Ranking the MCU: The Road to ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ – #17

Iron Man 2 came to the MCU in May of 2010 and was the highly anticipated sequel to the original Iron Man movie. This would be the third movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe following The Incredible Hulk. In this movie we see the return of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/ Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan. We also get a return of the character James “Rhodey” Rhodes/ War Machine, but only this time instead of being played by Terrence Howard the role was recast and taken over by Don Cheadle. Also reprising his role is Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

The movie starts out where the last movie finished with Tony Stark announcing that he is Iron Man. Except we are seeing it from a TV in Russia where Anton Vanko, an ex Stark Industry employee has just died and his son Ivan Vanko, played by Mickey Rourke is grieving over his death but begins building his own Arc reactor. Fast forward to six months later and Stark who is a celebrity, uses his suit for peaceful means while avoiding  pressure form the US Government to hand over the technology who fears the technology will get into the wrong hands, which Tony reassures is decades away. We also meet Justin Hammer played by Sam Rockwell, who is basically a cheap knockoff Tony Stark and the government has hired him to help create a Iron Man type technology. Tony has also reinstitute the Stark Expo to continue what his father started and continue the legacy.

We then find out that the Palladium core in the Arc Reactor that resides in Tony Stark’s chest that keeps him alive is slowly poisoning him and he has no cure for it. Scared for the possibility of his death he names his personal assistant Pepper Potts the new CEO of Stark Industries. To replace Pepper Potts as his personal assistant Natasha Rushman played by Scarlett Johansson.

Tony then travels to Monaco where he competes in the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, where he is attacked by Ivan Vanko who is in his own new Arc reactor powered suit, in the comics known as Whiplash. After Vanko he is defeated by Iron Man, he makes his point that Iron Man is not invincible and that the technology is creatable. Vanko is thrown into jail where later Justin Hammer helps him fake his death in order to help him build Tony’s technology. When Tony returns to the US he throws himself a birthday party thinking it’ll be his last. Rhodes gets mad and takes one of the Iron Man suits which then leads to a little face off between him and Iron Man. Rhodey then confiscates the suit and takes it back to the U.S. Air Force.

When then see Tony meet up with Nick Fury who reveals Natasha Rushman is a S.H.I.E.L.D spy working for him named Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow. Fury reveals that Tony’s father Howard was a founding S.H.I.E.L.D member and that Vanko’s father jointly invented the arc reactor with Stark, but when Anton tried to sell it for profit, Stark had him deported. Fury gives Stark some of his father’s old material; a hidden message in the diorama of the 1974 Stark Expo proves to be a diagram of the structure of a new element which ends the Palladium sickness.

At the Stark Expo, Justin Hammer unveils the drones that Vanko has made for him only for them to be set off by Vanko and begin attacking. Pepper informs the police that Hammer is behind it where he is arrested and Black Widow and Happy Hogan go off to stop Vanko. Vanko escapes where we see Iron Man and War Machine together defeat Vanko and his drones. Vanko seemingly commits suicide by blowing up his suit, along with the defeated drones. At the end we see Fury telling Stark he is now only a consultant for their “team”. In the after credit scene we see Agent Coulson played by Clark Gregg being sent to New Mexico where a mysterious hammer is stuck in the ground eluding to Thor.

While many, including myself, did not truly care for the movie, the movie is actually very important in setting up a lot of things for the future of the MCU, as well as introducing characters like Black Widow and War Machine. We also begin to see the importance of Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. The movie itself though suffers heavily due to the boring nature of the villain Whiplash. He doesn’t really do much as far as villains go and is
probably the second worse villain next to Abomination. Also a lot of people, myself included, really wanted to see what Terrence Howard would have brought to the role of Rhodey/ War Machine, instead of Don Cheadle who has been playing him ever since.

So what do you guys think? Does Iron Man 2 deserve the spot of number 17 of 18 in our rankings? Should it be lower or higher? Sound off in the comments below and tell us what you thought of Iron Man 2.

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