Iron Man 2

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Iron Man 2 Movie Poster Image
Downey whips out the big guns, sexy banter in fun sequel.
  • PG-13
  • 2010
  • 126 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 46 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 141 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Once again, it's clear (for the most part) who's "good" and who's "evil." Tony Stark demonstrates courage and learns the lesson that just because you think you're going to die doesn't mean you should care only about yourself. Iron Man also discovers the importance of honesty, curiosity, and cooperation. He couldn't have defeated his enemy alone, but when he teamed up with his best friend, he was twice as powerful. That said, the female characters -- both primary and secondary -- are largely love interests or highly sexualized, even if they are strong and capable.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite the negative role models of the vengeful Ivan and the greedy Hammer, there are a couple of positive role models: Pepper Potts is a very loyal, honest, and caring character (if a bit whiny), and Lt. Col. Rhodes is probably the best role model, because he is willing to contradict Iron Man for the greater good, but he also trusts him enough to fight by his side when the situation calls for it. Tony Stark is an arrogant, self-avowed narcissist who tends to put his needs first but in the end always does the "right" thing to help others.

Violence

Lots of explosions and several dead bodies in the movie. One person dies of illness or old age, but the rest of the body count is from explosions and in two cases, hanging (that's the worst scene). Iron Man and Rhodey have a big fight that smashes up Stark's house and leaves both of them passed out. The fights with Ivan, including the climactic sequence, are the most violent, but there's almost no blood. Since Stark and his competitor Hammer are weapons designers, the weapons in the movie are fairly glamorized, especially the ones Hammer Industries creates, which Hammer shows off in an almost sexual manner to army officers.

Sex

Although there's only one big kiss, several scenes feature women dressed provocatively, especially Natalie and a group of Stark dancers. There's a great deal of sexual innuendo in Stark's dialogue, particularly when he talks to or about Natalie, who in a couple of scenes is shown in her bra and in every other scene is wearing skin-tight, cleavage-baring outfit. Stark routinely says things like: "I serve this great country at the pleasure of myself, and if there's one thing you can count on, it's me pleasuring myself" or "I want one" (in reference to Natalie).

Language

Language includes "stupid," "idiot," "damn," a couple instances of "ass," one use of "bitches," and a few "God"s as exclamations.

Consumerism

Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise. Several brands appear again and again, like Audi, which has at least two of its vehicle fleet featured prominently (including gratuitous close-ups of Audi's interlocking rings logo), in addition to its name/logo as part of the "Stark Expo" sponsors. Another heavily promoted brand is Oracle, and there is also a Rolls Royce. Pepper wears Christian Laboutin shoes with their conspicuous red soles and carries Louis Vuitton luggage. Real-life news anchors like CNN's Christiane Amanpour and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly's shows are shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult characters drink vodka, wine, champage and cocktails at dinners, parties, and to have congratulatory toasts. Stark gets drunk at his birthday party, and Ivan is often shown drinking vodka (sometimes straight from the bottle).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Iron Man 2 has even more explosions and action than Iron Man, but it also ups the snarky humor and sexual innuendo. The two biggest concerns for parents are violence (while there's not much blood, there are plenty of bombs, weapons, and fights, as well as two men who are briefly shown hanging to death) and consumerism (several brands are featured again and again to the point that the movie seems like an expensive commercial for Audi, especially). Although there is only one climactic kiss, there are lots of double entendres and innuendo-filled jokes that may go over the heads of tweens and younger teens. Robert Downey Jr.'s  Tony Stark, is still not the role model of power and responsibility that Peter Parker is, but he knows when and how to help. Scarlett Johansson's character is strong, but she's so objectified it's hard to think of her as a role model to young girls.

User Reviews

Parent of a 4, 7, and 12 year old Written bylorikbr May 15, 2010

Great fun for families that like the summer blockbusters - won't disappoint!

My husband and I took all of our kids (12, 7 and 5) to see this movie. I was a great big "iffy" on my youngest, but he's tired of being left beh... Continue reading
Parent of a 8, 10, and 13 year old Written byjanmac May 9, 2010

Just because there are fast food toys doesn't make it for children

The movie was an "eh" but so many small children in the audience drove me to distraction! Iron Man drinks throughout the movie, is sometimes drunk an... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bylonny green May 23, 2010
Kid, 11 years old September 1, 2014

Awwwwwwwsooooooooooooome!

Dude see iron man 2 it does have iffy things like like iron man was drunk and iron man said he wants another girl also some swearing includes p---k b---h a--hol... Continue reading

What's the story?

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is back and more popular than ever in IRON MAN 2. Everyone knows he's Iron Man, and he's helped the United States broker peace around the world. Unfortunately, there's a dying Russian physicist who blames Tony and his visionary father Howard for his family's misfortune, so his dying wish to his son, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), is a cry for vengeance. While Tony is fending off congressmen who want to force him to turn over the Iron Man suit to outfit the Armed Forces, he's also dealing with the fact that Palladium, the element that's keeping him alive, is slowly poisoning his blood unless he can find an alternative, less-toxic element. Ivan creates his own special suit and sets out to destroy Iron Man, garnering the attention of Stark's chief business competitor Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), who commissions Ivan to develop a line of Iron Man clones. Meanwhile, Tony goes into self-destruct mode thinking his days are numbered, naming Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) CEO of his company and alienating his best friend Lt. Col. 'Rhodey' Rhodes (Don Cheadle).

Is it any good?

This franchise completely owes its popularity, unlike the '80s-'90s Batman series which kept changing its lead, to the irresistible charm of its star. Robert Downey Jr. is effortless as the playboy billionaire turned narcissistic superhero. It's the same perfect blend of actor and character that makes Johnny Depp the best part of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Luckily for director Jon Favreau (who enjoys his own role in the movie as Stark's bodyguard/chauffeur), all of the cast is up to par, even if the overall plot is a bit ridiculous (why didn't Howard Stark, played by Mad Men's John Slattery, just leave his son specific instructions to begin with?) and the game-changing revelation too easily discovered.

After all of the controversy surrounding the dismissal of Terrence Howard, Don Cheadle seamlessly slipped into the best-friend role.  Scarlett Johansson's SHIELD double agent Natalie Rushman/Natalia Romanoff is equal parts Jessica Rabbit and Catwoman (it's unclear who's side she's really on for half of the movie), and Paltrow continues to be Stark's loyal, long-suffering enabler and love-interest. The villains, Rourke and Rockwell, are deliciously campy, and the more roles Rockwell gets, the better. A very tattooed Rourke smears on the Russian accent and affected mannerisms a bit too thick, but then again, so does every super-villain. For a fun, fairly mindless action romp, Iron Man 2 is a snappy start to the summer movie season, but an action masterpiece like The Dark Knight it isn't.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the immense popularity (and profitability) of comics-based movies like Iron Man 2 and superheroes. What do you think is the appeal of superhero flicks? And what's up with sequels? Why do you think almost every superhero movie has at least one sequel?

  • Are weapons of war glamorized in the movie? Should weapons be portrayed as that shiny and cool? What message does this send?

  • Ivan Vanko is obviously a criminal, but is he justified in feeling wronged by the Stark family? Who is on the right side of the argument?

  • Tony Stark says he doesn't need a sidekick, but in the end, he does need Rhodey's help. Is Rhodey more than a sidekick? How is their relationship different than the typical hero-sidekick dynamic? Why is teamwork an important character strength?

  • In the world of superheroes, Tony stands apart as a pretty selfish rich guy outside of his Iron Man persona, yet he demonstrates curiosity and courage. Discuss how he's different than other comic-book heroes like Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Bruce Wayne/Batman

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