RT Podcast

"Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong" About... Iron Man 2

Tony Stark's second solo outing is arguably the most whipped and lashed (ahem) movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But does the film that first introduced Natasha/Black Widow deserve its not-so-shiny reputation?

by | July 8, 2021 | Comments

Iron Man 2

(Photo by Industrial Light & Magic/©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection)

The heroes of Marvel Cinematic Universe, that expansive collection of movies and now streaming shows that has swallowed up so much of pop culture this century, are known for defying the laws of physics, but the universe itself can’t escape at least one of science’s basic principles: What comes up must come down.

Yes, even for Iron Man.

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That fizzy, joyful feeling that powered critics hearts as they danced out of their screenings for the original Iron Man in 2008 was, for many, not the feeling with which they left their screenings for its sequel. Where Jon Favreau’s introduction of Tony Stark had been deemed a game-changing good time, Iron Man 2 was seen by many as all too much, a sequel with a chronic case of sequilitis that lumbered around under its heavy plot and the weight of having to set so much up for the impending Avengers movie.

They didn’t hate the film – Iron Man 2 is Certified Fresh at 72% – but it was a significant comedown from Tony Stark’s 94% Certified Fresh debut. (Audiences were even (slightly) harsher, giving the film a 71% Audience Score.)

It’s another debut, however, that prompts us to revisit Iron Man 2 in our podcast Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong, this week, and to ask if the MCU’s first solo sequel really is deserving of its place towards the bottom of the Marvel Studios pile. That would be the entrance into this universe of Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), who finally gets her own solo film in Black Widow, released Friday. It was here, whooping Happy’s ass in the ring and taking out a hallway of fighters in what remains one of the MCU’s best combat scenes, that the world first met the many-accented, many-hairstyled woman who would become the heart of the mightiest franchise on Earth.

Joining hosts Mark Ellis and Jacqueline Coley to ask whether critics and fans were too harsh on Iron Man 2 ­– and to reminisce about Natasha through the ages… and get into what happened to Rhodey! – is stand-up comedian, actor, and pop-culture expert, Jay Washington. Will he give Iron Man 2 the two-thumbs up its defenders insist it deserves? Or will slice it to pieces like some unfortunate Formula 1 vehicle getting in the wrong guy’s way? Tune in to find out.

Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:

If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.

Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.

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