Why Robert Downey Jr. Thought Iron Man 2 Was A Risky Movie

Actor Robert Downey Jr.'s effortless portrayal of Tony Stark in the first "Iron Man" film guaranteed his place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years to come. But despite his unwavering faith in the "Iron Man" franchise, the sequel wasn't the success he would have hoped for.

MCU fans have mixed feelings about "Iron Man 2." It is not the best superhero movie or a successful sequel, and its critical response taught Marvel Studios a lesson. After the popularity of "Iron Man," the studio rushed a second film into production, which resulted in a messy, chaotic film more committed to setting up other ideas instead of displaying its own story.

Downey Jr. appears to have had an inkling that the film was a bit of a risk before its release. A year before "Iron Man 2" arrived at the cinemas, the actor stated in an interview that the sequel featured complex relationships and was a lot more creative than traditional superhero films.

He thought the film was risky for a big genre movie

In a 2009 interview with Collider, Robert Downey Jr. stated that "Iron Man 2" was far too artistic for a big genre movie. The actor believed the film was a bit of a risk, and that the story they were telling stemmed from the motivations of Tony's character:

"Everything has been improved. Everything is ergonomic and the story is incredibly risky and artistic for a big genre movie ... The set pieces have to do with things that aren't your typical bad guy conflict. The relationships are very complex and hilarious. The motivations Tony has and why he turns around and does things has completely to do with his own internal processes and and it really is, I think, as much as we tried to in the first one really see behind the façade of this kind of storytelling ... We're kind of trying to tell a story about how a dysfunctional family saves life on Earth as we know it."

Iron Man 2 had a star-studded cast

Robert Downey Jr. also shared that the film was "huge" in part because of its star cast, including Mickey Rourke (Ivan Vanko/Whiplash) and Sam Rockwell (Justin Hammer).

In the same interview, the actor said the filming experience was "daunting" because he had never been in a sequel before. He was pressured by the expectations of millions of fans who loved the first film. Downey Jr. explained:

"I've never been in a sequel and it's very daunting, because I feel the expectation of the millions of people who watched it and enjoyed it and told me that it was a little different than your usual genre picture and that they expected us to not screw it up. So I actually have taken "Iron Man 2" probably more seriously than any movie I've ever done, which is appropriately ridiculous for Hollywood."

When "Iron Man 2" was released, it was reviewed unfavorably compared to its predecessor and suffered from the first film's expectations. But it feels necessary to note that the "Iron Man" films had a bigger purpose — to serve as the building blocks for what would become an entire cinematic universe. It might not stand up to the first movie, but it's still an action-packed, larger-than-life superhero film that helped establish the story of one of the MCU's most essential superheroes of all time.