Once upon a time, Justin Theroux was middle-tier actor with a diverse filmography from a string of David Lynch collaborations to a Charlie Angels sequel. Lately his much more well known on the small screen for The Leftovers as well as being Mr. Jennifer Aniston. And somewhere in the middle of all of that, he played a crucial role in helping to create the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Following on from his screenwriting duties on the incredible and hilarious Tropical Thunder, Marvel tapped Theroux to pen Iron Man 2, not only the sequel to the critically praised movie that kickstarted Marvel Studios, but also a sequel that would setup The Avengers, the biggest and most ambitious movie that Marvel had ever done. In short, Iron Man 2 was kind of a big deal. It is also often considered the worst thing Marvel has ever done.
Personally I don’t agree with that extremist bum rap. Iron Man 2 certainly had its problems as it tried to juggle too many plot strands and characters simultaneously – Whiplash, Justin Hammer, War Machine, and laying the groundwork for the Avengers to assemble – but it still some great moments, like Whiplash’s racetrack attack, Black Widow’s corridor fight and Robert Downey Jr doubling down on completely making the role of Tony Stark his own.
And speaking with Italian media outlet Bad Taste (via CBM), Theroux says that despite the criticism he is still proud of plenty in Iron Man 2 even if he admits that they dropped the ball on certain aspects.
You know, as happens very often, it is not easy to live up to expectations. And after the first ‘Iron Man,’ those for the sequel were extremely high. [You] go to see [the film] with a wealth of expectations…and the film had a release date even before we started working on it so we had to work fast. And I will not complain about anything or anyone, mind you… It was a team effort and I really love people like [Iron Man 2 director] Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. We tried to please the fans and to give shape to something spectacular… But sometimes things end up not going in the right direction, although there are parts of the movie that I’m really proud [of].
With all the setup work that Theroux had to do for The Avengers in Iron Man 2, you would think that he would have been a firm believer in the superhero team-up movie’s potential. But as Theroux reveals, at the time he had little hope that Marvel would actually ever be able to pull off a film on this magnitude.
I remember at that time talking about The Avengers with [Marvel Studios president] Kevin [Feige]. I remember that I told him, “I do not know if this is going to work, having Iron Man and all these characters together.” But then he ended up doing something really special.
“Something really special” is putting it mildly, as the Joss Whedon directed movie would go on to shatter box office records, draw tons of praise from both fans and critics alike, and suddenly make everybody in Hollywood want their own shared movie universe. And it all kind of started with Theroux’s Iron Man 2, that so-called crappy movie that you just choose to ignore exists. I think I’m going to battle that by watching Iron Man 2 this weekend again!
Last Updated: February 4, 2016