Remember after “Iron Man” came out and blew everyone away and we all knew it was definitely getting a sequel? And we were all speculating: are they going to do the “Demon in a Bottle” storyline? After all, the very first image in “Iron Man” is a close-up of a drink held by Tony Stark. Perhaps we would be getting “Iron Man’s” arch-nemesis, The Mandarin. After all, there’s a brief mention of the “Ten Rings”.
Well it turns out that “Iron Man 2” doesn’t give a shit about our speculations. The villains are Mickey Rourke as Whiplash, Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, there’s no mention of The Mandarin (unless they’re keeping that seriously under wraps, in which case, bravo) and according to Robert Downey Jr., there’s no demon in this bottle: “I think [Demon in a Bottle is] probably best saved, because it’s such its own storyline,” Downey told MTV. “We’re going for the interim space [between the origin and Demon], which is more a look behind the mask of someone who says he’s Iron Man and what it really is to become a superhero.” In a separate interview with ET, Downey says, “Essentially Iron Man 2 is about looking behind the armor, or the armature, of a superhero. It’s one thing to say you’re Iron Man, it’s another thing to be fully ready to do that.”
So essentially, “Iron Man 2” basically does what “Fantastic Four” and its sequel should have done: examined the superhero but without the secret identity which means superhero celebrity. If this is where “Iron Man 2” is headed, they’ve already succeeded. “Iron Man” was very aware of how media works and integrated it wonderfully into the film right from the opening where Stark quips about MySpace pages and the big media presentation where we see the covers of Newsweek and Time. Tony Stark is a larger-than-life character but it’s still a real life.