Tony is back! With more snark, more trouble and infinitely more tech infused storylines. Iron Man 2 is probably the most emotional of the Iron Man trilogy. It delves into Tony's psyche and his personal pain of living in the shadow of his great father who Tony felt never really loved him. However, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Yet, with anything thats related to Tony Stark, the hard way is oftentimes the only way.
"The truth is...I am Iron Man." And with that, Tony Stark launched himself into a new found fame. No longer Tony Stark the son of Howard Stark, the genius playboy. Now, Tony Stark, the Iron Man, the new, cool superhero. And of course, Tony is just soaking it all in. Not everybody is happy with it though.
First off, the government wants to take control of Tony's arc reactor armor and use it for military combat. Tony--ever the capitalist--refuses, mocking the government and his rival Justin Hammer who is desperate to outdo Tony in any way possible.
Secondly, Stark Industries takes a back seat with Iron Man (and not Stark) becoming the face of the company. So what does Tony do? Make his faithful secretary, Pepper Potts CEO of the company, believing that she is perfectly capable, which she is, but it's hard to run a company and babysit Tony at the same time. Things begin to look infinitely better for Tony when Pepper's new assistant Natalie Rushman catches his eye. But Natalie soon proves that she's more than a pretty face. Much more.
Finally, Tony may meet his match when his rival hires an equally brilliant scientist, Ivan Vanko who holds a personal grudge against Tony and Howard Stark. Ivan's father worked with Howard Stark on the creation of the Arc Reactor, but Howard got all the glory while Anton Vanko was sent to the gulag (Communist prison), never receiving the full credit. Ivan has manged to build his own enhanced Iron Man suit and together with Justin Hammer, plans on taking down Tony and Stark Industries.
Life slowly begins to spin out of control for Tony. The constant use of the Iron Man suits begins to drain his health. Frightened of what this might mean, in typical Tony fashion, he tells no one and continues to have a good time. Yet, Tony can hide his problems for so long until they become catastrophic. After an attempt on his life by Ivan Vanko (Whiplash), throwing his best friend to the wayside, angering Pepper to her breaking point and completely going off the rails, Tony gets a visit from an old friend of his father, Nick Fury.
Tony knew nothing about Nick or his relationship to Howard. Nor does he care. In Tony's mind, Howard Stark was a cold, emotionally distant, unloving father who cared more about building a better future than building a relationship with his son. Yet, Nick gives Tony an unexpected look into Howard's life, making Tony see that his father was still a man who only wanted was best for others.
Frustrated with his recklessness and what it has cost him as well as his failing health, Tony gets a long awaited message from his father. Although simple and to the point, it's enough to revive Tony to build upon what his father started and save himself. And by doing so, Tony can save his friends and his city from the impending danger brought on by his enemies and their personal vendettas.
If there was ever a character you can hate and love with equal measure, then it's Tony Stark. While the embodiment of good, Tony's lack of common sense and inability to properly communicate to others causes multitudes of problems. Yet, the world still loves him. It's hard not to love Tony. His obvious brokenness that was brought about by his distant father is irreparable. Just wanting to know that Howard loved him or was proud of him would have been more than enough.
Iron Man 2 was probably the most emotionally driven storyline from the franchise. Tony has to take a hard look at the past he's been running away from to try and survive his present state. His relationships with his best friend, James "Rhodey" Rhodes (who was recast by the wonderful Don Cheadle) and his secretary/love interest become his primary motivations to get himself under control and finally fight for himself. Not for Stark Industries, not for Iron Man or this crazy Avengers Initiative Nick Fury keeps going on about. Because face it, what would the world be without the irreplaceable Tony Stark to keep in interesting?