I liked it, but I didn't love it. I liked the first IM film better.
What I did like about IM2:
-Cast. Of course the regulars but the new additions were good choices too, especially Rourke and Johannsen. I wasn't expecting much from SJ, but I thought she handled her role pretty well. I was hoping she would speak with a Russian accent at least once, but as one of the other posters said, if she's a master spy she would probably speak flawless English. I did enjoy her fight scene toward the end. Could there be a Deadpool and Black Widow movie in the offing? That might be sweet. Garry Shandling was also great. I hope they bring him back.
-More action. The first IM didn't have enough action, enough of Iron Man in action, though I can understand since it was an origin film. IM2 ramped up the action and I thought that was a good thing. It was really cool to see War Machine and Iron Man kicking ass.
-FX were pretty top notch.
What I didn't care for regarding IM2:
-Hammer. I thought Rockwell did a good job with the material. He's good at playing the weasel, but the character was so wimpy. I was expecting him to freak out and attempt to harm Pepper at the end, but he just stood there, even after Pepper called the cops. Seems like he would've at least called his lawyer. From what I recall, the comic Hammer was much more ruthless and a worthy adversary. He pushed Tony over the brink. But I did like what one of the posters said about film Hammer being a buffoon, a failed attempt at trying to be Tony Stark. And Rockwell did convey the frustration and the envy of his character. His Hammer was good, but never good enough. And though he tried to be cool he never was.
-Vanko. As many felt, I thought Rourke was underused. He was good with what they gave him. However, I had misgivings about his character as soon as I heard that he would be a composite of Whiplash-Blacklash and Crimson Dynamo. I wish they had just made him the Crimson Dynamo straight up. I would've loved to see that armor design in the film. I think Vanko's motivation would've worked better for me, and it would've added more depth to his beef with Tony if Howard Stark had actually stolen the technology/ideas from Anton. That would've given his animus more resonance. Upon reflection, I think Whiplash was the wrong villain to use for this story. I think the Ghost would've been better.
-Skirting the alcoholism. I think it was a mistake not to focus on that, instead of the technology killing him part. And the Tony-Rhodey fight, 'intervention', was poorly done. I think I can see what they were trying to do, to show how Tony had become a danger to himself, but the way it was done, the cause was that he was just partying because he thought he was dying and not because of his alcoholism. So they never really had to address that.
The party/fight scene also got Rhodes into armor fast, but it didn't come off as believable to me. In fact, it felt rushed like Rhodes was itching to jump in the armor as soon as he got to the party. I guess Tony was 'giving' Rhodes the armor though that was implied later, but I didn't care for how he just took the armor and took it to the military, especially after Tony had explicitly told the Senate that the armor was his property. Seems like there would've been a legal issue there. I also don't see Rhodes, being his friend, going against Tony's express wishes like that. Or giving that type of weapon to the military especially when guys like Hammer could get their hands on it. I was hoping this plot would be the impetus for Rhodes to resign from the military. I believe he was ex-military in the comic when he became Iron Man and later War Machine anyway.
-Demon in a Bottle/Armor Wars-I guess both of these story lines were sort of used in IM2, which is a shame because I had hoped each would be used to better effect and each could be there own movie. Now its doubtful that either will be revisited.
-Plot: After the Senate hearing, it seemed like there was no real plot. Just a lot of different scenes strung together, with nothing really making the narrative cohesive. In the first film, Stane was moving things behind the scenes, his machinations were helping propel the movie to a conclusion. Here, Hammer was just sort of there and Rourke was holed up in a room with a bird for far too much in the film.
-Nick Fury: I didn't care for him all that much this time around. I can't put my finger on it, but he didn't feel like Nick Fury, like a high-ranking intelligence agent and isn't Ultimate Fury also a general? Perhaps he wasn't hard ass enough for my taste. I would've liked something more like Andre Braugher's general in Fantastic Four 2. Though on reflection, it was cool to see him and SJ together again. Brought back memories of the Spirit. It might be neat to do a SHIELD movie with him and SJ.