Let me start off by saying that the first Iron Man movie really exceeded my expectations. The action, the humor, the casting, the characterizations...they got almost everything right, highlighting Tony Stark and how his self-destructive personality would come into conflict with his natural genius and his genuine desire to help people live better lives.
Very rarely do I venture out to see a movie on its opening weekend - a crowded movie theater full of obnoxious people is one of my pet peeves in life - but events were such that on Friday night I went to see Iron Man 2 with my wife and father-in-law. As this was a rare event for me, I realize that there are probably a lot of other people waiting until things slow down to catch this sequel, so I won't go into many details here. There are plenty of other reviews that will tell you everything that happened, so if you're really curious...you'll be able to find them.
In short, I really don't think the movie lived up to the first. It might just be my expectations - I didn't expect much from the first, but since it was so spot on, I thought the second would follow suit. Wthout getting too deep into things, what I ended up seeing was more suited to those who like cheap jokes, because really - that's almost all it was. Gary Shandling - who looked like someone connected an air pump to him and left it run for four hours - was cast as a Senate member who reminded me a bit too much of Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter. Tony Stark cracked jokes almost the entire time. Pepper Potts was little more than a damsel in distress. War Machine said variations of the line "I'm doing this under protest!" over and over and over. Whiplash, the film's villain, was so one-dimensional it's almost like he wasn't there at all. The "after the credits" ending was predictable to the point where I knew what was coming almost immediately.
All of the above I could have lived with and walked away feeling ambivalent about Iron Man 2, the movie. But there was one scene - one little thing, really - that put me over the edge. I feel justified going into a little detail here, because this particular occurrence doesn't have any bearing on the move other than the fact that it makes me want to strangle someone (not you, kind reader). There is a scene toward the end of the movie where War Machine fires a rocket from...well, wherever he fires rockets from. To get the point across of just how ineffective this particular weapon is, it bounces off of its target, hits the ground...and then farts. Sigh.
In many cases, I enjoy a good poop joke. I do! And there aren't a lot of situations where they aren't funny! But in this case, in Iron Man 2, where almost every other joke was the equivalent, it was just annoying. The girl in back of me thought it was the best thing she had ever seen/heard (at the time she shouted "yes, yes, yes!!"), but she loved EVERYTHING. She loved the conjunctions and punctuation in the sentences of dialogue. I, however, did not like being treated like the only humor I like is the "lowest common denominator" type. I mean, hell, I like that, too, but not ALL the time.
I bet there'll be another one in 2013 or some time around then.