by Brett White
Somewhere along the way, "Iron Man 2" got a bad rap. We're venturing heavily into personal opinion territory, here, so buckle your seat belts. To me it seems like the movie has inexplicably become shorthand for garbage, and I just don't see it. Yeah, I'm the target audience for a movie like "Iron Man 2," and I was hungry for more Marvel when the film came out in 2010. But I thoroughly enjoyed it, which apparently doesn't jive with the majority of comic book movie fans out there, who seemingly forget that actual superhero film garbage exists. "Iron Man 2" is not "Batman and Robin," people. It's not "Catwoman."
As a true believer in "Iron Man 2," I've assembled a diverse group of commentators to argue the film's case. There's too much hate for this movie online, so it's time to consider showing it some love. And with "Iron Man 3" just around the corner, what better time is there than now? Read on ahead for more Sam Rockwell praise than has possibly ever been compiled in one place on the internet.
"'Iron Man 2' greatly improves on all that was wrong with the first 'Iron Man' by amping the smarmy charm of Robert Downey Jr. and adding a healthy dose of buddy banter between Tony and Rhodey. It's got issues, but the action's better, the jokes are better, and Mickey Rourke is suitably bonkers. Also, Sam Rockwell. Always Sam Rockwell."
» Eddie Wright (writer, MTV Splash Page, MTV Geek)
"I will defend Mickey Rourke until the death! His Ivan Vanko was more than an effective villain; he was a wonderful, greasy creep. The blonde streaks? The metal tooth? THOSE JEANS? The first shot of Rourke walking down the raceway? Come on, guys. This isn't Oscar bait. This is 'Iron Man 2'!"
» Halle Kiefer (writer, MTV's Hey Girl)
"Sure, 'Iron Man 2' isn't without its flaws. But what sequel is? When it comes right down to it, any film that introduces the likes of War Machine and Black Widow in addition to setting the stage for something as ambitious as 'The Avengers' is okay in my book. Plus, where else are you going to see a badass Mickey Rourke lovingly holding an exotic parrot?"
» Ryan Rigley (writer, MTV Splash Page)
"The movie is not bad at all, just busy. It tries to cram in too much, like techno-sickness, and while that makes it inferior to the original, it doesn't make it a true blue stinker. Also, the War Machine and Iron vs. the drones fight is awesome. Banter, action, LASERS."
"'Iron Man 2' is definitely not the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is still a part of the Marvel series. That means it earns points for Robert Downey Jr's signature snark and for including Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, as well as just continuing the MCU storyline leading up to 'The Avengers.' 'Iron Man' and 'The Avengers' are still much better movies (and so, we hear, is 'Iron Man 3'), but at least this isn't 'Daredevil' or 'Catwoman'-level bad. 'Iron Man 2' is important if only because it leads us to exciting things in the Marvel movie future."
» Terri Schwartz (writer, MTV Splash Page)
"I love Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer. I enjoy seeing him played as a poor man's Tony Stark. Hammer attempting to be a playboy and showman like Tony but coming up short adds a fun layer to the Iron Man movie-verse. I think the fight between Whiplash and Iron Man, with his suitcase armor, is the most unique action sequence in either 'Iron Man' film. I like 'Iron Man 2' more then 'Captain America' and way, way, way more then 'Catwoman,' 'Steel,' 'Elektra' etc."
» Kevin Hines (performer, The Upright Citizens Brigade)
"There's no such thing as a bad film with Sam Rockwell in it, and in 'Iron Man 2' he's a brilliantly, hilarious dark mirror for Tony Stark as Justin Hammer. Even physically, Rockwell makes himself smaller and nerdier than Robert Downey Jr.'s Stark. And the script plays him perfectly; he hates Tony, because all he wants is to be him. Never is that better exemplified than in Rockwell's tour de force dance across the stage of the Stark Expo near the end of the movie, a desperate attempt to ape Tony's over-the-top Iron Man entrance at the beginning. Thankfully, in real life, Rockwell is as slickly entertaining to watch as Downey Jr., making for a villain/hero battle unlike any other in movie history. And for the record, I kind of love Mickey Rourke's bird, too."
» Alex Zalben (producer, MTV Geek)
"'Iron Man 2' is a film that turns the lens inward on familial legacy, and how we let it define or destroy us. Tony Stark chooses to celebrate his father by opening his arms to the world; Ivan Vanko chooses to honor his father by trying to collapse everything built from his own father's work. War Machine honors his hero-father (Iron Man)'s legacy by trying to use his technology in a way that his father never intended. What spirals outward from those choices, for good or ill, are what push them all together in the classic Marvel tradition of beat-em-ups. It may have pacing issues, but with a roster full of great character actors, at no point is it not compelling."
» Matt Little (writer, Left Handed Radio)
"'Iron Man 2' was the kind of movie that I walked away sort of not liking, but I realized how good it was the second time around. I think 'Iron Man' just surprised and delighted everyone so much that, going into '2' we had all these expectations and it was kind of a let down. Last time I watched 'Iron Man,' though, it was a bit of a let down. That last fight scene is nowhere near as cool as it could have been."
» T.J. Dietsch (writer, Comic Book Resources)
"What is truly great about Marvel Comics is that it is the world outside your window. The Marvel Universe isn't made up of fictional cities, it's our real world. Because of that interconnectedness, any number of superheroes can meet. Marvel's 'Iron Man 2' begins to really bring the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe together as different superhero storylines begin to connect. Furthermore, the second film really relies heavily on character development, which gives it much greater appeal for superfans and non-fans alike. Besides, who doesn't want to see a drunk Tony Stark get down in Iron Man armor?"
» Lorraine Cink (host, Marvel's the Watcher)
What do you think of "Iron Man 2"? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!