I spent the last post telling the story of Iron Man I with wooden peg people and cotton balls. But Iron Man, and its sequel I’m about to cover, isn’t about Iron Man – it’s the story of the man in the suit: Robert Downey, Jr. I mean, Tony Stark.
His story doesn’t end when he kills one of his bad guys, with him becoming “good” and just staying that way. If that could happen, I’d have achieved perfection at five (back when I was cute and skinny and played a rocking show girl in ballet) and never had to try again. Iron Man II begins with Tony enjoying his success as Iron Man while his past and present come back to haunt him. When Tony is good, he is very, very good, but when he is bad, expect mass destruction.
The movie opens with a big Russian guy who hates Tony Stark. After his dad dies, he angrily opens a bunch of blueprints with the name of Stark’s father, and starts building himself a shiny thing with hammers and a forge – probably for the science fair.
Cut to Tony, making a discreet entrance to the Stark Expo (science fair for rich people) by leaping out of a plane through fireworks and landing on a stage in the middle of a bunch of dancing girls to the tune of “Shoot to Thrill” by AC/DC. After robotic cranes remove his armor to reveal him in a nice suit (Tony dresses and undresses faster than your average Barbie), he delights in the roaring crowd. Just because he’s a new man who isn’t selling weapons to terrorists (as far as he knows) does not mean he can’t still get attention for what an awesome hero he is and how no one can challenge him!
After nearly drowning in his own ego laden speech, he lets a video of his dead dad, Howard Stark, (played by Walt Disney I’m pretty sure) talk about Tomorrowland while he checks his blood toxicity level, as anyone would. Next up is a visit with the Senate who grill him on the use of his technology using his pal Rhodey (new actor but trust us, still him) to present his weaponized armor suit as a possible threat. No way. Tony defends himself saying “You can’t take my stuff” and “You’re welcome. I’ve privatized world peace.” Because yeah he has, all the world needs is him. Duh.
So he goes to Monaco with the two people who actually tolerate him for pay, head of security Happy (Jon Favreau) and former personal secretary Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow), who he has just hired as CEO. Again, yeah, that’s their names. Pepper is trustworthy, having babysat him fairly well for years. She’s not too happy with the new secretary he hired Natalie (Scarlett Johansson), who is there for more than taking notes. Not like that. Mostly. More later.
After arguing with Pepper while they force smiles for the camera (I love their scenes together), he’s grabbed by that one annoying kid that always spots you in the hallway, Justin Hammer, a weapons manufacturer and real wiener. He brags on himself, but not in a charming Tony way, and I immediately wish someone would kill this guy.
Tony checks his toxic blood levels again (not good) and decides to tell his friends that the thing in his chest that is supposed to be protecting his heart and powering his suit is poisoning him. I’m just kidding. He decides it’d be a great idea to jump into the drag race that’s about to start. Pepper turns away for one minute, only to find him racing down the track at 100 miles an hour. Must have forgotten Tony’s bell and leash again. She and Happy grab his armor suit in a suitcase (convenience!) and run.
Angry Russian guy picks this time to show up even though no one knew Tony was going into the race, not even Tony, so he must have counted on him being out of his mind. If so, good research, Russian dude. He jumps onto the track while swinging two long electrical jump ropes and sporting a blinky thingy on his chest. He smacks down cars with the ropes, and they blow up a lot, and then Tony shows up and he makes his car go boom. Other race cars blow up behind Russian guy as he walks toward Tony, though I’m not sure if it’s from the jump ropes or if they just spontaneously combusted.
Tony tries to defend himself against the jump ropes of death, only to nearly lose a rather personal piece of his equipment and get smacked into a car. Speaking of smacking, his pals show up and smack Russian guy with their car and Pepper screams at him hysterically as he argues back- until Russian guy cuts the car straight down the middle. He gets his case and zip – the armor just pops right onto his body. I want one of those suitcases. Mornings would be much easier. Now with his armor, Tony takes him out and yanks away his blinky thing. Only Tony gets the blinky things!
Turns out Russian dude is named Ivan Vanko. He’s thrown in a cell, but soon broken out by Justin Hammer, Tony’s competitor who still needs to be killed. Go, Ivan, go. Hammer instructs Ivan to build him more suits like Tony’s, cause of course this maniac can be trusted to be a good worker.
Rhodey shows up at Tony’s garage and expresses concern, but Tony, who looks like death, insists he is totally in control while reaching into his chest. He takes out one rusty, smoking computer chip thing and replaces it with a fresh one, before slamming the whole reactor thing back in his chest. Hey, I’m convinced.
More scenes with Hammer whining at Ivan. Come ON Ivan, I’m counting on you. At least smack him around a little.
Tony is drinking again (but he’s not an alcoholic, he just likes drinking and stuff) and the hot secretary Natalie sits in his lap. I’m waiting for Pepper to walk in, but instead he asks what to do for his last birthday. She says “Anything you want.” That should go well.
He throws a birthday party, puts on his weaponized suit, and gets stumbling drunk, impressing the crowd by peeing in his suit. Pepper tries to pull him off the stage but he refuses, throwing out an arm and accidentally breaking lots of glass with a hand blaster. Whoops. Rhodey, who was assigned by the military to get Tony back in shape, grabs one of his extra Iron Man suits – you need one for every occasion like shoes – and orders the crowd who was actually enjoying watching him blow stuff up to get out. Aw, and they could’ve gotten killed by Iron Man!
Tony asks for good music to beat his buddy’s butt to, and the DJ plays “Another One Bites the Dust” as they beat the crap out of each other in giant armor suits, destroying much of the house in the process as crowds of people watch his idiocy. Rhodey finally defeats Tony and takes off in his armor suit.
The military likes the suit Rhodey took, but decides it needs to have more weapons slapped onto it (of course), and hire that Hammer guy to do it. WHY? Ivan has been making his own new blinky thing and sparkly jump ropes instead of doing what Hammer asked him to do, and Hammer gets out of sorts. Good time to kill him Ivan. You’ll be a hero!
Cut to Tony sitting in a giant plaster donut on top of a store, eating donuts in his suit. Samuel L. Jackson shows up and asks him to “Please exit the donut”. Turns out Jackson is playing Nick Fury, head of intelligence agency SHIELD, and he and Natalie, who turns out to be a spy named Black Widow wearing tight leather, try to talk him into not being an idiot so he can join their totally normal group. Fury gives him some of his father’s old stuff that maybe he can use to help find a new power source that doesn’t kill him.
Turns out old Ivan is the son of one of Howard Stark’s physicist partners who got arrested and sent to Siberia for trying to make money from their inventions. WMDs were fine, but not Howard’s super secret formula for remaking an element! He plays some old films of his dad (I swear it’s Walt Disney), and Dad says he built his model of a future Tomorrowland for him, and that Tony is his greatest creation. Aw, that would have been so cool if Dad had said he loved Tony while he was, you know, ALIVE, but better than nothing. Also would have been better if Howard had stuck to cartoons.
Tony figures out the Tomorrowland park concept is the model of an atom or something and psychobabble and boom, after remodeling the garage and ripping stuff apart, he recreates an element that . . . it powers his suit better without poisoning him. It’s just in time cause Hammer Weasel is showing off his robot drone fighters when Ivan, shock, hacks into the computer and starts controlling the suits, including the one Rhodey is wearing.
Uh oh. Tony flies out of the expo, trailing robot drones and his best friend who are all trying to kill him, though not intentionally this time. Back on the ground, Black Widow breaks into Hammer’s shop and kills a bunch of guys with her thighs, etc. She reprograms Rhodey’s suit so that they can fight the drones instead of each other, and Pepper has the police kill Hammer. I mean, sigh, arrest him. Bunch of robots go boom, then Ivan shows up with those darn jump ropes but is defeated by Tony and Rhodey who then realize that the drones will all blow up and one of them is right by Pepper, naturally.
Tony swoops down and saves her just in time, bringing her up to the roof where they argue and then kiss while Rhodey watches. He was on the roof first, man, so that is not at all creepy.
Later Tony meets with Fury again, but finds out that while Iron Man is approved to join the Avengers club he’s creating, Tony is not. Something about erratic, self-destructive behavior and extreme narcissism (he acknowledges that one), but he is offered a spot as a consultant. In an after credits scene, a giant hammer (an actual hammer, not the tool they put in jail) is found in the desert. I wonder what the next movie’s gonna be about.