I just got back from watching Iron Man 2. I really enjoyed the first movie when it came out and so I was looking forward to watching this sequel. I'm not saying that I'm disappointed with what I saw, but I don't think it was nearly as great as the first one.
Part of the problem is that this movie seems to contain two or three stories, none of which are really developed much past 75%. We have Ivan Vanko (played by Mickey Rourke), a Russian physicist who wants to take down Tony Stark for something that Stark's dad did to his dad. At the same time, Stark is catching flack from the government regarding who owns the Iron Man suit and who should use it. He's also struggling with health issues from the quasi-nuclear reactor in his chest. And popping up every now and then is Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. and some daddy issues that Stark supposedly has to deal with. Most of the plots intersect at one time or another but, truth be told, the whole thing was a bit too much for one movie. They could have probably expanded Tony's issues with his father and combine it with Vanko's beef with the Stark family. The health issues could have waited until the inevitable Iron Man 3 and could probably be coupled with the government hounding Stark for access to his tech. But that's just me Monday-morning quarterbacking and I'll gladly admit it. All I'm saying is that the story seemed to lack some depth because it had so much territory to cover.
I've read in some reviews that the effects were overdone and seemed to rely more on flashy effects than the first one. I'm not so sure that's true. Yes, there is an extended battle sequence at the end of the movie and there are some more flashy effects in the middle, but I didn't think it was as bad as some reviewers thought.
Part of the "problem" might be the fact that Marvel seems so intent on setting up future movies. There were cameos by two props in Iron Man 2 to help gear up for future franchises and the on-rushing Avengers movie. The first cameo made me laugh out loud. The second . . . well, I'll just put it this way: make sure you stay through all the way to the end. Sit through the credits for a small tag ending that has absolutely nothing to do with Iron Man.
So is it worth it? Sure. It's a fun movie, not as good as the original but very few sequels can claim that. But it's got me ready for the next few Marvel movies. My inner geek is content for now and I think that's what really matters.