Iron Man 2 is a 2010 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Iron Man, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the sequel to 2008’s Iron Man, the second film in a planned trilogy and is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Jon Favreau, the film stars Robert Downey, Jr., who reprises his role as Tony Stark. In cinematic canon, it takes place six months after Iron Man, and directly before The Incredible Hulk and Thor.
Stark has revealed his identity as Iron Man and is resisting calls by the United States government to hand over the technology. Ivan Vanko, meanwhile, has developed the same technology and built weapons of his own, creating new challenges for Stark.
Russian television shows Stark Industries CEO Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) revealing his identity as Iron Man to the world. Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), whose father, Anton Vanko (Yevgeni Lazarev), has just died, sees this and begins building a similar weapon.
Six months later, Stark has used his Iron Man armor to help maintain world peace. He re-institutes the Stark Expo in Flushing Meadows to continue his father Howard’s legacy. Senator Stern (Garry Shandling) demands that Stark turn over the Iron Man technology to the government. Stark refuses, claiming that foreign nations and business competitors are decades away from successfully recreating his achievements, and that the armor is in fact his own property.
The palladium core in the arc reactor that keeps Stark alive and powers the armor is slowly poisoning him, and he has failed to find a substitute. Growing increasingly despondent and reckless due to his impending death, and choosing not to tell anyone about his condition, Stark appoints his personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) CEO of Stark Industries, and replaces her with Stark employee Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson).
Vanko attacks Stark while racing at the Circuit de Monaco, using an arc reactor of his own powering whip-like energy weapons. Stark defeats Vanko with the aid of his portable briefcase armor. He learns that Vanko is the son of his father’s old partner, Anton Vanko. Anton collaborated with Howard on the first arc reactor, but was deported to his native Soviet Union following his attempts to profit from the technology and died in poverty, explaining Vanko’s desire for revenge on the Stark family. Rival defense contractor Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) fakes Vanko’s death and recruits him to perfect a line of armored combat suits to upstage Stark.
At what he believes is his last birthday party Stark gets drunk while using the Iron Man armor, forcing his friend, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), to intervene. Rhodes dons Stark’s Mark II armor and after battling him, delivers the armor to the military. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of S.H.I.E.L.D., approaches Stark, revealing Rushman as undercover agent Natasha Romanoff and that Howard Stark was a S.H.I.E.L.D. founder that Fury knew personally. Fury gives him some of his father’s old material; a hidden message in the diorama of the 1974 Stark Expo proves to be a diagram of the structure of a new element. With the aid of his computer J.A.R.V.I.S. (voiced by Paul Bettany), Stark synthesizes it. Vanko reveals to Stark that he is still alive and seeking revenge so Stark uses the untested element, removing his dependency on the palladium.
At the Expo, Hammer unveils Vanko’s armored drones, led by Rhodes in a heavily weaponized version of the Mark II armor. Stark arrives in his new armor to warn Rhodes, but Vanko seizes control of both the drones and Rhodes’ armor and attacks Iron Man. Hammer is arrested while Stark’s bodyguard Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) and Romanoff attempt to capture Vanko. He escapes, but Romanoff returns control of the Mark II armor to Rhodes.
After defeating his drones Stark and Rhodes confront Vanko himself, now in a new, very powerful suit of armor. Neither can match Vanko, but Vanko is ultimately defeated when they fire repulsor rays at each other, causing a large explosion. With his suit too damaged to continue the fight Vanko ignites his suit and his drones’ self-destruct mechanisms, apparently killing himself in the process. Stark saves Potts from the exploding drones’ remains. Potts quits as CEO, but she and Stark kiss.
At a debriefing, while news footage of the Hulk’s rampage plays, Fury informs Stark that while Iron Man is a suitable candidate for the “Avengers Initiative”, he himself is not. Stark agrees to be a consultant if Senator Stern presents himself and Rhodes with medals for bravery.
In a post-credits scene, S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) reports the discovery of a large hammer at the bottom of a crater in a New Mexico desert.
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First Published: Dec 23, 2011 – Last Updated: Jun 7, 2013