All of these disparate threads interweave as Tony is defeated and downtrodden, and must rebuild his suit. However, his enemies won't wait, so Tony must use his own mind and strength to overcome his foes. A good note struck by Black throughout is how the events of the past year have had their effect on Tony — meeting gods, aliens and timelost heroes have shaken him, and at times the ever-cocky Tony Stark can barely deal with his own anxieties. In the film's middle section, as Tony tracks down information on an explosion in Tennessee, he's aided by a precocious young man named Harley (Ty Keener). The interaction between Tony and Harley makes for some of the film's more fun moments.
Pepper gets more to do in this sequel, which is good for the character. And Stark and Rhodes have some nice team-up sequences, especially in the film's final showdown. Black isn't afraid to tweak characters and settings from their comic-book origins, making for some surprises throughout. Overall, it's a strong showing from Marvel as it kicks off its Phase II of cinematic development.
— Matthew Price