I asked Lapis for the link to this back in February last year and I think it was around January I actually sat down to watch the film when I decided to go on a Marvel Binge.
This was a very simple edit, remove the bloat and tighten the narrative, while re-rigging the structure so there's an actual story to tell. Or tell the story that was always there, but make it easier to follow. One thing I like about At the core of it is the way Justin Hammer now mostly comes off as arrogant rather than stupid. He's an inferior Tony and we can still see that, but at least now he feels like less of a caricture. Tonys Declining health actually feels like more of a concern here as well instead of an afterthought.
This tightens up Iron Man 2, which was plagued by a rambling story, and a not terribly exciting plot i.e. bad guys want to get Stark-tech, failing which they copy it; bad guys wear armoured suits. This edit is a lot tighter, things move faster, and Vanko is less cartoonish.
This is definitely better than the original, although there is only so much that can be done with the bland plot (see earlier), and the inexplicable gaps in the story (doesn't anyone want to talk about how criminal it was for Stark Sr., genius and SHIELD co-founder, to have Vanko Sr., a Soviet political exile, framed and deported back to Stalinist Russia because of a disagreement? How about the US military using armoured suits, and Stark effectively going back into the arms industry by handing over the War Machine suit? Surely it would be interesting to think about how Vanko Jr.'s (clearly valid) claims that Stark Industry was built on lies, theft, and war profiteering complicate the narrative of bad Whiplash vs good Iron Man?) No fanedit can fix these sorts of issues.
So thanks gain for the work, its a better film than it was, and probably the best version that is possible.
First of all, a disclaimer: I am a fan of Iron Man 2. It's my second favourite Iron Man, and my 11th favourite MCU film. I understand the flaws people have with it, but I am still a fan of it's 'goofy/wacky' nature and love every second of it. With that said, I do strongly believe the narrative is all over the place in these films.
This edit fully changes those 'problems', however. If you had any issues with the narrative structure of Iron Man 2, I assure you they will be gone when you watch this edit. It puts a clear focus on the main plotline of this film, and really gets to THE CORE OF IT.
Besides a few unfortunate A/V moments, just due to lack of available footage, I assume, this edit is probably the best way to watch this film. Especially if you noticed the scattered plot of the original.
Lapis molari cuts the more silly/unnecessary scenes from iron man 2 and adds in some more context with deleted scenes to make the narrative make more sense. I recommend this fanedit highly if you are doing a rewatch of the entire MCU, this pretty much replaces the theatrical cut for me.
I appreciated the more serious approach to Tony's health problems while retaining some of his more charming self, because it really makes a good contrast.
Also, i think Pepper was improved too making her more of an equal to Tony and berating him less. Trimming out Vanko's quirks to make him a more streamlined villain also works better, and I liked that Hammer isn't a complete screwup in this cut. Having them be more serious helps with the tone of the movie and raises the stakes. There are some color grading difference in the inserted deleted scenes, but thats the only complaint I have.
Overall, this movie goes from a 6/10 to an 8/10 in my eyes, and a better follow-up to iron man 1.