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YMMV / Iron Man 2

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  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • The brusque, collected Natasha Romanoff is easily the most understated major character in the film when it comes to personality tics. Some fans liked this, finding her icy and enigmatic while others found her bland and lacking in personality. This is difficult to gauge considering Natasha spends the majority of her time undercover so she doesn't have much time to display her true personality. An interview with the director revealed that the more flirtatious scenes between Natasha and Tony were cut to preserve the Tony/Pepper relationship. A scene from the first trailer even features Natasha smiling.
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    • Justin Hammer. It depends on whether you find him hilarious or just annoying.
  • Broken Base:
    • Fans are split as to whether they preferred Howard's or Cheadle's take on James Rhodes. Mostly applies to this film, as Cheadle's performance in Iron Man 3 was much more well-received. His appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron has practically solidified him as a fan favorite.
    • The prominence of SHIELD in this film. Some enjoy the Shout Outs made to the comics and the way they flesh out the universe, while others consider them a Spotlight-Stealing Squad that derailed the plot and stole screentime from characters like Vanko who could've used more development.
  • Critic-Proof: A mild case; Rotten Tomatoes scores designate this as one of the least well-received movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first phase, second only to The Incredible Hulk. It is also tied with the first Thor film for the worst score on Metacritic among the Phase One films. Despite this, it became one of the highest-grossing movies in the phase, trailing only The Avengers. A lot of this likely has to do with the built-in good will that the first film had, building anticipation for this one.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • The video footage of the Hammerdroid's test malfunction (twisting around so fast it snaps the pilot's spine) evokes a That's Gotta Hurt gasp of sympathy from the audience. But Hammer's mealy-mouthed attempts to gloss over the failure by insisting that the pilot survived cross it back into a joke at his expense is quite funnier, as is his later statement that people are reluctant to volunteer to test them "for some reason."
    • Also, Tony's birthday party. "Iron Man, how do you go to the bathroom in that suit? ...just like that." Not funny. Giving an actual technobabble answer about filtration and being able to drink that? Now it's funny.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Judging by the internet, a significant portion of Russian viewers seems to be rooting for Ivan Vanko/Whiplash, despite his villainous status. Given that he comes across as a much more credible and threatening villain than Justin Hammer, combined with some patriotism, this is no surprise. Not to mention that he sets out to avenge his ripped off father, a much more sympathetic goal than the other villains in the films, and Mickey Rourke put a lot of effort into making the audience sympathize with him to the point that he was frustrated when several of his humanizing scenes got cut. Of course, a lot of people ignore the fact that he attempted to kill Tony for something his father did before he was even born, murdered several racecar drivers at the Grand Prix, both Hammer's security guards, and both a prisoner and a guard while locked up, as well as shot up the Expo and left bomb-loaded drones strewn about.
  • Ear Worm: The Stark Expo theme, as played over the closing credits. Make way! Make way! Tomorrow's heading our way... And written by Richard Sherman, one of the masters of the earworm, having written "It's a Small World" and many other catchy Disney songs.
    • Fitting, as this movie was one of the first Marvel films to be released after their acquisition by Disney (though Paramount would maintain the film's distribution rights until 2013).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Ivan Vanko's burd, either his original burd or the new one which Hammer bought for him.
    • The U.S. Marshall played by Kate Mara.
    • The kid wearing the Iron Man helmet got a lot more popular once it turned out that he was really a young Peter Parker, to the point where detractors point to his cameo as being the best part of the movie.
  • Epileptic Trees: There was one for a while, before previews for Thor came out, that a prisoner Vanko walks by that the camera lingers on for a second was Thor, specifically Ultimate Marvel Thor.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Tony's self-destructive behavior at his birthday party isn't pretty, but it's justified because he thinks it's his Last Day to Live. It looks a lot uglier considering how DJ AM (who had a cameo as the DJ at the party) died of substance abuse shortly before the film's release. Even harsher, the "phat beat to beat my buddy's ass to" opens with "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen.
    • Hammer's technology is treated as a joke here. Which makes the reappearance of the company in Luke Cage (2016) as the manufacturer of the Judas bullet harder to bear.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Howard Stark's notebook references the Stark effect.
    • During Hammer's description of "the Ex-Wife" he mentions it has a "cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine RDX burst". That's the same term being said twice, one's the chemical name, the other's the acronym. In other words, Hammer is simply reciting the spec sheet, and doesn't have a clue how it's supposed to work. Quite a subtle way to foreshadow that the weapon isn't all it's hyped to be.
    • During that same scene, Hammer says that if the "Ex-Wife" were any smarter, it would write a book that made Ulysses look like it was written in crayon. Ulysses actually was written in crayon: James Joyce's eyesight was failing, so he used crayons and large sheets of paper to make it easier for him to write.
    • In one of the notebooks from his father Tony looks through, a drawing of a hypercube, also known as a "tesseract", can be seen, foreshadowing Howard's work with the Tesseract after the events of Captain America and that the arc reactor is based on his studies of it.
    • Vanko says that he can reprogram the Hammerdrones to "make salute." In Russian, "salyut" means "fireworks."
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: The kid who was dressed as Iron Man at the Stark Expo was later revealed by Word of Saint Paul to be a young Peter Parker. This makes the scene in the climax especially heartwarming as Tony's compliment to him probably helped kickstart Peter's superhero career after he got his powers.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Stinger where Thor's hammer is found. Viewers may assume that it's government presence that circling the area. As Thor reveals, it's just a bunch of macho dudes trying to pull out the hammer.
    • Phil Coulson with a Captain America shield became a lot funnier after The Avengers revealed how much of a Cap fanboy he is.
    • Howard Stark is an expy of Walt Disney himself. (Guess who bought Marvel just a few months before this movie was released?)
    • This blogger speculated in jest that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is Iron Man in Real Life. This was in March 2008. Two years later, Ellison makes a cameo at Tony Stark's birthday party in Iron Man 2.
      • People also call Elon Musk the "real-life Tony Stark". Guess who else makes a cameo in Iron Man 2?
    • The Internet is riddled with comparisons between Tony's Senate hearing and Hank Rearden's trial in Atlas Shrugged. Iron Man 3 turns Jack Taggert into "J. Taggart" — Jim Taggart is the name of an antagonist in Atlas Shrugged.
    • The scene where Tony greets "Mr. Musk"—Elon Musk, CEO of both Tesla Motors and SpaceX, playing himself—and Tony comments about how "Those Merlin engines are fantastic." Back in 2008 when the movie was released, this was just an inside gag about some new technology buzz. Since then, the Merlin engine has become the basis of SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch systems, which look likely to slash the cost of orbital insertions compared to conventional rockets, including contracts with the DOD and INTELSAT.
    • The reveal in The Winter Soldier that Senator Stern is a member of HYDRA would be seen in a darker light, unless you take into account that Tony Stark outsmarted and essentially trolled an undercover HYDRA agent on live international television.
    • The race in Monaco features 1970s to 1980s Formula One car designs. Some of the cars seen are cars from the 1976 season; most clearly seen is the Penske PC4 and the Ferrari 312T2. The film Rush (2013) is based on the 1976 season, and have a cast of two MCU actors; with Thor himself (Chris Hemsworth) playing James Hunt, while Baron Zemo from Captain America: Civil War (Daniel Brühl) playing Niki Lauda. As a bonus, Brühl is using that exact Ferrari model type in Rush.
    • Ivan Vanko's speech is hilarious when you take into account Tony Stark's well-known alcoholism. "If you could make God bleed, people would cease to believe in Him. There will be blood in the water." Knowing Tony Stark, there probably already is blood in his water...
    • According to Word of Saint Paul, the Expo kid wearing an Iron Man helmet from the climax, was a young Peter Parker and he was played by director Jon Favreau's son Max Favreau. Two years after this film came out, and the unrelated Spider-Man movie has another actor named Max (Max Charles) playing a young Peter Parker, before he grows up.
    • On a similar note, Tony telling Rhodey that "Iron Man doesn't have a sidekick" becomes ironic given that, after Spider-Man was introduced in the MCU, some people have criticized the MCU's version of Spider-Man as essentially being Iron Man's sidekick.
    • One of the songs DJ AM plays during Tony and Rhodey's fight at the party is "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock. Said song would end up being extensively used by Marvel in the advertising for Ant-Man and the Wasp.
    • Hacked CCTV footage from North Korea during the Senate hearing reveals that they developed a Chicken Walker-esque mech which fails horribly. Tony quips that it's probably one of the countries 5-10 years away from perfecting mobile suits of his grade. Around 5 years later (or more) in South Korea...
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Disqualify Iron Man from being on the Avengers. Right...
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • I vant my burd!
    • Dhrone Bettuh.
    • Software shit.
    • Tony Stark created a new element.
    • Captain America is coming back to Earth.
    • "I think I did okay!" *explosion*
  • Narm: As cool as the suitcase armor is, it's very hard to take seriously when you consider that Vanko is presumably just standing there right in front of Tony watching it happen, and not taking the opportunity to hit him in mid-transformation. Mind you, it's justified by the fact Vanko was trying to "make god bleed", so he probably wanted to fight Tony while he was wearing the armor.
    • The demise of Vanko's father is rather tragic, until Vanko starts screaming in a rather bizarre way to mourn him.
    • "I vant my burd".
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Bill O'Reilly, who makes a surprising cameo as himself, commenting on his show about Pepper Potts becoming CEO of Stark Industries. It's much like the segments on his show in real life, but the fact that he was in Iron Man 2 made it hilarious. Became a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment in later years when sexual harassment claims were filed against him that ended his show and career as a result.
    • The Suitcase Armor. It's used for just three minutes and has the living crap beaten out of it, but the activation was so cool that the armor was used on the DVD cover instead of the Mark VI upgrade. Elements of it were also adapted into the Mark VII of The Avengers.
  • Pandering to the Base: Some people accused the movie of setting up the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe more than its own, due to the greater presence of Call Forwards like Captain America's shield, a clip from The Incredible Hulk, Tony being evaluated for the Avengers, Black Widow, Nick Fury's return, and Thor's hammer being found. However, Nick Fury doesn't appear until more than an hour in and even then his purpose is more to get Tony off of his ass and work than to convince him to join the Avengers. He even tells Tony that how annoyed he is Tony has become his problem to deal with when S.H.I.E.L.D. has more on its plate to handle. Pandering also seems to be parodied when Coulson discovers an incomplete Captain America shield. Tony asks for it excitedly... and uses it to prop up his machine.
  • Sequelitis: Usually considered the weakest or one of the weakest films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far. That said, general consensus seems to be that the second movie is still an entertaining film, if not exactly as fresh as the first one. It may help if you think of it as the second in a trilogy.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Senator Stern is an ass, and Hammer is an idiot, but both of them make a lot of valid points in the senate hearing. Tony is a loose cannon, his suit is a weapon (whether he likes the term or not) of the sort that would ordinarily be denied a private citizen, and he is acting totally independent of anyone who could review his actions or rein him in if he gets out of control. None of these things are remotely desirable traits in someone who is trying to be a one-man police for the whole world.
    • As it happens, he's only acting out because the job's killing him. Notably, SHIELD agrees with Stern and Hammer that while Iron Man is useful, Tony Stark is too unstable. They still call him in for Avengers, on the grounds that they've hit the Godzilla Threshold.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Pepper quite notably confronts Natalie Rushman during Tony's and Rhodey's fight about her influence on affairs, but this is never extrapolated on and the two present a united front in later scene. It's quite possibly a leftover of the Love Triangle that was cut from the final release.
    • This movie is the closest the MCU has come to portraying Tony as an alcoholic like in the comics, but here his excessive drinking and unstable behavior is merely a reaction to slowly dying from his implanted arc reactor.


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