Soundtrack Review: IRON MAN 2

Allison Loring

by: Allison Loring
May 7th, 2010

Rating: 2.5/5

Just like Iron Man revealed his not-so-secret-anymore identity at the end of the first film, the soundtrack makes no secret about which band is featured on the album: AC/DC. The album cover even features the band getting top billing over the Iron Man himself. Why all AC/DC, you may ask. I was lucky enough to catch a screening of the film in which both director Jon Favreau and Iron Man himself, Robert Downey, Jr., dropped by to shed some light on just that.

Favreau came up with the idea for the opening sequence of the film while at an AC/DC concert as they were playing “Shoot To Thrill” and he thought, what better entrance would there be than if while the band is rocking out, surrounded by fans, on a huge stage, Iron Man flew down in the middle of it all to have his suit torn off him to reveal Tony Stark in a tuxedo. (I mean – of course, right?)

Favreau explained that AC/DC combined the idea of “dangerous made fun," which is exactly what IRON MAN does: bringing the fun back into action movies. AC/DC has that hard rock edge, but the music is also fun to listen to and makes you want to get on your feet and dance, not just punch out the person next to you in a most pit. (Although I’m sure you could do that too and neither Tony Stark, nor Favreau, would judge you.)

Favreau noted that some people had thought the track “Back In Black” was included because he, and the rest of the cast and crew, were excited to be back with the sequel after all the success the first film had brought them. I think Favreau summed up his answer to this nicely by simply stating, “People read too much into this stuff.” The bottom line is the band sums up the feeling of the film, none of which should be taken too literally.

Unlike the first film's soundtrack, which was mainly score, the sequel's soundtrack is all rock.  Unfortunately, there are no new songs on this release, just a selection of well-known tunes and some lesser-known ones that may help previously non-AC/DC fans get into the band. The songs range from ten different AC/DC albums that were released from 1975 to 2008. If you were ever looking to get into AC/DC, your crash course kit is here.

Despite the fact that there are no new songs, the soundtrack is comprised of songs appropriate and reflective of the film’s story. All the standard metaphors are there: guns, bombs, war, evil, hell. “War Machine” picks up on the fact that with the new technology that is Iron Man, the government wants to tap into it and use it to help our soldiers at war while “Evil Walks” toys with the idea of how thin that line is between evil and us. Then again, I may be reading too much into the song selection. (Sorry, Favs!)

The only other song from the soundtrack that makes it into the film itself (besides the opening with “Shoot To Thrill”) is “Highway To Hell," bookending the film with both a rocking intro and ending. I feel that the pairing between Iron Man and the band works and keeps up the fast-paced feel of a film that never lets up from beginning to end. I was disappointed when I found out the soundtrack did not include any new songs, which I think would have added an extra link between the film and the band to have a song inspired by the movie itself.

And in case you were wondering what negotiations with a band like AC/DC would be like, erase your visions of a back stage rock show littered with groupies, booze, sin and all manner of rock star clichés. Instead picture an afternoon tea. Yes – these boys may rock on stage, but underneath it all, they may not be as tough as they come across. Perhaps even a metaphor for Iron Man himself? (Wink, wink.)

This soundtrack is available through Columbia Records.

1. “Shoot To Thrill”
2. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation”
3. “Guns For Hire”
4. “Cold Hearted Man”
5. “Back In Black”
6. “Thunderstruck”
7. “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”
8. “Evil Walks”
9. “T.N.T.”
10. “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be”
11. “Have A Drink On Me”
12. “The Razor’s Edge”
13. “Let There Be Rock”
14. “War Machine”
15. “Highway To Hell"

All songs on this soundtrack by AC/DC.

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