This film follows Tony Stark, AKA Robert Downey Jr., AKA Iron Man, as he deals with some real life problems while battling against super-evil foes. The main bad guy is Ivan Vanko, AKA Whiplash, played by the talented Mickey Rourke. Unfortunately, many of Rourke’s lines were cut from the film for editing reasons, leaving his character about as two-dimensional as they get. We never figure out too much about this guy, other than he want to kill Iron Man because of what Stark’s daddy did to his daddy.
While fighting off the continued attacks of Whiplash, Stark also has to deal with the fact that his power source (palladium) is poisoning him. Faced with death from both sides, Stark naturally deteriorates into self-indulgent behavior more than usual.
Honestly, the best part of this movie is Stark’s birthday party in the middle of the film. Robert Downey Jr. is free to act like a complete ass at this point and he does a good job of having fun with it and making the scene entertaining. Plus, it culminates in a battle with War Machine (that’s the grey Iron Man outfit) and the complete destruction of Stark’s house.
The rest of the film is a lot of getting from here to there, without too much substance. The end fight scenes are pretty to watch, but once Vanko shows up for the final battle, it just kinda ends without much happening. Plus, we already saw much the same robot-versus-robot fight at the end of the first Iron Man, though done much better.
I still like the movie, but really wish they could have put a little more time into it and perhaps dealt with the characters more. Poor Gwyneth Paltrow is barely in the thing at all and everyone besides RD Jr. gets little screen time. Hopefully Avengers will be better and, Gods be willing, Iron Man 3 will return to the formula that made the first one so freaking awesome.