HE reader Kevin Bowen is wondering if Iron Man 2 might have worked better if it had ended with a cliffhanger in the vein of The Empire Strikes Back. One of the reasons that this second Star Wars film is so highly regarded is that it’s the only franchise actioner in the history of cinema in which the main characters do nothing but lose, lose and lose. Their only heroic accomplishment is escaping with their lives…barely.

“Would Iron Man 2 be a better film if it went the Empire Strikes Back route and had Tony Stark/Iron Man lose, with the third film available for vindication?,” Bowen asks.

“I’m going to say yes. Iron Man 2‘s biggest problem is that the bad guys aren’t particularly threatening or challenging. Mickey Rourke is underdeveloped, and Sam Rockwell, God love him, is too goofball to be a threat. The minute we see robots we know they can never beat a human in a movie.

“If the villains had been more genuinely menacing, the film would be better. If we ended the film with Stark stripped of his suit in captivity or left for dead somewhere, with his rival and his robot army in charge of a fictitous ‘world peace,’ we could have had a cliffhanger worth discussing for a couple years.

“Instead we get just another bland CGI shoot-em-up without much imagination.”