One of the best things about great movies is their rewatchability. Being able to experience the same entertainment and emotions you felt (excitement, amusement, intrigue, etc.) when you watched that movie the first time is a treat. That familiarity can provide a sense of comfort, something we all need “in these Uncertain Times.” But, movies can also be a time-sink, and even in quarantine you might wonder whether a movie is WORTH the time invested. My goal with this series of posts is to cover movies I’ve recently watched, make note of the best things about them, and let you know whether it’s worth your time.
The Movies: Iron Man 2 & Iron Man 3 (2010 & 2013)
Run Times: 2 hours, 4 minutes & 2 hours, 11 minutes, respectively
Succinct Synopses: Iron Man is back fighting against more copycat Iron Men suits/drones in Iron Man 2 and super-powered people who’s insides burn up as they regenerate their cellular makeup in Iron Man 3. He teams up with Colonel Rhodes, a.k.a War Machine, a.k.a another Iron Man suit, (along with 40 other Iron Man suits in Iron Man 3) to take down the bad guys. Sadly, it feels the sequels lack any new flair or spice to make them stand out from the original Iron Man.
Cast & Characters: We’ve got Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) We’ve got Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow.) We’ve got Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau). We’v got Colonel Rhodes (now played by Don Cheadle, an improvement,) and last but not least, we’ve got Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) highly featured in Iron Man 2. All our favorites from Iron Man are back and getting a bit more of the spotlight, and the chemistry between them all makes the tiny moments of humor worth chuckling at.
The villains, however, are considerably less than stellar. As alluded to above, Iron Man 2’s villains in the final fight are a collection of drones and a larger Iron Man suit, funded by Stark Industries competitor Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), and piloted by Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), the son of a betrayed Stark Industries employee. Vanko was fine because he stood out as a physical, intimidating, and smart character, but I HATED Hammer. He was an annoying, disingenuous businessman half the time, and a complete pushover the other half. Maybe this villain wasn’t meant to be respected…
In Iron Man 3, Stark isn’t fighting iron suits, but the man and woman orchestrating the evil schemes–Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) and Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall)–are enemies he created in the past. So essentially, a ton of normal people are out to get Tony Stark for being better than they are. It’s not what we need from our MCU super villains, but in these sequels, it’s what we deserve.
Humor: Tony Stark’s wit is as sharp as ever, and Don Cheadle’s Colonel Rhodes is a definite improvement to the sequels compared to the original. They have decent banter. Unfortunately most of the humor is forgettable, and it’s a shame one of the larger “comedic” bits from Iron Man 3 ties into The Mandarin, which ends up being a total let down. Tony also has some okay back and forth with a kid who’s helping him save the world, but that’s largely funny solely because of Stark’s wit and not because of the kid (sorry Ty Simpkins).
Action: Since the humor wasn’t as memorable for me, I do want to highlight the action scenes we get, many of which focus on Stark and Rhodes out of their Iron Man suits. On one hand this is pretty lame because most of us are watching superhero/comic book movies to see those heroes and their abilities come to life in film instead on comic book panels, and we are not given as much of that action we’re hoping for. On the other hand, seeing what these characters can do when their powers are stripped away, so to speak, has its own value.
Was it Worth it: If you’re a big Tony Stark fan, I would say these are worth watching to see the personal turmoil he goes through before and after the Battle of New York in Avengers. However, if you’re just looking for the best of the best Marvel films, I’d say they’re fine skipping.
Which was better: In hindsight, I have to say Iron Man 3 was more entertaining as a pure action movie, as we got to see a lot of heroic action from Stark and Rhodes without their suits on. The 40 different Iron Man suits fighting at the end was a nice payoff at the end, too.
Iron Man 2 & 3 are both streaming now on Disney+