Tony Stark is back in the 2010 sequel to Iron Man and 3rd film in the MCU, Iron Man 2.
Jon Favreau returns to direct the film, which had a $200m budget (compared to the $140m for Iron Man and $150m for The Incredible Hulk), with a script by Justin Theroux (previously having written Tropic Thunder).
This film, serves essentially two purposes. The first is a new Tony Stark story – so lets start there;
The plot sees Stark, having revealed his identity as Iron Man in the first film, now embracing the role publicly, leading to public gratitude and senators concern in near equal measure. Hearings have been convened as part of governmental concerns about the weaponised suit effectively controlled by a member of the public. Alongside this, Stark is dealing with the effects of the suit on his own health.
Meanwhile, Ivan Vanko (son of Anton Vanko – a former collaborator with Howard Stark), has developed similar technology to the Iron Man power source and, angry about the lack of credit awarded to his father by Stark, sets his sights on Tony Stark.
Parts of the cast return with the only change in casting of returning characters being Colonel Rhodes now played by Don Cheadle rather than Terence Howard from the previous film.
As for new characters in the film, in the role of Vanko, was Mickey Rourke, who was still riding to post-Wrestler wave of acclaim. The somewhat comedic-villain role of CEO of competitor to Stark Industries Justin Hammer is Sam Rockwell.
The second purpose of the film though was to introduce the basis for the path to the Avengers film.
As a result, Samuel L.Jackson features as Nick Fury, and Scarlett Johanson enters the universe as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow. Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) also returns.
The challenge for the film was always going to be to merge all of this together into a coherent, sensible, and enjoyable film and to be fair, it gets some way to achieving this.
It’s not as good as the original Iron Man, and is again reliant on the charismatic performance of Downey Jnr to hold the different strands together, but just about gets away with it. Ultimately it serves as more about scene setting for the MCU than a great film on its own merits.