo.

Then, there was the evil defense contractor Sam Rockwell (an actor of whom I’m a fan) who wants to copy and make his own Iron Man suits and mass produce them for the U.S. military.  How is that evil?  I actually think that would be great, so I was rooting for him.  But not really, because his character wasn’t exciting either.  Just kinda dull.

And that was the case with the whole movie:  dull.  A dull Gwyneth Paltrow, playing a bossy, old mommy-type.  A dull partner for Iron Man, played by Don Cheadle.  Dull villains who weren’t that evil.  Plus, there was Gary Shandling.  Gary frickin’ Shandling as a U.S. Senator who wants to get the Iron Man suits classified as a weapon and make them the property of the U.S. military.  The nerve of him.  And dude, what the heck happened to his face?  Larry Sanders’ (Shandling’s other alter ego) face is so puffy, he needs to sue his botox doctor.  That dermatologist didn’t do him any favors.  Other than Iron Man, I can’t see him working in Hollywood again.  It’s an eyesore.

And then there was the plot.  Several plots that all revolved around getting the suit away from the abusive, self-destructing Stark or recreating the suit and beating Iron Man.  Who cares?  I didn’t.  It just wasn’t exciting.  I felt like I’d been sitting there all year.  The first “Iron Man” flick, at least, had an exciting, relevant storyline, fighting terrorists in the Middle East, and Jeff Bridges was a cooler villain.

And, guys, don’t get all excited over the beautiful Scarlett Johansson.  She’s barely in the movie.  The filmmakers didn’t do us any favors by not explaining much about who she is (Natalie Rushman a/k/a Natasha Romanoff a/k/a “The Black Widow”–they didn’t even mention this cool nickname anywhere in the movie).  Ditto for Samuel L. Jackson, who is “Nick Fury.”  I like the Nick Fury comic books.  But him?  Eh.  It’s a joke.

Bottom line:  if you like special effects, go see it.  But it’s not a tight superhero movie.  Not even close.  It’s Superman III all over again.  And you can rent that for less than ten bucks.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

39 Responses


Dave on May 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Is Robert Downey Jr. Morton Downey Jr.s” son? If not, he should be. That said, I’ve always despised the younger one. Never understood all teh accolades.

DS_ROCKS! on May 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Obviously if Robert Downey Jr. were Morton Downey’s son, his name would be Morton Downey Jr. I’m wondering if he has any connection to the fabric softening dynasty.

    Daniel H on May 7, 2010 at 9:23 am

Really? I was so looking forward to it.

cirrus1701 on May 6, 2010 at 5:35 pm

To ‘DS_ROCKS’: Sadly, Robert Downey, Jr. is of no relation to the late Morton Downey, Jr., despite their sharing both the same surname and the same generational designation.

ConcernedPatriot on May 6, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Was that AC/DC music in the soundtrack?

jake49 on May 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Morton Downey Jr. and “The Hot Seat” were awesome.

DS_ROCKS! on May 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm

You’ve inferred more than once in this post that you’re a fan of comic books. Really? When was the last time you read a Nick Fury comic? Or ANY comic book? Archie and Jughead in the 1970’s doesn’t count!

The big problem with super hero movies up until Sam Raimi’s Spiderman (with the obvious exceptions of Richard Donner’s iconic Superman: The Movie and Tim Burton’s ground breaking Batman) is that the studio’s thought they could craft a better story (or thought they could make it more appealing to the masses) than the source material.

If you were a fan of Iron Man comic books, you would know Tony Stark was a terrible drunk. He hits rock bottom. (You can google, “Iron Man 128” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.) So maybe they were just attempting to be “true” to the character?

Besides, this movie and the upcoming Captain America are all just prequels to The Avengers movie in a couple years. How cool will that be when we get 5 or 6 superheroes in one film? The Justice League would have been the ultimate superhero movie but I think the characters are licensed to seveal different companies.

And if I can make a prediction, I bet you LOVE the Captain America movie. Its supposed to be an origin story from the 1940’s before he’s frozen in ice, thawed out in the 1960’s and becomes a founding member of The Avengers…I assume Cap is going to rip those Nazi rats a new one.

Joe Schmo on May 6, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    I like Sam Raimi’s work. I got hooked on “The Legend Of The Seeker.” “Hercules” was a guys adventure story. “Xena” was a girls adventure story. Both were cool, funny and had lots of action. His latest show is really a guy-girl adventure story, a forbidden love because the hero has to place his feelings for the woman he loves aside to defeat the bad guy and save the world. We want our heroes to be passionate, true to themselves, doing the right thing whatever the personal cost and finding reward not for themselves but for the satisfaction of helping others. Those are the kind of shows I really enjoy.

    NormanF on May 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm

The old comics are better. For those who like to read hard copies, Michigan State has exhaustive archives, open to the public; their content is listed online.

Little Al on May 6, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    I wish I were in Michigan. I agree with you that those comics from the Golden and Silver age are great… especially since you have a filter called time to rid us of the crap. I’m especially fond of Marvel Man aka to 70’s fan Shazam, which has the best art work. Does anyone know a link to a resource for comics online? The old stuff doesn’t sell that well anyway. You would thing they would release some of these Golden oldies on the web.

    P.S.Little Lulu was some crazy stuff… check that out if you are more of an Archie kind of reader.

    hey Debbie… do you think Iron Man was snorting Coke again?

    Noah David Simon on May 6, 2010 at 6:52 pm

I can’t recommend any one watching it for entertainment. But I bet its one of those things to keep in the house just in case you have insomnia. It works better than Sominex!

NormanF on May 6, 2010 at 6:18 pm

It sounds like this movie was an entire flashback from a real life Robert Downy Jr. therapy session! Pass the disfunction! Don’t love your country, full socialism ahead!

FeFe on May 6, 2010 at 6:23 pm

In all fairness, Debbie, they got comic Iron Man’s character perfectly spot on. It’s a shame you didn’t like it, though. I must admit, Film Critics’ opinions, while I do take them on board, rarely if ever stop me seeing a film I want to see, so I shall be seeing this one. 😀

Alison on May 6, 2010 at 6:56 pm

@Noah: It was “Captain Marvel” who said “SHAZAM”. That was a great comic, for sure. Was Billy Batson in those?

DR.ROCKS! on May 6, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Forget these dumbass movies…


It’s in IMDB’s Top 250 movies of all time, I saw it and it’s that good!

Norman Blitzer on May 6, 2010 at 7:22 pm

If Robert Downet Jr. was his father, who was teh mother?

TV on May 6, 2010 at 8:23 pm

once they started loading up with all the extra bad guys and mickey rourke I moved this movie to the netflix list.

They ruin every sequel this way by loading up on characters they think will attract an audience then don’t have time or ability to create a good strong character. They would get more films made and make more money if they just stuck to one villain at a time and then do a big gang of villains movie after they are all properly established.

ender on May 6, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    One hundred percent correct — too many villians equals confused plot; Batman with three villians (Catwoman, Penguin, and a bogey-man, I mean businessman) was two too many. Guess which villain(ness) they should have focused on. The interesting thing to consider is how movie makers cannot make a simple adventure movie. They have to make it serious and so become boringly pretentious and condescending. (Their idea of serious is to tell us that racism and war and greed are bad. What a surprise; what courage!) And guess what, this is exactly what has happened to comic books. The Silver Surfer, who works for a mass murderer, comes to earth and pontificates in cliches about how awful humanity is. Batman is re-interpreted as a basket-case because he wants to fight for justice. No wonder movie-land has latched onto comics as they continue to ignore science-fiction classics. (Think how great The Mote in God’s Eye could be as a movie. Does ANYONE think they will make a decent Captain America? Well, maybe with a boss named General United Nations who makes wry insults about how C. A. does the job wrong, and then puts the Red Skull on trial in Belgium.

    David O. on May 7, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Sad to hear your reveiw Debs, I was looking forward to this movie especially since I’m a big Mickey Rourke fan. But its probably enough action and explosions to keep me satisfied.

THE LORD THOR on May 6, 2010 at 9:19 pm

I always felt Michael Jai White would make the perfect Rhoades Tony Starks side kick he looks the part to me.

THE LORD THOR on May 6, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Michael Jai White was also good in those Tyler Perry movies too.

    Matthew on May 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm

If Iron Man 1 performed satisfactory as did Daredevil no doubt a second movie would not have happened. The problem with Iron Man is that aside from the Mandarin, who’s ring powers may prove too hookey to bring to film, Iron Man never had any stand out villians. Whiplash never instilled any fear and a good villian either changes from good to bad (Dr Octopus, Magneto) and is so colorful and charismatic (The Joker). Whiplash is and was a class B villian and Justin Hammer was as evil as a tuna sandwitch on a dash board. It’s a shame that instead of Hammer’s roll they didn’t use The Mandarin, sort of like SPECTRE from James Bond, pulling the strings, as doing a super hero movie with no substantial villian is like a big mistake. Iron Man 1 pulled it off based soley on the casting of Downey Jr. but regardless of box office success of Iron Man 2, for die hard Marvelites, it would be better to get the Avenger’s movie quicker and skip out on a third wasteful installment. At the rate things are regressing, a third movie may be a death blow for Marvel.

Fred on May 7, 2010 at 7:47 am

“Obviously if Robert Downey Jr. were Morton Downey’s son, his name would be Morton Downey Jr.”

R. Dittmar on May 7, 2010 at 9:38 am

“Obviously if Robert Downey Jr. were Morton Downey’s son, his name would be Morton Downey Jr.”

Actually if Robert Downey Jr. were Morton Downey Jr.’s son, then wouldn’t he be Morton Downey Jr. Jr.??

R. Dittmar on May 7, 2010 at 9:39 am

I didn’t even finish the first one, as it bored me to watch ‘characters’that I wasn’t given any reason to care about.
I recently watched “The Fall” by Tarsem Singh-if you want to see heroes you come to care about in a spectacular movie…rent that one.

Douglas Q on May 7, 2010 at 9:42 am

“And, guys, don’t get all excited over the beautiful Scarlett Johansson. She’s barely in the movie.”

Thanks for saving me $10, Debbie. Vavoooooom, Scarlett J!!!! Yeah, I know she’s a jerk, but woo woo!!!! I’ve been totally in love since Lost in Translation and The Prestige.

Debbie, “It’s kind of like the conceited rich guy you dated.”

Hmmmm….Debbie, do tell, you hot babe, you! Now I think of it, a movie based on you might be pretty interesting.

Jeff_W on May 7, 2010 at 9:55 am

Well sadly nobody but the real comic fanboy knows of the sexy spy known as The Black Widow. Though she is a Russian spy in the comics, she is on the side of justice.

Or you can try here…

Bob Porrazzo on May 7, 2010 at 11:53 am

I feel sorry for you Debbie, having to sit through all those mediocre crappy movies. I watched High Noon last night with Gary Cooper for some inspiration from a real hero.

roger on May 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    I will not see it because the Stupid,comments Scarrlett (horseface)Johansonn’s Love affair with Obama.Its a delusion,that she is Hot!She can only sell sex,and is only 5 feet,2 inch.I did like her in that sci-fi movie with McGregor in it.She sickens me!Like Spawn Penn does,and Bill Mahar.YUK!

    brainwashed on May 8, 2010 at 3:49 am

Am I the only one who liked Superman III and Superman IV?

Jordan on May 7, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Yes, Jordan, you are.

luagha on May 7, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Apparently you don’t read comics or else you’d have realized that Tony Stark was acting like himself throughout the ENTIRE FUCKING MOVIE YOU SLEPT THROUGH.

Hal Jordan on May 7, 2010 at 4:27 pm

The government seizing Tony Stark’s armor for its own use is communism. Why do you support communism?

KR: Who said I supported the government seizing anyone’s private property? But would you be okay with Islamic terrorists in the U.S. openly owning some sort of weapon like that? I wouldn’t. That was the basis for the Senator’s complaint. And he had a point. Still, I didn’t have a problem with Sam Rockwell and Ivan Vanko trying to copy it and create their own version? That’s what all weapons contractors do. Provided they don’t steal intellectual property or violate patents, I don’t see what the problem is with producing an improved version. Do you? DS

Kyle Raynor on May 7, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Debbie, I believe you when you say you love comics. I really do. It must be hard for you to walk into the movie theater every time expecting a good comic book movie and be personally disappointed. I love comic books and I am personally excited that many comic books are being made into movies. Some are very controversial, some are just plain family fun. However the directors of these movies face a tough problem” creating an interesting story that compresses years of writing from different authors into a 1 1/2 to 2 hour movie AND make the characters and settings as close to the original as possible. A lot of casual and hardcore fans want to watch a movie where they see a faithful transition from comic pages to the silver screen. I believe the director has done so. They took the comic book character of Tony Stark, whose no paragon of humanity but rather a very human character with human flaws and weaknesses, and successfully captured the snarky, cocky, loveable, but also very serious nature of Tony Stark. As for his alcoholism, as you know because you are an avid comic book reader, Tony Stark HAS a problem with alcohol. He is an alcoholic and thankfully in the comics he’s put in his time at an AA and has remained sober through what was probably his most moral conflicting event (Civil War). So while we see the bad side of Tony, we also know that he will rise up and conquer his alcoholism. By seeing his drunkenness his enevitable triumph over the bottle will be all the better.

As for too many villains, some people may see two villains. Personally I see 1 and a half. The main bad guy was Whiplash, but here’s my ‘half’ villain – Hammer. In the movie, Hammer was mainly Whiplash’s benefactor. He was a poor mans Tony but nothing notable other then freeing Whiplash labeled him as an evil person – in the end as you may remember Hammer even tries to stop Whiplash and his drones he took over. Now if he was anything like his comic counter part we both know that Hammer was a very unethical person, stealing StarkTech and hiring caped villains to kill Tony Stark. If we had seen that Justin Hammer then we would have had 2 villains, but in my opinion the main villain was Whiplash who had a benefactor in Hammer.

As for Senator Stern wanting the Iron Man suit, we both know (again we both love comics right?) the main reason Tony DOESN’T hand over the Iron Man technology isn’t because he’s petty and wants it all for himself nor because its a weapon – its about responsibility. As Spiderman once said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. The Iron Man suit is the new nuclear power, and just like nuclear reactors and bombs, more and more can be produced. The fact that the Iron Man suit can be mass produced means that there is a greater chance that people with evil intent or their own agendas might use the armor for destruction and greed, so there is a greater call for responsibility when using the armor then most other super heroes. The person wearing the suit has to be very responsible in its use otherwise they may find themselves being used to further political and personal agendas or being used as a weapon of destruction – which is farthest away from what Tony wanted. The Iron Man suit is called both sword and shield in the movie when in actuality it tetters on the line between both concepts. The person wielding such power needs to have the ethics to turn the Armor into a shield, not a sword. Tony knows from his own experiences what the army does with his weapons (Iron Man 1) he clearly doesn’t trust the army. That might anger you, but that is Tony’s own clear opinion. Remember, a theme of the movie was finding a successor to his nuclear power – his armor.

As for Nick Fury, it HAS to be SLJ. It’s a giant nod to comic fans, plus its SLJ playing a badass super spy! It’s like James Bond x10. Unfortunately we haven’t seen too much screen time so I don’t have a complete opinion of him yet – it’s too early to tell. But with the next few movies coming up – Thor, Captain America, Spider Man reboot – we’ll see more of him. I know I’ll go see all those movies and I know you will too – we both love comics don’t we?

Professor Farnsworth on May 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I saw Ironman II today. I agree with everything you said, Debbie. The screenplay by Justin Thereaux was agonizingly amateurish. A high school student could have written it. The action was blurry (at times). The dialogue was dull, dull, dull. Jeff Bridges from the first Ironman was, I agree, a more interesting villain than Rourke (who I like) or Rockwell (who I also like).

Downey played a drunken narcissist in the first Ironman, true to the comic book source, but there he also had a little charm; here he was just a boor.

The plot was stupid–and I don’t mean comic book stupid. I mean there was nothing there.

There was plenty of breaking glass, yes, and shots of curvy babes in tight skirts and heels along with other examples of thrown-in glitz, but nothing underneath–no imagination, story surprise or appealing value structure.

(The only thing that made me laugh in the movie was that one cameo of you-know-who. He is such a natural buffoon that all he had to do in the film was be himself.)

Too bad you didn’t get to see Babies which came out today. That was far better even without any dialogue or story. Or The Man in the Lighthouse which was not great but was still better without trying a tenth as hard.

Burke on May 7, 2010 at 8:45 pm

“Defined evil vs defined good”. See there’s your problem: you claim to love comic books but apparently you haven’t read any since 1986.

kon on May 9, 2010 at 5:38 am

Stumbled upon this article by accident and thought i’d fallen down a rabbit hole into the realm of ‘Dumb ass’.
I just couldn’t understand why the reviewer, keep banging half baked semi-idealogical drums, Instead of attacking the movie for its many obvious flaws.

Then i looked at some of the other content on this site, and realised it wasn’t so much that i’d fallen down a rabbit hole…. More like i stepped in something.

Madame. Thank God and the royal family we cut your nation loose, and let you think you won your own independence. One pities the poor Canadians more and more, such a civilised and cultured nation.

Well must dash … Irish peasants to starve, etc …tooddle-pip.

Marauding RedCoat on September 4, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Ah! So that’s why so many dislike “IRON MAN 2”. Many had expected to overcome his personal flaws after the first film . . . and discovered that he had fully matured by the second film.


Rosie on March 26, 2014 at 2:29 am

Leave a Reply

* denotes required field