Iron Man 2 is pretty good, actually.

It didn’t give me the rush of pure awesome that Kick-Ass did, but it fell prey to exactly none of the problems I once imagined it would. Charlie Jane Anders is correct when she says that the greatest villain of the story is Tony Stark himself, but while for her this was a betrayal of the first film’s promise to Tony’s growth as a character, I found it a further development of that character. At an early point in the film, Tony refers to the suit as a “prosthetic,” and what rapidly becomes clear is that he is using it as such in his relationships. This movie is about the consequences of that behaviour.

There was a huge amount to accomplish in this glimpse of the Marvel cinema-verse, and Justin Theroux ticks off every box. The pacing suffers a little as a result, and it can be easy to lose track of what the stakes are, but if you keep in mind that it’s all about Tony, you’ll do fine. While the former film was about the redemption of Stark Industries and the possible future of the military-industrial complex, this one reminds us that changing one’s company does not equate changing oneself. Prosthetics only get us so far.

Oh yeah, and Don Cheadle rocks that suit.

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